Another anthology of all new (at least they were all new when this was released three years ago), thematically unrelated stories, put together to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the British Science Fiction Association
. As well as having no central theme, the stories contained here go beyond the bounds of SF to include fantasy as well.
Perhaps it's the celebratory nature of this anthology that it attracted some big names to write stories for it. No less than the likes of Brian Aldiss, Christopher Priest, M. John Harrison, Stephen Baxter and Alastair Reynolds to name but a few of them. And does the quality of the stories match our heightened expectations? Well, for the most part yes.
I really loved Ian Watson's "Having the Time of his Life", Brian Stableford's "Next to Godliness" and Martin Sketchley's "Deciduous Tree". These three were the highlights of the collection for me. Most of the other stories were also of a generally high standard. Inevitably a few fell a little flat; Ken MacLeod's "Wilson at Woking" and M. John Harrison's "Keep Smiling with Great Minutes", but I suspect this was more a case that they didn't particularly work for me rather than their being not very good stories. Some didn't feel particularly original but even in those cases they were entertaining enough.
So all in all a very good albeit eclectic collection of stories but not enough really cracking stories to make this a five-star rating.