While not the strongest collection of Sturgeon's I've read, there are a couple of great stories in here and the writing is generally of a high standard throughout.
No central theme unites the stories in this collection and they are quite varied. "Derm Fool"
is a comedy about a couple who discover a Snake that, after biting them, has infected them with a condition that causes them to shed their skins on a daily basis. Far from being distraught by this condition, they capitalise on it by using their byproduct to boost their taxidermist career. That is until it starts to draw the attention of the police...The Haunt
is a classic haunted house story. Artnan Process
is about mankind's attempt to free itself from the yolk of Martian tyranny and resource exploitation. The World Well Lost
is a strange tale about first contact and homosexuality. The Pod and the Barrier
, for me the highlight of the collection, a quintesential Sturgeon tale of a space expedition to try and penetrate an impenetrable sphere. And lastly, How to Kill Aunty
is what I can only describe as a psycological drama between an old woman and her nephew whom she torments and manipulates.
Probably not the best place to start with Sturgeon but well worth a read for anyone who is a fan.