Like in her previous collection “Patterns”, this collection shows that Cadigan has a steady output. There isn’t any story that I thought was really bad, apart from “50 Ways to Improve Your Orgasm”, which was a joke that dragged on far too long. On the other hand there were only few stories that made me go YEAH. Overall I liked it more than Patterns, but whether this is because the stories are really better or I just didn’t came into it with the wrong expectations I can’t really say.
Cadigan writes quite good, her style is all show and no tell, which makes some of her stories not easily to get. Sometimes you wonder what just happened, and at times I really would like an easy explanation, but that’s not how Cadigan plays it.
The collection also shows much diversity, like the Alternative Worlds of “Dispatches from the Revolution” and “No Prisoners”, or SF like the excellent “True Faces” and her Cyberpunk pieces, humor like “The Sorceress in Spite of Herself” and her horror stories, that all evoke a Twilight Zone feeling of strangeness and weirdness. The collection also has the last Deadpan Allie stories, which wasn’t collected in “Mindplayers”, but that’s good because I really disliked the story.
Aside from “True Faces”, the stories I liked best were “Naming Names” and the follow-up “A Deal With God”, I think the world and the character from those stories has potential for even more, maybe a novel.