Egan’s second collection has the same ratio of high quality stories as the first, but the quantity has decreased and the size of the stories increased. Thankfully there’s no padding or any narrative fat. What could be said about the first collection, applies here as well, these stories are remorseless explorations of ideas. We have a story where a young boy has to relearn happiness, the catch is that he has to chose with a nearly rational and objective mind, what should be happy in the future to him.
Another story deals with a group of explorers who know that they will never have a chance to pass on the knowledge they will gain, because they jump into a black hole. Egan’s stories at best make you think about assumptions you have about yourself or the world around you, and not only does he makes you think, sometimes you may even change your mind or learn a new way to look at the world.