A great collection of short stories–but then, I love Nancy Kress’s writing, so it’s not surprising that I enjoyed these too.
The Erdmann Nexus is a quirky story about a big threshold event, but what makes it so interesting are the main characters. It’s centered on an old folks home, with a wide variety of ability levels and togetherness–but interesting, rich, lived characters. It’s the longest; maybe a novelette?
The Kindness of Strangers is mostly about a group of people, trapped, trying to survive. The inexorable backdrop is interesting, as is the population reduction throughline.
By Fools Like Me is a quirky post-apocalyptic tale, mostly about a grandmother and granddaughter. It’s simpler, with a scathing look at superstitions.
First Rites was an interesting tale of sacrifice and genetic engineering, mostly told from the POV of a shunned woman who is returning to back country China as the book starts, and her American cousin–and the child they share responsibility for. It’s interestingly told, with a final twist that feels… unearned, but that’s not really right. Maybe it just went too fantastic.
End Game is an interesting meditation on focus and genius… and the role of serendipity and stray thought. It doesn’t end well for the world…
Images of Anna is about a woman who runs a photography studio, who meets a woman whose photographs never show her. There’s fascination and strangeness as she sets out to discover what caused the weird photo manipulation…
Laws of Survival is about scrabbling life in the domes, and an odd out… plus the mystery of unraveling who the aliens are and what they’re aiming for.
Safeguard is an interesting story about creating a sealed world… and what happens when that breaks up. There’s good reason to keep the kids sealed away…
Fountain of Age is longer, a winding and complicated and fun tale. It too starts in an old folks home, but Max isn’t a normal hero. He has a twisty past, and knew an important woman well… both of which we visit in extensive flashbacks and a roaming tale. It’s a very interesting future; life extension is tricky!