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This book contains fourteen stories written over the past nine years. They range in length from short offerings of little more than a page (“Millennium,” “That Strain Again . . .”) to long novelettes (“Georgia on My Mind”). They also range in mood from silly to personal and serious.

If you have read any of my previous collections of short stories you will not be expecting much more than this by way of introduction. I see little point in talking about stories before you read them, because no matter what I say each one has to stand or fall on its merits. Introductory words, by me or anyone else, can’t change that.

However, I do think that it is nice to give each story its own short afterword, saying how it came to be written and what I was trying to do in it. Then you can judge if I succeeded or failed.

I have one other comment, addressed to any reader worried about the repackaging of old material under a new title: I have published five other collections of short stories, Dancing with Myself, One Man’s Universe (which, to avoid confusion, I will point out is an expanded version of The McAndrew Chronicles), Erasmus Magister, Vectors, and Hidden Variables. None of these stories has ever appeared before in collected form other than in Best-of-the-Year anthologies, and there is no overlap of material between this book and my other five story collections.

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