Eleven substantial stories, spanning the years 1990—97, from the author of Beneath the Gated Sky (1997), etc. In the imaginative, striking, improbable title piece, a nuclear waste repository that’s been turned into the Lost World of a steamy jungle swarming with huge, genetically engineered reptilian predators, proves an irresistible magnet for the unscrupulous. A woman unjustly exiled on devastated Earth, forced to help rebuild the planet after an interplanetary war, realizes she’s gained far more than her rich friends who escaped retribution on the Moon’s Farside. People didn’t domesticate corn, Reed speculates—quite the reverse; and galaxies were built in the remote past by intelligent plasmas. A star traveler with a composite brain returns to a world of childlike, merciless immortals; a violent man is hunted by a birdlike predator from a parallel Earth; and aliens who visit Earth often fit in better than human outsiders. Elsewhere, in a far-future era of planet-sized starships, immortal passengers float through space on million-year—long pleasure cruises while repair crews on the hulls, exposed to the manifold hazards of space, evolve into virtually other species. Aboard another starship, Gaean planetary intelligences pursue an ancient, meaningless feud; and on still another, the robots that systematically control everything deceive their organic counterparts in their paranoid determination to prevent another war. Ingenious yet disciplined, as too often Reed’s novels aren’t, and resolutely inquisitive, providing no easy answers—or easy questions, either.