After ""South Africa,"" the first word that comes to mind is ""apartheid."" Race relations is the subject of many of these stories, written and previously published in five collections over 30 years, and even when it is not the theme, racism hovers malignantly in the background. Nadine Gordimer is a liberal; her English characters are likewise--intelligent, civilized, politically conscious. Her Boers are louts, perhaps not quite human enough to be called into responsibility for the obscenity of South African policy. Her Bantu--they graduate in 30 years from ""native"" to ""African"" to ""Black""--have something of the noble savage about them, from the encounter of a nice young girl with a ragged wretch who steals her purse in the first story here, ""Is There Nowhere Else Where We Can Meet?"" to the more psychologically sophisticated ""Africa Emergent"" which closes the selection with a fictional commentary on the necessity, in a police state, of proving one's allegiances by going to prison. Nadine Gordimer's stories are a straight mirror-image of her comfortable, efficient, for-whites-only country and now somewhat dated by the absence of rage or outrage. Cleanly composed, unobtrusively styled, they offer a convenient index to the rationale of the master vis-a-vis his black servant.