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Three long stories, all recent, with the tenuous link that they're all being read by alien students at an interstellar library as part of a research project. Too, they're all set in the same part of the galaxy, the unexplored Rift. ""The Only Neat Thing to Do"" is a distinctly YA-ish yarn about a rebellious schoolgirl, Coati Cass, who runs away from home to explore unknown parts of the galaxy and ends up saving civilization from mysterious, deadly space-parasites. In ""Good Night, Sweethearts,"" space salvage-operator Raven saves a ship crewed by ignorant amateurs from vicious space-pirates, while becoming emotionally entangled with the young, beautiful clone of an old flame. And the third, best, tale, ""Collision,"" describes the first contact between the human Federation and the alien Ziellor. The latter, unknown to the Federation, are already at war with the human outlaw, pirate Black Worlders; luckily, the good guys from the Federation show up disguised as Ziellor, thanks to compelling psychic space-influences--so the suspicious Ziellor hesitate just long enough for both sides to intimate the real problem. Pleasant but oddly insubstantial storytelling from the author of Tales of the Quintana Roo (p. 592) and Brightness Falls from the Air (to which this is not a sequel, despite the publisher's blurb).

Pub Date: July 2nd, 1986
Publisher: Tor--dist. by St. Martin's