The author's own choices, with all of the familiar strengths and weaknesses. Simak never gussies up modest insights into strident preaching and brash machine-gun-fire narratives. What he has always liked to do is observe a solitary, well-meaning person (man or robot; women are oddly scarce in the Simak landscape, but faithful animals and servants figure crucially), quietly struggling to grasp the implications of an alien situation--the sudden ability to perceive other times, the unaccountable grown-upness of the village children, the unknown planet appearing beyond the front driveway, the conscience in the machine. It is to Simak's credit that these ten selections have obviously been chosen to create an accurate, unglorified picture of his own development from the mid-Forties to the present. Some of his best ""City"" stories are missing, but there is something uncommonly honest about the cumulative effect of the collection.