Eleven largely unimpressive tales, 1980-86, including five previously unpublished, and unnecessarily divided into sections: ""Destiny,"" ""Recollection,"" ""Speculation,"" and ""Propagation."" Featured are: an ingenious if far-fetched explanation as to why Earth hasn't yet received any alien visitations; a horrible stew of Bronze Age fantasy and science fiction, representing the three Fates as ruthless manipulators from another dimension; a future where androids perform all drudgery, so humans compete intensely for the privilege of working professionally: a long, involved, confusing yarn about a man who once helped some good aliens, and now, having taken refuge in another identity, is being hunted by bad aliens; and a broken down actor compulsively relives his memories under the influence of a drug. Also included: a routine irony wherein humans (we've solved the problem of pollution but are still threatened by nuclear war) try to communicate with aliens who've outlawed war but are still threatened by. . .you guessed it; an absurd (and, for some, offensive) alternate-world yarn where the Norse gods are summoned up by the psychic energies generated by the Holocaust to help the Nazis in WW II; in the asteroid belt, the remains of a variety of mechanical star probes await human discovery; and the title piece, where time fragments into coexisting zones running at different speeds. Some spectacular ideas, then, but mostly poorly dramatized. Brin is much better--and still improving--at novel length (The Postman, 1985), though fans will want to give this decidedly mixed collection the once-over.