Another quasi-novel (Midas World, 1983, The Years of the City, 1984), an eclectic set of linked short stories exploring a common theme--in this case, the discovery and transport to Earth of real, live, possibly intelligent Martians. The oldest story here--the title piece, a mordant commentary on race relations--dates from 1967 and Harlan Ellison's landmark Dangerous Visions anthology. Similarly, the other yarns explore the reactions of individuals rather than Wellsian mayhem. Thus, when he hears about the Martians, screenwriter Sam's head fills with visions of Burroughsian princesses and zitidars; but his dreams collapse when he discovers that the real Martians look like--well, slugs Exiled Russian rocket man Vladimir, desperate to become involved with the American space program, finally contacts some Americans interested in Mars--only to find that they're planning a housing development. Washington consultant Bernard discovers that his boss has been ripping off NASA, thus contributing directly to the Martian colony disaster, and sleeping with his wife--so he gathers the evidence and blows the whistle. In the southeast Asian country of Iriadeska, the Martians--who haven't even arrived on Earth yet--provoke a bloodless coup, and soon an equally bloodless countercoup. A clever idea, sure-handedly executed; sure to please Pohl fans, despite the somewhat uneven quality of the stories here.