Five original novellas derived from an exciting concept: Benford encouraged his contributors to extrapolate to, or speculate upon, the almost unimaginably remote future. Greg Bear's awesomely conceived ``Judgement Engine'' captures the spirit of the universe's dying hours; he also resurrects a personality from our own time, for reasons entirely factitious. Poul Anderson, wondering how the Earth will meet its doom, begins: ``No human could have shaped the thoughts or uttered them.'' What follows, though, is much more prosaic. Donald Kingsbury rewrites Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy. Describing a dead Earth in the aftermath of a human-alien war, Joe Haldeman offers a piquant love story whose protagonists he nails implausibly in place. And Charles Sheffield's lead character, having had himself frozen in liquid helium, ends up surviving to the time when the universe collapses--against which his dream of reconstituting his dead wife's personality seems somewhat insignificant. Abstrusely wonderful ideas undermined by graceless drama and contrived plotting.