Six short stories and a novella by authors from the farflung reaches of the British realm. Nadine Gordimer offers a tale of two doomed interracial romances in South Africa; Honor Tracy gives a wry account of a Dublin girl having an affair with a priest. Efforts by less well-known writers include Margaret Bhatty's richly atmospheric sketch of a childhood in India and Joanna M. Glass' bleak look at life on the Canadian prairie. Soviet scientists experiment with the Kirlian auras given off by dying patients in William Bloom's ""The Philosopher's Stone,"" the only story in which locale is unimportant, a longish ramble which just misses being mysteriously suggestive. Not quite the right book to shore up with on a chilly winter's night--the selections here all manage to be well-crafted without being particularly memorable.