This retrospective of Niven's fiction and non-fiction offers a generous selection of his work; Niven's disciplined imagination and sly humor are on display throughout. For starters, the book is an excellent excuse for rereading such classic stories as ""Inconstant Moon"" and ""The Fourth Profession."" On the other hand, the excerpts from novels are probably of most value to those just discovering Niven's work, although the author's notes on them are informative and often entertaining in their own right. Most interesting to long-time fans are two original novellas--""Kiteman,"" set in his Smoke Ring universe, and ""Brenda,"" a spinoff from The Mote in God's Eye--and the nonfiction pieces, most of which are in book form for the first time. The highlights include ""Niven's Laws,"" a provocative annotated list of aphorisms and observations; ""The Alien in Our Minds,"" an examination of the question of nonhuman intelligence; and ""Building the Mote in God's Eye,"" in which Niven and collaborator Jerry Pournelle discuss the origins and logic of their best-seller. An excellent Niven sampler, with plenty of evidence to bolster his stature as the premier current writer of hard science fiction.