Ten tales, including the author's afterwords, from Flynn (Firestar, 1996), seven of which first appeared in Analog magazine--though the publisher doesn't tell us when or upon what basis they were selected. In the title piece, an experimenter is marooned with no hope of returning home in an alternate world where the US doesn't exist. Elsewhere, a genetics whiz accidentally transforms himself into a water-breather with gills and webbed feet; a space cowboy yam amuses, as does a satire on New Yorkers--for a while; a scientific investigation of a ghost proves equally illuminating of its investigator; a neural net computer writes a bestseller (sound familiar?); and, in WW I, some--aliens? fallen angels?--feed on emotions. Best of the bunch: A powerful, reactionary soldier-turned-businessman arranges for aliens to remove the ""useless"" elements from society, with unforeseen consequences; a time-traveler hopes to moderate Pizarro's destruction of the Incas; and a misanthropic doctor, whose young daughter is dying of progeria (accelerated aging), discovers that a patient of his is 200 years old. Wonderfully diverse themes, but Flynn belabors matters long after his point is made; his plodding prose style doesn't help, neither do the afterwords wherein he explains how smart he's been.