Some projections, and abstractions, in the shorter form, conjure up dark spirits from the past- as well as specters of worlds to come. In the title story, two men search for food on a deserted planet- only to find that they will be consumed; an Impacted Man is caught between civilizations; the Cost of Living in a push-button world is gutted incentive; a curious, conscientious citizen becomes a living sacrifice for a dark cult; a marauder from 2000 B.C. makes amends with diamonds and rubies; etc. etc. -- these stories apply imagination and irony to this genre.