An all-new collection presenting twelve weird and lively variations. Al Sarrantonio offers a sharp and apposite commentary on religious fanaticism; Pat Murphy comes up with an effective new time-travel wrinkle; Patrick H. Adkins goes prospecting for plastic, a miracle substance of the forgotten old days; and Tanith Lee's ""Gemini"" features a chilling, if Kuttner-ish, alien oppressor. Other entertainments offer suspended animation, telepathy, strange experiments, and genetic engineering. There are a few preachy items: Glenn Chang's ultimately disappointing first-aliencontact yarn, which opens with a delightful space-creature that has learned English from Earth broadcasts and therefore talks in hoary movie and TV clichÃ‰s; Somtow Sucharitkul's juvenile rewrite of Alcestis; and Steve Rasnic Tem's slick but moralizing tale of ghosts and heroin addicts. But, if often YA-ish, this is generally superior material for the fantasy-oriented audience.