Nineteen tales, one from 1964, the rest 1988-93: Bisson's first story collection since the illustrious Voyage to the Red Planet (1990), Talking Man, etc. Bisson's stock in trade is whimsy where, at his best, he combines a splendidly loopy inventiveness with real poignancy, a hard-edged sense of wonder and a grasp of the genuinely alien. The exemplars here: the award-winning title piece, in which bears forgo hibernation in favor of camping out along interstate highway medians, warming themselves at ineptly smoky fires; the funny but affecting long story of alien contact and an aging astronaut (``The Shadow Knows''); a rather untypical life-after-death hair-raiser (``Necronauts''); a quite hysterically bizarre short-short about ``Partial People,'' who are ``people only incompletely seen, or found in boxes, perhaps under benches. Lips and eyes stuck under theatre seats like gum''; and any number of agreeably batty commentaries featuring giant mountains, aliens, famous writers, computers, hunting, winged children, the environment, race relations, time travel, England, and what-all. About half the entries here are amusing if ephemeral; for the remainder, Bisson's distinctive style and priceless imagination lift his work to an altogether more exalted plane.