Stable Strategies and Others - William Gibson, Eileen Gunn, Howard Waldrop I don't exactly want to call this book uneven, because it is uniformly excellent with the exception of the round robin story (a style of which I am not a fan). It is, though, thematically erratic and doesn't leave you with a sense of cohesion. Some stories are written decades before others, as apparently Gunn's popularity far outweighs her productivity. (There are references to this throughout the book, including in William Gibson's Foreword.)

Highlights include "Stable Strategies for Middle Management," a fantastic story of bio-engineering in a corporate marketing agency, and "Lichen and Rock," an extremely deft example of writing at its slipstream finest. "Contact" is an original take on a classic theme, and "What Are Friends For?" offers tentacled monsters along with a humorous analysis of human sexuality, both wasteful and revealing of our "social context."

Perhaps the most important gem to be taken from this is the truth that resounds throughout. The secret of writing, Gibson tells Gunn, is that "You must learn to overcome your very natural revulsion for your own work." At the same time, Gunn refuses to write just for the sake of writing, as everything she leaves here is perfect in its own way.