As expected from one of the flagship markets for short and novelette-length speculative fiction, the volume is great. The pieces span from high fantasy to space opera, and skip through magical realism and surrealism along the way past a fairy tale. The tone varies from the serious contemplation of an aspect of race relations to the more fun-loving romp through a more traditional high fantasy setting.
Picking stories that stood out from the crowd has less to do with quality and more to do with my subjective taste, maybe even my subjective taste at the moment I read each. “The Barrens” was a tense spin on a classic horror archetype that kept me turning the page (maybe I was due for a tense tale). “Argent and Sable” was high fantasy at its most fun (maybe I was due for a taste of childhood nostalgia). “Unstoppable” was a brilliantly rendered fairy tale (maybe I’m envious of being able to perfectly land the “fairy tale voice”… okay I am envious of that, but it’s still a great story).