This is a relatively short collection of Harry Harrison short stories. They are:
- I always do what Teddy says: what happens when we abdicate teaching our youngsters moral values to machine, and then don’t test that the machine is working correctly? A short story about unit testing?
- Space rats of the CCC: this story is just silly. Its a little bit like Bill the Galactic Hero in style, but also a little bit annoying. It didn’t really work for me.
- Down to earth: I’m sure I’ve read this basic plot line about a billion times, for example Hawk Among the Sparrows being just one example. This one didn’t even have a good twist at the end.
- A criminal act: Harrison feels strongly about population grow (see also Make Room, Make Room!). Its pretty obvious in this story, although its not as preachy as Make Room, Make Room.
- Famous first words: I actually really liked this one.
- The Pad – a story of the day after the day after tomorrow: seducing women is hard work for billionaires, apparently.
- If: a pretty standard “don’t alter the time lines” tale, with a small if predictable twist.
- Mute Milton: what important discoveries have been lost through the ages through racism or accident?
- Simulated trainer: this is an interesting story — I quite like the concept, and the execution is more believable than most Harrison stories.
- At last, the true story of Frankenstein: this is a good story too, with a nice twist at the end.
- The robot who wanted to know: a pretty classic robot story, which could just as easily fit in an Asimov collection as a Harrison collection. I’m quite partial to robot stories, and I enjoyed it.
- Bill the Galactic Hero’s happy holiday: I’ve previous complained about the overall style of the Bill the Galactic Hero series. I think it works better as a short story than a novel, because the level of annoyance it develops in the reader is smaller. This was actually better than the novel length Bill stories that I’ve read so far.
Overall, a solid collection, but not startlingly good.