This review was first published by Booklist in August 2019.
**STARRED REVIEW** Egan (Perihelion Summer, 2019), a master of short form science fiction, has collected twenty of what he considers the best of his short works from the past thirty years. By presenting these works in chronological order, the collection highlights the growth of his skill as a writer: readers see his style become more elegant and subtle, his characters more nuanced and empathetic, his stories more incisive. As satisfying as each story is on its own, the greatest reward of this collection is witnessing Egan’s development as a storyteller. It also brings his obsessions front-and-center: the workings of the human mind (“Axiomatic,” “Reasons to Be Cheerful”), reason and identity (“Learning to Be Me,” “Closer,” “Uncanny Valley”), humanity’s relationship to technology (“Appropriate Love,” “Bit Players”), artificial intelligence (“Singleton,” “Crystal Nights”), the relationship between science and faith (“Oracle,” “Oceanic”), and his deep fascination with mathematics (“Luminous,” “Dark Integers”). This retrospective is sure to be treasured by Egan’s many fans, and it presents an excellent doorway for new readers to discover and explore his work for the first time.