This wonderful collection offers a wide variety of the very best science fiction, not of the "square-jawed-heroes-and-beautiful-princesses" kind, but the kind of fiction that leads you to ponder about deep philosophical matters. I only do not rate it with the full rating of 5 stars because of a few rather uninspired choices, for example H.G.Wells's "A Story of the Days to Come." I like Wells but it is no mystery that some of his stories are not up to scratch, and this is one of them: preachy and curiously unvisionary (sometimes comically so, like, why on Earth did Wells believe that the quaint institution of the chaperone would survive so many years into the future? But then, probably all of Wells' good stuff has already been overanthologized). Others have apparently been included just for the sake of representing a particular author, rather than because of their quality. However, the selection has been mostly made based on excellence, and the few not-so-goods are largely compensated by the sterling quality of the rest of the stories, some of which are true masterpieces, like Poul Anderson's "Goat Song," a beautiful and haunting recreation of the myth of Orpheus, the deeply disturbing "Mother" by Philip José Farmer and "Consider Her Ways" by John Wyndham, the original and fairy-taleish "The King and the Dollmaker" by Wolfgang Jeschke, the poetic "Riding the Tide of Mourning" by Richard Lupoff, and many others, in fact too numerous to mention. Of special merit are the inclusions of modern classics like Gibson's "Johnny Mnemonic" and Ellison's "Repent, Harlequin!" and others which are excellent but hard to find, like the exquisite but out of print "The Rose" by Charles Harness. A truly indespensable item for the sci-fi serious fan.