“Explanations Inc.,” Kress’ wonderful reply to those who insist on ultimate rationality, is just one of the ideas presented in this gourmet delicacy of a book. The stories concern basic human perceptions and desires; their simple twists neatly reveal the confusion of the human condition. “With the Original Cast” questions the relationship of experience and craft to the reality portrayed on the stage; “Shadows on the Cave Wall” focuses on a stunningly simple idea about the potential interaction of art and technology and what it might mean; “Trinity” is a terrifying look at the search for God in the possible future. Every story is beautifully crafted and realized; all will leave readers excited and alert.
Gene Wolfe’s introduction to the volume is amusing and informative, as are Kress’ own prologues to each story. The most precious gift that science fiction/fantasy writers can give their audience is a sense of reality’s mysteries. Kress delivers just that. Don’t resist her invitation to say, “what if. . . ?” – Catherine Chauvette, Fairfax County Public Library, Springfield, Va.