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Disclosure: I wrote one of the stories in this anthology, so my review does not include this story. I calculated my starred review by starring each story (other than my own) and then averaging the scores.
A good collection of sci fi and fantasy stories, ranging from classic military sf to stories of war-mages and worlds’ ends. I enjoyed the world-building in many of these, both the near-future 'what-if' stories and the alien, expansive worlds with fantastical or eldritch elements. Some of the unique concepts in these stories include a zoo of magical creatures abandoned in wartime, a robot who buries the dead, a yearly tradition of mock warfare, a cook who walks in others’ dreams, and soldiers whose bodies are rebuilt by nanobots mid-combat.
The stories have a lot of variety, creating interesting contrasts: the dreamlike, savory lilt of Little Lives Rounded by sleep followed by the visceral, colloquial prose of Limb from Limb; the scale and high emotion of Graft Mage followed by the quick satire of How to Check if Your Peacekeeper-2000 is Loaded; the crushing tragedy of All the King’s Men followed by the goofy playfulness of Hey Diddle Diddle.
I especially enjoyed Burial Detail, with its quiet thoughtfulness and its robot protagonist’s devotion to duty; Mercy Comes Last to the Vigilant, with its cosmic terror and effective use of the epistolary format; Graft Mage’s fascinating world and surprising hopefulness; and Little Lives Rounded by Sleep’s magical pull and sense-laden writing.