Joan McGrath is a Toronto Board of Education library consultant.
Judith Merril, the editor, says that “Twenty is a nice round number.” This volume is in fact her twentieth SF anthology of work written exclusively for the delectation of readers who would never fall into the grave error of referring to any of the component parts as “sci-fi.” The “right stuff’ (i.e. , no bug-eyed monsters or Buck Rogers space ships) is always identified as SF. This collection of Canadian science fiction includes 32 carefully selected items of prose and verse, 17 published here for the first time (some for the first time in English) and only two published earlier than 1980. The overall effect of this multi-faceted glimpse into the future is bleakly post-nuclear, relieved by the odd gleams of (mostly mordant) humour. SF fans with a liking for the far-out and the sophisticated will find this anthology very much to their taste, impossible to set aside unfinished — right up there with the best of its kind. The anthologist sums up its flavour in a neat paraphrase: “We have met the Alien and it is us.”