In his latest collection of short fiction, essays, and insightful commentaries on both, Brin defines the term "otherness" as the currently popular relativistic dogma that other points of view are just as important as our own. Using this conception as a loosely organizing theme, Brin assembles some of his finest recent work, from "Shhh," a wryly original tale about alien first contact in which humans may hold a secret edge on their otherwise overwhelmingly superior visitors, to a skeptical critique of reports of extraterrestrial abductions. In "Bubbles," otherness is explored through the electronic awareness of a sentient spacecraft that discovers a doorway to another universe. In perhaps his most penetrating nonfiction piece concerning otherness, "The New Meme," Brin explores the limits to human interpretations of reality. Although, falling short on plot and character, the stories here often read as thinly disguised thought-experiments, they succeed as entertaining hard sf. A treat for Brin fans and connoisseurs of first-rate speculative science.