C. J. Cherryh is best known for her science fiction and fantasy novels. Short story writing is an art she never considered until she had several novels published. The compactness and limited characterization of the short story form did not lend itself well to Cherryh’s precise and complex novel construction methodologies.
In spite of this, she has proved herself quite capable of working in this medium and this collection as a whole has been well received by critics. “Cassandra” won her a Hugo Award, was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Short Story and the Locus Award for best short story, and in 1999 was named as one of Locus magazine’s 50 best science fiction short stories of all time. Additionally, “A Thief in Korianth” won the 1982 Balrog Award for best short fiction, “The Scapegoat” was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novella and “Gwydion and the Dragon” was nominated for the World Fantasy Award for Best Novella. While novels are still her preferred medium, she does enjoy the chance to write short stories, doing so mostly when requested or between other works when a given idea does not lend itself to a novel.
The collection contains almost all the short stories she had published through 2004, with the exception of those published in the various shared world anthologies to which she has contributed.