Wireless is a quality short-story collection by Stross. Quick reviews:
Missile Gap: This is the story of a late 1950s earth whose crust has been peeled off our globe and stuck on an even larger flat plate, what that means to the people who live there, and how that influences the tensions of the Cold War. It was fascinating, weird, and fun. The concept was oddly original. 4 of 5 stars.
Rogue Farm: A weird concept of extreme body modification (to the extent of creating communes-in-a-body), and the back-to-nature crowd. I know I read (or heard) this one before, but I’m not sure where. 4 of 5 stars.
A Colder War: Late Cold-War meddling with Cthulhu-esque powers. Interesting, but ultimately just a Lovecraft tribute. 3 of 5 stars.
MAXOS: Flash fiction in the form of a letter to Nature. This was cool. I can’t really say much without spoiling it (it *is* flash after all), but it’s about the first messages received from space, and what they’re *really* going to be about. 5 of 5 stars.
Down on the Farm: It’s a Laundry story! For those not familiar, Stross has a series of novels starring Bob Howard, an agent for a British spy organization called “The Laundry” whose area of expertise is mathematical thaumaturgy. (Or, in other words, dealing with critters from beyond reality.) This one’s good, but not great. Cool steampunk-like robots, though. 4 of 5 stars.
Unwirer: Written with Cory Doctorow, this one is the story of those who make networks, in an alternate history where the Internet was effectively made illegal in the 1990s. It *feels* like a Doctorow story, with his counter-culture sensitivities. 4 of 5 stars.
Snowball’s Chance: A deal-with-the-devil story, where our protagonist is actually more evil than the demonic representative he’s meeting with. Fun, but the logic is twisted, and I’m still not sure I followed it right. 3 of 5 stars.
Trunk and Disorderly: An attempt at high-British upper-class humor that mostly falls flat. Ultimately, it’s an experiment in preparation for Stross’ later novel “Saturn’s Children”. 3 of 5 stars.
Palimpsest: Time travel done *right*. This story was awesome. I keep comparing all time travel stories to Leiber’s, “The Big Time”, which won a Hugo back in the 1950s (and which I hated)... This story has a lot of the same themes (plus a more up-to-date grasp of technology), done in a fashion that really made me sit up and take notice. 5 of 5 stars.