This collection of 27 never-before published stories from an impressive cast—Roddy Doyle, Joyce Carol Oates, and Stuart O'Nan, among others—sets out to shift genre paradigms. The overarching theme is fantastic fiction, or fiction of the imagination, with fantasy being used in the most broad-sweeping sense rather than signaling the familiar commercial staples of elves, ghouls, and robots. Consequently, the collection's offerings run a wide gamut. In Joe Hill's Devil on the Staircase, an Italian boy commits a crime of passion and subsequently meets an emissary of Satan. In Jodi Picoult's Weights and Measures, a young couple who have just lost their daughter struggle to hold their marriage together as they both start noticing strange changes taking place. Chuck Palahniuk's The Loser features a college kid on acid as a contestant on a game show, and in Kurt Andersen's Human Intelligence, a geologist meets an explorer from another planet who has been studying humans for the past 1,600 years. The range of voices and subjects practically guarantees something for any reader, but the overall quality is frustratingly variable: most stories are good, some aren't, and few are exceptional.