This collection of short stories is an inventive, wild ride: there are (among many, many others) time travelers, man-swallowing jungles, an appearance of Lancelot, and a man without a soul in a story punctuated by Irish faerie-tale tropes. While these are not the most emotionally rich stories in the world, Sparks imaginative gifts largely make up for any lack of tearjerkers. She is comfortable in many times (past, present, future); many geographies; many lengths (a few of these are scarcely a page long); many bodies (men, women, gay, straight). My favorite was her longer form, multi-paragraph telling of the man without a soul, but the death house architect was a troubling conceit - a sort of way station to house the rotting bodies of persons whose loved ones believed there was some chance they might still have a spark of life in them, the caretakers of which must be both proficient in first aid as well as wholly lacking in imagination, which would make them mad. There was also the time traveler intent on destroying the masterwork of a great artist. Despite repeated trips to the artist's age, she was only able to effect subtle changes on the great work. While I craved more of the longer pieces, there is no question Sparks' rich world promises much future fruit.