I have just finish reading The John Varley Reader by John Varley. This one took me a while to get through, through not fault of the book though. I have just been busy, and it contains so much. Having only recently discovered author John Varley, (through his excellent Red Thunder trilogy) this collection of short stories exposed me to a much greater cross section of his works. It also introduced me to his Eight Worlds theme which is carried in many of his books. In some unspecified time in the future, aliens invade the earth and the human race is forced to leave the planet and move to colonies on other worlds in the solar system. The stories in this book vary greatly in their theme, tone and length. I of course enjoyed some more than others, but overall it was journey (and that’s what it felt like) worth taking. It also offers an interesting insight into John Varley the man, as each story is preceded by a personal introduction where he shares some background about how the story came to be, or about what was happening in his life when he wrote it. It is interesting to connect his young adulthood in the 60’s alternative lifestyle scene in California as an influence on his vision of the future. Like Heinlein he envisions (or perhaps hopes for) a future where people have overcome many of the social taboos about nudity, love and sex. If you want to learn more about John Varley and be exposed to a nice cross section of his work, this book is worth a read.