Hugo and Nebula award winner Resnick's (A Hunger in the Soul) tales are often surprising, and this novel comprised of individual narratives is no exception. The characters at the Outpost a gathering place at the outer edge of the galaxy where adventurous souls can come to drink and brag are galaxy-renowned ""heroes and bandits, artists and athletes, ministers, geniuses, prostitutes, bounty hunters, gamblers, even aliens."" What begins as a fun round of tale-swapping turns more serious and thoughtful as the book progresses through its three parts: ""legend,"" ""truth"" and ""history."" Throughout the opening a war has been approaching the Outpost, and by the second segment the ""heroes"" are forced to fight. Resnick then changes the tone. The complexity the characters gain when their actions are described by an impartial narrator in the ""truth"" section elevates the book from simple entertainment. Some act with honor, some back down from everything they stand for, some show their dedication to humanity while others flee. When they reconvene and record their exploits for posterity, they reveal even more of their true natures in the ways they want history to remember themselves and others. This lightly philosophical read is a good introduction to a solid author. (May 16) FYI: Resnick has recently received Hugo nominations for two of his stories, ""Hunting the Snark"" and ""Hot House Flowers.""