O Pioneers! was oh so long ago, and yet Willa Cather's masterpiece has proven to be an enduring template for readers' notions of Nebraska writing. The short stories collected here, so richly various in style, theme, and subject matter, should put an end to any such plain thinking about writing from this anything-but-plain state. Nebraska writers all, the authors explore the Midwest, a vastness of small towns, corn, cattle, football, and family businesses. They also venture far afield, to desolate western lives, crowded urban relationships, poignant couplings, comic families, and the worldly idiosyncrasies of characters everywhere. Whether about aging or coming-of-age, leave-taking or coming home, falling apart or finding love, these stories represent contemporary fiction at its best, from the high style of Richard Dooling's "Immortal Man" to Kent Haruf's soft-spoken "Dancing," from Ron Hansen's "My Communist" to Jonis Agee's earthy, offbeat "Binding the Devil." Original, spirited, and surprising, these contemporary writings depict a modern world on the move and extend the tradition of great fiction from Nebraska into the twenty-first century.