Decent but not extraordinary collection

Aliens: Recent Encounters - Alex Dally MacFarlane, Catherynne M. Valente, Elizabeth Bear, Nancy Kress, CaitlĂ­n R. Kiernan, Ursula K. Le Guin, Ken Liu, Paul J. McAuley, Robert Reed, Lavie Tidhar, An Owomoyela, Zen Cho, Vandana Singh, Molly Gloss, Desirina Boskovich, Genevieve Valentine, Jamie Barras

Aliens: Recent Encounters is a decent collection of stories, most dealing with the consequences of encounters between humans and aliens [duh]. I picked it off the new-book shelf at one of my libraries because I saw that it contained works from some of my favorites - Ursula K. Le Guin, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Alastair Reynolds - and from some whose work I've read before and liked - Nisi Shawl, Paul McAuley, Nancy Kress, Greg Van Eekhout.

As it turned out, only Kress' story made it on to the list of stand outs. UKL and Kiernan were not on their A games with "Seasons of the Ansarac" and "I Am the Abyss, I Am the Light," respectively, but even their B games are better than most other's best efforts. Eekhout wrote one of my favorite short stories, "Wolves Till the World Goes Down," which I made my English students read in the Mythology unit when I was teaching, but I haven't been impressed by anything I've read of his since. And "Native Aliens" was no exception, being a pedestrian effort about colonialism and the children of colonizer & native.

The gems in this collection were (IMO):

"The Tetrahedron," Vandana Singh. It seems every SF author has to write their enigmatic-object-that-appears-suddenly-one-day story. Norman Spinrad did it in 1964 with "Rules of the Road." Singh's version is one of the better efforts in this subgenre.

"Knapsack Poems," Eleanor Arnason. This is one of the few stories with no human characters, and follows the wanderings of a group-entity alien similar to those in Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep.

Gitte Christensen's "Nullipara" is a parable about a daughter and her father & their relationship after the world they've colonized radically changes one of them. As I write this, it occurs to me that a similar parent-child dynamic is played out in "muo-ka's Child" by Indrapramit Das, though her take is more optimistic (sort of).

"My Mother Dancing," by Nancy Kress, is about recognizing life and the obstacle of human prejudices.

I hadn't planned on including Genevieve Valentine's "Carthago Delenda Est" but the more I consider it, the more I'm coming around to thinking this might be the best of the lot. A rather bleak meditation on the intractably self-destructive nature of humans.

Not a full-throated recommendation but you could do worse.