Mothers & Other Monsters: Stories - Maureen F. McHugh I was reminded of Chekhov (the Russian author, not Enterprises' navigator) when reading this collection for several reasons:

(1) I'm in the midst of plowing through all 13 volumes of Constance Garnett's translations of Chekhov, so he's on my mind and the temptation to compare and contrast is strong.

(2) Like Chekhov, McHugh's stories (in this collection) tend to lack plots. There's not much "action," and rarely is there resolution. For example, in "The Cost to Be Wise" the villagers of a rediscovered Terran colony where observers from Earth live among the natives suffer the depredations of nomads who have acquired relatively advanced guns. In the hands of most authors, this would have evolved into a story about violence and whether or not it's right for the villagers to try to acquire their own weapons. But McHugh is more subtle than that and in a very Chekhovian manner simply tells the story about how one girl responds to the situation without trying to make a moral point.

(3) Which brings me to McHugh's ability to simply write about her characters without passing moral judgments on them (again like Chekhov). "Eight-Legged Story" and "Frankenstein's Daughter" are excellent examples of this.

(4) One final point of similarity with Chekhov - Often times, Chekhov's characters have to chose between love and security and/or suffer physical and mental hardship because of belief or duty and many of McHugh's characters face the same issue. This is especially true in "Nekropolis," a near-future story about an Islamic culture which has finessed the institution of slavery and a woman has to make the choice between "safety or freedom." Unlike most of Chekhov's people, Diyet opts for the harder choice of "freedom."

Only about half the stories would qualify as SF or speculative fiction but they're all very good, and I'd recommend this collection.