Like his contemporaries, Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury, Fredric Brown gained fame both as a science fiction writer (the novels What Mad Universe, The Lights in the Sky are Stars) AND as a murder mystery writer (the novels The Fabulous Clipjoint, The Screaming Mimi).
This book collects all his SF short stories, (as well as some non-SF material like "Nightmare in Blue" and Yellow") into one hefty volume. More than 100 of his works are in here, some hilarious, some horrifying; some optimistic, some dark. Many stories are already familiar to Fredric Brown fans ("Pi in the Sky," "Puppet Show") while others have been out of print so long that they'll seem new even to fans. (I was happily surprised to see that Mitkey, the rodent hero of "Star Mouse," got a second outing in "Mitkey Rides Again.")
The book is especially remarkable for presenting his work in CHRONOLOGICAL order, so fans can trace his development over the quarter century Fredric Brown was active. Fans can also follow real-world developments through his tales, from the World War II-era patriotism of "The New One" to the warnings of nuclear disaster in "The Weapon" and "Letter to a Phoenix."
Those unfamiliar with his work are welcome to jump around. I recommend the nine titles mentioned above, plus "Nothing Sirius," "Honeymoon in Hell," "Something Green" and "Knock." Also, make sure you read the three "Eustace Weaver" stories back to back, to fully appreciate the lunacy.
Also of special note are "Daymare," which is simultaneously a science fiction story AND a murder mystery, as is "Crisis, 1999." Meanwhile, "Arena" inspired the classic Star Trek episode of the same name.
Brown also pioneered the "short short," and some of the stories are less than a page in length. "The Answer," Voodoo," Pattern," "Solipsist" and "Blood" are classic examples.
As often happens with old science fiction, some of the technology is dated. (Vacuum tubes? Linotype machines?) However, although vacuum tubes may have gone out of style, great writing does not. This book would make a great gift for any science fiction fan, especially an old-school fan.