I’m going to try to list some pros here so that this is not yet another one of my reviews about how I’m grimly slogging through these 1960s/1970s collections (this one in particular is from 1972, so the worst of both worlds).
Pro: the cover is very fun and mysterious. I like that it shows a weird space world and I like a painted cover, so this is a win in my book. The cover text is a nice font and has a strong impact. “The most exciting fiction of our time!” it claims, which causes anticipation in the potential reader. “The most acclaimed series in science fiction history!” I have heard of Damon Knight a lot and have read other Orbit collections, so this rings true, although at this point Ellen Datlow has probably edged him out.
Pro: The Gene Wolfe story (“The Fifth Head of Cerberus”) has some nice imagery and reminded me of a Bob Silverberg book I enjoyed. I think the ending is weak, but who am I.
Pro: This collection has “Now I’m Watching Roger” by Alexei Panshin in it, which I’d read before and is brief but zingy. It felt like a nice little surprise to see it again.
Pro: Gardner R. Dozois’ story “A Kingdom by the Sea” is the best story in here and really captures a sense of living in an industrial city and working an awful job. There’s a lot of great detail in here and I was pulled into this one.
Cons: So many meh stories or stories that seem to be deliberately confusing. I always come away from these collections wondering if my reading comprehension is actually bad, because I cannot tell what the heck happened. Because this collection is from 1972, the worst of the excessive overwriting of the 70s isn’t upon them yet, so you can actually grasp some of these stories. However, it just wasn’t amazing overall. I don’t regret reading it and I’m glad to open up a little spot in the bookcase, but I’d definitely recommend reading the America’s Best SF/F collection for this year over Orbit 10. Great cover, though!!