Nine stories from 1853,56,57,58. Favorites:
“Silent Brother” (1956) – An astronaut was badly injured during a crash of a starship prototype. Now his former teammates are back from their flight to Alpha Centauri. Things are getting strange. Somehow his TV set is being repaired and so is he.
“The Man Who Tasted Ashes” (1957) – Redfern is contacted by aliens to assassinate a minor ambassador in order to start world war three. He was retired, maybe not by choice, from an intelligence agency. He’s given a special weapon and is all set.
“Lower Than Angels” (1956 novelette) – Fred Imbry works for the Terra Union. Their job is to find inhabited planets and exploit the natives. Fred’s not happy but does his assigned job to land on a jungle planet. He tries to convince the natives he’s not a god. This is the best of the collection.
“Contact Between Equals” (1958) – A millionaire has his sight restored. That’s not all the doctor did. An impatient alien is waiting in another room. It’s very angry.