For instance, his first story, Mommy, Why Am I Here?" talks about how mankind will first engage in exploring alien cultures on distant star systems. The fastest and cheapest way to send a human to a distant star system that has intelligent life is not to send a starship, but to send information using radio waves. We will send DNA codes to distant star systems long before we send starships. But it takes more than just sending DNA to make a good star system explorer, and that's the twist that makes the story interesting.
Another story, Where Does the 500 pound Alien Sleep?, tells the story of a human starship finding a planet orbiting a distant sun with an alien life form that is really just too creepy for humans to deal with. They cut bait... well they try to, and that's when the robots get involved! (Where does the 500 pound alien sleep? Anywhere he wants to!)
White's stories in this book all deal with interesting science issues in a good story telling way. I really like the internal consistency of these stories -- people (and aliens!) are all doing what they do for good reasons -- no one does things just to follow some space opera story formula.
Here's what a few stories cover:
o Mommy, Why Am I Here? -- An innocent enough question; one that has a technofiction answer
o Intelitan the Destructor -- Interstellar combat with a war machine that's gone out of control... but with a technofiction twist
o Where Does the Five Hundred Pound Alien Sleep? -- A first encounter story with a really scary alien
o The Ticket Out -- White's version of Heinlein's Starship Troopers power armor theme. Power armored mercenaries get stranded after an invasion goes sour. What do they do now? Rewrite the "merc manual", Big Time!
This volume, Volume One, is about stories in space. Volume Two is about stories on Earth.
Tips for Tailoring Spacetime Fabric, Vol. 2