The stories are by turns intensely interpersonal, or action oriented, but they all juxtapose noir with the giddiness inherit to shared scifi - "Look at all these opportunities! Let's play in this collective sandbox!"
I had originally read this series when it came out; I was in highschool at the time. The book stands up to a couple decades of experience; I know I got more out of the book on a personal level than I did the first time. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.