So... this is really hard. I really, really loved The Mars Girl. And I really, really hated As Bit as the Ritz. I'm gonna get Big out of the way first.
Bedford got way, way more technical and scienc-y than Haldeman did, and it bored me. Even so, his story wasn't that bad, although it centered about Clayton - or Dogkicker as I shall call him from now on - and S... something - who I shall call Femalelead from now on - and Female lead fell flat for me. She was never fully fleshed out, and while Dogkicker wasn't really either, at least he was better than Femalelead, whose name I can't even remember because she was just there for reasons and plot.
Basically, I hated this story. When the awkward 'dog lusts after leg to hump, but he wants Dogkicker's leg in particular - I wanted to see if Dogkicker got kicked back. I wanted horrible shit to happen to Dogkicker, and instead he got offered a position as a cult leader. Awesome.
I hated Dogkicker, so, so much. At least Femalelead didn't go around kicking dogs, even if I can't recall anything else specific about her character - or even her name - to recommend her as a character.
Haldeman's story was all about the fear of the unknown and how one reacted to something out of the blue. It had a slightly petulant teenage character, who was upset for good reason - she was being singled out for punishment by an adult in charge - and who got over her petulance when she realized she needed to for the good of her community. She felt real, and it was a surprising contrast to Benford's characters. Not only there, but where Benford got caught up in science and it all felt stilted - especially the prose - this read smoothly. It was funny, it was warm, and yes, it had science without getting bogged down by detailed descriptions of the science. (In fact, that made Big feel far more info-dump-y than this story.) I loved, loved, loved The Mars Girl.
I do wish this had better editing: it was fairly full of typos of various kinds, in both stories. I would buy more from this publisher at Readercon, if I knew the author was there. It wasn't a typo per page, but given how short both of these wee, it was embarrassing. One half star for existing, the other two for The Mars Girl. It is a shame: The Mars, itself, would get a much higher rating, especially if it were properly edited. Big would get fewer stars - one half - so... again, this is a little awkward to rate.
Needless to say, I'll look for more of Haldeman's work and avoid Benford's in the future.