Washed By a Wave of Wind: Science Fiction From the Corridor
Linda Paulson Adams
Signature Books , 1993. Trade paperback:
Suggested retail price: $18.95 (US)
I found this delightful book in our public library this summer,and still haven't returned it. After reading it I felt it waswell worth reviewing here. I'll be taking it back as soon as Iwrite this, to get my check-out privileges reinstated. (This iswhere procrastination gets you .& .& . ) I'd be very interested inowning my own copy, as soon as I have a free $20 lying around(which hasn't been happening often enough lately!) -- it'sdefinitely worth the cover price. One other interesting pointabout the cover: It has a huge red, calligraphic "W" on the frontto represent the "W" for all three words in the title.Separately, my husband and my 9-year old daughter each came to meand said, "That's a really strange title .& .& . Ashed by a Ave ofInd?" I had to laugh.
I'd heard this book discussed on AML-List, and was excited tostumble across it in the library while looking for somethingelse -- it's not often in Missouri that I run across LDS-orientedbooks there.
This is an anthology of short speculative fiction from authorslocated or tied to "The Corridor," which in the foreword isdescribed as Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. All the stories are setin one of these states, and the setting is generally crucial ormeaningful to the story. I generally don't read very much shortSF, preferring novel-length works which can develop character,situations, and world-building more fully. However, I was verypleasantly surprised by these stories. Each one is fascinating,with its own particular merits, and overall the book was a veryenjoyable read. I highly recommend it. It was like a eating aliterary box of fine chocolates -- with none I didn't like. Many ofthe contributing authors are subscribed to AML-List, LDSF, orboth, and I was familiar with their (your) posts before readingthe stories. I'd like to go through a few of my favorite storieswith a mini-review. (I'd meant to do them all, but I've put thisoff long enough already, and I'd better just get it done nowwhile I ca n. I'll be happy to discuss any of the stories,though.) If you don't want to know that much about them, thenstop here. Just go find the book and read it.
"Other Time," by Diana Lofgran Hoffman, wins my prize for best ofthe bunch. I loved it. It's about a young, overworked mother whofinds an unusual ball on her way home from work, which has thepower to stop time. I loved it because I could relate to themother -- with the ball she can get all her housework done, she hastime for naps, for hobbies .& .& . of course she is soon addicted tousing the thing, and it is fascinating to see how the storydevelops from there. It takes a fascinating concept andincorporates it into how such a technology would affect aperson's life. I could see myself doing much the same things if Istumbled across such a device .& .& .
"Shannon's Flight," by Glenn L. Anderson. Whoops -- I lied. Thisone was my hands-down favorite. This is a well-woven story abouta woman, Shannon, and her decision to leave her abusive husband,and stay gone this time around. This doesn't sound much likespeculative fiction at first -- but she begins tutoring a younggirl in her new town (Moab, UT), and they talk together about theghosts of the horses at Dead Horse Point. (Apparently, from theparagraph quoted at the beginning of the story, this is a realplace? with a real legend behind it.) The story skillfully weavestogether Shannon's feelings and history with her experiencesseeing the ghost of a dead Appaloosa, and the legend of DeadHorse Point. The ghost horse seems terrified of something, andthe story continues to show how Shannon, the girl, and the girl'sfather, an archaeologist, unearth (somewhat literally) whatexactly the ghost-horse is afraid of -- a large-as-life Jurassicghost-dinosaur. The story builds up to a fascinating and tenseclimax as Shannon executes her plan to free the ghost-horsesfrom Dead Horse Point and the terror of the ghostly TyrannosaurusRex. Overall, her experiences strengthen her so that she canfinally resist her husband's pleas to get back together at theend. I loved this story because the characters are all so realand vivid (even the ghost-horses); Shannon's thoughts andfeelings are very well portrayed. I wanted to cheer at the end.It was a beautifully written, moving story.
The rest of the stories -- I wanted to pick one for "third place,"and I can't. They are all so good. "The Shining Dream Road Out,"by M. Shayne Bell, is a wonderful story of an LDS pizza driver,who discovers mystery as he practices deliveries on the VirtualI-15 Highway. "Pageant Wagon," by Orson Scott Card, the longeststory of the bunch, is a novelette by itself. It was afascinating look into a post-apocalyptic lifestyle through theeyes of Deaver Teague, a range rider whose horse dies, and he ispicked up by a pageant wagon -- a traveling theater show family.(It was first published in his Folk of the Fringe, if thatsounds familiar.) "Pueblo de Sion," by Charlene C. Harmon, is astory of a group of archaeologists who become stranded in theGrand Canyon after a nuclear blast. "Solitude," by CarolynNicita, is a story of an alien being who crash-lands on Earthwhile seeking a lost love, and is rescued, somewhat questionably,by a solitude-loving girl working at Sundance. "Scrap Pile," byMelva Gifford, is a humorous look at what happens to a crew whentheir broken-down ship is finally repaired.
There are more. They are all good. I'm out of time, though, andhave children home for the holidays who need my attention! Irecommend giving some of these stories your attention over theholidays, for a short break during all the hustle and bustle. Ifyou like speculative or science fiction at all, you'll be gladyou did.
Linda Adams firstname.lastname@example.org
© 1999 Linda Adams < email@example.com >