1/12/2010. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
East Of The Sun And West Of Fort Smith by William Sanders. pub: Norilana Books. 580 page hardback. Price: $32.95 (US), GBP24.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-934648-65-60.
check out websites: www.norilana.com and www.sff.net/people/sanders/
This is an interesting book as this is an SF anthology with an American Indian slant for several of the opening stories before ‘Dirty Little Cowards’, where a time traveller is sent back to fulfil assassinations like the death of Billy the Kid and JFK to ‘Duce’ which does the reverse to ensure the time-line is in the right order. ‘Jennifer, Just Before Midnight’, in contrast, is a ghost story that ends with a bang, so to speak. I should also point out that you become quickly accustomed to whatever author William Sanders chucks at you because he is also a consummate writer.
I should point out that William Sanders is also a Native American so his knowledge of his own people gives an incredible insight into their mindset through a variety of story formats from alternative histories to the erotic comedy fantasy, ‘Tenbears And The Bruja’, the bruja is a witch by the way. There’s a lot of comedy in Sanders’ work. ‘The Scuttling Or, Down By The Sea With Marvin And Pamela’ is superb showing a bigot not paying up when an Indian medicine man charms his house free from cockroaches getting his just deserts. It’s also a real demonstration of how to dimensionalise characters that really needs to be read by more people.
I loved his ‘At Ten Wolf Lake’, where the homs, you might know them better as Bigfoot, have, with a couple other sub-species, become part of society. The homs don’t like mixing too much with human, especially as there is some prejudice against them, must be the hair and size, and not keen on cities. The story essentially is a character piece following the life of small plane hom pilot, Moss, between trips taking passengers up to Ten Wolf Lake. Although the ending could have been made a little sharper, I would like to see more stories in this reality as it’s a great examination of how humans treat minority groups.
There are many alternative reality stories in this anthology. One of them, ‘Not Fade Away’, deals with what would have happened had General MacArthur been captured by the Japanese and held in a P.O.W. camp. Sanders writes incredibly well when he has some passion in what he writes and you are drawn into the consequences of this.
‘Going To See The Beast’ is practically quasi-fantasy when the only people left on Earth are those who are likely to be sent to purgatory. The story follows two dim-wits from the criminal classes who end up working for a former TV news reporter who is part of a team under the anti-Christ. Written from their perspective in their language, it is left to reader to interpret what is meant and what they don’t get making it a hilarious take with an interesting twist at the end.
I’ve picked out the highlights for me but with twenty-seven stories, there’s plenty of choice, A real delight with a lot of captivating ideas.
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