Pilots and Normal People: Short stories from a different attitude
Author: Walt Shiel
Publisher: Slipdown Mountain Publications LLC (2005)
Binding: Paperback, 272 pages
Is it really possible to forget a prejudice ingrained during war? Does death really close the door to life? Can a grounded pilot find another way to return to the sky? Are physical laws the same throughout the universe? Is aviation mostly intellect or mostly emotion? Are criminals just as smart as the law-abiding? Can one man fight back against society's increasing crudeness? Do space explorers really need a spaceship? These and many other intriguing questions are explored in this eclectic collection of short fiction by Walt Shiel, which includes the award-winning "Remember."
Pilots & Normal People consists of many pilot short stories, Mr. Shiel was a self-described Air Force "Brat" and had some experience with Lockheed Martin, I did not relate to the pilot stories very well, but if the reader were a pilot, they would certainly appreciate the interesting, but technical stories about the Air Force.
The other short stories were very interesting, sometimes relatable, and left the reader wondering. While I read them, I was surprised to see that the book is fiction as some of the stories dealt with people that Mr. Shiel had come into contact with. I certainly could relate to the short stories. I especially liked PROFANE where he wrote about the overuse of profanity and uncivilized people in the world. Sometimes, I agree that profanity is another acceptable language by people of all ages, when it should not be. I also enjoyed GROUNDED, about a pilot who was grounded from flying, his one passion in life, and his wife while conquering her fear of flying secretly took lessons to surprise her husband. What a loving gesture!
It is clear to me that the author has a unique way of wording each story, which makes the reader think and draw their own conclusions as to what the story means to them. I found it to be different, not the usual read for me, but different in a good way. Everyone should broaden their reading horizons and read something different once in awhile. Were the questions posed on the back cover answered while reading this book? That is left up to you, the reader; most were answered for me, even if I did not agree with the answer.
I will need to read another of Mr. Shiel's books to get a sense of his writing style. I would recommend this book for pilots or someone who enjoys flying, or if you just want something different to read and get your mind wondering!
Reviewed by: Mary Sullivan (2010)