Dislocations by Windsor Harries is a book I received for the Library Thing Member Giveaway program in return for a review. In a forward to the novel, the author reveals that the title of the book refers to the stories that follow are about the dislocation of the protagonists from their daily lives, from reality. At this point, the reader does not know how the disconnect will play out, but the possibilities are intriguing.
There are nine stories plus the forward (also worth reading). What follows is my “first take” on each of the stories.
Recall Remember the Men in Black? It’s like that. An alien presence dominates our group of heroes but has the ability to force them to forget the presence of the alien. Therefore, there is acceptance of the alien as a member of a pre-determined mission to a mysterious planet. This is a fun story but may make you as suspicious of everything different, much as the McCarthy hearings did for the American public subsequent to the end of WWII.
Rumble This is a story like “The Empire Strikes Back.” But in this case, the environment is the “empire.” And the “empire” is angry. An end-of-the-world scenario has happened. Food is short. Survivors, members of the human race, begin to move around, looking for a place to go. The situation looks hopeless: this story will not inspire the reader to hope for a great outcome.
Thermocline This is a story of hope, almost. Matthew make his way from an island that does not value the individual to — where? It is a world of ice and sacrifice. Every year there are judgments to be made, someone chosen to be sacrificed for the good of all. Reminiscent of Shirley Jackson’s Lottery, this story is different in that it details the struggle of a few individuals to rail against authority rather than to accept the inevitable.
Shift This story considers the age-old worries of those who consider time travel. What if we were able to go back and change, if only slightly, the past? Would there be a butterfly effect? And what about the ultimate disaster. Could Lancour make a small change that would ultimately result in his own non-being? In this tale Lancour goes back and forth in time, each time “tweaking” the past to provide a better present. But each time he goes back to apply a tweak, it is nearer in time to his own existence. And very soon, the past Lancour will meet the present one. What will happen?
Chosen For a long time, earth’s inhabitants had been treated to the sight of lurking presences in their sky. It was generally accepted that they were a form of alien life, but no contact had been attempted by the aliens to earthlings. Until one day a ship landed near Greer. And there was limited physical contact, although Greer could not remember it clearly. Several months later Greer gave birth to a child, named Adam. Adam’s intelligence developed quite quickly. He could see images, the Shimmerers, which other earthly beings could not see. There is the inevitable conflict between members of the earth’s scientific and military community to exploit Adam’s capabilities. Which will win, a mother’s love or the safety of humans on planet Earth?
Mist The cloud had not descended suddenly on the Earth. It had developed gradually, in several locations simultaneously; people of planet Earth had time to build shelters to protect themselves from the corrosive aspects of the cloud. Peter and Bernard had ventured into the mist to question if there was any hope in the near future of defeating the fog and also to look for food. The cloud ate everything: cars, buildings, plant and animal life, and, of course, humans. Inhabitants of Earth had no plans to counter the cloud, as yet. Earth was just trying to protect what it had. They had no idea of how to proactively regain control of a planet that seemed very much in danger. The ending of this story is far from hopeful.
Voltage Electricity was power and Jones was an electrician. In a world that demanded total compliance and passivity on the part of its citizenry, Jones was OK with that. As were almost all inhabitants. But Jones made a mistake; he accidentally crossed a couple of wires and all of a sudden he had heightened senses of self-awareness and self-worth. He also found that there was a small group of others who agreed with his new self that the world had to change. Together with Jones, they were the resistance to an established order. But Jones wasn’t completely comfortable with breaking from his past. Why was he now being thrust into a world that demanded thought and actions to meet new challenges? How would Jones ultimately react to this challenge? The answer in this story might surprise you.