Michael Gallant, Raymond M.
Coulombe & Timothy O. Goyette,
Quantum Musings
(Writer's Club, 2000)

Quantum Musings is an excellent collection of writings by the editors of the Quantum Musings e-zine. They show a sampling of their short stories from a few different genres and include articles on writing and editing.

The book is split into three sections of stories, with the editorials on writing and editing at the end of each.

The first set of five stories is alternative fiction. The titles all touch on a central part of the story, so it seems somewhat redundant to explain what "God Picks Up the Tab" or "Promises Kept" are about. It is the characters and the situations they are in that make these stories work. It is hard not to approve of the promise the old man keeps in "Promises Kept." The ending of "A Minute, an Hour, a Day?" packs a nasty punch. "Staring at Bruno, Waiting to Die" has a laidback feel to it even with the events that are recounted by the narrater. The last story in this section, "Problem Solver," ends with an upbeat twist.

This is followed by five fantasy stories, starting off with "Ravenclaw and the Incomplete Wizard" featuring a very down-to-earth wizard and an unusual quest. "Lost Traditions" skillfully blends past traditions into present times. There is a story written within a story in "The Peacekeeper," with the first being mirrored by the second. Death is met and given a unique face in "Death in Haiti." It is also one of the stronger stories in the book. The section ends off with "It's Your Hair," which shows a different side of the warrior woman.

The last section of stories spotlights science fiction. It starts off with "The Wishmaker's Magic Box," a story about our desire to believe in the impossible. How the story comes to fit in this category is one of the reasons it works so well. "Government Myths" is another quiet story that paints an intriguing picture. "Human Factors" keeps moving and changing directions following choices made by various individuals. The comes a slice of political science fiction in "Wetback." The section of stories closes off with "The Swami of Time," with aliens that can tell the future and a unique game of tag.

Quantum Musings is well worth the read. And while I did not touch on the editorials they also give interesting viewpoints on life and writing. Take the time to read this collection of stories.

[ by Paul de Bruijn ]
Rambles: 2 February 2002

Buy it from Amazon.com.