Don Sakers,
The Leaves of October
(1988; Speed-of-C, 2003)

The Leaves of October was first published in 1988 and I wish I had read it then. It uses a series of short stories, following two different time lines, to unfold the relationship between man and Hlutr.

The stories focus on the interactions between individuals as they tie into the relationship between species. Sometimes they are adversaries, often they are friends, but they change those directly involved and the world around them.

The one thread focuses on the relationship between one man as he grows up and a Hlutr. These tales are brief moments, showing the changes he goes through, the important moments of his life as he shares those moments with the Hlutr. It eventually ties in to the other thread near the end of the book.

The second thread travels through time to show how the relationship between man and Hlutr grew. Each story is told by a Hlutr as they try to understand man, sometimes amazed and sometimes shocked by what we do. At times they struggle with what to do with us, whether they should save or destroy a species that is capable of so much good and so much that is ill. The answers never come easy and as in all things the past influences the present.

Not only are the stories well written, the characters are real. At times you can see the edges of what could have been if they had chosen differently. You also see parts of why they chose to do what they did.

And their choices stem from who they are and what has gone before. There is always a reason, and the reasons make sense. The only flaw in the book is the number of spelling errors in one of the stories. Don Sakers has woven a wonderful tapestry of tales together into a greater whole with The Leaves of October. Take the time to listen to the tales with heart and mind, to see what they have to show.

- Rambles
written by Paul de Bruijn
published 9 August 2003

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