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Fall into Time
Douglas Lain
Eraserhead Press, 112 pages

Fall into Time
Douglas Lain
Douglas Lain is a fiction writer, blogger, copywriter, and most recently a "pop philosopher" for the popular blog Thought Catalog. His work has regularly appeared in nationally distributed literary magazines and journals such as Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet and Amazing Stories since 1999, and his first book Last Week's Apocalypse was a collection of these stories published by Night Shade Books. His surreal nonfiction book Pick Your Battle was published in July of 2011 with Kickstarter funding. His first novel, entitled Billy Moon: 1968, is due out from Tor Books in 2013.

Douglas Lain Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Interview: A Conversation With Douglas Lain
SF Site Review: Wave of Mutilation

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Trent Walters

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Fall into Time is a collection of four stories by Douglas Lain. The first, "The Last Apollo Mission on the Moon" is about a young writer, Paula Austin, who thought she was headed for great things, but her career never panned out. Years after a long dry spell, Stanley Kubrick visits her in her job at a bookstore and recruits her to write a script about the moon for him -- a script to be shot on the Twin Towers. Strangely enough, two of Kubrick's henchmen are sent to corral Austin into delivering are Nicolas Cage and Scarlett Johansson although they never present themselves as a true menace.

Kubrick, meanwhile, doesn't like her script. He wants something more experimental. But then planes slam into the towers and the script is over. A blurb for this story on Amazon suggests that Kubrick orchestrated this, but his behavior in the story belies this. Rather, he seems committed to her more than the project itself and tries to encourage her career. But this may be my misreading.

The strongest, most emotionally moving of the stories here, for me, was "Resurfacing Billy" a story of an inquisitive if semi-violent boy growing up in a future where everything is tightly regulated -- from trash to the behavior of students. Billy's violent behavior puts him up against the society. The father, the protagonist, fights both for his son and for his society and his desire to improve both conflicts. The ending is painful -- both for what happens to the boy and for the father's reaction to it.

"Alien Invasion/Cup of Coffee Story" ostensibly tells the story of a couple how deals with the invasion of aliens -- only the couple meta-fictionally deals with how we don't know we are except through the impact of media.

The last story, "Noam Chomsky and the Time-Box" relates through a series of blog posts how a time-traveling device allows a man to travel back in time in order to meet Noam Chomsky so that the man can hear how he might change society. Every time he goes back, though, he is thwarted by history or people in general. Next, he tries to go to some extreme to make a difference. This tale delivers a line which may be a pervasive thematic-motif popping out throughout Lain's work: "The description of a society overwhelmed by information and technology seemed quaint to me. It was hard to comprehend that there was a time when people expected comprehension to be obtainable, even routine."

These stories satiate the appetite of any reader who wants to read more Douglas Lain, a writer of the thinker's sometimes meta-fictional SF and fantasy. These are not traditional SF works in that the speculations are not the driving aspects of his narratives, but knowledge of SF helps one understand what he's up to.

Copyright © 2011 Trent Walters

Trent Walters teaches science; lives in Honduras; edited poetry at Abyss & Apex; blogs science, SF, education, and literature, etc. at APB; co-instigated Mundane SF (with Geoff Ryman and Julian Todd) culminating in an issue for Interzone; studied SF writing with dozens of major writers and and editors in the field; and has published works in Daily Cabal, Electric Velocipede, Fantasy, Hadley Rille anthologies, LCRW, among others.


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