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Steve Perry
Five Star, 412 pages

Steve Perry
Steve Perry was born in 1947 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana He has lived in California, Washington and Oregon. He is married to the former Dianne Waller, Executive Director of the Columbia River Channel Coalition. Before turning to full-time freelance writing, he held a variety of jobs, including swimming instructor and lifeguard, hotel gift shop and car rental clerk, martial arts instructor, private detective, Licensed Practical Nurse and Certified Physician's Assistant. They have two grown children and two grandsons.

Steve Perry Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Donna McMahon

When Flint McClelland plays his platinum flute, magic breaks out all over. Flint didn't set out to become a homeless busker. Only a few years before, he was a high school teacher in Baton Rouge. But a mysterious old man and his flute changed everything, and now Flint is on a mission to find ten talismans -- objects that represent the magic of the 60s. When he finds all ten, the evil that "short-circuited" the Age of Aquarius will be defeated, and a new age will dawn.

There's a catch, of course. The evil forces have their own champion -- the "Logician" -- and she is out to stop him. As Flint nears his goal, her power increases, and her weapons of violence, immoral science, and bureaucracy converge on him.

He has faith that he'll make it, though -- with a little help from his friends.

Set in 1988, Windowpane follows the adventures of Flint and four forty-somethings drawn to his healing magic: Eddie, a nurse who used to live on a commune; Kyle, a Viet Nam vet and outlaw biker; Larry, a Hollywood screenwriter; and Grace, a former black radical turned real estate saleswoman. Their four life stories build an intriguing portrait of a generation, and their gradual conversion from weary cynicism back to idealism generally rings true.

Perry's central question is simple: what happened to the optimism of the 60s? How did America lose its momentum toward social justice and instead sink deeper into disparity and violence? His description of East Village in New York -- erstwhile centre of 60s counter-culture -- sums it up well.

"Mostly the neighborhood was dead gray; it was a car permanently parked by a cement plant; it was the brick and concrete and cruddy windows of a house forty years next door to a crematorium and never once cleaned. It was a war zone."

"It was a war zone, but the warriors who stalked the sidewalks and wandered into the streets were soldiers of the dark: addicts, dealers, gang members in colors, stand-up or kneel-down street whores, and winos with huge livers and stewed brains. Here gathered the dregs of America's dream, come out in the dark to occupy their special place."

I suspect this Fantasy novel will land squarely on the emotional buttons of many Americans born between 1945 and 1955. Unfortunately, I'm Canadian and a little too young to have been part of the 60s, so although I enjoyed the book, its central premise came across as rather, well... quaint. I guess you had to be there.

Nonetheless, you don't have to be a 60s nostalgist to find Windowpane a good read. The novel has a strong theme, compelling characters, brisk pacing, and lots of action, nicely leavened with humour. The end is a bit of a let down, but I didn't seriously expect Steve Perry to save the world in 412 pages.

I've got to like him for trying, though.

Copyright © 2003 Donna McMahon

Donna McMahon discovered science fiction in high school and fandom in 1977, and never recovered. Dance of Knives, her first novel, was published by Tor in May, 2001, and her book reviews won an Aurora Award the same month. She likes to review books first as a reader (Was this a Good Read? Did I get my money's worth?) and second as a writer (What makes this book succeed/fail as a genre novel?). You can visit her website at

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