Thursday, November 5, 2009
Novelette by Tom Ligon
Gerald "Hellfire" Doyle made a fortune in the stock market, and uses it to collect and fly WWII fighter planes. His great-great-grandfather was a pilot whose entire flight mysteriously vanished on a mission over the Nazi occupied Netherlands. So Hellfire commissions a quantum snapshot into the past of his ancestor and his surroundings at their last know location. From this they reconstruct the whole mission and replicate the consciousness of Gramps' and his fellow pilots. Hellfire flies the simulated mission with them and solves the mystery, but runs into moral dilemmas about just how real the minds of the pilots are.
I hate to describe a story as "action-packed", but that is really the best phrase, in a good way. Ligon obviously has extensive knowledge of WWII aircraft, and did a lot of research besides. The story has lots of edge-of-your-seat dogfighting, but it is more about Hellfire getting to know his great-great-grandfather than about killing Germans. The final page or so is incredibly moving; this is a much superior take on the simulation-that-becomes-real story. 4.5 more Messerschmitts painted on the fuselage.