Terminal Visions is a collection of short stories, mostly science
fiction, from Philip K. Dick award winning writer Richard Paul Russo.
It is a varied, powerful and entertaining collection.
While the stories cover a range of subjects, there are no bad stories
here. Of course, some are stronger than others, but all are worthwhile.
The high points in the collection include "Just Drive, She Said",
"The Open Boat", and "More than Night". The first of these three
tells the story of an interdimensional fugitive and the passenger
who she takes along for the ride. The strength of the story lies
in both the intriguing scenario and the relationship between the
fugitive and her guest. As is normally the case in Russo's story,
more remains unexplained than is explained by the end of the story.
But the lack of full information is not a cause for disappointment.
Instead, the reader is left with a lingering sense of mystery.
"The Open Boat" is a haunting story of an interstellar lifeboat
floating jettisoned to a place where neither space nor time exist.
The plight of the crew and their eventual fate is one that the reader
will not soon forget. What probably makes this story work so well
is how the quiet and inevitable deterioration of the lifeboat mirrors
the slipping grasp on life that we all must face.
"More than Night" is again presents a new and very imaginative
scenario. Once again, the setting of most of the story, a world
that is not a world, relics of an unknowable civilization, and air
that allows one to live but not stay quite sane, is a chilling portrait
that stays with the reader long after the book is complete. This
story succeeds mainly from a sense of mystery and from the observation
of how man's foolish curiosity can lead him into trouble.
Other stories are equally intriguing. Russo has created a fine
collection. Each one is unique, dark, and memorable.