Birthday Reviews: Dave Wolverton’s “We Blazed”

Birthday Reviews: Dave Wolverton’s “We Blazed”

Cover by Michael Sabanosh
Cover by Michael Sabanosh

Dave Wolverton was born on May 15, 1957. He also writes using the pseudonym David Farland.

Wolverton won the Grand Prize from the Writers of the Future in 1987 to start off his career with his story “On My Way to Paradise,” which he expanded to book length. The novel version received a special citation from the Philip K. Dick Awards. His novelette “After a Lean Winter” was nominated for the Nebula Award in 1997. After his wins and nominations, Wolverton served as a judge for both the Philip K. Dick Award and the Writers and Illustrators of the Future. His historical novel In the Company of Angels received the Whitney Award and he won the International Book Award for Best Young Adult Novel for Nightingale.

“We Blazed” was written for the anthology Peter S. Beagle’s Immortal Unicorn, edited by Beagle with Janet Berliner, and Martin H. Greenberg. It was reprinted in the June 2011 issue of Leading Edge, whole number 61, edited by Chris Baxter. Later that year Wolverton re-issued the story as an e-book under his David Farland pseudonym.

Wolverton’s “We Blazed” is a wonder of misdirection. Seemingly the story of an immortal man on a quest to find his equally immortal lover, Wolverton provides some wonderful twists. No reason is given for Alexander Dane’s longevity, nor that of Kaitlyn, whom he is trying to find, but he walks through an Earth impossibly in the future, almost completely amnesiac except knowing that he is looking for Kaitlyn.

Once he finds Kaitlyn, he also finds that the world is not as he expected, nor is Kaitlyn quite as he remembered her. While some of these changes could be attributed to the length of time he has, apparently, been seeking her, this is only one of several twists that Wolverton has in store for both Dane and the reader. In fact, not only is Dane’s understanding of the world incorrect, so too, is the world’s understanding of Dane. Eventually, Wolverton provides answers to the oddities that Dane is experiencing, bringing the story to an unexpected conclusion.

Reviewed in its original publication in Peter S. Beagle’s Immortal Unicorn, edited by Peter S. Beagle, Janet Berliner, and Martin H. Greenberg, HarperPrism, 1995.

Steven H Silver-largeSteven H Silver is a sixteen-time Hugo Award nominee and was the publisher of the Hugo-nominated fanzine Argentus as well as the editor and publisher of ISFiC Press for 8 years. He has also edited books for DAW and NESFA Press. He began publishing short fiction in 2008 and his most recently published story is “Doing Business at Hodputt’s Emporium” in Galaxy’s Edge. Steven has chaired the first Midwest Construction, Windycon three times, and the SFWA Nebula Conference 5 times, as well as serving as the Event Coordinator for SFWA. He was programming chair for Chicon 2000 and Vice Chair of Chicon 7. He has been the news editor for SF Site since 2002.

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