by Edward Bryant
Reviewed by Galen Strickland
Posted June 13, 2019
I almost didn't bother reviewing this title. Wyoming Sun has only five stories, three of which were also in the previously reviewed Particle Theory. All are set in Wyoming, where Bryant grew up and went to school, including college. Each is effective in setting the scene and the mood of the land and its people, but the two stories I had not read before are weak. One of them reminded me of a story in another of his collections I read recently but didn't review, the only story in Trilobyte that had any speculative element, and that just barely. The other reminded me of a Twilight Zone episode.
"Prarie Sun" is set in 1850, along the Oregon Trail. Micah is a young boy whose father died from cholera, and whose sister is sick with smallpox. They have stopped along a river while the rest of the wagon train moved west, although they are told they'd be waiting for them at Independence Rock, if the delay is not too long. The SF element introduced is a twist on an original Twilight Zone episode, "A Hundred Yards Over the Rim." Instead of Micah stumbling into the future, he encounters two men from the future while he's hunting. They are scrounging through things that had been thrown out of wagons to lighten their load. When Micah tells them of his predicament, they tell him smallpox had been eradicated where they're from, but unfortunately they can't do anything to help Micah's sister, they're not even supposed to interact with anyone in other timelines. Micah devises a way to pay them back for their refusal to help.
In "Beyond the Sand River Range," a Native-American man who has been away from the land and his people while attending college, returns to find not much has changed. He's still angry with the white Bureau of Indian Affairs representative, who continues to tell him he needs to get over his resentment, remove the chip from his shoulder, since what happened in the past is the same thing that has happened multiple times throughout history. Whenever two cultures clash, the one with the most advanced technology always prevails. Their latest argument is interrupted by news that aliens have landed in New York.
The three repeats are "giANTS," "Teeth Marks," and "Strata." I didn't bother re-reading the first two, but did for "Strata" because it's one of my favorite stories of all time, not just from Bryant. It is unfortunate that the majority of his collections from ReAnimus are very short. Most are grouped by general theme, but it would have been better to combine several in a mix of styles as was the case with Particle Theory. At least all are inexpensive in the current editions, but to get the most for your money, pass this one by, get Particle Theory instead.
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