Pilots and Normal People: Short Stories from a Different Attitude

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Slipdown Mountain Publications, 2005 - Fiction - 267 pages
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"A well-written and eclectic mix of short stories that are what short fiction ought to be: short." -Amazon customer review by Andy VL

"His country might forget and her politicians might forgive, but Pete could not, no matter how much he might want to. World War II had changed him forever." -from "Remember" in Pilots and Normal People

"Dolton hadn't seen Jennifer and her long legs in eight months. Not since he'd left her to search for a good night's sleep." -from "Perchance to Dream" in Pilots and Normal People
  • Is it really possible to forget a prejudice ingrained during war?
  • Does death really close the door to life?
  • Can a grounded pilot find another way to return to the sky?
  • Are physical laws the same throughout the universe?
  • Is aviation mostly intellect or mostly emotion?
  • Are criminals just as smart as the law-abiding?
  • Can one man fight back against society's increasing crudeness?
  • Do space explorers really need a spaceship?
These and many other intriguing questions are explored in Walt Shiel's eclectic short fiction collection, which includes the award-winning "Remember" about a WW II veteran still haunted by memories of violence. Pilots and Normal People presents 21 tales of mystery, science fiction and humanity (six involving pilots and aviation).

"He'd been a captain then, a young man fighting a war that was screwed up, poorly led, and misunderstood by everyone from the White House to the grunts in the field. But it was the only war they had..." -from "Grounded" in Pilots and Normal People

"My job was to serve the community, even when the community suffered from monthly schizophrenia." -from "Give Him a Hand" in Pilots and Normal People

"Roland shook off the unpleasant memory and gave himself to the night, letting the enveloping darkness isolate and insulate him from the world below." from "Siren Song" in Pilots and Normal People

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About the author (2005)

Although born in Michigan, Walt Shiel was raised across the US and around the world as an Air Force “brat.” He started school on the Pacific Island of Guam during the Korean War and finished high school in France during the Vietnam War. Shortly after graduation, Charles DeGaulle kicked all American forces out of the country, but Walt swears it had nothing to do with him.Subsequently, he earned a BS degree from Michigan State University, a commission and pilot wings from the Air Force, and the hand of a charming young woman named Kerrie. Walt spent 20 years as an Air Force pilot (including time in the Michigan Air National Guard) and logged 3800 flying hours.As a civilian engineer, he worked on the B-2 bomber programs and the F-16, F-35, and F-22 fighter programs and recently retired from Lockheed Martin.Over the past 12 years, Walt has written for magazines in the US, England, and Australia and authored the military aviation history book Cessna Warbirds. He is also the author of an historical novel (Devil in the North Woods). He and Kerrie have two daughters and two grandchildren and live on a 40-acre Michigan farm populated with horses, cats, dogs, and an abundance of wildlife.

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