James Van Pelt’s fourth story collection Flying in the Heart of the Lafayette Escadrille offers a carnival of science fiction, fantasy and horror tales. Hang on as you fly a WWI fighter plane hanging in a singles’ bar, ride a dragon from a troubled-man’s past, run genetically engineered world record marathons, see Tokyo Rose and the ghost of a romance past, read books before they turn to stone, run with wolves who will not let you go, conduct alien abductions, and swim in a lake of childhood regrets. Van Pelt’s wide-ranging imagination promises a surprise at every turn, taking you into the very heart of your dreams and fears.
"Van Pelt’s fourth collection contains 23 examples of his deft, imaginative science fiction and fantasy. Obsession underscores the title story, about the dating troubles of a young man fascinated—and distracted—by WWI planes, and fuels the strange book collector of “Rock House.” “Howl Above the Din,” “Ark Ascension,” and “Far from the Emerald Isle” explore the grim consequences of ecological disaster, both on Earth and in space habitats crammed with desperate survivors. Van Pelt’s personal experience as an educator adds resonance to “Teaching,” “Mrs. Hatcher’s Evaluation,” “Working Pushout,” and the wry zombie-themed “Classroom of the Living Dead,” all stories of teachers faced with unwanted social or technological change. The hauntings in “Night Sweats,” “Savannah Is Six,” and “Father’s Dragon” sweep readers to the spooky end of the genre spectrum. Vivid atmospheres and solid plotting make for satisfying reading."
"Plants that grow women. An erotophobic girl who can change the events of August 6, 1945. A dragon with the power to release a man from drudgery. A drowned brother waiting for decades to complete his lost life. In this wonderful collection of unforgettable stories, James Van Pelt creates characters who know both despair and human redemption. They will move you, delight you, transform you. Highly recommended."
—Nancy Kress, author of Fountain of Age
"Moving forays into strange worlds. I recommend you read on a weekend when you don’t have to put the book down."
—Jack McDevitt, author of Ancient Shores
"In this new collection, great writing meets great story telling meets great ideas. Van Pelt is the perfect storm of short fiction."
—Ted Kosmatka, author of The Games
"James Van Pelt’s fiction is beautifully anchored in the real world and real people, which he explores through his clever, strong fantasies. I loved this collection."
—Kij Johnson, author of The Fox Woman
"James Van Pelt is a master of the short story and his fourth collection proves his range and emotional power. Whether writing science fiction, fantasy, horror, or stories that fall between the categories, he can take the most commonplace topics -- running, tourism, family life -- and make them profound. If Van Pelt’s stories don’t move you, you have no heart."
—Carrie Vaughn, author of Kitty & the Midnight Hour
"Jim Van Pelt is an amazing writer. His attention to detail is breathtaking. Everytime I read one of his collections—this is the fourth—I come away a better writer. Jim is one of those writers who shows you things about the world and yourself you never knew possible. You will love this collection, trust me."