The Anomalous Archive, Part III: 'Wind Farm Annie' by Tony Lavoie

 [This review was originally posted on the Anomaly forum on March 24, 2010.]

"Wind Farm Annie," the third story in Issue 1 of The Cross and the Cosmos

This short story by Tony Lavoie is very professional and intricate. The setting, the characters, and the theme are all carefully constructed. The worldbuilding, an important aspect in all science fiction and fantasy, is particularly interesting. Much thought has gone into the history, technology, and features of the setting of a futuristic colonized solar system. Only a glimpse here and there of the rich setting comes into play in "Wind Farm Annie." The depth of the setting was not made up on the fly in order to incorporate the story. The reader is left with many tantalizing hints of the sci-fi background, leaving much room for speculation. The author may or may not have envisioned specific details to fill in all the unanswered questions, but he certainly constructed the imaginary future thoroughly.

As good as the worldbuilding is, the dynamic characters might well be the single strongest aspect. Not only are the characters extremely realistic, but their attitudes are shown to change in response to the single conflict that forms the plot. Thus, the internal conflict results from the external conflict. There is a definite point of change in the mental state of one of the characters during the rising action of the plot. The plot is fairly simple and appropriate for a short story, being centered around one incident. I believe the plot follows the basic outline of a traditional tragic play.

The theme of the story is largely conveyed through the subtleties of the characters' internal conflict. I'm reminded of Hamlet (the only Shakespearean play that I have read). The moral messages are prevented from becoming too preachy due to the complexity of the characters. Sometimes these moral messages are more or less explicitly stated, but even then, there is more to them. You need to read into the characterization to appreciate the full impact of this short story's literary value. The predominate theme has something to do with the necessity of faith in God's will, even if disaster should befall.

Without qualification, "Wind Farm Annie" is an ingeniously-crafted masterpiece. It fits the form of the short story perfectly, and it is a pleasure to read.

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