SCI FICTION, November 03, 2004

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"Hula Ville" by James P. Blaylock

James P. Blaylock's short story, "Hula Ville," begins with a child's vision, an angelic visitor in the night.  Years pass, and though the child tries to shunt the experience into the realm of the mundane and rational, he grows up inspired and haunted by this fleeting apparition, and so embarks upon a pilgrimage of the inexplicable and enigmatic.  His travels take him on a tour of the California desert to sites shrouded by rumor and hearsay–UFO sightings, quack-religious nexuses–searching for answers, or perhaps simply proof.

"Hula Ville" is a deeply evocative, visual panorama of a tale. Blaylock's prose is redolent with sensory details: the smell of rain on dry rock, the ominous heaviness of a desert storm, profound silences, and clear, stunning vistas. He submerges the reader in the beauty, majesty, and mystery of isolated desert countryside, untouched by strip malls and invading Starbucks. Blaylock's message of  poignant awe is never heavy-handed, never cumbersome or pedantic as "I have seen an angel" stories so frequently are.

Read "Hulla Ville" on a quiet, rainy afternoon when you feel the need for a little hope in the world, or perhaps a little wonder.