Coming Up For Air

(1) Coming Up For Air (Sentinel)

By Delilah
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 24th March 2002 (4)
Tags: Novelette

This is a very sad story. It's an alternative universe story which tells of a might-have-been where "a little too late" is still not worse than "never". Not quite. If you can bear such sadness, with a hopeful ending, this is well worth it. The scenario is made very plausible, and the author managed to repeat her successful chatty style which served so well in her previous story, though this time it's from Blair's point of view, not Jim's -- and not so funny. It would be nice to see a sequel where the hope at the end is actually realized.

(2) Paying Karma's Dues (Sentinel)

By Delilah
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 27th April 2002 (1)
Tags: Short Story

When I saw this at Cascade Library, I said "Hooray, she's done a sequel already!" This is the second in the (hopefully) series of stories started with "Coming Up For Air", and it carries on just as well. The main problem is that it's too short. We want more! I liked the way that the progress that Jim makes is realistically not in leaps and bounds, and the way Blair is just trying so hard, but he can't be there all the time... I know some people can't stand first-person narrative stories (aka the "I-story") -- well, it's your loss, that's all I can say. There are some bits here that just click, and other touches that remind you of the problems of being a Sentinel, and the patience that has been cultivated in those who care about Jim.
    Stephen shrugged in the good-natured way of someone who had had to buy practically every brand of orange juice that existed to find the one Jim would drink. And that one only worked nine months out of the year.

(3) Calling Carl J. (Sentinel)

By Delilah
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 17th July 2002 (1)
Tags: Short Story

Well, this is the third story in the series, and the only bad thing about it is that it's far too short. I wanna go "wah, is that all?" at the end. I want for Blair to find out what his dreams mean. Still, maybe next time. Anyway, apart from all that, this is just as good as the previous ones. Again we have that wry Blair-voice, bouncing from one thing to another. I loved the eclectic collection of books that Blair rooted through when he was trying to find his Carl Jung. And again we have that agonizing one step at a time progress with Jim, which is both melancholy and uplifting.

(4) Living at Fourth and Talmadge (Sentinel)

By Delilah
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 18th August 2002 (8)
Tags: Novelette

This is the fourth in the "Coming Up For Air" series, and it follows so hard on the heels of #3 that I went back and re-read it before I'd gotten more than a couple of paragraphs into this one. "Blair's bad day stretches into two and only Jim realizes it." It's almost hilarious, the way that nobody knows what's really going on with an agitated Jim, with Simon breathing muttered imprecations on Blair's name because nobody can find him... And just the way it's put together, with the bits from a few unusual points of view, I really like it. Actually, I'd like to borrow a word from one of the characters: "Wow!"

(5) Looking For Unicorns (Sentinel)

By Delilah
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 1st January 2003 (7)

Yep, here's the next chapter of the story. It makes me wish I hadn't started reading this series, since I hate the frustration of reading a work-in-progress when I'm enjoying it and have to wait for the next bit. Which is why I normally avoid reading works-in-progress. Except when I don't realize when I start that it is one...

This, again, is just as cool and quotable as the previous parts, as we trail a little more along the path to mutual enlightenment.

Naomi was like a doctoral course in comparative religion. She could prepare a Seder plate while quoting Baha'u'llah, then go off and commune with Asatru. She would not be landing tail-first on a freezing cold floor because, like Marco Polo, she'd found unicorns only because she went looking for them.

(6) Humming Along with The Boss (Sentinel)

By Delilah
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 28th January 2003 (4)
Tags: Short Story

This series continues in its moving, whimsical way. I like the way that the title has resonance in more than one direction. The way the story all fits together with what Blair is lecturing about and what else is going on, some scenes both painful and amusing... this is good. Keeping up the good work. Next one please!

(7) Conversing in a Universal Tongue (Sentinel)

By Delilah
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 7th May 2003 (1)
Tags: Short Story

Here's the next chapter: "Blair searches for an ASL tutor for Jim and one question gets answered."
    "Sandburg." Simon is still working on his first cup, the time when you need to tread lightly. "How are you?"
    Okay, so I know I over-think. I mean 'how are you' probably just means 'how are you.' Not 'we're surprised you bothered to come back, you moron' or 'we've reconsidered the whole helping-with-the-dissertation thing.'

Still the same wry, babbly Blair, and Jim still has surprises for us.