Footpaths Through Peru

Footpaths Through Peru (Sentinel)

By Rivanna Michaels
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 12th August 2001 (4)

I don't normally review a story before it's finished, but then I don't normally read a story before it's finished. Unfortunately, this was billed as a "series" not as a "story-in-progress" -- but it really is the latter, not the former. However... I did like it enough to keep on coming back. And now that 4 out of 5 of the parts are there, I might as well say something about it before I forget all over again. I don't know what it is about Alternative Universe stories; why I like them in TS when I often don't like them in other universes. Maybe I just liked Switchman so much that I like to see other possibilities of how Jim and Blair might have met. Unfortunately, what TS initial-meeting AUs often do is overplay the "instant instinct" connection between Sentinel and Guide, rather than allow the friendship to develop over time. This one has something of that, though not as much as others. I do like the Jim and Blair here, though. For example, the army reflexes of Jim, the way he attacks when he's startled, that's very plausible. And of course, the very important bit that Blair has no sense of direction! The guys are the guys.

Some things don't fit or move too fast. For example, Blair uses the "dial" analogy here, when in the series he didn't come up with that until much later. There's also a tendency (and I've noticed this in other people's AUs as well) to want to reproduce favourite dialogue from Switchman even when it doesn't fit. Most commonly, the "neo-hippy-witchdoctor punk" line. This one jarred more than usual, because the remark that Blair made was "Prehistoric throwbacks to civilized man" which is just wrong.

However there's action and owies and getting-to-know you, and very dramatic cliffhangers (though I admit I'm surprised that Blair, at the end of part 4, wasn't gabbling "What is he saying? What is he saying?")

Here's a quotable bit:
    Finally removing his foot, the captain leaned down and extended his hand to help Blair up. "Sorry, kid," he grunted as he pulled the younger man to a standing position. His mind was still having a hard time wrapping itself around the current circumstances. "What are you doing here? I thought I'd returned you to your litter last time. Or do you just make a habit out of wandering off into the middle of nowhere?"