Short Fiction Friday: Find a Way Home

Find a Way Home by Paul Cornell

[no synopsis provided]

I know Paul Cornell best from his Shadow Police series, an dark urban fantasy story and his contribution to the Wild Cards universe of George R.R. Martin. So when I came across a completely different story of what I am used to from him, a middle-grade story I definitely needed to check it out. It was quite a surprise for me. Find a Way Home is a great adventure story for everyone not just kids, coming to think of it, it does has some ties to that other alien that wanted to go home.

Find a Way Home start off with Alan Thompson who is currently up in an RAF control tower looking on the radar that covers part of Britain. All of a sudden he sees an erratic pattern on his radar, a pattern that he cannot link with an known airplane, bird or any other thing he knows. When he shows his superior about it, he is kindly remembered that he has a wife and kinds and Alan would do well to forget about what he saw. Actually the tone of this introduction was a bit heavier than I would have imagined in such a story. 

After this the perspective is switched to the young boy called Gary Clark. Who witnesses the crash of the object that Alan saw. Gary gets drawn to the crash site and discovers that it is a UFO. He immidiately starts to dream of being on TV and the newspaper headline saying that he has found an alien. To his surprise, the alien is still inside. As the RAF also found out about the crash they has dispatched forces to intercept the UFO. The alien is stuck and Gary rescues is out of it UFO, and flees for the RAF forces. This is where Gary's adventure starts to unfold, as he is now on the run for the RAF forces, risking his life for an alien he just met a few minutes ago. Luckily for Gary he is near his school, so this is the best option for him to flee too. But a detention class is busy and when they see the alien... well... they come to a plan to help find the alien a way home.

This story really is an very boisterous adventure. Espeically when you see the alien talking and where Mr. Hayes (the detention teacher) had to censor somethings. It is definitely not the woolly cuddly kind of alien. 

What did fall to note for me is the character of Gary himself, from his introduction to the ending, it seems that he is not really that pleased with himself. Perhaps not getting the recognition that he wants. He doesn't have friends and doesn't want them, or maybe he does, in the short dialogue with his mother: 
"He was in the woods at the back of the school. It was five o’clock. He’d gone home, chucked his bag onto the bed, told Mum he was going back out. She’d said something in reply, he hadn’t caught it, but it had sounded okay, and she hadn’t followed him out of the door, so he probably wasn’t in trouble.Not that he cared. Not that she did." 

It feel somehow strained. 

There is also this part near the ending:
"Gary wasn’t sure he wanted that any more. He just wanted to go home like the alien had gone home, to someone welcoming him."
You can see that Gary is a troubled soul but luckily it doesn't end there, it ends on a much happier note luckily. Everything is left bigger after the days event including Gary. A remarkable story. 

Read the full story here


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