Saturday, January 31, 2015

SHORT STORY READALONG: "The Aviator" by Hornell Hart

This is the begging of my War Short Stories Readalong.  So here we go on our journey through some of the best war-related short stories.  First up - "The Aviator" by Hornell Hart.  It first appeared in a magazine called "Short Stories from Life" in 1916.  The story is about a French aviator who is attacking a Turkish fort in 1916.  It is apparently based on an incident in the Gallipolli Campaign. A French cruiser is bombardind the fort at night.  Meanwhile, the aviator is piloting his monoplane in an attempt to take out the powder magazine in the fort.  The refrain  "the French Government declines to accept your services" keeps running through his mind.  It appears that the hero was rejected by the military (Gen. Joffre) because of some diplomatic blunder.  Don't ask what a diplomat is doing flying a warplane or how he got the plane or why he would be using nitro-glycerine as an explosive.  Too much carping because the story is actually tres cool.  It has a smidge of Luke Skywalker taking on the Death Star.  The aviator is on a suicide mission to follow a searchlight to the powder magazine.  The story has a superbly ironic ending that is not like "Star Wars", but maybe is more realistic and certainly is more anti-war.   The story is very interesting and a good start for the readalong.  It is quite short, but you may have to read it twice because it has some subtle elements to it.  I read some other reader's views on it and some of them were wrong about what happens in the story.


Next up -   The Battle of Lake Borgne - by George Cary Eggleston

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please fell free to comment. I would love to hear what you think and will respond.