REVIEW: “Old Fighter Pilots” by Samuel Jensen

Review of Samuel Jensen, “Old Fighter Pilots”, Strange Horizons 16 Apr. 2018: Read online. Reviewed by Danielle Maurer.

As I’ve said before, it’s inevitable when reviewing everything from a publication that there will be stories I don’t like. This is one of them.

Normally, I would briefly summarize what the story is about, but that’s part of the problem here. “Old Fighter Pilots” isn’t really about anything. As Jensen himself writes at the end, it’s “about nothing at all really, how nothing really changed over the course of it.”

And that just doesn’t work for me. A story can be light on plot, but in exchange, I’d like to see something about the characters. “Old Fighter Pilots” is a strange, time-hopping snapshot of a particular house, and it feels too disconnected, too choppy. Not to mention that there is no goal, no growth, no conflict.

I’m sure there’s an audience for pieces like this, and those people will probably enjoy “Old Fighter Pilots” (the language and description are, after all, well-written). But for me, there’s no story to this story, and I didn’t enjoy it as a result.