ack before writers wrote to fulfill publishing needs, when they just wrote stories and submitted them to publishers and magazines in manila envelopes, writers ended up with all sorts of story-chunks, from a million words to a couple of hundred. And publishers, trying to fill a potential book, had to dip into a writer’s backups to get enough to flush out a paperback. That seems to be the case with the short story Hurricane Claude, which showed up as a 45 rpm flip side in Steam Bird (which I reviewed HERE).
This story was actually quite good. Oh, there were a lot of anti-authority heroes (in keeping 1988 publishing date). And, like Steam Bird itself, the characters are unabashedly crude, cursing and dropping the F-bomb and raunching all over the pages.
However, it is an intriguing tale.
So the hurricane named in the title is bearing down on the North East coast. Storm warnings are up. And for the employees of Techoceananics, this is the storm that might save the company from bankruptcy. You see, the plan is that they’ll fly a plane over the top side at the same time a boat (more a bobbin) sails in at the base. They’ll each create massive flows of ions, which would break the storm up. At least it isn’t a real-world person in leadership pondering tossing a nuke into one.
Of course, you’ve got environmental groups hounding a weak-kneed federal judge. To nobody’s surprise, a restraining order is issued but Techoceanics steals a march, launching ship and plane before the feds can shut them down. So, with the ship rolling about like a ping-pong ball in a flushed toilet (and the married couple screaming obscenities at each other) and two homosexuals at the controls of the plane (the Gay Enola, get it?) they finally trigger the ions.
The result was spectacular. It was like CGI in written form. The thought of how a storm would break up, the energies released as the system instantly breaks up, was totally epic. I really did enjoy that. Unlike the story preceding this one, the tale ended with a bang. So good for author Hilbert Schenck; he really knocked this one out of the park.
So yes, two fairly good scifi stories wrapped up in one paperback. I suppose it was worth holding onto for forty years or so.