Michael Gallant, Raymond M. Coulombe and Timothy O. Goyette
Writers Club Press / 187 pages / 2001
When’s the last time you just had a really good time reading a book? Have you ever finished an anthology and thought, “I’d really like to hang out with those guys!”? If it’s been far too long — for instance, if your answer was something like never — you’re long overdue for a treat. Fortunately, if you’re in the mood for a bit of fun, Quantum Musings is just what you need.
Gallant, Coulombe, and Goyette are the minds behind the monthly web-zine Quantum Muse, a particular favourite among internet denizens. This is the hip side of science fiction, fantasy, and alternative fiction — a judgement that is borne out by Rebecca Kemp’s sassy portrait of their Muse that graces the site and the cover of the collection. One look at that tongue-in-cheek graphic and you know in an instant that you are not setting out on your standard genre venture.
That’s putting it mildly.
Take a look at Michael Gallant’s offerings. “God Picks Up the Tab.” Come to think of it, I’d say that title speaks for itself as well as Gallant’s slightly twisted sense of humour does. The dry wit and fatalistic attitude of the narrator makes “Staring at Bruno, Waiting to Die” far more poignant than a quick synopsis could possibly convey. The story stands out as one of the most impressive selections in the book. “Alternative” tales would appear to be Gallant’s true calling, outshining even his science fiction and fantasy in Quantum Musings.
Now, Raymond M. Coloumbe has a decidedly wicked and skewed way of looking at the world. What he sees is not like Gallant’s view, or Goyette’s, or yours, or mine. What it does seem most similar to is the way life actually is, if we had the guts to really examine it and see the truth for ourselves. Who really wants to dig deeper into something like “Government Myths”? If you’re not going to appreciate the answer, Coloumbe points out, maybe you shouldn’t ask the question. If “Death in Haiti” leaves you with one less thing to blame for your troubles, maybe you shouldn’t venture there.
In the science fiction portion of Quantum Musings, Timothy O. Goyette’s “The Swami of Time” is the showpiece. The interplay between the relatively human hero and the much more likeable squib is a priceless glimpse of the “odd couples” possible when we finally meet up with someone or something completely unlike ourselves. “Human Factors” takes an unflinching look at our all-too human characteristics. Only “The Wishmaker’s Magic Box” hints that there might be some of us worth the trouble of saving.
Three different authors with their own styles and outlooks, but the joining is almost seamless. Like their quirky Muse, none of them takes life too seriously, or dismisses it too lightly. The combination makes for a captivating read and a thought-provoking after-read. Not to mention just barely whetting your appetite for more of the same…