Dust

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Billionaire adventurer Stan Owens has everything, success, fame, all the luxury money can buy... until a plane crash leaves him stranded in the desert. Alone in a hostile environment, he makes a horrifying discovery in the desert wastes.

This is a frightening new short story by Robert Williams, the acclaimed author of "Peculiar, MO."
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Published: May 27, 2010
Words: 6,150
Language: English
ISBN: 9781458064752
About Robert Williams

Robert Williams received his degree in astrophysics from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in 1998, and is a former array operator for the Very Large Array, the world’s largest phased radio telescope. His previous novels include Peculiar, MO, The Storms of Eternity, and The Remembrance.

Also by This Author

Reviews

Review by: Nora Black on Oct. 01, 2013 : star star star star star
Stan Owen is a billionaire risk taker. He is so enamoured of his image as a high-flying larger than life know it all, that he does not find it necessary to carry a cellphone with him during his aerial adventure in a very old, typically elegant, plane. When he lands sans water, navigational equipment or food in a challenging desert-like environment he has to reassess his sense of his own worth and the things he finds important.
This is an at times gruesome, at others poetically told story that will have you riveted to your screen until the bitter, horrific finale. Few short stories maintain perfect pace, while spinning a descriptive engaging yarn; THIS IS ONE!
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Review by: Brian Mitchell on April 19, 2012 : star star star star star
This is good! It really pulled me in, I'll be reading more of this author
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Review by: Malcolm Harden on Aug. 03, 2010 : star star star
Intriguing short story which tells of the millionaire survivor of a plane crash who investigates an abandoned military base. The threat of imminent death forces him into a re-evaluation of his life and decisions made, particularly towards his family. Genre is Contemporary Sci-Fi/Horror.

Text is very descriptive though some of the images jar and seem convoluted. The Ozymandias theme, in particular though critical, does not feel well integrated into the flow of the narrative.

In so few words it is difficult to convey a real sense of character and as a result Stan Owens feels a little too much like a stereotypical wicked businessman, who uses violence against those who oppose him and is driven only by profit. Since the reader receives only glimpses into his life, his position as a major King-like figure, is never really established and so this diminishes the effectiveness of the Ozymandias parallels. Equally because he seems so shallow this reduces the sense of pathos of his death and how much the reader cares about it.

Worth reading and full of suspense but I felt ultimately less successful than it could have been.
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Review by: Nagaswami Venkatasubramanian on July 05, 2010 : star star star star star
Scary but most likely scenario in the case of a nuclear accident or disaster. A very absorbing story.
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Review by: Kipp Poe Speicher on July 03, 2010 : star star star star star
Wow another stellar piece of work from one of my favorite authors filled with imagination, and vision a must read well crafted story.
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Review by: Ed Morris on June 27, 2010 : star star star star star
Very good. Enjoyed it a lot. Will have to find some of the author's other works. Thank you for a very good read.
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Review by: MmavisO on June 21, 2010 : star star star star star
Great story! Also well proofed. I didn't notice any misspellings or bad grammar. I'm going to go get some more of Robert's books.
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Review by: S. Wolf on June 07, 2010 : star star star star star
Excellent, well-written story. Engages the reader from the start, and comes through in the end. I highly recommend it.
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Review by: GraceKrispy on June 01, 2010 : star star star star
I really enjoyed this story. I was engaged from beginning to end and thought the ending tied in well with the theme. I would have liked to have had more story taking place while in the complex-- more discoveries that implied the mystery, and less that was stated outright. That would allow more suspense to build and put this story in the realm of superb. All in all, I recommend this story!
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Review by: Lene Jorgensen on May 28, 2010 : star star star star star
Loved it!
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Review by: Jim Chambers on May 28, 2010 : star star star star star
Having read and enjoyed Robert Williams' short story collection "Strange Times" and his novel "Peculiar, MO," I expected his new short story "Dust" to be a good one, and I was not disappointed. The story is about a character named Stan Owens, a wealthy adventurer and aviator who is reminiscent of Steve Fossett, whose plane crashed in the Nevada desert a few years ago. Owens' plane also crashes in the Nevada desert after the engine fails. Having flow over some buildings a few miles back, Owens hikes through the hot sand and blistering sun to reach the building complex, which appears to be some type of abandoned military base. What he finds there will cause him to reexamine his entire life. I won't give away any spoilers, but the poem "Ozymandias" by Percy Bysshe Shelley is key to the story and to Owens' doubts about the real value of his contributions to the world.

"Dust" would have been a great "Twilight Zone" episode.
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Review by: B.L. Newport on May 27, 2010 : star star star star
This was interesting. The ending tied in well with the body of the story. I liked it.
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