Marshall Coe’s shiftless, troubled life has led to tragedy. In this riveting novella, he’s suddenly given the chance to go back in time and fix his one big mistake, but Marshall finds that altering history has unexpected consequences. Caught between worlds alongside a young woman with an equally difficult past, they discover that sometimes things happen for a reason. More
Marshall Coe’s shiftless, troubled life has led to tragedy. In this riveting novella, he’s suddenly given the chance to go back in time and fix his one big mistake, but Marshall finds that altering history has unexpected consequences. Caught between worlds alongside a young woman with an equally difficult past, they discover that sometimes things happen for a reason.
“Riding Shotgun” first appeared in Flights, edited by Al Sarrantonio (Roc Books, 2003). Copyright (c) 2003 by Charles de Lint. It’s also available in the Muse and Reverie collection.
The standout for me, though, [from de Lint's collection, Muse & Reverie] is “Riding Shotgun,” which should just be about the long-held guilt of a brother who was with his sibling in a tragic car accident, but becomes a ride into the past, and then an alternate future that reveals things that turn any preconceived notions you have completely on their heads. De Lint surprises with “Riding Shotgun,” and adds a sense of urgency to a tale that seems destined for cliché, and instead becomes a shocker. Good stuff.
Riding Shotgun […] has honestly become one of my favorites. About every year or so, I pick it back up and reread it. It's about life changing events and the first time I read it, I felt all funny inside. Then I read it again a few months later. Then another year after that, I read it a third time. That being said, every time I read it, I am more and more in awe of the story, of the way it was put together that just makes me wordless. Even writing this, as I don't write too many reviews, I am struggling to put together the words to explain how much I like this story and why you should read it. I highly recommend it to everyone I know.
The story starts out with you meeting the main character, a former alcoholic who has just inherited his estranged, deceased father's farm. He hadn't been back there since the death of his younger brother. Even though he sold the farm, he decides to go for one last visit. That's when things start getting weird. It's a story about how things we regret might have been for a reason, its a story about changing those choices that we regret.
I hope this makes you pick it up. I know I will be rereading it again soon
Charles de Lint is the modern master of urban fantasy. Folktale, myth, fairy tale, dreams, urban legend—all of it adds up to pure magic in de Lint's vivid, original world. No one does it better.
— Alice Hoffman
Charles de Lint writes like a magician. He draws out the strange inside our own world, weaving stories that feel more real than we are when we read them. He is, simply put, the best.
— Holly Black
De Lint is probably the finest contemporary author of fantasy
—Booklist, American Library Association
Unlike most fantasy writers who deal with battles between ultimate good and evil, de Lint concentrates on smaller, very personal conflicts. Perhaps this is what makes him accessible to the non-fantasy audience as well as the hard-core fans. Perhaps it’s just damned fine writing.
—Quill & Quire
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