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Jody Wallace grew up in the South in a very rural area. She went to school a long time because there was always more to learn and ended up with a Master's Degree in Creative Writing. In addition to author, her resume includes college English instructor, technical documents editor, market analyst, web designer, and general all around pain in the butt.
She currently lives in Tennessee with her family: one husband, two kids, one Grandma, seven cats, including Meankitty. She is a terrible packrat and likes to amass vintage clothing, books, crocheting supplies, antique kitchenware, gnomes, and other items that threaten to force her family out of the house. She also likes cats. A lot.
on June 28, 2011 :
Field Trip, by Jody Wallace, is an entertaining story with all the cute annoyances of a group of children on a museum field trip.
I’ll admit it. I was drawn to this story by the cover. Though not exactly the same, the font reminds me of Star Trek: The Next Generation. (Yes, I’m one of those geeks.) I received a copy of the story through an offer on Jody Wallace's blog, Writer and Cat.
Miss James is a third grade teacher escorting her students to the Space Station Freedom Museum and Amusement Park. The trip is not going well. Handsome but inept, the Zhie tour guide, Sergeant Chamblin, “…was obviously not used to holding the attention of twenty Human and Zhie third graders from the Integrated Public School System of Earth on their annual field trip.” The kids are restless, and restless children, whether human or alien, are a recipe for disaster. Miss James uses all of her 12 years of teaching experience to maintain order as she mentally composes an email satisfaction survey complaining of Chamblin’s inept performance. A malfunction in the museum’s shabby shuttle simulator does not help matters.
The tour of the now defunct space station includes a backward look at antiquated technology—actually advanced by today’s standards—that gradually builds a picture of Zhie/Human first contact. The children’s antics are believable. “To make matters worse, [Chamblin] sometimes patted the kids on the shoulder, head or back when he didn’t know the answers to their questions.” This patronizing behavior, among other idiosyncrasies, registers with Miss James. She sometimes tries to give the guide pointers while continuing to compose her growing list of complaints.
Then their field trip takes an unusual turn. I recommend that you grab a copy to find out what happens. The world building is effortless and believable. The story is well told and edited, and the writing is excellent.
Field Trip perfectly illustrates why I prefer books over short stories. I want more, including development of some of the fascinating hints we get about Miss James and Sergeant Chamblin. Unfortunately, Jody Wallace does not have any other published works in this genre, let alone this universe. Jody, please write more
(reviewed 26 days after purchase)
on June 02, 2011 :
This was a fun little romp. Great narrative voice, meticulous world building, and professional writing and editing. The characters were well-developed and distinct, including the personalities of the little third grade monsters on their field trip. Cute cover, too; love the nod to Judy Jetson!
The story stands well on its own, although I wouldn't have minded if it had gone on for longer, and I would love a further installment in the burgeoning relationship between Miss James and Sergeant Chamblin. If you enjoy light and funny science fiction, you could do a lot worse than this.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)