Reviewed: 2015-01-30 - (Review Updated: 2015-01-30)
Zach is a young man with a dream. In his seventeenth year, he wants only two things: to learn to fly, and to lose his virginity. His flight instructor is Beth, a 34-year-old single mom who trains pilots in her spare time. Zach has a lot to learn before he qualifies, but fortunately Beth is well schooled and qualified to teach him everything he needs to know. And then some.
You know what this reminds me of? Herman Melville's "Moby Dick". No, I don't mean it's the "Great American Novel". Before I read it, I always thought Moby Dick was about a crazy guy named Ahab hunting a white whale. It kind of is, but to my eye it was actually more about whaling and whales in general. If you trimmed it down to the Ahab story, it would have been a novella, not a novel.
"On Learning To Fly" is to fuck stories as "Moby Dick" is to crazy sea-captains hunting white whales. And to call it a fuck story is most unkind, it's actually quite a gentle and sweet sexual awakening story. But much more than that, it's a story about small airplanes, their equipment and how to fly them. The level of fine detail on this subject leaves no doubt in the reader's mind as to the author's encyclopedic knowledge on the subject.
Zach is a young man obsessed with flying an airplane, and author Levi Charon is doubtless a man who shares Zach's passion. It comes through in the prose most clearly and provides much of the attraction for this very good short story.
STORY: 8 (VERY GOOD): Yes, this is an actual story, not just a framework for an erotic moment. It's not an extraordinary or novel story, but it is passionately told and lovingly detailed. It's a fine demonstration of how that love and passion of almost any subject can make for an interesting read.
TECHNICAL: 9 (GREAT): Almost faultless. I saw one typo "H" instead of "He". Grammar and structure were well done; it was very easy to read and just flowed off the page. The pace of the story was similarly excellent. Some of the dialogue - especially the intimate stuff - felt stilted to my ear; but I don't even do dirty talk in real life because I think it sounds silly, so that might just be me.
APPEAL TO ME: 8 (VERY GOOD): I sure know a lot more about small aircraft now. I truly enjoyed the story and read it to the end, where the sex was passionate and detailed and very sexy. So why the 8? Well, it could appeal *more* to me. I was a bit overwhelmed by the technical detail of flying and would have loved a bit more color and humor in the main characters.
OVERALL: 8 (VERY GOOD): Read it. I did. You'll like it. I did.