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Air Raid by John Varley

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This is a guest post by Martin Dugas.

"Air Raid", a 1977 short story by John Varley, is about time travelers rescuing people from airplanes that are about to crash with no survivors.

Non-Spoiler Summary

Wearing make-up, wigs and dressed up as the airline crew members, the Snatch Team waits for the portal to activate and jump into action. They have to hurry, because 90 minutes or so after take off the plane will crash and everybody on board will die. But what is so important about this particular rescue mission? Or any other rescue mission for that matter?

My thoughts on this story

I found this story very entertaining. It is fast paced, written in the first person. We follow the action through the eyes of one member of the Snatch Team. I really enjoyed this story.

Interesting tidbits

  • Page count: 14
  • "Air Raid" was first published under John Varley’s pseudonym Herb Boehm.
  • Best Short Story Hugo nominee in 1978.
  • Best Short Story Nebula nominee in 1978.
  • "Air Raid" provided the basis for the 1989 film Millennium.
  • The 1983 novel Millennium by John Varley is also based on the short story "Air Raid".

Where to find this story

  • This story first appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine in 1977.
  • It was also published in the short story collection Nebula Winners Thirteen in 1981.
  • It was also published in the science fiction anthology Timegates in 1997.
  • It is included in the excellent collection The John Varley Reader.
  • To find out about other stories by John Varley, you may visit his official website varley.net.