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Book Review: Breaking Waves: An Anthology for Gulf Coast Relief, Edited by Phyllis Irene Radford and Tiffany Trent

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Breaking Waves: An Anthology for Gulf Coast Relief offers up glimpses of maritime splendor, poignancy, and humor. It combines the works of poets, essayists, and award-winning authors including Ursula K. Le Guin, Vonda N. McIntyre, David D. Levine, and more. All proceeds from the sale of this anthology will go to the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Relief Fund of the Greater New Orleans Foundation. The current version, available only in ebook format, for Kindle and other ereaders, is used for purposes of this review, and is very inexpensive.

American history for 2010 will record the devastation of the Gulf Coast oil spill. We all in some way were and are touched by the devastation and its lasting effects on the environment. As editor Tiffany Trent says, quoting a friend, “Jesus Christ. We broke the ocean.”

Breaking Waves is the dramatic book that poured from the disaster, allowing authors to fight oil with ink by raising funds. In return for our modest contribution to the fund by purchasing this ebook, we are treated to a cross-genre anthology with wide-ranging works from powerful writers. Contributing authors include Ursula K. Le Guin, award winning sci-fi authors, environmental writers, who somehow found the words to explain what they saw on the scene, and Rachel Carson, with an excerpt from The Sea Around Us.

Phyllis Irene Radford, also one of Breaking Waves’ editors, grew up in U.S. seaports while her father served in the Coast Guard. She is an experienced anthology publisher, and her passion for the cause is evident in this collection.

Breaking Waves includes an essay by Vonda N. McIntyre titled “A Modest Proposal for the Perfection of Nature.” In it, McIntyre paints a picture for us of the last and only living member of the plant kingdom on earth. Perhaps, among all genres, sci-fi writers are best skilled to tell the true stories of the unimaginable devastation leached into the sea.

“The Girl Who Dreamed of the Sea,” a poignant tale by Judith Tarr, resonates especially with those of us who now realize the devastation man is capable of.

“There was never any water in this place! It’s always been as hard and dry and barren as bone.”

“Now it is,” her mother said, “but a long, long time ago, it was all water here, and fish swam through the canyons.”

This large collection ends with a powerful poem: “Troubled Water,” by Kelly Ramsdell Fineman.

Breaking Waves is filled with creativity and variety that make good reading for anyone from young adult to essayists to sci-fi fans. It has special value when you realize it benefits the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Relief Fund.

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