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A Rumor of Angels

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  77 ratings  ·  15 reviews
"A Rumor of Angels", by Dale Bailey, is a fantasy novelette that takes place during the period of the dust bowl in the American Midwest. A teenage boy walks away from his father's wasted farm to follow the other travelers heading west where there is a rumor of angels.
ebook, 32 pages
Published September 11th 2013 by Tor Books
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A haunting story filled with pretty words.
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it

He lay restless in the dark, a boy on the precipice of manhood or a man freshly plunged over the other side, he couldn’t say which and maybe it didn’t matter. Change troubled him: a snake shedding its skin, a locust shucking its husk.

He knew only an aching discontent. The body had its own imperatives, the soul its discontents
Toussaint Egan
Sep 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Tom Carver is a young boy living with his father, a farmer, during the period of Great American Dust Bowl. As all hope seems lost, Tom finds himself compelled by the strange “magnetism” of rumors, whispers of work not only westward but the specter of angels roaming the countryside with great and terrible power. After abandoning his father and being taken in by the Overtons, a displaced of roaming farmers not unlike Tom’s farmer, the four continue to push forward west in hopes of collecting on ...more
Feb 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
The real star of this moody tale is the evocative, immaculately crafted language. At its heart, this is a simple tale that sets a coming-of-age story against the Great Migration during Dust Bowl days. The fantasy element, while essential to the story, is slight and belongs in the Magical Realist tradition of Ray Bradbury. The sense-of-place piece recalls the work of Willa Cather and John Steinbeck.
Aug 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars
An excellent, realistic Dust Bowl-era story with a slight twist of the supernatural at the end.
A.K. Meek
Nov 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I found this short story in Some of the Best From, 2013 Edition: A Tor.Com Original. As of this posting, it’s still free.

A Rumor is the first story in the book, so naturally I read it first. I expected a cheap Sci-Fi story, what I got was a literary treat.

It’s of a boy during depression-era America, like the blurb states. Even though there is a tinge of fantasy in the story, the narrative is of the boy and his stormy relationship with another uprooted family also travelling to the west.
Balaram Briant
Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful story. Dale Bailey is good at utilizing a fantastic element as a catalyst for the characters in his stories, without letting the story become about the fantastic element. This skill is integral in this genre, and when a story on Tor isn't very good it's usually because of a failure in this regard.
Mar 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
This novella is set during the Dust Bowl, and is about a boy who travels west and the tension he encounters during the journey. It is a very low fantasy novella, but it is beautifully written, and it is incredibly easy to be drawn in to the main character's struggles. This is the kind of writing that elicits a lot of emotion, and the author wrote this emotion into the story in such a way to completely engage the reader. I would recommend this novella for anyone looking for a good, short read, ...more
Oct 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: supernatural
"A Rumor of Angels", by Dale Bailey, is a historical fiction novelette with a light touch of fantasy that takes place during the period of the dust bowl in the American Midwest. A teenage boy walks away from his father's wasted farm to follow the other travelers heading west where there is a rumor of angels. The storytelling and the style are remarkable, but I was extremely disappointed by the strange ending.
Alex Sarll
Initially I thought this haunting tale of the dustbowl suffered from not having been published before the genre walls came down - rumours of angels carry so much more powerful uncertainty when neither consensus reality nor variation thereon can be inferred from the publication context. But in the end, it still managed to surprise me.
Jan 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, in-anthology, own, ebook
Loved the writing and the setting. It kind of reminded me of "Interstellar" but I enjoyed this story more than Nolan's movie.
Andreas Manessinger
Mar 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Like all of Dale Bailey's stories this is great. It starts out like Grapes of Wrath and then suddenly becomes something very different. And still: it totally works.
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, novelette
A fantasy set in the era of the Dustbowl. The words are spare but beautiful.
Jun 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
An interesting little story.
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Dale was born in West Virginia in 1968, and grew up in a town called Princeton, just north of the Virginia line. His stories have appeared in lots of places—The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Amazing Stories, Sci-Fiction, Lightspeed Magazine, and various anthologies. Several of them have been nominated for awards, and “Death and Suffrage,” later filmed as part ...more