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Pigs Don't Fly

by Mary Brown

paperback edition

I have vague but fond memories of Mary Brown's first book, The Unlikely Ones, so when her new book appeared, I bought it new. Mistake. Pigs Don't Fly is memorable only for its startling mediocrity.

Mary Brown seems to be one of those people with only one book in them, and frankly I liked this book better when I read it as The Unlikely Ones. (Of course, I was 13 at the time, and a somewhat less critical reader.) It's more or less the same plot with slightly different trappings. Summer, the daughter of the village whore, runs away from home after her mother's death. In her travels, she gradually accumulates a menagerie of needy creatures, including a winged pig and a blind, amnesic knight. They stumble through various misadventures, and then, one by one, the creatures find homes and leave Summer to trudge on with her dwindling supply of fellow-travellers. There's very little coherence between these misadventures, probably because there's very little sense of a quest or goal towards which the entire book could build. I do give Brown credit for not writing the predictable ending, but the conclusion is so anticlimatic that this isn't much of a saving grace. The prose is uncluttered but pedestrian, you should excuse the expression.

Incidentally, the flying pig of the title is really SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER a dragon! Isn't that an annoying place to put a spoiler? Imagine how much more annoying it was for me to see on the front cover of this book, right under the big shiny red words "Pigs Don't Fly," the caption "But dragons do..." Speaking of the cover, the only really remarkable facet of this book is that the Darrell K. Sweet cover is not only quite decent but astonishingly accurate.

Pigs Don't Fly isn't actively bad, exactly, but it's certainly not particularly good either. I strongly recommend this book to insomniacs and readers who are trying to develop their sense of apathy.

-- Christina Schulman.
Reviewed in
May 1994

paperback edition
Publisher: Baen
Date: May 1994
ISBN: 0-671-87601-5
Binding: paperback
Pages: 384
Price: US $5.99

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