This will be a short review for a short book.
Reach for the Sky, the full title being Reach for the Sky: the Battle of Britain--a novel of Lt. Corn, is less a novel and more a collection of old war stories (all true, apparently) written by Vixyy Fox, who's one of those authors who you just sort of can't help but like unless you're a smelly old hard-nosed curmudgeon with no sense of childhood and/or joy. Vixyy has been on FA for a long time, longer than I have, and has gained an extensive following for being a naturally masterful author of beautiful and clever fairy tales. I first got to know her work (and her) by reading her Scanectidy Skunk stuff--more or less little fables or quirky tales taking place in a fictional turn of last century American village full of animal people--but she also apparently knows a ton about planes, trains, war, pirates, the navy... whatever, you get the idea. She has quite a few other publications besides this one, like Maude, Tales of the Fur Side (featuring artwork from Dark Natasha, who she's been buddies with for a while), and The Dread Pirate Tabor, all of which take advantage of digital format in one way or another (like including a soundtrack, pictures, and the like). Aside from that, I'll just say that in my personal contact with her through things like the Thursday Prompt, she's pretty much the nicest, most gentle lady I know.
So there's a boatload of praise for Vixyy Fox. This particular book (which can be purchased on Amazon, here for extremely little money) is also something I can't complain about. It is, as I said, a collection of old World War II stories, mostly from the British side of things, but with at least one concerning Americans to some degree and a couple written from the point of view of the Germans (they aren't portrayed as hopelessly evil villains). Everyone is represented by different types of animals for various symbolic reasons, but all of the names are preserved, and the stories are generally backed up with quotations and other facts (even some from Wikipedia). Each story features an illustration by the artist Little Napoleon as well, just to add some more charm to things. Obviously some things are given a little creative twist (I doubt the real Lt. Corn ever had an issue becoming a pilot because of his antlers), but I'm thinking this is to just to keep things appropriately furry for whatever symbolic reasons she had.
The stories range from fairly tragic to fairly light-hearted and amusing, but they're all written in Vixyy's easy-going and smooth style. Some feel a bit like fragments, others are complete stories with a beginning, middle, and end, and none probably takes more than twenty minutes to get through, making a really quick and easy read (I ended up finishing all of it in something like an hour, when all was said and done). Most feature this character Lt. Corn, who (at least how he's written in this book) appeared to be one of those extremely professional, extremely dedicated pilots with a good dry British sense of humor, the kind of guy you see in movies about the era more or less, but we also have a grumpy old former boxer who trains the rookies, an honor-bound and respectable German, an American woman who pretended to be a man in order to join in the war effort before America was even involved, and so on. It's war, so it covers all the emotions you would expect it to, and even in such short space is covers it well (Vixyy is quite good at doing that).
That's really all I have to say. Not too often I feel inclined to just give praise, but hey... I would feel bad criticizing this one. The only thing that even slightly bothered me, I guess, was that it was fairly preachy about remembering these stories and these people and the rough shit they all went through, but I can't criticize that because that's the whole point of the thing, and it's not exactly a bad message. So yeah... spend yourself a few bucks and take a look at this one. And by all means, go say hi to Vixyy on her page as well: http://furaffinity.net/user/vixyyfox.
Okay, next up will be The Unimaginable Road, like I promised the author.