The beautiful but harsh Alaskan landscape permeates the 27 short stories and vignettes of Warner's somewhat mannered second collection (after In the Islands of Four Mountains). In ""Weather,"" a pilot narrowly escapes being crushed to death when a fierce windstorm collapses a building at a remote air station. ""Highway of the Moon"" evokes one character's passionate, fatal search for a pure northern wilderness. The title story captures the anger of a middle-aged bird researcher who loses his job and takes revenge by smuggling hawks out of Alaska. Though Warner's dialogue and prose often betray a tin ear and a heavy tread, and the situations of his stories rely on eccentric details rather than solid characterization, the ambiance of his beloved wilderness is well conveyed. The history of Alaska seeps through the lines of these occasionally suspenseful tales, and Warner's interspersed, elliptical ""Reports of Disappearances"" add a note of mournful mystery. (Oct.) FYI: A veteran of the Alaska Fish and Game Department, Warner has also pursued a career as a competitive chess player.