Out of My Mind: The Discovery of Saunders-Vixen

Richard Bach, Author William Morrow & Company $18 (112p) ISBN 978-0-688-17296-1

Fans of the author or of small planes might enjoy this slight parable by Bach, still best known for Jonathan Livingston Seagull, but others will find it a flat experience. In a tale that could easily be retitled ""Zen and the Art of Piper Cub Maintenance,"" narrator Richard Bach is having problems with the door latch of his plane. As he searches for a solution, designs begins to come to him from nowhere until one day, through one of the designs, he glimpses the image of his ""love messenger."" Believing that ""everything is exactly as it is for a reason,"" Richard devotes long passages to pondering the whys behind seeming minutiae--such as why his lovely messenger tucks a pencil in her hair, concluding finally--following quite a leap of logic--that she must come from another, computerless, time. Richard's obsession with the lovely messenger and her designs eventually leads him to the discovery of a parallel universe--England's Saunders-Vixen Aircraft Company Ltd., circa 1923--an aviation Shangri-La, where the answers to questions lead to more questions. Simplistic to the point of parody, with questions sometimes broken down into jerky individual elements (""Are you telling me that Geoffrey de Havilland? Copied? The design? Of your airplane? And called it his?""), this New Age parable is almost ludicrous in its strain for profundity. Line drawings. (Sept.)