Cover image for Out of my mind : the discovery of Saunders-Vixen
Out of my mind : the discovery of Saunders-Vixen
Bach, Richard.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : William Morrow, [1999]

Physical Description:
101 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3552.A255 O88 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS3552.A255 O88 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PS3552.A255 O88 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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One of our best-loved writers, author of the phenomenal bestsellers The Bridge Across Forever, One, Running from Safety, and Jonathan Livingston Seagull, returns with a brilliantly conceived narrative about the nature of creativity. Bach's journey begins as he puzzles over design modifications for his airplane, a Piper Cub. Perfect designs--simple and practical--seem to come to him out of the blue. But one day when a design appears, along with a fleeting glimpse of an intriguing woman, Bach sets out to discover the source of the visions. The journey leads to a startling destination: a parallel universe where a British airplane manufacturer--Saunders-Vixen Aircraft Company Ltd.--makes superb biplanes and solves problems for perplexed aviators. There Bach meets Derek Hawthorne, his guide through Saunders-Vixen and the new world whose possibilities are just unfolding. There Bach also meets his muse, an unforgettable young aircraft designer named Laura Bristol, who teaches Bach the beauty of simplicity and practicality.

Author Notes

A direct descendant of the composer Johann Sebastian Bach, Richard Bach was born in Oak Park, Illinois, in 1936. He attended Long Beach State College in 1955 and had a successful career in aviation, as an Air Force pilot, a flight instructor, an aviation mechanic, and an editor for Flying magazine.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull, the novel that made him famous, was written as the result of a vision. Halfway through the book, the vision disappeared and, finding that he was unable to continue, Bach, put the novel aside. When the vision reappeared, Bach finished the work. Jonathan Livingston Seagull, published in 1972, was an unexpected success and became the best-selling book in the United States for that year. The book is heavily influenced by Bach's love of flying and provides a marvelous inspirational message. The Bridge Across Forever: A Love Story, One, Messiah's Handbook: Reminders for the Advanced Soul (2004), and Hypnotizing Maria (2009) are some of his other novels that blend inspiration, love, fantasy, and hope.

In recent years Bach has written Thank Your Wicked Parents: Blessings from a Difficult Childhood (2012), Rainbow Ridge and Travels with Puff: A Gentle Game of Life and Death (2013), NiceTiger, (Bowker Author Biography) He is the author of eleven books, including Stranger to the Ground, Biplane, A Gift of Wings, Illusions, One, and Running from Safety.

(Publisher Provided)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Much to Bach's annoyance, the top of the door on his Piper Cub slammed shut when he flew more than 65 mph. He pondered how to fix it for days, and one morning, just as he woke, the solution came to him. He was a happy flier again, until one day aloft the canary zipping by proved to be the Cub's yellow oil cap, with the engine oil trailing behind it. How should he fix the cap to compensate for his failure to screw it on tight? An answer again came to him just upon waking, this time accompanied by a flashing glimpse of a beautiful woman's face. Who was that? In dreams he eventually discovers she is Laura Bristol, a designer at Saunders-Vixen, a British aeroplane builder in a parallel plane of existence that, in its relative time of 1923, is a paradise for aviators in which World War I never happened, aircraft development isn't fueled by military demands, women and men work side by side in comradely amity, and a leather jacket bears a tag in its neckband "in grateful memory of the dear animal who gave her earthly life to protect an aviator from wind and cold." Indulgence for Bach's paper-thin parable, which revives Platonic idealism by suggesting that imagined perfection is real somewhere, probably depends on whether that neckband melts or freezes one's heart. Plenty have gotten all soppy over Bach's previous New Age mythmaking, especially Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Be prepared. --Ray Olson

Publisher's Weekly Review

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 minutiaeÄsuch as why his lovely messenger tucks a pencil in her hair, concluding finallyÄfollowing quite a leap of logicÄthat 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 universeÄEngland's Saunders-Vixen Aircraft Company Ltd., circa 1923Äan 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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

The author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull is back, still flying after all these years. In his latest fantasy, the author is puzzling over a modified design for his Piper Cub when a vision of loveliness appears, enticing him to a parallel universe. There he learns the joys of simplicity from designer Laura, who works for the Saunders-Vixen Aircraft Company. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.