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Comments from the Editor

The rich complexity of Slopes of London is evident from the start and threaded throughout in this love/hate interplay between reader and central characters J. Venable and Cynthia Waterhouse in Baker’s double-barreled pot-shot at the well-heeled and the glamorous sport of skiing. The author might have elected to operate under the general perception of how easy it is to resent the rich, but that would have made for a simple story.

On the contrary, Richard M. Baker, Jr., is a master at tearing-down stereotypes. In Slopes of London, he introduces an unusual cast of characters -- dreamers, loners, virtual hermits, isolated hicks -- refreshingly entertaining and expressive people with eccentric, magical minds. In classic Baker style, the author shows how personalities are adapted and shaped to accommodate change in a growth-driven society.

Slopes of London begins with a surreal conversation between two carefree lovers engaged in a phantasm of poetic self-flattery. Baker involves the reader in the shared hallucination with an inventiveness reserved for wondrous storytelling as he takes us far beyond the absurdity of the spoiled indulgences of the well-to-do. True character is repeatedly put to the test by rural New England folk bred with suspicion and stubborn, observant patience. Maine writer Baker understands Yankees, and strategically pits them against the upscale Waterhouse couple in a contest judged by native constitution or nothing at all.

Baker researched the technical elements to support the details and credibility of the risk and hard work involved in the development of a vast and expensive ski resort. This combination of fact and fiction blended with dry humor, satire, and a liberal dose of theatrics results in a highly visual story among the mountainous landscape of New Hampshire. Slopes of London offers a retrospective tour of a time-honored setting when mountains were obtainable and the ski industry was booming.