The novel Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by writer and pilot Richard Bach. First published in 1977, the story questions the reader's view of reality, proposing that what we call reality is merely an illusion we create for learning and enjoyment. The mystical adventure of Illusion: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah is about an itinerant flier who flies passengers around the skies above Midwest corn fields in an antique bi-plane. He is unexpectedly joined on this lonely journey by another individual doing the same thing in a 1928 Travel Air--Donald Shimoda. However, it pretty quickly becomes apparent that there is something abnormal about Shimoda. His plane sits in an Illinois corn field appearing factory new, no torn fabric, no oil stains, not even straw from the passengers inside the aircraft. Upon questioning from Richard, it turns out that their meeting was no accident, Donald Shimoda had planned it. Donald has arrived to be something of a mentor for Richard. The two main characters take on a relationship of teacher-student about the illusions that make reality. The easy companionship of the two pilots is a comfortable setting in which Bach sets his sometimes uncomfortable ideas In Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah Donald Shimoda is a messiah who leaves his job of being a messiah and also of being a mechanic at a garage, after deciding that people value the showbiz-like performance of miracles and want to be entertained by those miracles more than to understand the message behind them. He meets Richard, a fellow barn-storming pilot and begins to pass on his knowledge to him, even teaching Richard to perform "miracles" of his own. Donald Shimoda seems to be able to do things that are impossible and Bach discovers that Donald Shimoda has stopped “clinging to the bottom of the river”, and Bach wants to join him and Richard Bach becomes more willing to learn what Donald Shimoda is teaching. At one stop in particular...
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