2017 UPDATES & NEWS
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Mass Media is doing to Humanity what the Automobile has done to the Earth.

 

Be careful when someone starts talking about humans as "caretakers" or "overseers" of this world. Notice the subtlety in meaning when terms to describe the same event start to alter, like "climate change" for "global warming". Instead of living "on the Earth", how about "supported by the Earth" or "amidst the Earth?" And, by all means, contemplate—in all its aspects and drawn conclusions—of calling this planet we live on, well, Home.

Here's Bil Moyer's take on this concerning the Big Orange Cheeto: http://billmoyers.com/story/orwell-hitler-trump/# (if the link is taken down or not working, here's a copy)

And, oh, by the way, these pages will not carry the name nor the antics of the so-called named President of the United States, beginning this year. Notice I said named, not elected. And, speaking of word choices, hear the rhetoric of Press Secretary Sean Spicer after the inaugration, "Sometimes we can disagree with facts, but our intention is never to lie." And, followed by top Presidental adviser, Kellyanne Conway's "alternative facts" as given to the press as explanation. Can you say Newspeak?

Okay, that's it. I SWEAR. No more about this toxic Trumpkin Patch.

01/04/2017

James Lee Burke
Done
01/20/2017
Nick Cutter
Shorted
02/05/2017
Will McIntosh
Done
02/18/2017
G X Todd
Done
03/03/2017
Graham Masterton
Done
03/12/2017
L. L. Soares
Done
03/26/2017
Deborah Biancotti
Done
04/06/2017
Ali Land
In Progress
04/18/2017
Lisa Tuttle
Shorted

 

Terry and I took off for Canyon de Chelly on the Navaho reservation in northern Arizona on April 10th. We met our friends Karen and Art and stayed at the Thunderbird Lodge for 3 nights. The first day we spent peering down the canyon's 600 to 1,000 foot walls and spotting numerous ruins, sheep pastures, loose horses and cattle, corn and herbal fields. Flute, drums and chanting songs wafted up from various areas. The next day Art, Karen and I challenged the shallow river in a guided Jeep, 4-wheeling up the canyon at 8am. Then, at 4pm, Terry and I charged the canyon with Leander, the owner of Beauty Way Jeep Tours, for the evening light.

The vitalizing experience of Canyon de Chelly is hard to apotheosize properly because it involves spirituality and a seemingly growing attack on its inviolability. The canyon is "owned" and managed by the Parks Dept and Navaho Nation. There is that slow and buried grinding of the wheel of commerce, visioning de Chelly as a future Zion or Mesa Verde. But, in the meantime, the canyon is a working experience, continuing the traditions and methods of living and creating on the land.It is cohesive with the past and we were mesmerized with feeling its tantric strength. The sandstone cliff faces offer thousands of stories and interpretations of its markings in the changing light.

 

The ruins stand solitary, maintaining a home for birds and animals since losing their human occupants so may years ago. The Anasazi—a Navaho word for Ancient Ones—arriving almost 5,000 years ago, built the ruins as communities to oversee their efficacious agricultural and husbandry production. After they mysteriously disappeared 600 years ago, the canyon saw changes from cliff dwelling living to Pueblo village life, then insemination from Hopi tribes to Navaho settlements brought favorable recognition to the canyon for its natural and exploitable assets. Unfortunately, the tranquility ended in the 1700s with wars and raids for animals and land, drawing in the Spaniards, distant tribes like the Utes, and the European settlers. This culminated in The Long Walk, where, in 1863 Kit Carson and an US Army force killed around 150 Navaho and drove the survivors on a 300-mile death march to Fort Sumner in New Mexico. After almost completely destroying the Navaho nation—not to mention the other Indians in the area—the Navaho were allowed to return to their native land in1868.

Today, beyond its exquisite visual and sensory beauty, past its cathedral-like deference to the spirits and ghosts that roam its hallowed walls, even beyond the wild turkeys and copious crows, Canyon de Chelly breathes the life worth living as its people embrace the earth with harmony and respect. If Adam and Eve were Anasazi, this is where their dreams of a perfect world started. Anyplace else it'd be, well, ophidian in its proposed futures.

The Navahos are proficient with traditional rite of passage ceremonies and blessing songs for expelling applied curses and culling diseases. Their prayer book is divided in half by Hózho´o´jí, meaning The Blessing Way, and Ana'í Ndáá', The Enemy Way. The former addresses healing and harmony; the latter, harm and trauma, especially from ghosts. And, as we were leaving what could only be described as The Blessing Way, I was struck with chest pains. At first I thought it was just heartburn, but it persisted until, finally in Flagstaff, I volunteered myself to hospital's Emergency ward. After two nights and massive tests, it was determined as "hyper-tension". Entering, my blood pressure was somewhere north of 212 systolic. And, when leaving the wonderful facility of Flagstaff Medical Center—I was treated with concern and attention as never before in a hospital—I was as close to 120/80 as I'll probably ever be.

I have been waiting for this day to come. I just didn't expect it to hit before I reached 70, which is 4 months away. I am calling this the 4th and final booster of the rocket ride known as Life. You have to adapt to these oncoming stages or it will be an amended journey. So, less sugar, less salt, exercise. Buy a blood pressure sleeve, a blood sugar testing kit. No stress, and noTrump as prescribed.

 

 

Well, Missoula was kinda a bust this year. I got a mid-May start with Ter and the Puppers flying, as usual. Hitting southern Utah I was looking forward to Natural Bridges and Capital Reef's campgrounds and the exploration of Indian and Canyon lands. All sites in both were full to overflowing. Decided to hang with familiar routes and hit Yellowstone via Flaming Gorge & Grand Teton's Red Hills. Yellowstone was a nightmare of RVs, forcing me to Norris campground and leaving all the geyser landscapes to the south inaccessible. I limped into Missoula after a mere week of frustration.

My 70th was subdued between Elle's graduation from HS and Tim's B-day. Missoula was pleasant—until the smoke from Canada, Seeley Lake, and Lolo fires drove us southward. Terry flew home mid-August and I followed with a 6-day trip back the way I came up. Two nights in deserted campgrounds, two night wilderness/car camping, two nights at Natural Bridges, where the campground was completely empty this time when I arrived. Then 2 nights on the Mogollon Rim culminating in a lightening strike that made me see night like it was twelve noon. Did I mention how fookin' loud it was?

 

Reading-wise and Review-wise, I think this is probably the end. I just don't seem to have the impetus any more. My drive in photography is also slowing down to a crawl. I'm honestly thinking of selling my cameras and buying a piano. With a little practice—and a genius teacher—I could play Moonlight Sonata for the billion-ith runthrough in no time.

 

 

Copyright

 

Title
Author
Comments
c. 2016
John Langan

In Progress

c. 2017
Punch Escrow
Tal M. Klein
Way too geekie for me. Started off with incomprehensible footnotes on FutureTech. Writing style seemed pushing too hard to be different. Here's the author talking his way out of it: https://www.inkshares.com/books/the-punch-escrow
c. 2016
Boarderline
Mishell Baker
Female detective searing for a series. Everything seemed overworked.
c. 2013
Rivers
Michael Farris Smith
Apocalypse has taken over the Mississippi River's delta and turned it into MadMaxVille. A good escape ride.
c.2017
Desperation Road
Michael Farris Smith
Firmly entrenched in So Gothic about a dude who serves a 11-year prison sentence only to discover the lockup of so-called freedom.
c. 2017
Sirens
Joseph Knox
Undercover Narc shit in a workable procedural where disgraced Agent goes after runaway rich girl & finds a lot more. A good crime read.
c. 2015
The Fold
Peter Clines
A traveling-the-Space/Time-Transporter thriller that gets really carried away with itself. Big, ugly monsters come through the gateway, looking for The Fly's Geena Davis
c. 2017
Kristi DeMeester

Done

c. 2016
Bracken Macleod

Shorted

c. 2017
Alan Baxter

Done

c. 2015
Planetfall
Emma Newman
An engaging read about an established colony on another planet that has its own God City. Basic concept is pretty worn but execution is certainly original.
c. 2016
After Atlas
Emma Newman
A bogged-down police procedural over what happens when cult leader is found hacked up, but dead from suicidal hanging. As it reels out, it becomes more uninteresting.
c. 2014
Fourth of July Creek
Smith Henderson
A gem of a So Gothic. Protag is a social worker and novel breaks between an aggressive orphan who never stays put in his many foster homes & another young kid living in Montana wilderness with his survivalist dad. Has a great drunk scene roaming the bars of Missoula.
c. 2001
Yonder Stands Your Orphan
Barry Hannah
A So Goth I dropped at page 30. Probably needs a second look. Writing style indicates a singular voice with competence.
c. 2011
Devil Red
Joe R. Lansdale
#8 in the Hap & Leonard series. "For all we know," Leonard said, "you've signed us up to jack off donkeys at an animal sperm bank"(p.24). Always fun, always a consuming read. Always just a little too much to remember.
c. 1993
The Vanishment
Jonathan Aycliffe
A complex, possessed confounding, and one that drew confusion in the end instead of elocution. A narrator that is elusive, yet not used to potential. And, female ghosts that become interchangeable. More brow furrowing than terrified heart pounding.
C. 1992
Jonathan Aycliffe

In Progress

c.1996
The Lost
Jonathan Aycliffe
A 166-page quickie, but still couldn't get excited. Contemporaries take over possibly Vlad's Castle in Romania, but they're really squatters and too slow on the uptake. Extemporaneous, but the ending—when it comes—wow, step back.
c.2016
Vigil
Angela Slatter
A gumshoe procedural in a fantasy world where once-human Weyrds are tolerated even tho they kill us, eat us, on occasion. The worldbuilding is too fanciful to tolerate anything like logic, even rationalization. 129/351
c.2014
The Three
Sarah Lotz
Read? Well, maybe yes, maybe no. Eh, I don't think so. I can't commit, so I'll toss this one based on writing style alone, as I don't particularity like tales told told via interviews, transcripts, excerpts, etc., especially after an apocalyptic beginning event occurs. Max Brook's zombie work a while back is enough. I need more intimacy, more soul scraping, smaller venues. Too earth-shattering, thriller-ish, I guess.
c.2015
A Head Full Of Ghosts
Paul Tremblay
If it wasn't for some of the raunchy dialogue and racey allusions, I'd think this was a YA stomp. Older daughter gets possessed by a demon. Out of money, the family agrees to have their ghoulish calamity turned into a reality TV show called Possession. None of it works, especially when it's dragged through the memories of an 8-yr old younger sister. At least they reference The Exorcist and move on from there. Horror in the 'Burbs, but it is consumer culture, apathy, and conformity that's the real life usurper here. 192/286
c.2017
History of Wolves
Emily Fridlund
This should have been a better book. I kept waiting for it to grab me. Never did. These people just drove on by like Jackson Browne's proverbial "girl, my Lord, in a flat bed Ford." 137/279
c.2016
Too Like The Lightning
Ada Palmer
I'm lost in this one. Untethered from the future time plot. Adrift with complex and cloaked characters. And no place to land. I must backstroke from uncharted waters and get back to the Sea of Known Artifacts. I feel my science fiction storage bay is being looted or disassembled. 83/432
c.1987
James Herbert

Shorted

 

 

 

Remember the "chest pains" at the end of April's Canyon de Chelly trip? Well, in October that developed into an angiogram through the groin at UofA hospital here in Tucson. The result was a seen calcium build up in the curve of an artery around my heart. The stent will be put in at a later date, but they still kept me in the hospital overnight for observation.

In my room, I had a roommate on the other side of the curtain who was in bad shape. I heard few words but many groans. Anyway, around 3am I am woken with the room fully lit and my roomie loudly babbling away in stress. There are two nurses working him over. I hear one of them say, "don't touch your face. It's all over your hands."

Then the smell hit me.

The other nurses at the docking station said there were no beds available, so, with a blanket and my backpack for a pillow, I found a waiting room and crashed out on the couch. Needless to say, it wasn't a great night. But I got to go home the next day.

 

 

c.2014
Josh Malerman

Done

c.1986
Stephen Gregory

In Progress

c.1988
Stephen Gregory

In Progress

 
 
It was a long mental wait for the procedure to install a stent. I cancelled our trip to Kauai that was leaving Nov. 13th. This time Dr. Shetty and his team of cardiologists went up the left femoral artery from the groin. The stent was placed with no difficulty or discomfort. I spent the night in an observation room, fortunately without any disruptions from a roommate. Discharged at noon the next day. Home, I began feeling that old, pesky harbinger that swept me into panic attacks in the 1990s. Dizziness, night sweats, loss of strength. My pharmacist friend Bruce told me to go back to UMC and get another EKG reading. Normal, but the bloodwork showed the heart enzyme troponin was on the rise, so they kept me overnight, doing blood testing every 4 hours. By the morning, the results showed a downward trend, so every thing is hunky-dory, I hope.

 

CARNY NOVELS: The Highlights

This could be an ongoing list. I love Carny novels. They are sooo Las Vegas, America.

       
c.1946
William Lindsay Gresham

In Progress

c.1953

Madball

(Cover Art)

Fredric Brown

Carny Corn setting for a murder(s) puzzle that's not even bemusing just dull. (Great PBO cover, though). Yeah, everybody lies, cheats, steals. Characters as props—one's even called The Murderer—and atmosphere that's breathable only—"strident selling speiling grinding . . . and the basedrum call to bally"(p.7). Author Brown is the main con artist here. He has written much better things. 121/192. See The Far Cry

c.1966
Carny Kill
Robert Edmund Alter

In Progress

c.2002
Geek Love
Katherine Dunn

Not Yet

c.2008
Will Elliot

This review is SHORTED, but the novel is well worth the read. I have trouble sometimes . . .

c.2013
Joyland
Stephen King

Not Yet

 
 

 

GOODBYE 2017

 

 

And while we're into the Reaper's work, I'd like to pay homage to five of my favorite artists who also passed this year:

Robert M. Pirsig (1928-2017)

Brian Aldiss (1925-2017)

Sam Shepard (1943-2017

William Peter Blatty (1928-2017)

Hugh Hefner (1926-2017)

 

No more from you great storytellers is a grievous loss, but what you left in the dirt for all of us is your immortality unquestioned. Thanks, guys & gals, for your heart. You will be missed.

 

Again, I paged through about 45 books this year. For the first time, I found myself in serious recurring, short-term memory trouble. Reading is becoming more difficult because I cannot remember what I read in the book previously. And reviews, well, it's obvious they have fallen off in insight and quality as well. Ensemble-style reads are out because, starting a chapter, I don't know if I've met the characters before. I can't stand that kind of narrative structure anyway, so good riddance.

My summer trips yielded an overabundance of images, even though I got some water drops on the new Canon G7X and it quit on me. Refurbished, It later redeemed itself by grabbing some fabu pics in Sabino Canyon this fall. For the first time ever, I've gotten ahead of myself in the Silver Links Repository and am filling out 2016!

 

 

But before we get to the major awards, a new recognition has been set forth:

 

THE CRAWFORD CONFERRALS

(a simple salute for simple-minded readers like myself)

 

Best read novel of the Year: The Cormorant

Best read surprise of the Year: Nightmare Alley

This year's Honored Mentionables:

Waking in Winter

(A girl discovers a Goddess. Maybe THE Goddess)

Beneath

(You'll never walk in the dirt barefooted again)

Bird Box

(What you see will kill you)

The House odows

(Brim-full of shock and wonderment)

Cast A C

(A heartfelt haunting, perfectly touchstoned)

The Ageacles

(Coming of Age as the clock wears down)

All The Birnging

(A gem in elusive narration)

 

 

A discovered UnAmerican Author of the Year: Deborah Biancotti

A discovered American Author of the Year: Joe R. Lansdale

A discovered British Author of the Year: Stephen Gregory

 

Summarizing 2017 with regards to fantasist literature is probably best illustrated by the major award winners for best novel.

The Nebula was won by Charlie Jane Anders for All the Birds in the Sky.

The Hugo was won by N. K. Jemisin for The Obelisk Gate.

The World Fantasy Award was won by Anna Smaill for The Chimes. The International Horror Guild Award was discontinued in 2008, but we still have the Stoker, which was staked out by John Langan for The Fisherman, and Tom Deady's for Haven for 1st Novel Award.

Across the pond, The British Fantasy award now splits in two for the novel category, with Disappearance at Devil's Rock by Paul Tremblay winning the August Derleth (horror) award and The Tiger and the Wolf by Adrian Tchaikovsky taking the Robert Holdstock (fantasy) award. Europe in Winter by Dave Hutchinson broke the summit stick over his knee for the British Science Fiction award while Jaine Fenn booted into Short Fiction with Liberty Bird. The Arthur C. Clarke award went to The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.

The John W. Campbell crown fell on Lavie Tidhar this year for Central Station. PBOs were distinguished with a win for The Mercy Journals by Claudia Casper for the Philip K. Dick Award, with special citation to Unpronounceable by Susan diRende. The James Tiptree Jr. award sat with Anna-Marie McLemore for When the Moon Was Ours. Okay, there's also the Shirley Jackson Award which went to Emma Cline for The Girls, this year's novel choice, with the half-novel (Novella) to The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle.

A new addition to the literary awards is the James Herbert Award, offered to Horror writers within the UK. It was launched in 2014 and laid top honors on Nick Cutter's The Troop from 2014. After that, who knows what happened, as there apparently was not a selection in either 2015 or 2016. I've heard nothing about it this year. "Hiatus" describes the answer from the web. So, look for it in the future, maybe.

And lastly, The Locus Awards passed out plaques for Best SciFi Novel to Cixin Liu's Death's End , Best Fantasy Novel to All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders , and Best 1st Novel to Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee. Best Horror Novel went to Joe Hill for The Fireman. The Novella was tossed to Seanan McGuire for Every Heary A Doorway.

 

 

HELLO TO 2018 !!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© copyright 2010 by Larry Crawford

updated 01/02/2014