Tuesday, July 25, 2006

New Sam McCain Novel by Ed Gorman

We all have a favorite writer, or two, or three, or ten--but every once in a while, if we are lucky, we find a writer that speaks to us. Not the common, "Oh, this is soo good" kind of book speak, but that "Wow, this guy is really saying something here" kind of lightening strike moment that signals a brief--all too brief--moment of understanding. To put it another way, the world--at least a very small part of it--is made plain by this writer; or something complicated and hard suddenly seems simple and very understandable.

This writer, to me, is Ed Gorman. He writes everything from dark suspense to mystery to science fiction to western, and I have never read anything he wrote that I didn't like. That's not to say I don't have favorites, because I do, and they are too numerous to post here, but among them I have to place his Sam McCain novels.

The Sam McCain mysteries are beautifully rendered portaits of small town life in the fifties and sixties spun into an entertaining, meaningful and downright fun story. There are six titles in the series: The Day the Music Died, Wake Up Little Susie, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, Save the Last Dance for Me, Everybody's Somebody's Fool, and Breaking Up is Hard to Do. McCain is also featured in a novella titled, "The Santa Claus Murders," which appeared in the anthology: Crooks, Crimes and Christmas. I'm actually reading this story right now, and it is vintage McCain. Fun, fast and uncomprimisingly enjoyable.

And now, drum roll please--again imagine your favorite actor / actress at the podium--the seventh title in the Sam McCain series has not only been announced, but the cover art has been released (see right). The title: Fools Rush In. The publisher: Pegasus Books. The release date: March, 2007.

Damn. Why must I always wait? Needless to say, I can't wait to get my grubby hands on this title--the last entry in the McCain saga, Breaking Up is Hard to Do, was published two long years ago. Two very long years ago.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Stansbury Island

The last several weeks have seen few, to say the least, posts here at Gravetapping. My instinct is to blame blogspot--their blog posting program has been messing about with me. I think it is a conspiracy. Although while this is a simple and somewhat accurate excuse their is another: calculus. God, how I despise that class, and I am just unfortunate enough to be taking it right this summer. Oh goody. So, anyway with that out of the way and can move on...

A few months ago my girl and and I went to Stansbury Island on the Great Salt Lake--it is a desert landscape surrounded by vast, seemingly limitless, stretches of water. There is a large heard of cattle that roams the northern end of the island, and on the southern end--which is actually attached to the surrounding desert, much like a peninsula--are several evaporation ponds, salt factories, biking and hiking trails, and a myriad of dirt roads--not to mention a few nude male sunbathers. Just don't look too close, and you'll be okay.

The island has a desolate eloquence, which gives one the impression of timelessness. It is seemingly the birthplace of our world. Ancient, and new at the same time. Everything is slowed down here: life, death, decay, and even re-birth. There is beauty. The golden hue of lazily swaggering flora. The crisp airy sky and the deep, restless water slowly moving, tapping, tapping against the brilliant whites of shoreline. There is life--mountain lions roam the in solitude along the far edges of the high back country, birds sweep across the horizon as they migrate North in the spring and South again in the autumn, rabbits bound across the flat brush covered lowlands down near the lake, and then you have the creepers and crawlers. The bugs, flys and the pesky mosquitoes. They are all here on Standsbury Island, living and dying. It is a wonderful place. A place were one can reflect on the past, the present and one's own mortality.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Amazing Journeys Magazine

Good news, and bad too. Amazing Journeys Magazine recently published my short story "The Electric Man," and it is currently available for purchase at Clarke's World Books. Go Here to find AJM--"Electric Man" is in issue 10.

It has been well received, both my short story and the magazine as a whole. AJM is a great little digest sized (perfect bound) magazine of modern science fiction written in the classic style of the golden age. These stories will remind you of The Twilight Zone, vintage Asimov, Heinlein, and even L. Ron Hubbard. The stories are crisp, clean and very well told.

Go Here to read the Tangent review for this issue of AJM.

Now for the bad: I recently learned that Ed Knight, the hardworking editor of AJM, has called it quits after thirteen issues. He did a nearly impossible job of putting this high quality magazine together on a shoe-string budget. I'll miss AJM, but I wish all the best to Ed and hope maybe, just maybe, he'll throw his hat back into the small press magazine rink. Good luck, Ed.