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72 Western American Literature Lime Creek Odyssey. By Steven J. Meyers. (Golden, Colorado: Fulcrum, Inc., 1989. 116 pages, $14.95.) Steven Meyers reflects on his experiences in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado to write this book which he insists is “about place and about Lime Creek in particular.” But despite his obvious reverence for nature and his photographic training, Lime Creek Odyssey seems more a polemic than a nature book. His view is unabashedly romantic (e.g., he and three friends make music on a mountaintop with wood blocks, sticks, ocarinas, and an oboe; butterflies and a hawk are attracted to the music; a song “flowfs] from the oboe as if the earth itself had written it”) . Meyers recognizes hyperbole here, but declares, “Sometimes . . . truth [is] more valuable than restraint. I’m a firm believer in passion and stupidity and life.” He is passionate, but certainly not stupid. Rachel Carson and many others share his concern with the balance between restraint and romance in nature writing; but experts like Carson, Dillard, and Zwinger depend on concrete details and precise observation to create verisimilitude and evoke a sense of place: “The place tells you what you’re going to write about; you don’t mold the place to your ideas,” says Zwinger. Pure nature writers are relatively rare, remarks Zwinger: “It seems that someone writes a nature book their first shot out of the bag, and then they go on to something for the rest of their writing lives. It’s as if you can transfer to nature some of the things that were on your mind about growing up, etc. [and get them] out of your system, and then you can go on to ‘grown-up’ novels or whatever.” Zwinger’s general remarks seem applicable to Lime Creek Odyssey, in which Meyers tends to substitute some of the things that are on his mind for the clear-eyed, precise, imaginative observation and description that delight us in the writings of Zwinger, Dillard, Carson, and others. But Meyers is clearly talented, thoughtful, and imaginative. Lime Creek Odyssey suggests that he is “on his way to something.” And that “something” should be worth watching. ORVIS BURMASTER Boise State University Razored Saddles. Edited by Joe R. Lansdale and Pat LoBrutto. (Arlington Heights, Illinois: Dark Harvest, 1989. 268 pages, $19.95.) In their doggedly silly introduction, Lansdale and LoBrutto joke about creating a Cowpunk literary movement to rival science fiction’s Cyberpunk and horror’s Splatterpunk movements. On a slightly less silly note, the editors hope that the outrageousness of Razored Saddles might breathe new life into the pulp Western novel. An anthology of seventeen weird tales with connec­ tions to the American West, this literary oddity is worth reading for curiosity’s sake, plus the few good stories that it contains. Reviews 73 Scott Cupp’s “Thirteen Days of Glory” recasts the fall of the Alamo with Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, and the other defenders as homosexuals. A some­ what more successful story, David J. Schow’s “Sedalia” repopulates today’s West with dinosaurs. The reader, in turn, is treated to a slice-of-life yarn of cowboys on a dinosaur “cattle” drive. In the title tale, “Razored Saddles,” Robert Petitt depicts a post-holocaust San Antonio where rodeo cowboys ride 40-foot mutant rattlesnakes. A particularly interesting piece, Howard Waldrop’s “The Passing of the Western” presents an “alternate” West with Boise, Idaho, as an “alternate” Hollywood. In the end, Waldrop’s tale proves to be a loving homage to the making of low-budget Westerns in the 1930s. Another truly gentle tale, Gary Raisor’s “Empty Places” has humanoid buffalo creatures from outer space visiting the Great Plains to mourn the death of their ancestors. In “I’m Always Here” by Richard Christian Matheson, the young female admirer of a dying C&W singer has her healthy body medically fused to his so that he might be revitalized. Needless to say, they sing a strange duet on stage. Set in New Mexico, “Eldon’s Penitente” by Lenore Carroll depicts a guilty, middle-aged Anglo carrying a cross through the streets of Santa Fe on Good Friday seeking redemption for his omissions...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 72-73
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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