Saturday, September 22, 2012

An online-only batch of Short Stories

Posted By on Sat, Sep 22, 2012 at 4:10 PM

If you read this week's cover story on Jason Lewis, you might have noticed that the timing was inspired, in part, by Lewis' book release.

Typically when we run book-related stories, they show up as a Fine Print feature, with short book reviews attached.

Well, "Lewis and the arc" grew into a larger feature, and, as such, our Short Stories this month have a found a home here, on the IndyBlog.

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The Dog Stars
Peter Heller
Knopf, $24.95/hardcover
Hig and his dog Jasper have survived the super-flu apocalypse by almost a decade in their corner of a tiny Colorado airport, shared with well-armed prepper Bangley and Hig’s 1956 Cessna. Hig’s learned to not think too much — about the past, his dead wife, or the people they’ve killed to stay safe, only some of whom were actually a threat. But one more loss sends him flying out in search of an airport radio that he might have heard, once, four years ago. When 99.7 percent of the people are dead, how can one decent man start living again? Heller answers that question with Hig, a man who’s going to fly until he finds something worth loving. While the apocalypse itself is to be feared, this book finds the core of humanity that we can only hope will be left afterward, however frightened we may be. — Kel Munger

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Spike: A Dark Place (Part One)
Victor Gischler
Dark Horse, $2.99/comic book
It was Spike who delivered my favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer quote ever: “Love isn’t brains, children, it’s blood. Blood screaming inside you to work its will. I may be love’s bitch, but at least I’m man enough to admit it.” And now said vampire loverboy is headed to the dark side of the moon on a spaceship with human-sized cockroach minions, still heartsick over Buffy, to kick-off this five-part miniseries. (Issue 2 released this week.) Spike’s humor is standalone entertaining, but to get your bearings, a back-read of the BVS Season 8 and 9 comics, which lead off where the TV show ended, is helpful. While Avengers movie and BVS mastermind Joss Whedon plays the executive producer role here, Marvel comic regular Victor Gischler scripts this space jaunt with fun, fulfilling pen and ink work by Paul Lee and Andy Owens respectively. — Matthew Schniper

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Alone With the Past: The Life and Photographic Art of Roland W. Reed
Ernest R. Lawrence
Afton Press, hardcover/$45
There’s no Wikipedia page for Roland Reed. Even his grave, which lies right here in Evergreen Cemetery, is unmarked. It’s sad, considering that Reed’s life work — photographing various Native American nations in the U.S. — is pretty much on par with that of his more famous contemporary, Edward Sheriff Curtis. Like Curtis, Reed oscillated between artistic photographer and anthropological documentarian. That line is even blurrier given the way he posed his photos; however, standards of study have changed too, and Reed’s sensitive approach to the Objiway, Navajo and Hopi nations (to name a few) are still remarkable. Enter Alone With the Past: The Life and Photographic Art of Roland W. Reed, a compendium of Reed’s photos, letters and commercial ephemera. Reed’s work really sings come Chapter 5, “The People of the Southwest.” His stark, bold photographs of people and the majestic Canyon de Chelly landscape exemplify his ability to capture wide-scale grandeur, like abandoned cliff dwellings, or small, contemplative moments in a simple, stunning portrait. — Edie Adelstein

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