The Edge of Ruin
Well, I’m back, from a spring break tour of the southwest. You know how when you visit a place there are more things to see than you have time for? That’s what happened when Eleanor and I drove to Tucson, and what happened again when we went back to see some of the New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona sights we couldn’t visit on that first trip (three of the Arizona sights we now want to go back for are Horseshoe Bend, Bearizona, and Meteor Crater).
We took Ron with us this time, along with our friends Ben and Carol and Eleanor’s friend Andie. Andie taught us to play a great new card game called “hand and foot” in the evenings, in various hotel rooms. We also played a game in the car, one that she and Eleanor had made up while in college; they call it “Please don’t eat that” after the phrase they first said to the dog they were walking and then turned into the title of a story. We told a series of stories in which one of the characters was always named “Gary” (sometimes pronounced as if he were French, lengthened to Gariel when he appeared as an angel, and designated as G4RY when he was a robot).
We journeyed to Albuquerque, where we went up Sandia Peak on the tram, and then on to Chaco Canyon, Durango, CO, Mesa Verde, Antelope Canyon, the Grand Canyon, Painted Desert and Petrified Forest, back to Albuquerque for the Breaking Bad tour, and then to Santa Fe to see Meow Wolf (an art installation), the Loretto Chapel with its winding staircase, and our friend Leeman’s performance as H.P. Lovecraft in his live Ask Lovecraft show, where we met Melinda Snodgrass and George R.R. Martin.
I remembered reading The Edge of Reason by Melinda Snodgrass but had forgotten that I’d meant to look for the sequel, and now there are two! I bought a signed copy of the second one and read it as one of the three books I finished on the long journey home (our flight was delayed for almost five hours).
The second book, The Edge of Ruin, continues the adventures of Richard Oort without the help of Kenntnis, except that Richard has inherited his company, which has interests in “biotech, high tech, private space ventures, open source code, alternate energy sources. Education….And alleviating poverty, which Kenntnis considered to be the source of many of the world’s ills—war, terrorism, overpopulation, pollution.”
Richard is still using the sword of rationality to help people who have been misled by the magic of the Old Ones. These “Old Ones” from a different world are still trying to take over the earth, using as tools those people who attack science, believe in “alternate facts,” or appear on Christian cable networks. At one point, Richard comes up with a way “to describe what happened when I used the sword. Being inoculated. It beat every other phrase people had come up with. When Cross called it ‘the touch’ it sounded sleazy. When Pamela called it ‘submitting to the sword’ it sounded like an S&M sex act. Dagmar had suggested ‘the dubbing,’ but that was even worse. ‘Inoculated’ worked.”
There are exciting moments, like when “a strong, hot, harsh wind was blowing against them. Pamela assumed it was flowing through the gate. I’m breathing the air of an alien universe, she thought.”
The writing is fun, too. Friendly aliens use interesting metaphors–at one point, one of them comes rushing in and says “party’s over. I’ve shot my wad, and they’ve still got many wads in reserve.” There’s a reference to “FBI Scoobies” which seems to me to reveal that the author has watched so many episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that she believes this should be used as a general reference to any group of agents faced with a supernatural force.
It was fun to read The Edge of Ruin, full of references to Albuquerque and vicinity, at the end of our trip. Do you know what’s the best thing about traveling from Ohio to the southwest in March? Seeing blue sky! It’s so blue, it almost looks photoshopped in some photos, like in the background of this wall at Pueblo Bonita (Chaco canyon).
Here is a photo of our entire party, taken at the entrance to Antelope Canyon. Many of the rocks outside this canyon looked like Jabba the Hutt, from Star Wars, so we kept referencing the Diego Luna interviews where he reveals his love for “Yabba” and touching the stones to enjoy their texture.