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The Edge of Ruin

March 22, 2017

IMG_4529Well, 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).

IMG_4485We 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.

IMG_4595I 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.”

IMG_4506Richard 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.”

IMG_4614There 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.

IMG_4469It 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.17352114_10211034749377746_8046104678820129690_n

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. March 22, 2017 9:47 am

    Incredible photos! The Antelope Canyon picture is stunning!

    • March 22, 2017 10:51 am

      The guide took that picture. So many of the vistas were amazing that if I took my brother’s advice and took a number of photos, some of them turned out to show the amazing-ness!

  2. March 23, 2017 2:43 am

    What a lovely trip, Jeanne. I adore that part of the world. Have you heard of Thomas Keneally’s The place where souls are born? It’s set in that region – and is wonderful.

    The main book I remember buying when travelling through the southwest, and I bought a few on various trips, was Willa Cather’s Death come to the archbishop – but that is set in way different times to the book you described!

    • March 23, 2017 8:20 am

      I had not heard of The Place Where Souls Are Born. Interestingly, it’s still a bit hard to find in this country; most of the copies I found when I looked it up are shipped from the UK. Still, it does sound interesting to get an outsider’s view on one’s own country.
      I was mostly thinking of Cadillac Desert and The Water Knife as we drove from Colorado back down through Arizona…

      • March 23, 2017 5:12 pm

        Ah the water wars! I don’t know either of those…

        Yes, I think it is interesting reading someone else on one’s country. The main one I remember reading on Australia was Bill Bryson’s. Of course he’s a humorist but he got many things right! He also made me feel very brave living as I do with myriad dangerous creatures at every bend!

  3. March 23, 2017 3:32 pm

    Wait a minute, hold on. Did you really meet George R.R. Martin? You are not allowed to say oh so casually you met him and then just drop it! You must say more!

    Glad you had such a lovely trip. Beautiful photo. Love the one of you with the chicken brothers 🙂

    • March 23, 2017 4:10 pm

      I really did meet George R.R. Martin. He invited Leeman to come out and do his Ask Lovecraft show, and was in the audience both nights. I was talking to Melinda Snodgrass, who is a friend of his, in the very small theater lobby and he came over and joined in. He looked like he does in all his photos, with the hat and everything.

  4. March 28, 2017 3:40 pm

    Beautiful pictures! I’ve never been to the southwest before. Parts of it look so alien to what I’m used to. I loved seeing these.

    • March 28, 2017 3:57 pm

      It was an alien landscape for me, too. I’m always thirsty when I’m there, my lips get chapped, and my hair gets static.
      I walked around some of the time thinking about how the Fremen looked at the Atreides when they first got to Dune (the Frank Herbert book), thinking they looked plump and full of water; I think the phrase was something like “water-fat.”

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