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Uncle River

Last updated on Monday, December 23, 2002

Uncle River
Uncle River
Uncle River's cultural speculative fiction has appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction, Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Amazing Stories, the British Interzone, and Canada's Transversions, among many others. His story, "Love of the True God," published in Talebones #10, qualified for the Preliminary Ballot for a Nebula Award and was a finalist for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. As of June, 2002, his "How We Know What Happened" is the cover story of the current Absolute Magnitude #18, and his "My Stolen Sabre" from the Dec. '01 Asimov's is due for reprint in David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer's Year's Best Fantasy #2.

Uncle River is due to appear as a panelist at two SF conventions in Summer, 2002: ReaderCon in the Boston area, July 12-14, and ArmadilloCon in Austin, Aug. 16-18. Trained in Jungian Analysis and holding what he believes to be the world's only earned Ph.D. in Psychology of the Unconscious (Union Institute, 1974), Uncle River has lived as a hermit/writer in the mountain Southwest for the past 20 years.


Set in the real New Mexico ghost town of Mogollon where Uncle River lived for five years, the fictitious "Mogollon News" began as a column in the Silver City Enterprise, at the time New Mexico's oldest continuously published weekly paper, in 1985. The "Mogollon News" ran as a regular feature on Public Radio Station KRWG, Las Cruces, from 1986-90, and has appeared as a column in several regional newspapers. Through the 90s, it was a regular feature in the leading British experimental speculative fiction periodical, BBR. Sufficiently authentic to back-country life that Uncle River's local postmistress wondered why she didn't know the people whose tales appeared in the paper, the complete "Mogollon News" comprises over two hundred stories, like the ones posted here. (Available in book-manuscript format to interested publishers.)


Thunder Mountain, (Mother Bird Books, 1213 Durango, Silver City, NM 88061, 189 pp., trade papberback, $11 + $1.50 shipping.) Set in the fictitious Thunder Range of remote Southwestern New Mexico, Thunder Mountain "explores how the land can live and how human spirits can bond with the land" (BBR). Thunder Mountain will show you the difference between an outlaw and a criminal.

"Uncle River transcends mere authorship to become an authentic voice of the abused land." . . . Paul DiFilippo, Asimov's Science Fiction

". . . a new sort of creature, perhaps related to magical realism, which I hope gets positive notice in both of its home worlds - New Mexico regional writing and science fiction...The way the book is structured makes an important read, which is good since the story is pleasant and brings laughter and tears at the right places." . . . Don Webb, The New York Review of Science Fiction


Speculative fiction, poetry, articles, and art, Uncle River edited XIZQUIL from 1989-98, through 16 issues, winning a Rhysling Award for Year's Best Long Poem from the Science Fiction Poetry Association and placing stories regularly on the Honorable Mention list in Gardner Dozois's annual Year's Best Science Fiction anthologies.

"What better place than the genre of the fantastic to explore new ways of telling stories? XIZQUIL, edited by Uncle River, is firmly pointed in this direction." . . . Michael P. Belfiore, Tangent.

Preview of Uncle River's Novel, Mogollon News

Contact if you are interesting in publishing Uncle River's "Mogollon News."

Bulldog and Petunia are back after nearly a year away. They went up to see Petunia's sister, Sue-Jean, at Hungry Horse, Montana, the first of last June, but about the time they got ready to come back, Petunia wasn't feeling well.

Turned out Petunia's ailment was morning sickness. Bulldog got offered a good job at a sawmill. What with one thing and another, it has taken them till now to make it home.

As most people in the Mogollon area are aware, there is lots more silver and gold in the ground here. However, several high tech, and no doubt high priced, tests have concluded that most of it is either spread too thin or too deep to be worth the cost of getting it out.

At least that's what the big companies thought. Local folks figured there had to be a way to get some of that ore close enough to the surface to make it profitable.

The last twelve feet of snow melted off in Mogollon in hardly over a week. Seems like spring has just come on in a hurry.

The creek only came up about a foot though and didn't carry off much. Several tires washed through town and one chainsaw. Joe Malloney retrieved the chainsaw, but he didn't like the brand, so he tossed it back.

This winter, Joe Malloney decided to go into the ice business. He was well situated with the creek handy and some tanks on the shady side of the street. There was even an abandoned mine behind his house he could use for storage.

Ice looked like just the sort of business he could do pretty well in: Low capital investment. - Just a saw to cut it into hundred pound chunks. He welded up a set of ice tongs out of scrap.

Next summer he figured he'd put up a sign and sell his ice to the tourists going camping in the forest or fishing at Snow Lake.

The road to Mogollon is justly notorious. It is not a bad road...not especially rough. And it has been worked on recently. It is not even all that steep. (At least some of it isn't.) However, with the exception of one flat stretch over the top of Whitewater Mesa a third of the way up, all of it is a grade. And all of it is narrow and twisty, with solid rock straight up on one side for hundreds of feet and straight down an equal or greater distance on the other side. The Mogollon Road rises about twenty-five hundred feet and then drops back about twelve hundred - all in the space of nine miles. It makes for wonderful views.

The Bloated Goat Saloon closed for the season Thursday before Memorial Day.

Some folks might think it contrary to shut down a public establishment just when tourist traffic is picking up. Some folks don't know Jim and Melissa Farnsworth, the proprietors.

According to Jim and Melissa, the Bloated Goat just is not big enough to accommodate the number of people who would want to use it in summer. There is not enough space for parking either. This may be true, but everyone in Mogollon believes the real reason they shut down is politics.

Twenty-six people attended the annual meeting of the Silver Creek Temperance Society. That is more than the resident population, let alone nondrinkers. And two of those present did appear to have been exhumed for the occasion.

Elvira Sonderfeld hosted the event, as usual. Her cooking undoubtedly drew the crowd. Everyone was on their best behavior too because liquor makes the bears ornery.

This past weekend, Armand Tremolo received a visit by his niece, Martina Solari, and her nine children, of Tucson.

Armand, at fifty-seven, has never married. There are no children currently living in Mogollon. Armand is not used to kids. Things generally went all right, however, till Martina realized she had forgotten to bring an extra box of pampers.

She took the baby with her. The oldest girl, Natalie, rode along too, to get in a talk with her mother. This left Armand with seven children ranging in age from just two to thirteen.

You can tell it's spring. Flowers are blooming. Birds are singing. Days are getting longer. And the wind is blowing.

Armand Tremolo stepped out for a breath of air the other day. However, the air in the vicinity happened to be moving about seventy miles per hour.

Unbeknownst to Armand, at the very moment he was perusing the world famous Mogollon skyline, the fragrant spring breeze was removing the cap from his stovepipe.

It is winter in Mogollon, and in winter it becomes readily apparent why Mogollon is a ghost town.

At last measurement, the snow on the shady side of the street was eighteen feet deep. This measurement was taken by having Joe Malloney, who is six feet tall, stand with a surveyor's stick on his head. Unfortunately, Joe froze stiff, and while the local rescue crew was digging him out, the surveyor's stick got lost in the snow. It is probably deeper by now, though no further measurements have been attempted.

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