Alaska Sampler 2014: Ten Authors from the Great Land, eds Deb Vanasse and David Marusek

Second paragraph of third chapter (an extract from Still Points North: An Alaskan Memoir, by Leigh Newman):

Some identifiers: The Great Alaskan Dad flies his plane on floats in the summer and on skis in the winter. He hunts for caribou, moose, wild sheep, wild goats, geese, and ducks, plus fishes for halibut, salmon, and trout. No matter where he goes, his outfit remains the same: falling-down hip boots, patched wool pants, drugstore sunglasses with Polaroid lenses for spotting fish underwater, and a Stearns life jacket with a red plastic tag that reads PULL-IN-THE-CASE-OF-AN-EMERGENCY, which has never been pulled, despite his frequent, always almost fatal emergencies. A buck knife — the blade stained with dried unidentified blood and slime — dangles from a lanyard somewhere on his person.

This is a collection of ten pieces by ten Alaskan writers, which I guess I picked up due to the unlikely happenstance that Alaskan author David Marusek was my roommate at the 2005 Worldcon in Glasgow. The majority of the pieces are fiction, but I found myself more drawn to the non-fiction pieces – the standout pieces are extracts from A Time Machine Called the Chilkoot Trail, by Dana Stabenow (better known as a mystery writer) and from Cold River Spirits by Jan Harper-Haines. Though it’s all good, and certainly knocks on the head any thought you may have had that Alaska is devoid of culture.

You can get both the 2014 and 2015 Alaska samplers for free here. The 2015 version has the same editors and twelve authors, some overlapping with the 2014 volume.

This was the shortest unread book that I had acquired in 2015. Next on that pile is Political Animals, by Bev Laing.

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