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The Mogollon News

Uncle River

ISBN: 978-1-62755-642-2

340 pages, $15.99



Mogollon, New Mexico, in its remote canyon on the edge of the Gila Wilderness, is one of the Southwest's classic ghost towns. One of the few where gold and silver bricks really did come out on the stage coach, for decades. Originally a newspaper and Public Radio feature when Uncle River lived in Mogollon in the 1980s, these stories are fiction. But they caught a sense of place well enough that River's postmaster wondered why she didn't know the people.

Uncle River now lives in Pie Town, just west of the Continental Divide. A hundred miles from Mogollon, this still is in Catron County, which River has called home for most of the last 35 years. It's a county almost as large as Massachusetts, the state where River grew up, with a population about the same as the student body of the high school he attended. River's other work includes the novels King Freedom (also from Fantastic Books) and Nitebox. River's story collection, Counting Tadpoles, includes work originally published in Analog, Asimov's Science Fiction, and Amazing Stories. When not writing, chopping firewood, or tending the eight foot fence to keep the elk out of his garden, River likes to grow lots of beets, squash, and dill.


"[Uncle River is] Catron County's most famous ex-Jungian analyst, hermit, science-fiction writer and [new] EMT." —David A. Fryxell, Desert Exposure

"Like Garrison Keillor's classic tales of another small town, Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, River's comic 'news' reveals a place where, as Keillor put it, 'smart doesn't count for much.' What does count are the relationships of neighbors with one another and with the almost foreign tourists." —Sandra Griffin, New Mexico Magazine

"It's definitely a down-home read, and you first think the reports are from a remote small town. They are, but the book is all fiction. Yet don't you recognize some of the characters? …Easy reading on the brink of being humorous. And don't be surprised if you find yourself wanting to read them out loud. You'll read about bears breaking into houses, county elections going awry and people moving away, coming back. The book takes you into a fantasy world—or is it real?" —Cindy Bellinger, Enchantment

"SF's own Gandalf figure, Uncle River… transcends mere authorship to become an authentic voice of the abused land." —Paul Di Filippo, Asimov's Science Fiction (about Thunder Mountain)

"River's slow-paced perspective will challenge readers to stop and reflect on just what kinds of worlds are worth building." —Publishers Weekly starred review of Counting Tadpoles

"Many of the stories… share River's penchant for letting his quirky creativity guide each tale to its often surprising denouement, with mostly engaging results." —Carl Hays, Booklist Citation and Review, (review of Counting Tadpoles)