SF: The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

I’ve been saying for a while that we need more stories that fall into the overlap between country noir and speculative fiction.  The hollers and dark dirt roads that host country noir yarns have their own rich tradition of myths and folk tales.  And speculative elements, perhaps especially horror, dovetail well with the bones of a country noir story—better than, certainly, romance or even mystery.  In his novel The Only Good Indians, Stephen Graham Jones combines supernatural horror and rez noir (a kissing cousin to country noir).  Four young Blackfeet Indians committed some great sin on an elk hunt years ago, and an angry spirit of sorts is looking for bloody restitution.

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Country Noir: The Sweet Goodbye by Ron Corbett

The mountains of North Carolina are my favorite country noir setting for the simple reason that they are home, and there is a rich tradition of country noir set in the Ozarks that we can probably credit to Daniel Woodrell, but it is always nice to get the chance to visit someplace new via fiction.  The Sweet Goodbye is set in the North Maine Woods in the vast, empty, northernmost reaches of the contiguous states.

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Short Review Roundup – Fiction edition, part 2

Welcome back to another short review roundup!  Today I feature a couple of novels.  One I will give short shrift because it is a sequel, and the first book in the series does all the heavy lifting of convincing a reader to pick up the next one.  The other is a fine book but a bit too far afield to write extensively about on this blog.  Both are worth picking up, notwithstanding the truncated reviews.

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Music Monday: Celtic Punk Edition, Part 2

The last two years have been hard on a lot of people for a lot of reasons.  Lost jobs, lost loved ones, and weeks spent laid up sick.  Losing live music seems like a pretty light burden to bear, but music is one of the main things that helps us deal with hard times.  The return of live music is one of the things I was looking forward to most as the pandemic wanes.  The last indoor concert I went to was Chris Knight in Oklahoma City way back in February of 2020.  My first post-lockdown indoor concert was Dropkick Murphys with The Rumjacks opening (along with a couple other acts).

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Music Monday: Come Out Ye Black and Tans by The Wolfe Tones

Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, a massacre of 14 unarmed civilians by British soldiers at a protest in Northern Ireland.  The initial investigation by the British government was a whitewash in which they let themselves off the hook.  A much later second investigation repudiated the first and resulted in a formal government apology.

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Film: Cherry

Successfully working in the overlap between or among genres is easier said than done, but the potential reward matches the risk.  As otherwise formulaic as they are, the Marvel movies make great hay combining the superhero genre with others.  There is no dispositive reason country noir can’t be combined with other genres.  But, while there are several notable examples of successfully mixing speculative elements into country noir yarns, even obviously adjacent genres like thriller and mystery have rarely been effectively paired with country noir.  If you called me up (as an obvious expert on country noir), and asked if you could pair country noir with the drug novel?  Absolutely.  With the war novel?  Sure.  With romance?  Um, well…  But that is exactly what Nico Walker does with Cherry, adapted for release on Apple TV+.  He doesn’t just pair a country noir tale with romance—he pairs it was all three give examples.

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