Craig Strete: transmuting anger into art; Native American sci-fi
January 15, 2014 2:56 PM   Subscribe

Jorge Luis Borges called the stories of Craig Strete “shattered chains of brilliance.” Salvador Dali said, “like a new dream, his writings seizes the mind.” First published in1974 and then again in 1977, [The Bleeding Man] has its foreward written by none other than the great Virginia Hamilton who dubs him “the first American Indian to become a successful Science Fiction writer” and says that “the writing is smooth and unassuming, and yet the fabric of it is always richly textured.” The Bleeding Man and many other out-of-print titles by Strete are available in eBook format[s (PDF, PRC, ePUB)] for free.

The above quote is from the introduction to Jennifer Marie Brissett's review of The Bleeding Man, but is largely citing others. Here then are some of her thoughts on Strete:
Strete’s words are not written in the clean overly-polished prose of today. They are sparse and firm. Strete says in his stories what he means and means what he says. And that is totally refreshing. Both mainstream and genre authors alike, I find, are too infatuated with the perfectly balanced sentence. It has relegated storytelling to the realm of the dead. Stories should be alive. Stories should haunt you and stay with you long after you finish reading them. Stories should, to quote Gioia Timpanelli, “show you the way.”
If that's not enough to entice you, here's a positive review of If All Else Fails... by Gerald Jonas for the New York Times, which is also available for free on Christoph Endres' site.
posted by filthy light thief (8 comments total) 118 users marked this as a favorite
Not all of Strete's works are out of print, and you can find the out of print ones around, so the links to the works of Strete on Christoph Endres' site point to If you want to read the ebooks, click on the PDF, PRC or ePUB icons.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:00 PM on January 15, 2014

Neat, thanks FLT :)
posted by doctor_negative at 3:00 PM on January 15, 2014

It is serendipitous, at minimum, that the Jonas review of Strete's book is paired with his review of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,"

1981 seems long ago and far away. Craig and Douglas, we hardly knew ye. . . . Craig, at least, is still with us.
posted by rdone at 4:15 PM on January 15, 2014

Boy, reviews like that from Borges and Dali, it must be pretty insane stuff. I look forward to checking it out, thanks for the post!
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 4:42 PM on January 15, 2014

Great post - how did you find this?
posted by newdaddy at 6:30 PM on January 15, 2014

Jorge Luis Borges called the stories of Craig Strete “shattered chains of brilliance.”

That particular quote is from Borges' introduction to If All Else Fails... (PDF from Christoph's site), and that's just one of the amazing quotes about Strete. Similarly, the Virginia Hamilton quote comes from her introduction to The Bleeding Man (PDF, same site). I'm not getting any online references for the Dali quote, sadly.

Great post - how did you find this?

Thanks! I came across Strete after reading the Tiptree/Sheldon biography, which noted that "Alli liked Strete for his talent, inventiveness, and humor, was interested in his experience as a Native American, and felt protective toward a young man whose life seemed out of control as hers had once been." (Google books preview) In searching for more information on Strete, I came across the authorized ebook page, and then went looking for more information. He's not well covered online, at least from what I've seen.

But regarding his out of control life, there's Jim Morrison lives in Burning Down the Night, which is autobiographical about Strete's one-night long "drug/sex/oh-wow-heavy '60s palship with Jim Morrison--before Jim became a rock star or a burnt-out fatality," which, except for an occasional rueful laugh, [is] a numbingly dreary account, heavy on pseudo-poetry, gross-outs, maudlin confessions, and misogyny," according to the review on Kirkus Reviews. The Amazon reviews are mixed, and note that it's (probably/possibly?) all made up.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:47 PM on January 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

Thank you for the link...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 9:46 PM on January 15, 2014

Making my way through The Bleeding Man ebook and enjoying it a lot! Thanks.
posted by meta87 at 3:00 PM on January 16, 2014

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