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Issue 40 • April 2021
Weird West
edited by Gary Every

Introduction to Issue 40 • Weird West

Howdy. I grew up in the late 1960s on the edge of Tucson, Arizona, where the city met the desert. As a child I roamed far and wide, exploring everywhere. I vividly remember wandering the desert as a smaller person and finding a giant skull half buried beneath a creosote bush. The skull was enormous, and I had no what manner of beast it belonged to. That skull appeared in many of my dreams and nightmares for years to come as my imagination ran wild. By junior high I realized I had stumbled upon a horse skull, but my curiosity about the weird West has never abated. I have been blessed to have lived a life of adventure—camping, backpacking, kayaking, and spelunking in search of ghost towns, lost mines, petroglyphs sites and obscure local legends—seeking any sacred space that resonates with myth and mystery.

I have written about many of these places both as journalist and as a science fiction fantasy author. It was an honor to edit this edition of Eye To The Telescope for the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association. I was overwhelmed not only by the large number of submissions but the quality. There were far more excellent poems than the budget would allow me to accept. The vast landscape and wild history of the west seems to have inspired many more authors than me.

Once upon a time, Hollywood made a movie of Robert Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. A singing cowboy was cast in the lead role and at one point in the story, this astronaut removes his space helmet so he could play his guitar and sing as he strolled across the surface of the moon. Heinlein was horrified. I am pleased to announce that Eye to the Telescope 40 features a singing cowboy. This issue also features sheriffs, ghosts, spaceships, werewolves, gunfights, flying mammoths, cowboys, Native Americans, cattle rustling, horse, rustling, prospectors, painted ladies, pixelated souls, shiverskins, and so much more, including a dead tree.

We are nearing the end of a deadly pandemic which ripped away a lifestyle it had taken me decades to build. I look forward to my house filling with spoken word, rehearsals, and live music once again. I look forward to teaching, lecturing, and performing once more. I do not know what new forms these future opportunities will take but isn’t that what frontiers are all about—exploring the new? Isn’t that what made the west so wild? The possibility that anything could happen. YOU could become anyone. As we step into the future, I hope your Westerns stay weird.

—Gary Every