Desert Oracle: Volume 1: Strange True Tales from the American Southwest (Paperback)
The cult-y pocket-size field guide to the strange and intriguing secrets of the Mojave—its myths and legends, outcasts and oddballs, flora, fauna, and UFOs—becomes the definitive, oracular book of the desert
For the past five years, Desert Oracle has existed as a quasi-mythical quarterly periodical available to the very determined only by subscription or at the odd desert-town gas station or the occasional hipster boutique, its canary-yellow-covered, forty-four-page issues handed from one curious desert zealot to the next, word spreading faster than the printers could keep up with. It became a radio show, a podcast, a live performance. Now, for the first time—and including both classic and new, never-before-seen revelations—Desert Oracle has been bound between two hard covers and is available to you.
Straight out of Joshua Tree, California, Desert Oracle is “the Voice of the Desert”: a field guide to the strange tales, singing sand dunes, sagebrush trails, artists and aliens, authors and oddballs, ghost towns and modern legends, musicians and mystics, scorpions and saguaros out there in the sand. Desert Oracle is your companion at a roadside diner, around a campfire, in your tent or cabin (or high-rise apartment or suburban living room) as the wind and the coyotes howl outside at night.
From journal entries of long-deceased adventurers to stray railroad ad copy, and musings on everything from desert flora, rumored cryptid sightings, and other paranormal phenomena, Ken Layne’s Desert Oracle collects the weird and the wonderful of the American Southwest into a single, essential volume.
About the Author
Ken Layne is a professional high-speed typist, a broadcaster, and the editor/publisher of Desert Oracle, the pocket-size quarterly field guide to the strange and intriguing American deserts.
“UFOs, doomed hikers, William Burroughs, singing sand dunes, Elvis, ghosts, roadrunners and rattlesnakes – the Desert Oracle packs a lot of weird, dark matter between its bright yellow covers.” —Dominic Rushe, The Guardian
“[Desert Oracle serves] as a field guide to a seemingly barren place that is paradoxically full of life and legends. [Layne] leads us into the Mojave Wilderness, a vast area containing gophers, coyotes, Yucca Man, a hermit ballerina, mysterious cacti, 10-foot-tall warriors, space aliens, and more.” —Blaise Zerega, Alta Magazine
“Anyone contemplating a trip to the arid Southwest or wanting to learn more about the area and its natural history should pick up this collection of varied anecdotes.” —Diana Hartle, Library Journal
“If you’re a fan of UFOs and insane heat, this is your book.”—Kirkus Reviews
“With his succinct, descriptive, narrative-driven prose, Layne creates a fascinating homage to the beauty of an often unforgiving landscape.” —Publishers Weekly
“The desert is a powerful cocktail of breathtaking beauty, brutality, and mystery. Layne serves it straight-up in this collection of essays dedicated to his cherished, arid homeland . . . [Desert Oracle] is a soulful love letter to the rugged landscape of the American Southwest. Layne implores readers to preserve and protect the enigmatic and wild desert. Reading this book is like swapping tales around the campfire under a star-filled sky.”—Michelle Ross, Booklist