Blog

Posts from Pumpjack Press authors and contributors about culture, books, economic and social justice topics, history and more, with the occasional poem and short story.

Hanford: Reflections on a visit to history’s graveyard

Hanford is located just a few hundred miles from our home in Portland, and they offer public tours throughout the summer. The tours book up quickly. Interest is high. This summer, Kathleen and I finally made it onto the list and we had the opportunity spend a day on a bus touring the Hanford Nuclear Complex. No one is allowed to take photos. Apparently, the disposal of nuclear waste is just as sensitive as the process of nuclear enrichment.

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Andy Warhol saved my vision

On a recent trip to Washington, D.C., with Kathleen (her home town) for a family event, we took in a Warhol exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum. Called Shadows, it featured 102 silk screen prints of exactly the same scene — a shadowy view from inside Warhol’s studio — in different colors. Each print was about three feet by four feet and displayed in a long, continuous line around the distinctive curved walls of the Hirshhorn. As it turned out, the exhibit was a perfect vision test.

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Playlist: The soundtrack to horror is classic country

The soundtrack to true terror is classic country. Only classic country from the 1950s and 1960s has the raw, heartbroken emotion of bone-deep despair that makes the blood run cold. The people of LonePine, Wyoming, like in most small towns in the slowly dying American West, know about heartbreak and economic despair. And ever since the undead showed up, they know about terror too. That’s probably why every pickup truck radio, every jukebox in every saloon, and every portable radio is belting out classic country while the rest of the world has moved on.

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Lenny: a character (yea, a survivalist, conspiracy theorist, Vampire-killing) interview

Joining us today from the pages of The Cowboy and the Vampire Collection is Lenny, a survivalist and improvised weapons expert with some peculiar political views. He’s the long-time friend of Tucker and is now deeply involved in making weapons capable of dispatching the undead.

Hello Lenny, welcome. What did you bring with you today? This? It’s a reverse surveillance tracker I made out of an old cassette recorder, a GPS unit and an electric toothbrush. I want to be able to monitor whoever it is monitoring this conversation to find out where they are broadcasting from.

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Matters of duration: A short story

Edward Ruckley seemed to be having a pretty good day. 

He was drinking an iced coffee in the park, a woman beside him on the bench. It was sunny, but not hot, and they were laughing about something. Or least smiling while they talked. Basically laughing.

Huron was watching them through a tiny pair of powerful binoculars from the safety of his car. He reached for his tablet and flipped through the files.

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Letter to a young writer from John Updike

Decades ago, John Updike generously responded to a letter I had written him. HIs letter, now yellowed with age, has the typeface of an old typewriter and includes strikeouts and handwritten marginalia. I dug this letter out recently, after re-reading Rabbit, Run. He provided good advice and encouragement at a moment when it was sorely needed.

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Halloween Prom by Lee Murray

We’re pleased to share a little Halloween drabble from award-winning New Zealand fantasy, science fiction and horror author Lee Murray. Lee’s latest book, Into the Ashes, the final book in her Taine McKenna military thriller series, will be released in early 2019. #celebratehorror

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Werecrows: A short story

“Being a werecrow is just as pointless as being a real crow. Or a real human. The world is still full of idiots, present company excepted, of course,” I added sarcastically. “I’m still bored. And nothing we do really matters at all.” I pecked at the fence post angrily, knocking splinters loose. “It’s not like we’re werewolves or anything. Now that would be cool. They get to rip stuff up. They get respect.” #horror

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