At a recent book tour stop at Clark County Library, a Southern author asked the audience, “Where is the Great Nevada Writer? Is it that the culture doesn’t support them or are they all screenwriters?”
It took a few minutes, but eventually someone in the audience mentioned Charles Bock and his novel, Beautiful Children, as well as short story collections, graphic novels and nonfiction works. It’s meager compared to the vast and well-respected collections in other regions—particularly the South with its rich and storied history—but Las Vegas writers should not be overlooked. The Valley’s unique community identity lives in these stories written by locals, those born here and those who ventured to this odd little Western city and made themselves a home. Critics argue Las Vegas has no soul, no roots and no history, but local writers, even if conveying that very message, prove differently.
Three new collections will be available at the Vegas Valley Book Festival:
The Perpetual Engine of Hope: Local writers use vintage Las Vegas photographs as the base for short fiction. A family member searches for lost kin who fled their small town for lights and the stage life. A buyer interested in the Desert Inn learns the scary truth about Howard Hughes. Family love and loss takes many forms in the desert landscape. Edited by Geoff Schumacher.
Dead Neon: Tales of Near-Future Las Vegas: Compiled by Todd James Pierce and Jarret Keene (editors of Las Vegas Noir) this collection takes place in various forms of post-apocalyptic Las Vegas in which the Strip has been forested or obliterated. A teenager clings to young love in a world dismantled by the blast and drainage of Yucca Mountain; a man loses and finds himself among familiar strangers; a portal to hell is discovered; and extreme, far-right religious fundamentalist ideology has become law.
Tales From the Boneyard: There are a million stories lurking in the Neon Boneyard, but none quite like this. Coming out at the festival’s Comic Book Festival, this graphic novel features lost souls seeking refuge in the Boneyard, where a wayward space robot finds a temporary home, zombies battle it out and signs are plucked for the future, present and past on another planet.