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About Ken Layne
Ken Layne is the creator of "Desert Oracle Radio" and the print quarterly "Desert Oracle."
"The reason Desert Oracle works is that it's always trying to elicit that feeling, the awe and wonder that the desert reveals to you when you listen hard enough. Layne believes it's not an accident that religious awakenings, UFO sightings, walkabouts, and other revelations occur in the desert. It's a consequence of solitude, stark beauty, and the tenacious life that only the desert has." — Max Genecov, Pacific Standard
"It’s 10 p.m. Friday night, and devoted listeners within range of KCDZ 107.7 FM in Joshua Tree tune in, while others from Echo Park to Boston stream the atmospheric show online. 'Night has fallen on the American desert,' host Ken Layne says in his deep, hypnotic drawl. He lulls listeners into the quietude of the desert, then rattles them with chilling tales of Bigfoot sightings, secret military UFO programs, missing hikers, and any number of myths and conspiracies involving an eclectic and eccentric cast of oddballs and experts who phone in from across the Southwest."
— Steven Biller, Palm Springs Life
Reviews of Ken Layne's 2011 novel "Dignity":
"Layne's epistolary novel is not comparable to its classic predecessors like 'Frankenstein' or 'Dracula' but far more similar to the New Testament of the Christian Bible. Like Paul the Apostle's writings to the early churches after his conversion, the author of these letters, the mysterious 'N,' spreads similar messages. The difference, of course, is in the theology, which is more akin to the writings and views of John Muir and Edward Abbey." — The Rumpus
"But to understand the social mood as embodied by a group like Occupy, it may help to look at literature that captures its zeitgeist. One of the books that seems to have become a standard bearer for the Occupy movement is Ken Layne's 'Dignity.' In a book that can only be described as a series of modern-day letters on the gospel of communal simplicity, you can see what kind of world some of the Occupiers might envision: communities occupying vacant suburban or exurban subdivisions, farming the land themselves, bartering with doctors and the like, and shunning modern technology." — Minyanville.com
"In style, 'Dignity' is an epistolary novel, as if it were Paul writing the Galatians. In theme, Layne takes on our separation from the land via our vampiric computer screens, and commands us back to nature. In focus are many of Layne's longtime obsessions: the housing market, the vulgarities of both rich and poor, the built environment .... A book that starts out cynical and frightening ends with hope." — FourStory.org
Ken Layne, known for his "acerbic wit and devastating missives on the state of contemporary America," has been a writer and editor at Gawker, Wonkette, LA Examiner, and many newspapers and magazines. His prescient 2011 novel "Dignity" is a gripping denunciation of online media and the "void of the screen" that foresaw Occupy Wall Street, the sinister use of social media in national elections, and the institutional lawlessness that rises up in moral vacuums. He lives and works in the Mojave Desert Wilderness.
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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.
Palm Springs now joins Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley in California’s Noir Series arena.
"Contrary to popular belief, noir doesn’t require a bleak city street for its setting. Nor water, for that matter. Noir thrives on secrets, lies and lust, all flowing plentifully through the jewel in the Coachella Valley’s fragile crown...For all the playfulness of the genre and the location, the wisecracks and the kidney-shaped pools, there is an unmanageable darkness waiting to seep in, like so much blood in the pool water."
--Los Angeles Times
"Conjure up images of Palm Springs and you’ll probably think of pastel-colored pool floaties, midcentury chic architecture, a gigantic Marilyn Monroe that watches over the city like its guardian angel. But you don’t need to scratch deep to find darkness in the desert--and even Palm Springs, with its endless well of pools, violently colored cocktails, and impossibly green lawns, is no exception."
--Los Angeles Review of Books
"An appealing anthology of 14 stories about life and crime in the Mojave Desert's playground to the stars."
"Palm Springs Noir features a collection of short stories set in a cross-section of desert cities and written primarily by authors with Coachella Valley ties."
--Palm Springs Life
"This compilation is a roller coaster ride that's filled with loads of suspense, mystery, and steamy sexiness. Brilliantly conceived, DeMarco-Barrett and the other contributing authors effortlessly transport the reader to the edgy, moody, and sleazier side of one of Southern California's most renowned and iconic locales. A sure thing bestseller and a must-have summer read, Palm Springs Noir unquestionably brings the heat."
--New York Journal of Books
Akashic Books continues its award-winning series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each book comprises all new stories, each one set in a distinct location within the geographic area of the book.
Palm Springs Noir features brand-new stories by: T. Jefferson Parker, Janet Fitch, Eric Beetner, Kelly Shire, Tod Goldberg, Michael Craft, Barbara DeMarco-Barrett, Rob Roberge, J.D. Horn, Eduardo Santiago, Rob Bowman, Chris J. Bahnsen, Ken Layne, and Alex Espinoza.
From the introduction: The best noir writers make us feel the heat of the sun, the touch of a lover. Setting can be gritty but can also be sublime, no longer relegated to urban locales and seedy hotel rooms but also mansions and swimming pools. Hence, Palm Springs, which may seem like an odd setting for a collection of dark short stories--it’s so sunny and bright here. The quality of light is unlike anywhere else, and with an average of three hundred sunny days a year, what could go wrong?...
The stories in this collection come on like the wicked dust storms common to the area. More than half are by writers who live here full-time; all have homes in Southern California. They know this place in ways visitors and outsiders never will. These are not stories you'll read in the glossy coffee-table books that feature Palm Springs's good life. There is indeed a lush life to be found here, but for the characters in these stories, it’s often just out of reach.