Joshua Palm on the Desert, California 1934.05.21 Desert at Troynovant:
mirages on the American Southwest
& other alluring deserts;
listed by Title

For there are two deserts:

One is a grim, desolate wasteland. It is the home of venomous reptiles and stinging insects, of vicious thorn-covered plants and trees and unbearable heat. This is the desert seen by the stranger speeding along the highway, impatient to be out ...

But the stranger and the uninitiated see only the mask. The other desert — the real desert — is not for the eyes of the superficial observer or the fearful soul of a cynic. It is a land which reveals its true character only to those who come with courage, tolerance and understanding.

For these, the desert holds rare gifts: a health-giving sunshine; a sky that after the sun goes down is studded with diamonds; a breeze that bears no poison; a landscape of pastel colors such as no artist can reproduce; thorn-covered plants which during countless ages have clung tenaciously to life through heat, drouth, wind and the depredations of thirsty animals, and each season send forth blossoms of exquisite coloring as symbols of courage that triumphed over appalling obstacles.

Randall Henderson
"There Are Two Deserts"
On Desert Trails: Today and Yesterday

Arizona Clarence Budington Kelland  RW Franson

Beast of Yucca Flats, The Coleman Francis / Tor Johnson RW Franson
Blazing Saddles Mel Brooks RW Franson
Blessing Way, The Tony Hillerman RW Franson
Bone Is Pointed, The Arthur W. Upfield RW Franson

Death of a Lake Arthur W. Upfield RW Franson
Death of a Swagman Arthur W. Upfield RW Franson
Doomed Oasis, The Hammond Innes RW Franson

Fallen Man, The Tony Hillerman RW Franson

Gunga Din Kipling / Stevens RW Franson

Hillerman Country
  A Journey through the Southwest
Tony Hillerman
  & Barney Hillerman
RW Franson
Homo Saps Eric Frank Russell RW Franson

Innocents Abroad, The Mark Twain RW Franson

  A Tale of Arabia
F. Marion Crawford RW Franson

Murchison Murders, The
  [and other essays]
Arthur W. Upfield RW Franson

Night Passage Fritz Leiber RW Franson

Outlaw Josey Wales, The Clint Eastwood RW Franson,
DH Franson

Reckless Love Elizabeth Lowell
  (Ann Maxwell)
RW Franson

Secrets of the Great Pyramid Peter Tompkins RW Franson
Sons of the Pioneers
  Music on Your Desktop
RW Franson

Water Is for Washing Robert A. Heinlein RW Franson

[Prospero's island.]

Adrian (to Gonzalo}:

Though this island seem to be desert —
Uninhabitable, and almost inaccessible —
It must needs be of subtle, tender, and delicate temperance.

William Shakespeare
The Tempest, 2.1.35-43


Who owns the West? map


map, above:
Who owns the West?
via Frank Jacobs'
Strange Maps blog / Big Think

An illustrated partial list of Carl Barks'
Disney Ducks' wonderful
adventures in deserts

at Peter Kylling's
Carl Barks website

postcard, top right:
Joshua Palm on the Desert,

[apparently before the term
"Joshua Tree" became standard]

"Where Two Deserts Meet":
Joshua Tree National Park


Frank Herbert (via Harlan Ellison) on the genesis of Dune

And here is a grace note for you. Something I got from Frank Herbert for use in the review [of Dune, 1984] ... I reveal it here (Frank assures me) for the first time: the precise moment in which Frank Herbert conceived the grand scheme that became [Dune [1963-1965]:

I had long been fascinated by the messianic impulse in human society; our need to follow a charismatic leader, from Jesus to John Kennedy. Men who ought to have a warning sign on their forehead reminding us that they, like us, are subject to human frailties. I wanted to write a meaningful book on the subject, but though I had the theme, I couldn't find just the right setting. Then, early in the 1950s, I was doing a piece on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's project controlling dunes on the Oregon coast, near Florence. I was in a Cessna 150 looking down on that rolling expanse of sand, and suddenly I made the connection between deserts and the rise of Messiahs in such barren lands, and in an instant I had my canvas, the planet Arrakis, called Dune.

Harlan Ellison
"In Which The Fabled Black Tower [of Universal Studios] Meets Dune With As Much Affection As Godzilla Met Ghidrah"
Fantasy and Science Fiction, August 1985
Harlan Ellison's Watching  (1989)

Note by the editor: When I was a very young boy, one of the times my parents and I visited the Oregon beach near Florence we were caught in a wild and blinding sandstorm. Only with difficulty were we able to walk through the wind-driven sand and find our way over the dunes safely back to our car. My parents kept me between them, holding a hand of each, lest I disappear in the sandstorm. — RWF


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