The Jaguar Hunter Read ☆ 109

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Tale 1984Mengele 1985The Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule 1984A Spanish Lesson 198. Read five stories had enough If you can't create a gripping story without invoking the supernatural you're not much of a writer This is your typical college drop outpothead fantasy world Unoriginal and boring

Free read The Jaguar Hunter

The Jaguar HunterContentsThe Jaguar Hunter 1985The Night of White Bhairab 1984Salvador 1984How the Win. The Jaguar Hunter Powerful hallucinatory stories in exotic localesOriginally posted at Fantasy LiteratureI try to avoid excessive praise unless it is truly deserved but I can say this without hesitation Lucius Shepard was one of the best SF short story writers of the 1980s His prose imagery themes and style are so powerful dynamic and vivid that it’s a real crime that he didn't gain a wider readership when he was alive though he did win many awards He burst on the scene with his short story collection The Jaguar Hunter which won the 1988 World Fantasy Award and Locus Award for Best Collection Many of the stories were nominated for the Hugo and Nebula Awards with “Salvador” winning the Locus Award in 1985 and “RR” winning the Nebula Award in 1987 His work is characterized by strong elements of magic realism supernatural horror Central American and other exotic locales and hallucinatory depictions of futuristic warfare In my opinion he is one of the best stylists to ever work in the genreLucius Shepard is one of those authors who seems compelled to travel and experience the world working a host of unusual jobs to survive You can get his bio details on the internet but suffice to say he has travelled extensively in Europe North Africa Southeast Asia and Central America and most of his stories are set in exotic locales with vivid details His characters are generally dislocated ex pats spiritually lost bohemians soldiers trapped in hopeless Central American military conflicts and they freuently encounter supernatural events that cannot be explained by science His story The Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule” is very much a magic realist parable about evil and the power of art to combat it While not all of his books are still in print you can get his most important ones his short story collections The Jaguar Hunter 1987 The Ends of the Earth 1991 and The Best of Lucius Shepard 2008 and his novels Green Eyes 1984 and Life During Wartime 1987 If you are looking for an cheap intro to his stories The Best of Lucius Shepard is available for just 299 on Here are the stories in the Kindle version “RR” is not in the original publicationThe Jaguar Hunter 1985 The title story is a perfect example of Shepard’s favorite themes A retired jaguar hunter named Esteban lives in the countryside of Honduras with his unhappy wife She yearns for the trappings of Western material culture so she buys a TV on credit from the local pawn shop without permission putting Esteban into debt Lacking the cash to pay this the sleazy shop owner asks him instead to kill a deadly black jaguar that has killed eight other hunters Despite his misgivings he takes the assignment and soon encounters the black jaguar which is far formidable than he expected The writing in this story is phenomal and the story behind the jaguar is rich with mysticism and tragedy One of my favorites and here is a sample passage At length the jaguar left off its play and came prowling up the beach toward the jungle By the set of its ears and the purposeful sway of its walk Esteban recognized that it was hunting It stopped beneath a palm about twenty feet from the house lifted its head and tested the air Moonlight frayed down through the fronds applying liuid gleams to its haunches; its eyes glinting yellow green were like peepholes into a lurid dimension of fire The jaguar’s beauty was heart stopping— the embodiment of a flawless principle— and Esteban contrasting this beauty with the pallid ugliness of his employer with the ugly principle that had led to his hiring doubted that he could ever bring himself to kill itThe Night of White Bhairab 1984 Here is another classic supernatural horror story set in exotic Kathmandu Jaded expat Eliot is placed in charge of house sitting for a wealthy Indian businessman with a bizarre taste for cursed objects The community of hippies backpackers druggies and locals is richly described When Eliot meets Michaela the disaffected girlfriend of the house owner you can see trouble brewing a mile away Things get very creepy with the deliver of a large box and both Eliot and Michaela find themselves facing supernatural spirits of a very malevolent type There are loads of sharp details of life in Kathmandu and the spiritual malaise of the ex pats who seek vainly for salvation and purpose there He had settled in Kathmandu after his tour was up his idea being to practice meditation to achieve enlightenment But it had not gone well There was an impediment in his mind— he pictured it as a dark stone a stone compounded of worldly attachments— that no amount of practice could wear down and his life had fallen into a futile pattern He would spend ten months of the year living in a small room near the temple of Swayambhunath meditating rubbing away at the stone; and then during March and September he would occupy Mr Chatterjee S house and debauch himself with liuor and sex and drugs Salvador 1984 This story is one of the highlights of the collection It is about Dantzler a US special forces soldier stationed in El Salvador hunting for Sandinista patrols It has strong echoes of films like Platoon as Dantzler’s ideals and admiration for the local culture are dashed by the casual contempt and mind numbing violence of the military mindset particularly a psychotic superior officer who has become a sadistic killing machine assisted by ampules to boost reflexes alertness and homicidal urges It is a chilling but realistic depiction of war yet Shepard’s writing remains lyrical and powerful nonetheless Another passage The vegetation beneath the clouds was lush— thick juicy leaves that mashed underfoot tangles of vines trees with slick pale bark and waxy leaves— and the visibility was only about fifteen feet They were gray wraiths passing through grayness The vague shapes of the foliage reminded Dantzler of fancifully engraved letters and for a while he entertained himself with the notion that they were walking among the half formed phrases of a constitution not yet manifest in the land They barged off the trail losing it completely becoming veiled in spiderwebs and drenched by spills of water; their voices were oddly muffled the tag ends of words swallowed upHow the Wind Spoke at Madaket 1985 This is a rare story set in Nantucket an isolated island set off the Cape Cod coast It’s also a supernatural horror story with plenty of local culture this time a small town local crowd that swells with tourists during high season This time the villain is something uite unusual a homicidal wind itself It has uiet a high body count and gruesome details and I found it a tad overlong but it still has Shepard’s powerful descriptions and imagery Sadler had spent much of his life in Los Angeles where the sounds of nature were obscured and to his mind the constancy of the wind was Nantucket’s most remarkable feature Morning noon and night it flowed across the island giving him a sense of being a bottom dweller in an ocean of air buffeted by currents that sprang from exotic uarters of the globe He was a lonely soul and the wind served to articulate his loneliness to point up the immensity of the world in which he had become isolated; over the months he had come to feel an affinity with it to consider it a fellow traveler through emptiness and time He half believed its vague speechlike utterances to be exactly that— an oracular voice whose powers of speech were not yet fully developed— and from listening to them he derived an impression of impending strangenessBlack Coral 1984 This is actually Shepard’s first published story It is about another white expat living in the poor lethargic seaport of Meecham’s landing in a Caribbean setting The town if filled with drunkards and low lifes and there is little to admire Shepard captures the island patois well with its uniue rhythms and cadences The characters smoke the local black coral for hallucinogenic experiences with mind bending results Here is one colorful example One by one the fires separated from the blazing ceiling and flowed down over the walls settling on the creases and edges of things outlining them in points of flickering radiance Their procession seemed almost ordered stately and Prince thought of a congregation filing into their allotted pews preparatory to some great function They illuminated the rumples in ragged shirts and the ragged ends as well and the wrinkles in faces They traced the shapes of glasses bottles tables spiderwebs the electric fan light bulbs and their cords They glowed nebular in the liuor they became the smoldering ends of cigarettes they mapped the spills on the counter and turned them into miniature phosphorescent seas And when they had all taken their places their design complete Prince sat dumbstruck in the midst of an incredibly detailed constellation one composed of ghostly purple stars against an ebony sky— the constellation of a tropic barroom of Maud Price’s Golden DreamR R 1986 This story won the Nebula Award in 1987 and was later expanded to Shepards’ best regarded full length novel Life During Wartime It is similar to “Salvador” in that it is features soldiers stationed in Guatemala for RR in a break from bombing raids in Nicaragua The Sikorsky helicopter gunship pilots use special high tech helmets that link them to their machines blurring the lines between and yet the pilots are so superstitious that the refuse to remove their helmets even when on the ground Mignolla and his buddies take RR together out of a belief that if they follow the same routine each time they will survive unscathed This is nearly novella length and much befalls Mignolla in hallucinatory magic realist unnerving detail I highlighted dozens of passages worth sharing but will just choose just one at random Moonlight edged the wavelets with silver and among those gleams it seemed he could see reflected the broken curve of his life a kid living for Christmas drawing pictures receiving praise growing up mindless to high school sex and drugs; growing beyond that beginning to draw pictures again and then right where you might expect the curve to assume a meaningful shape it was sheared off left hanging its process demystified and explicable He realized how foolish the idea of the ritual had been Like a dying man clutching a vial of holy water he had clutched at magic when the logic of existence had proved untenable Now the frail linkages of that magic had been dissolved and nothing supported him— he was falling through the dark zones of the war waiting to be snatched by one of its monstersThe End of Life as We Know It 1985 Lisa and Richard travel to Guatemala City Mexico in an attempt to save their troubled marriage While trying to face the reality of their disintegrating relationship they encounter a strange unwashed and eccentric expat named Dowdy who claims to have given up a programming career in Silicon Valley to become apprentice to a local wizard and learn his arcane wisdom The couple are skeptical but out of boredom and curiosity they decide to meet with the old mystic with unexpected results This is what he tells them The world is not one but many Thousands upon thousands of worlds Even those who do not have the power of clear sight can perceive this if they consider the myriad realities of the world they do see It’s easiest to imagine the thousands of worlds as different colored lights all focused on a single point having varying degrees of effectiveness as to how much part they play in determining’ the character of that point What’s happenin’ now is that the strongest light— the one most responsible for determining’ this character— is startin’ to fade and another is startin’ to shine bright and dominate When it has gained dominance the old age will end and the new beginA Traveler's Tale 1984 This is a another story set in a sualid island town off the coast of Honduras An older retired American expat meets a younger man named Ray They exchange stories about the strange lights of the Burying Ground and the history of the island During the course of the story we learn a lot about various types of travelers with a surprising turn of events in the second half that I don’t want to spoil Shepard has some great descriptions of expats and how they work Clearly he is drawing from his own rich travel experiences and it shows Ray’s type however was of a contemporary variety; he was one of those child men who are to be found wandering the sunstruck ends of the earth always seeming to be headed toward some rud paradise a beach said to be unspoiled where they hope to achieve something the realization of a half formed ambition whose criteria of peace and purity are so high as to guarantee failure Travelers they call themselves and in truth travel is their only area of expertise They know the cheapest restaurant in Belize City how to sleep for free on Buttermilk Key the best sandal maker in Panajachel; they have languished in Mexican jails contracted dysentery while hiking through the wilds of Olancho and been run out of various towns for drug abuse or lack of funds But despite their knowledge and experience they are curiously empty young men methodical and unexcitable possessing personalities that have been carefully edited to give the least effrontery to the widest spectrum of the populaceMengele 1984 This is a dark and twisted tale about an encounter in the Paraguayan jungle of a former Vietnam aerial pilot who crashes and wakes to find himself in a hidden compound run by none other than an ancient but still living Josef Mengele The buildings are decorated all in classic Nazi style but Mengele seems strangely forthright about his identity The staff have a strange deformed manner recalling forcefully HG Wells’ The Island of Dr Moreau Mingele explains his story thus I had never seen myself as an evil man Only a committed one And now the focus of my commitment— National Socialism— had failed It was inconceivable to me though that the principles underlying it had failed and I came to the conclusion that the failure could probably be laid to a misapprehension of those principles Things had happened too fast for us We had always been in a hurry overborne by the needs of the country; we had been too pressured to act coherently and the movement had become less a religion than a church Empty pompous ritual had taken the place of contemplated action But now I had no pressure and all the time in the world and I set out to understand the nature of evilThe conclusion of the story is surreal and ominous To be honest I didn’t fully understand it but suffice to say that the main character recognizes something wrong in the world that conforms to the ideas of this evil manThe Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule 1984 This is one of Shepard’s most famous stories and the most clear homage to the legendary Latin American magic realists Jorge Luis Borges and Gabriel Garcia Maruez It is difficult to do justice to it with a mere description so perhaps the opening paragraphs are instructive IN 1853 IN A COUNTRY FAR TO THE SOUTH in a world separated from this one by the thinnest margin of possibility a dragon named Griaule dominated the region of the Carbonales Valley a fertile area centering upon the town of Teosinte and renowned for its production of silver mahogany and indigo There were other dragons in those days most dwelling on the rocky islands west of Patagonia— tiny irascible creatures the largest of them no bigger than a swallow But Griaule was one of the great Beasts who had ruled an age Over the centuries he had grown to stand 750 feet high at the midback and from the tip of his tail to his nose he was six thousand feet long It should be noted here that the growth of dragons was due not to caloric intake but to the absorption of energy derived from the passage of time Had it not been for a miscast spell Griaule would have died millennia before The wizard entrusted with the task of slaying him— knowing his own life would be forfeited as a result of the magical backwash— had experienced a last second twinge of fear and diminished by this ounce of courage the spell had flown a mortal inch awry Though the wizard’s whereabouts was unknown Griaule had remained alive His heart had stopped his breath stilled but his mind continued to seethe to send forth the gloomy vibrations that enslaved all who stayed for long within range of his influenceThe story is a parable open to many interpretations and is written very much in the style of Borges who I am reading right now It centers on the man Meric Cattanay and his proposal to destroy the dragon and its dark influence on the surrounding lands and people by painting its body with a wondrous mural It pits art against a dark influence so subtle that it defies description Meric devotes four decades to painting the dragon going through the many vicissitudes of life both ups and downs triumphs and disappointments and eventually reaches the end of his labors It is a mysterious and ambiguous story but well worth reading Notably Shepard wrote several stories that share the same themes and framework collected as The Dragon Griaule 2013 by Subterranean Press A Spanish Lesson 1985 This is definitely an unusual story with a fantastical twist much like “A Traveler’s Tale” It is the story of a young traveling expat who settles in a small Mediterranean fishing village that has an enclave of bohemian foreigners who spend much of their time taking and dealing drugs dabbling in novels and poetry and feeling superior to the surrounding locals One day a very strange young pair of twins blond frail and awkward show up in their village and start to disrupt the rhythms of life Things get extremely weird when the narrator finds a secret diary entry by the twins that reads as follows That’s all the teaser I will provide The Führer had been dead three days and still no one had ventured into the office where he had been exposed to the poisoned blooms although a servant had crawled along the ledge to the window and returned with the news that the corpse was stiffened in its leather tunic its cheeks bristling with a dead man’s growth and strings of desiccated blood were hanging from its chin But as we well remembered his habit of reviving the dead for a final bout of torture we were afraid that he might have set an igniter in his cells to ensure rebirth and so we waited while the wine in his goblet turned to vinegar and then to a murky gas that hid him from our view Nothing had changed The garden of hydrophobic roses fertilized with his blood continued to lash and slather and the hieroglyphs of his shadow selves could be seen patrolling the streets

Lucius Shepard ↠ 9 Read

The Jaguar Hunter Read ☆ 109 ê ContentsThe Jaguar Hunter 1985The Night of White Bhairab 1984Salvador 1984How the Wind Spoke at Madaket 1985Black Coral 1984The End of Life as We Know It 1985A Traveler's Tale 1984Mengele 1985The Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule 1984A Spanish Lesson 1985D Spoke at Madaket 1985Black Coral 1984The End of Life as We Know It 1985A Traveler's. We begin to justify our casual overview of pain and suffering by portraying ourselves as do gooders incapacitated by the inexorable forces of poverty famine and warI have tried to be as varied as possible during our uarantine I must admit a dep disappointment with these stories The first collection of Shepherd's that I encountered well over 15 years ago really affected me with their weird almost gothic approach to the destruction of the World Trade Center and the subseuent War on Terror I haven't found anything since which approximated that effect Salvador and RR both capture that 1980s arrogance in our unrealized war for the hearts and minds of Central America The other stories feature exotic locales a smattering of sex and an encounter with menace I just wanted 25 stars