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Friday, January 20, 2012

The Haunted Mesa by Louis L'Amour



This sci-fi book by Louis L'Amour could have been so much more.

Yes, that's right. Louis L'Amour, author of more than 100 westerns wrote a sci-fi book. It is set in familiar territory for him, the American Southwest and it concerns the disappearance of the Anasazi Indians more than 600 years ago. If you are unfamiliar with the Anasazi, they are the builders of the adobe brick cliff dwellings that are scattered across the Southwestern desert. Their most famous site is at Mesa Verde National Monument.


Louis L'Amour (1908-1988)
The premise of the book is that the Anasazi were able to travel back and forth to another dimension, the third world mentioned in Hopi and Mayan legends. They traveled through their ceremonial kivas and one of their kivas is re-opened by a reclusive billionaire who is building a home in the desert.

The book itself is typical Louis L'Amour style - sparse writing, tough guys, pretty women and little exploration into the motivation of the bad guys. The scope of this book could have been unlimited. It would be easy to imagine Piers Anthony writing 25 books about the exploration of the "third world". Instead, we get a cursory glossing over of their world. But, in defense of L'Amour, he was writing outside of his genre. How should he know that sci-fi written like a western is pretty unsatisfying?

Final grade: 3 stars out of 5. (He got bonus points for having a very interesting original premise)

Reviewed on June 16, 2007.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Haunted Mesa.

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