Friday, May 31, 2019

Clark Thomas Carlton

Clark T. Carlton studied English and Film at Boston University and UCLA and have worked as a screen and television writer, a journalist, and as a producer of reality television in addition to a thousand and one other professions.

His novels include The Prophet of the Termite God (and its fellow books from the Antasy Series).

Recently I asked Carlton about what he was reading. His reply:
I’m absorbed by T.C. Boyle’s Outside Looking In, a novel about the early days of LSD. It begins with its synthesis in Switzerland by Albert Hoffman and then its passionate embrace by Timothy Leary and his psychonauts in Zihuatanejo and Millbrook when Kennedy was president. These men, women and their children were the proto-hippies who lived communally, practiced “free love” and believed their experiences with acid and other hallucinogens were explorations as important as those of Columbus or Vasco da Gama. Midway through the book, the psychonauts are still considering whether acid is an entheogen: a piece of God’s own flesh that allows Him to be experienced directly after consuming. Albert Hoffman called LSD his “problem child” and I am sure the problems at Millbrook will continue to mushroom. They will likely reflect the usual trajectory of any cult with a charismatic leader who will attempt to capitalize on his fame.

Speaking of drugs, I savored Don Winslow’s The Power of the Dog and its follow up, The Cartel and I will finish the trilogy with The Border. No one else is writing as convincingly about modern Mexico and its devastation by the drug wars. Winslow is not a world builder but he’s an extraordinary world knower and his novels are profoundly researched. Like Donna Tartt, he’s one of those authors I’d love to meet to ask how he entered into so many worlds. And just how close did he get to some fascinating and dangerous characters?

The protagonist, Art Keller, like so many protagonists, is one of those people that straddles two worlds but belongs to neither and he’s fueled by rage and a passion for justice. That’s my kind of guy. Winslow makes deft references to Mexico’s grisly pre-Columbian past when humans were sacrificed to the Mayan and Aztec death gods, and then he shows us how that religion has reemerged in the modern worship of Santa Muerte, Lady Death, the patron saint of narcos. The violence in these novels is lurid but all together real.
Visit Clark Thomas Carlton's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Prophet of the Termite God.

--Marshal Zeringue