Title: The Last Gas Station and Other Stories
Publisher: Black Sparrow Press, Santa Barbara
Publication Date: 1980
Book Condition: Fine
Signed: Signed By Author
Edition: First Edition.
151 pages. The poet's first collection of short stories. One of 276 signed copies. First edition (first printing). A fine hardcover copy; no printed dust jacket, as issued. In a fine copy of the publisher's clear acetate wrapper. This is B of 26 lettered copies, each with an original color pencil drawing of a gas pump by Clark. Bookseller Inventory # 96454
Synopsis: Tom Clark's collection of short fiction, The Last Gas Station, is in two contrasting parts. It opens with 23 very short prose pieces amusingly surreal California vignettes, some no longer than a page, peopled by denim-clad cowgirls, itinerant lover boys, Martin Heidegger, Boris Pasternak, Muslim college students, Vietnam vets, Ty Cobb, Ted Berrigan, and a great dinosaur poet of the Jurassic period. These are followed by the novella "Incident at Basecamp," an odd matter-of-fact account of a close encounter between a young married couple and a spindly, three-toed, mind-reading extraterrestrial somewhere deep in the Rocky Mountain wilderness.
"Clark is versatile," wrote the Los Angeles Times; he's "a poet turned sportswriter turned novelist" whose range is brilliantly showcased by this substantial collection. The opening sketches are playful and delightful, but "in the tradition of 'biggest is best,' The Last Gas Station closes with a wallop: 'Incident at Basecamp' [is] a sturdy science-fiction novelette."
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