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Required reading for the Black Rock Desert
by Lizard Man

The Burning Man Survival Guide, which came with your registration materials

Eric's web page: http://www.chorus.com/~eric/bm95/

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Hunter S. Thompson

Red Mars Kim Stanley Robinson

Dune Frank Herbert

For this particular list, the survival guide should be obvious, unless you're going for this year's Donner Party award. And Eric's web page gives what I thought was the most personal account of how Burning Man can take on deeply significant emotional qualities without ever being pinned down to one thing.

Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas gives an excellent overview of what Nevada may seem to be to the uncultured mind. Often dismissed as merely anecdotes from a drug-crazed binge through the American Dream, Fear and Loathing contains incisive social commentary, like the point where Dr. Gonzo describes the great wave of social consciousness that arose somewhere in San Francisco during the '60s: "If you look west, toward the Sierra Nevada, you can see where the wave broke and rolled back on itself..."

Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars is the most scientifically-valid fictional account of the colonization of Mars I have yet seen. Along with a very accurate portrayal of the red desert planet, complete with dust storms and water as a prized commodity, the reader is treated to the unfolding of a social experiment in community, as various forces tug and pull at the fabric of a new society on Mars. As the population swells, these forces gain momentum. Hmmmm.

And finally, Dune was a masterpiece that never could have been made successfully into a film. Forget the movie. Frank Herbert's Dune tells the story of a young man stranded on a desert planet, befriended by the desert tribe known as the Fremen. Besides containing wheels-within-wheels of plot intrigue, Dune carries an intimate knowledge of survival in the desert, treating the desert as a powerful force to coexist with and learn from, not to be tamed: "I will not be afraid. Fear is the mind killer. I will let the Fear wash over me, and when it has gone, only I will remain." Something like our lovely Black Rock Desert.

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