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Strete, Craig

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1950-    ) US author – the suggestion has been bruited that Strete is the pseudonym of a Native American author of Cherokee birth who does not wish to reveal his real name, but this has not been confirmed. He has written as Strete and as by Sovereign Faulkner, and possibly under other names, by himself and in collaboration; at least forty of the eighty or more stories claimed for him must almost certainly be under unrevealed names. As Strete, he began publishing professionally with the well-known "Time Deer" in If for November/December 1974; two other tales appeared more or less simultaneously. Beginning in March 1974 he edited six issues of the monthly Amateur Magazine Red Planet Earth (US quarto format), which described itself as "A Magazine of American Indian Science Fiction" published by the Northstar Intertribal Council; "Time Deer" had previously appeared in #4 (June 1974).

From the mid-1970s he maintained a publishing connection with a Dutch house, which published his first collection, Als Al het Andere Faalt Kunnen We de Zweep Leggen Over de Ogen van het Paard en Hem Laten Huilen en Slapen ["If All Else Fails, We Can Lay the Whip over the Eyes of the Horse and Make Him Cry and Sleep"] (coll 1976 Netherlands; rev vt Als Al het Andere Faalt ["If All Else Fails"] 1990); his first two English-language collections, The Bleeding Man and Other Science Fiction Stories (coll 1977) and If All Else Fails (coll 1980), share most of the contents of the Dutch book, plus other material. Intensely written, spare, though with lunges into flamboyance, committed and often moving, his tales frequently combine prose rhythms and subject matter connoting a Native American background with more usual sf themes like Colonization of Other Worlds, as in "When They Find You" from the latter volume. Though passionately couched, this work is sometimes crude in its opposition of the total horror of the White world with the mythic "naturalness" of the Native American: there is a sense, perhaps, of protesting too much. Later collections include Dreams that Burn in the Night (coll 1982) and Death Chants (coll 1988), the latter – as its title signifies – dealing frequently with terminal moments, though at times comically.

After the Young Adult fantasy Paint Your Face on a Drowning in the River (1978), Strete published some fantasies for younger children – including When Grandfather Journeys into Winter (1979) and Big Thunder Magic (1990) [not listed below] – and the non-genre Burn Down the Night (1982). His adult novels included To Make Death Love Us (1987) as by Sovereign Falconer, a fantasy with sf elements in which five carnival "freaks", including a Telepathic dwarf, flee from arrest but face death when their van crashes;and Death in the Spirit House (1988), a fantasy over which controversy reigned for some time due to accusations by Ron Montana that the book had been plagiarized, very nearly in whole, from a manuscript given by him to Strete. Granting only a modicum of Montana's case, Strete mounted an elaborate defence. As part of an agreed settlement, Montana's version of the book was eventually published as Face in the Snow (1992), as by Montana and without reference to Strete. [JC]

Craig Kee Strete

born Fort Wayne, Indiana: 6 May 1950


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