The desert is scorched and full of terrors.
On the surface, the inherent danger is the absence of water, the basis of life. But deeper than that, the life that does exist seems wired to lash out in a savage instant, as in the sting of a scorpion or the sudden strike of a rattlesnake. It's a place of puzzles and mysteries. A place of desperation and delirium. And often, it's a place for those who prefer not to be found.
We came here to explore both the terrors and the wonders. The bounds of this issue stretch from Death Valley in the north to the Salton Sea in the south. In between lies the Inland Empire: a vague territory formed by a Venn diagram of the Mojave and Sonoran deserts.
In the pages that follow, you'll visit the decaying resort towns around the putrid Salton Sea, explore the Mojave's dubious reputation as a good place to hide a body, and be introduced to the Desert Oracle, a periodical edited by Ken Layne, whose love for these parched lands has led him to become their champion and chronicler.
Who could love a place whose main descriptors draw on dark and evil language?