William R. Eakin (Bill)

Bill at the Aegean Sea

...author, and his various fictions, including Redgunk, Mississippi, and its environs

"Bill Eakin is one of the more inventive writers making a name for himself today..."

—Kurt Roth, reviewing for Tangent

"...eloquent and witty, thoughtful and even heart-rending.... Every time I've read a Redgunk story recently, I've come away thinking the most recent was better than what I had seen before. I'm coming to realize that it's not a question of better; each one has been good on its own..."

—Kim Mohan, Amazing Stories

Sort of like Thomas Wolfe on acid, or James Joyce on moonshine, Bill Eakin takes the words, the rhythms, the heat, the mud, the cicadas and the kudzu of the south and turns them into stories that touch your heart while messing with your brain stem and possibly tampering with your DNA. A truly original and unique voice....

— Shawna McCarthy, Realms of Fantasy

Bill Eakin is one of the more inventive writers making a name for himself today…. His southern-fried narrative is (in the opinion of this Bama Boy) one-hundred percent faithful and twice as irreverent.

—Kurt Roth, Tangent

Eloquent and witty, thoughtful and even heart-rending. . . . Every time I’ve read a Redgunk story recently, I’ve come away thinking the most recent was better than what I had seen before. I’m coming to realize that it’s not a question of better; each one has been good on its own. . . .Bill Eakin is a brilliant storyteller

—Kim Mohan, Amazing Stories

....poetic and unusual....

— Publisher’s Weekly

So what are the Redgunk Tales? They're stories, sit-around-on-the-step-and listen-to-your-crazy-uncle-bullshit stories. They have that kind of easy rhythm and flow and enthusiasm, and they're written with a love of the sound of language that doesn't rear its head often...a richness...that lifts it beyond pure regionalism and into an altogether more sparsely populated neighborhood....cracking good read. It's one of those collections that's so rich that it's best read one story at a time, so that each can be savored and enjoyed on its own terms. It's a slower read that way but then again, that's more time spent in Redgunk. And that just can't be a bad thing.

— Rowan Innish, The Green Man Review (July 2001)

Redgunk is simultaneously a place of prosaic horror and impossible beauty…. author William R. Eakin provides readers with plenty of swamp gas and a piercing view into the human soul. All of the stories in this collection interweave the fabric of everyday life with fantasy elements ranging from the bizarre to the beautiful. A rich and sorcerous brew… Readers who cannot get enough of wonky fantasy will want to rush out right now and get their hands on this book. William R. Eakin's strange combination of day-to-day living and the stuff of tabloid headlines makes for potent fiction, combining heartbreak with humor in every story. Redgunk is brimming with life's harsh realitiesabused wives, children with birth defects, drunk drivers, inhumane and greedy land developersrevealing the darkest hues of human behavior. His stories, however, are never entirely bleak. The Mississippi landscape in which they take place is thoroughly enchanted, fully capable of supporting any Redgunkers who strive to save themselves from ruin….Eakin reminds readers of the great power which drives the genre….Despite its bizarre occurrences and wandering ghosts, Redgunk is convincingly real. It may not have all that many residents, but readers will be convinced they know them all, alive, dead or undead, with their generous hearts and dark secrets. Eakin's work is enormous fun. It smacks you between the eyes with appalling real-life situations and then somehow makes it all okay.

—A. M. Dellamonica, Science Fiction Weekly May, 2001

...award winners...sometimes touching, Eakin is a postmodernist, feminist, "literary" writer...

— Book List

There is something magical happening in this small, archetypical Southern town, and story-teller William Eakin…invites the reader to observe and participate in the lives of its 400 people, one dog, several skunks... and one mummy…they are the people of this world; they are our selves and our acquaintances, made a little larger by their position under the microscope, in the swarming, swamp-gassy petri-dish of Redgunk. Forces mystical and mundane gather and work here, and the common thread that binds these stories is the manners in which human life is changed by encounters with Otherness. Like a gardener to a well, Eakin returns to the theme of transformation, using squalid little Redgunk and its inhabitants to tell us, again and again, that all human beings are moved and changed and made more by the mysterious, the grand, and the unexpected.

— Matthew Nadelhaft, Tangent On-Line

Cheek by jowl with Eakin’s selection of rural louts and eccentrics, there’s a recurring element straight out of classical literaturean educated sensitivity steeped in ancient myths, tragedies, and folklore, whether the theme be fantastic or SFnal...when his offbeat juxtapositions work, they’re startlingly effective...[Redgunk] manages to combine the spirit of intellectually rigorous science fiction with the fantastic complexity of the human heart until it can’t be labeled as a work from any genre. At his best, Eakin creates a genre all his own.

— Faren Miller, Locus (May, 2001):

The National Enquirer meets the Bhagavad-Gita in William R. Eakin's Redgunk Tales. Eakin captures a wild, primitive, funny side of the South soaked in New Age spirituality and Jack Daniels whiskey. Occasionally these stories give off a wysteria-like sweetness…

— Hal Jacobs, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (July, 2001)

I am a huge fan of William Eakin. Thank you Mr. Eakin for making me remember why I love reading in the first place. That is, being at the mercy of a good storyteller is a wonderful place to be.

—Karen (fan letter), Realms of Fantasy, April, 1998. Donovan-Keefe, RI

"Unicorn Stew" runs the emotional gamut from grisly to ultimately uplifting, showing the lengths to which a mother will go to protect one of her children from an abusive father...Eakin's evocation of the last of the modern unicorns was quite memorable.

—David A. Truesdale, SF Site: 1998 Editor’s Choice

What a marvelous gift you have for story telling. I think [your Redgunk stories] are just so simply entertaining and refreshing, something that is very rare these days...keep writing! We need more writers like you.

—June Hubbard, editor-in-chief, Chameleon Publishing, January, 1999

"Encounter in Redgunk”… The way it gets under the skins of its characters is unexpected, and effective.

—Mark R. Kelly, Locus, January, 1999

What I found when I turned to Redgunk Tales was a fascinating new voice in fiction. My own comparisons feel their way toward a strange but wonderful union of Ray Bradbury and Harry Crews, with a liberal mixture of Cormac McCarthy's spiraling Faulknerian prose. Indeed, what I really admire about Eakin's style is his ability…to draw together divergent strands of prose styles and somehow make that marriage work. In a single story such as "Redgunk, Texas," Bill Eakin's first-person narrator is capable of both a homespun voice reminiscent of Huck Finn ("He was a gangly boy with a big ole Adam's apple. . .") and a sort of kaleidoscopic prose poetry that recalls the romantic ecstasies of Whitman or even Kerouac… The possibilities of language, the necessity of using the right voice and prose style at the right moment in order to capture just the right narrative driftEakin explores these provocative issues in his writing. And he does so successfully.

—Tim Edwards, Ph.D.

“Hot damn,” as Bobby Joe Raymond Thorton might say.

—Kim Mohan, Amazing Stories

“Encounter in Redgunk"…manages to be quite moving....

—Rich Horton, Tangent Online, 1999

An imagination and vision that is second to none. A first rate teacher, able to emotionally connect to his students, young and more mature alike. He creates spaces in these relationships where people not only feel they learn something, but grow in spiritual and creative ways. I felt lucky to experience that myself. Kindness and goodwill, and optimism. And the flat out feeling that we all possess creativity that can rocket us to the stars and to special places climbing out of space and time. I hope you will get the recognition you so richly deserve, may your stories inspire and reach an ever growing audience.

—Dean Bowlus, reader