Library: Stories

Charles Martin Smith as Farley Mowat in Carroll Ballard's film of "Never Cry Wolf."

Filming 'Never Cry Wolf'

Derided as "Never Cry Wrap" by critics inside Walt Disney during its seeemingly interminable gestation, Carroll Ballard and John Houston's film of Farley Mowat's autobiographical classic, Never Cry Wolf, turned into a classic of its own sort. This story by Bruce Brown about how the film was made originally appeared in the October 16, 1983 issue of the New York Times Magazine.

"The heart of Abbey Country is somewhere in a canyon along the Colorado River or a tributary like the Green or Paria rivers, although for literary purposes he lists his address as Oracle, Arizona."

Desert Dispatches

Bruce Brown praises Edward Abbey's Beyond the Wall and gets hate mail from the irrasible Abbey in return! This review originally appeared in the April 1, 1984 Washington Post Book World.

Fidel Castro, left, pitches for Los Barbudos in Havana on July 24, 1959.

Baseball in Cuba

Baseballs ricochet off everything in sight in "Baseball in Cuba" by Bruce Brown. Originally published in the July 1984 issue of the Atlantic Monthly, it remains the best history of Cuban baseball available in English.

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Rain and rainbow over Bruce Brown's writing retreat on the Canadian border.

Writing in the Rain
(And Immediately Thereafter)

A literary snapshot of Washington in 1984 when Raymond Carver, Frank Herbert and Tom Robbins were in their prime, this piece by Bruce Brown originally appeared in the May 16, 1984 Washington Post Book World.

"Within the last year, the single greatest spur to West Coast sturgeon fishing has undoubtedly been the 9-foot-long, 468-pound white sturgeon caught by 21-year-old Joe Pallotta in the Sacramento River July 12."

Heart Stopping Sturgeon

This true fish story by Bruce Brown originally appeared in the June 1984 issue of Field & Stream.

"It's 11 o'clock at night. Do you know where your wombat is?"

Wildlife Tracking By Transmitter

Bruce Brown encounters David Beaty, the father of wildlife radio telemetry, in Seattle in 1984. This piece originally appeared in National Wildlife, and then was published again in the form you see here in the May 9, 1984 Seattle Weekly.

The auroral "ring of fire" over North America, as seen from space...

Shedding Light on the Aurora

Bruce Brown explores the literature and science of the aurora in a piece that appeared (in somewhat different forms) in the New York Times Magazine and the March 1985 issue of National Wildlife. Remember: when the big one hits, you heard it here first.

"as the afternoon shadows began to lengthen, we entered a deep dell..."

Lost in the Woods

Bruce Brown and his ex-wife, Lane Morgan, lose their way on the dangerously metaphoric terrain of Kloochman Rock in the Olympic Peninsula rain forest. Originally published in the New York Times Magazine in August 1985, this story was later anthologized in Island of Rivers.

"a reclusive figure, but good company if you could smoke him out..."

Vernon Louis Parrington --
America's Greatest Literary Historian (& Founder of Oklahoma Sooner Football)

The man who put American literature on the academic map -- and founded the Oklahoma Sooner football program -- takes a bow. Bruce Brown's 1985 profile was rejected by American Heritage magazine because it wasn't hostile enough to the liberal Parrington.

Meryl Streep in her Oscar-nominated portrayal of Karen Silkwood.

Silkwood Finale: The Fuel Rods Are OK

The Karen Silkwood nuclear fuel safety controvery takes an unexpected turn at the end, which you won't find in the movie. This investigative piece by Bruce Brown originally appeared in the December 7, 1985 New York Times.

"a seventeen-year-old mountain girl, hair down her back, has opened the eyes of the Eugene teaching profession and left it gasping for breath..."

Resdiscovering Opal Whiteley's
The Journal of an Understanding Heart

An intriguing -- and nearly forgotten -- American classic is reconsidered by Bruce Brown. These two reviews of Opal Whiteley's The Journal of an Understanding Heart appeared in the Washington Post Book World in 1985 and 1986.

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"Pacific salmon characteristically put on a prolonged dance of prowess that illustrates their mastery over moving water..."

Gone Fish Watching
(There's a Sign upon the Door)

Bruce Brown chronicles the birth of a new sport -- fish watching. This story originally appeared in the September 1986 issue of Audubon magazine.

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"The Gary Little story runs like a radioactive tracer through the Seattle power structure, exposing the old-boy network that connects many of the best law firms, local government, the old media families, and local barons of industry and retailing."

The Gary Little Story

How a very clever and well-connected man was able to continue raping children who came into his charge for decades -- both as a teacher and as a judge -- is examined by Bruce Brown, who as a high school student was co-editor of the Lakeside Tatler when Gary Little taught at Seattle's prestigeous Lakeside School.

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"Here time runs on the tides, the seasons and the salmon. A friend is someone who will bail your boat when you are stuck in town, and a funny stanza on 'The Parable of the Three Sages Tasting Vinegar' is worth more than a Volvo."

North Fork Skagit River Reverie

Bruce Brown tours legendary Northwest literary ground -- or water -- via kayak in this visit to LaConner and Fishtown, the bohemian writers' community at the mouth of the North Fork Skagit River. This story originally appeared in the July 1988 issue of State magazine.

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"I owe the public nothing..."

The Empire the Morgans Built

Ron Chernow's sprawling, National Book Award-winnning portrait of America's pre-eminent merchant banking empire, The House of Morgan, is reviewed by Bruce Brown. This piece originally ran in the March 18, 1990 Washington Post Book World.

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"Sumas Quo Sumas"

Sumas Astonisher

Controversial and quixotic, the Sumas Astonisher was founded by Bruce Brown as a "Flood Lost and Found List" to catalogue flotsam found around the little border town of Sumas, WA, after an exceptionally bad flood in late 1990.

"A new kind of coastal western in which no doggies are punched, nary a sidewinder slaps leather, and discouraging words most definately are heard..."

The New Literature of the West

Bruce Brown reviews Lawrence Thornton's Ghost Woman. This piece originally appeared in the June 1992 issue of Washington Post Book World.

"The oft-quoted 'SEC 30-day yield' may do a lot of things, but telling you the actual yield of a bond fund isn't one of them."

Mutual Bond Fund Fun

Bruce Brown delves into the mysteries of mutual bond fund performance metrics in this piece from the September 1994 issue of Kiplinger's Magazine.

"Sys! Boom! Bah!"

Crashing the Party:
How to break the major PC OSes

Bruce Brown explores the dark reality of PC operating systems -- and details how to crash them all -- in this piece from the August 1995 issue of Byte

"The World's Leading Supplier of PC Bug Fixes."


From late 1994 through late 1999, Bruce Brown wrote more than 100 influencial and widely read pieces for BugNet, which he founded and built into the world's leading supplier of PC bug fixes.

"This morning we are like a Paleolithic band on the hunt. We vie for the lead, but we also share it, and for the good riders there is plenty of game to go around."

At Play In Harm's Way

The private heart of one of the new extreme sports -- mountain biking -- is examined in this 2002 essay by Bruce Brown, who holds the world record for climbing on a mountain bike. This was also the first of Bruce Brown's column, The Skinny.

Smokey in Sumas

"I buried Smokey under the two big old filbert trees on the edge of the north pasture because she loved walking there, and considered all the field mice there to be her personal posession."

Homage to Smokey

THERE ARE MANY dogs in the world, but as with people, only a few good ones. This is about a very good dog named Smokey, who died on January 29, 2006.

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