Founder/Editor Howard White predicts that Raincoast Chronicles 17 will come to be known as the "bad medicine" issue. From the queasy feeling that pioneer medicine inspires in Margaret McKirdy's "The Doctor Book" to Robin Ward's profile of Francis Rattenbury - British Columbia's favourite architect - whose chequered career ended in a classic "Agatha Christie" murder, to epidemiologist Douglas Hamilton's "The Great Pox," which casts a horrifying perspective on the small pox epidemics that decimated BC's native peoples, this Raincoast Chronicles treads lightly the thin line between life and death.
But 17's lighter side is just as strong. It "rushes into history" the bygone days of Opportunities For Youth grants, as Mark Bostwick recalls guiding hikers onto the newly-christened West Coast Trail in the summer of '72. Petra Watson celebrates Victoria's ground-breaking photographer Hannah Maynard, whose portraits of BC life from 1862 to 1912 have become invaluable artifacts of provincial history. Howard White takes us to the early days of the Sechelt Nation, when the great wooden city Kalpalin gave Pender Harbour a bigger population than it has today. Native history and legend are recalled in Gilbert Joe's tale of the last battle between the Kwakiutl and the Sechelt, and in Dick Hammond's eerie true story of two hunters pitted against "the-deer-that-is-not-a-deer." Along with Lynn Ove Mortensen on August Schnarr, Jack Springs' poignant tale of unrequited love on a fishboat, Paul Lawson's poem "The Rock Bandits" and Arthur Mayse's don't-try-this-at-home recipe for "Donkey Boiler Coffee," Raincoast Chronicles 17 is truly an issue to remember.