Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Fight of the Century

A Tribute to John Gay Bascom Sr.
excerpted from

The Fight of the Century
John G. Bascom Jr.

from the collection of short fiction

...I had gone on to establish a career in Detroit.  My par­ents eventually retired to San Diego County where I saw them perhaps once a year.  My relationship with my father contin­ued as cordial, but lacking the edge of disappointment and re­sentment I felt as a child.  Pain fades under the great anes­thetic of time.  When his time finally came in 1986 at age sev­enty-six with a diagnosis of metastasized bowel cancer, I went to see him a few weeks before the end.  We always greeted or said goodbye to one another with a shake of hands.  But as I was leaving to return to my wife and family in Detroit, he hugged me for the first time in memory and said, “I love you.”  I said the same.
Shortly after that I sat down to write him, knowing it would be the last letter he would receive from me.  I pondered his life and mine.  By all conventional measures his was unre­markable.  A private in the army, a salesman rising eventually only to middle management.  He never assumed a leadership role in any group, was never singled out for any recognition to my knowledge.  But what I remembered then was a man who overcame a Depression-era absence of an opportunity for an education—he had never completed high school, going to work instead as others were forced to do—to build the middle-class life of the American dream for his family.  A father earning a modest income who still made sure his children had well be­yond a basic public education.  A man who, when he lost a job, was steadfast and confident, never spreading the fear and as­sault on his self-confidence to his family, calmly going about finding another while keeping the home ship on a steady course.  I knew he had been an infantryman, only a buck-pri­vate manning a light BAR machine gun, fighting the Nazis in Italy during World War II.  Of course he never spoke to me about it.  But my mother had confided, out of his earshot, he had been wounded twice and returned to his unit both times, had been shelled mercilessly and watched his best friend ran­domly blown to pieces in the foxhole next to him, had been in a close man-to-man firefight in the very final days of the war, machine gunning to death a charging young German at point-blank range.  My father, lacking rank or recognition, simply doing what he needed to do without question.  Soldiering on, as always.
And even with death he was strong.  “I'm not afraid to die,” my mother told me he said after receiving his diagnosis.  “Everyone has to some time.  I've gone through life knowing I'll spend eternity with God in heaven.  I believe it still and am ready for that.”
In my letter I said to him true things I never had the strength to say in person.  “Your courage and resolve have always been an inspiration to me…I've spent a lifetime trying to equal them but have never been able to achieve that, yet every day I try again…your example and what you've meant to me will always be a part of me, will never die so long as I'm alive…”  I never saw my father cry, but my mother told me tears ran along his cheeks as he read it sitting on the living room couch.  He was dead a few weeks later.
I think in a strange way my ability to finally say to my father those things I had felt and believed for so many years began that Saturday night in May in Webster Groves.  When, with the crowd buzzing at the unlikely turn of expectations that had just unfolded in the ring, I saw my father's euphoria, his pride and exuberance with the accomplishment of his old­est son, burst uncontained in that spontaneous, heartfelt grin.  That sweltering night when I walked head high back to the locker room, past my beaming, proud father, striding victori­ously in front of vanquished Bob Winfrey, his eyes downcast and expression beaten, the boy I liked and felt so terribly sorry for.  That Saturday night in late May at the Catholic Youth Center with Father Kaletta as the referee.  The night of the epic, the undisputed Fight of the Century.
This story is dedicated to my youngest daughter, Molly, who asked that I write a personal childhood memoir of a sort so that she might become familiar with relatives she never had a chance to know well or at all.  Here you go, Beans…
…and finally and most important, to the memory of my late father, John Gay Bascom Sr. (1910-1986) whom I love dearly and painfully miss, and to whom I owe so much.  RIP.  Thanks, Dad.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Zimbabwe Kudu Article in GameTrails

Article on my 2013 KUDU hunt in Zimbabwe's Zambezi Valley (click on the title link below)

Friday, October 23, 2015

"...Hunter's Sky" in National Magazines

Very proud to have my new book of outdoors short fiction appear in the national publications of Dallas Safari Club and Safari Club International...

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Alaska Goat & Sitka Hunts VIDEOS of Curt Kendall and Guide Eli Lucas

Curt Kendall is the son-in-law and sometime hunting partner of "Beneath a Hunter's Sky" author, John Bascom.

Kendall (right) with author Bascom above the falls on Slick Crick, Kuiu Island

Kendall was the inspiration for the book's short story, "Undeliverable", a humorous and fictionalized recount of their bear hunting trip together on Kuiu Island, Alaska.  He has now returned from a guided but otherwise solo mountain goat hunt in southeast Alaska.

Check out his VIDEO of the goat hunt with guide Eli Lucas; and also their sitka deer hunt

Saturday, June 27, 2015


John Bascom

"A wounded African lion faces-off with his tormentors just as all hell is about to break loose in "The Hundredth Lion". And in the allegorical tale, "Bear Hunt," a man comes to grips with his own natural mortality as he confronts a deadly, stalking Alaskan brown bear on Chichagof Island. These are some of the offerings in John Bascom's unique nineteen-story collection of short fiction about dangerous game hunting, fishing, adventure, and coming of age in his book, "Beneath a Hunter's Sky." Combining drama, humor, and nostalgia, Bascom pulls from his real-life experiences on safari in Zimbabwe, fishing in the Caribbean, and bear hunting in Alaska as he weaves his fictional tales with craftsmanship and emotion."

Table of Contents

Author's Note                                       v

In Africa                                              9
A hunter comes to understand the
most important things in his life as 
he faces lethal game in Botswana

Bear Hunt                                           41
The distinction between failure and
success is redefined in this allegory
of a hunter grappling with life and
death in southeastern Alaska

Undeliverable                                      69
Two hapless hunting partners see their
shared adventure very differently

Molly & Me                                          95
An alienated divorced father and
his daughter reconnect and heal
on a fishing trip to Beaver Island

Chewore Safari Journal                       115
An eleven story novella of the
author's hunting safari in the
Zambezi Valley of Zimbabwe

         Renewal by the Chenje                        115
        Tsoma and the Mbada                          131
        Trial by Fire                                         137
        Joy & Mourning among the Mopanes      159  
       Whack 'em, Stack 'em, Pack 'em           177
        Bere and Mbada                                   187
        The Gray Ghost                                    195  
        The Widow-Maker                                 205
        Fear & Death above the M'Kunga           227
        The End of a Thing                               249
        A New Beginning                                  253  

The Fight of the Century                      261
A shy, scrawny young boy fights a                        
notorious tough in the 1950s and
wins closure with his father
The Hundredth Lion                            285
An arrogant client is paired with a
disapproving professional hunter
as they face a deadly lion

The Church of the Epiphany                 309
A Vietnam veteran father and his
son just returning from Afghanistan
share a legacy of wartime trauma

The Motleytown Bonefish
Extravaganza                                      327
A couple on a hastily arranged
bone fishing trip find themselves 
in an odd place with eccentric people

Beneath a Hunter's Sky, by John Bascom, is a collection of short stories about hunting, fishing, Africa, Alaska, and dangerous game.  At 348 pages, it is was ranked #1 by Amazon when released in the category of short stories.  Look for it in print and as a Kindle or Nook eBook on or Barnes&

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Praise for Caine's Pestilence
from readers and reviewers 

Wyblog US

I could summarize my review in three words: Read. This. Book… Caine's Pestilence is a masterstroke of satirical genius…I couldn't put it down. (Chris Wysocki August 21, 2011 



One of the most compelling and unusual books I have ever had the pleasure of reading...totally original and both comedic and horrifying at the same time.  From the time I opened the first page, it made me want to read it straight through…if you decide to read only one book this year, it should be Caine’s Pestilence.  (LD Jackson Oct. 2, 2011 


Free Republic

(H)ighly recommend, but …more scary than Stephen King's "IT" which, to this day, still causes goosebumples when I think of the clown-monster.  I will not even try to offer up a glimpse of the terror and horrible events that are part of the plot, and I do mean PLOT!!  Get it and set aside an evening to read it. Make sure the doors and windows are locked and unplug the phone! (GRRR…Free Republic, Sept. 7, 2011,


By Melinda Le Baron—October 30—Goodreads...very tightly plotted... dialogue is priceless...pacing lickety-split quick...ending so surprising you could have knocked me over...perfect for people who like finishing novels with a far this book is singular in its execution.


BGabby--January 20--Goodreads...I loved this book! Nancy Pelosi as president? G W Bush imprisoned for war crimes? The hopelessly politically correct doublespeak? I haven't laughed this hard at a political novel since Tricky Dicky and Good As Gold...All I know is that I'm keeping this one to enjoy again. FIVE STAR ***** Reader Reviews 

By R. Camp -- September 21 -- Super Thriller -- a real page turner. Each time you feel that you have the nailed down the bad guys, the writer throws another monkey wrench. If you have ever wondered about (political) motivations this book will make you stand on your head (and) slap your forehead (saying) "Duh, why didn't I think of that?" 

By Psychonate--Sept 1--awesome book! Amazingly entertaining...down right scary! Should be a requirement for students.  Finished in two days and that's only because I had to sleep and work.

By Dannette—March 26… rides the fence of politics beautifully, with a spot-on sense of timing and humor.  I found myself laughing countless times at the irony 


By "cobweb"—October 9…Spellbinding with an edgy awareness that the ridiculous situation inching Caine to his death is uncannily possible… Caine's observations, inappropriate humor and irreverent satire bind this twisted plot into an intriguing read and a wakeful night… Totally great reading and we want more. 


By Daune Robinson—April 14…can't remember the last time I enjoyed finding a new author this much - well, yes, I can - it was when I read Watchers and fell in love with Dean Koontz! This book was a pleasure to read. I laughed, cried, screamed and could not put it down. Read it! 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

CNBC Comments on Caine's Pestilence


Political Satire Novel Lampoons Nancy Pelosi, Liberals

"One of the most compelling and unusual books ...ever"  Political Realities


GLADWIN, Mich., -- Caine's Pestilence, a novel melding biotech mystery and political satire, has been released by Canniche Cove Publishing. Written by new author John Bascom, the fictional work unfolds in a surreal 2015  where Nancy Pelosi is president and the ultra-liberal wing of the Democratic Party firmly controls America.

The novel is distinctive in that it defies standard classifications of literary genre, containing elements of action-adventure, biotech science fiction, humor, and political parody. Bascom uses actual public figures as characters. In addition to Pelosi, Minnesota Senator Al Franken is the chief justice of the Supreme Court, while Rush Limbaugh is a fugitive beaming bootleg broadcasts into the US from Canada.

John Bascom, author
"I wanted to write something absolutely unique," Bascom says, "something that would give voice to my concerns about the destructiveness of the liberal agenda taking hold in our country, but in a way that avoids rants or preaching and is delivered in an entertaining, engaging way." Bascom's story unfolds from the pen of the simple, hapless central character, John Caine, writing his memoirs from his death-row cell. An obscure administrator at the National Institutes of Health, Caine fortuitously creates a biological agent that, accidentally released into the population, changes the perceptions of ordinary people about the liberal agenda. The Pelosi administration then goes crazy and Caine is persecuted mercilessly in their efforts to stop it.

The author's mission of entertaining and engaging has met with success according to the conservative, who calls Caine's Pestilence "...a masterstroke of satirical genius" and tells the blog's fans to Read. This. Book. Today! And the blog Political Realities says it's " of the most compelling and unusual books I have ever had the pleasure of reading." Individual Amazon reader-reviewers awarded the maximum 5 stars on average overall.

Caine's Pestilence is available in softcover or Kindle at and as a Nook eBook from Barnes & Noble.