H.B. Koblowitz found Saluki Marooned “annoying.” But how annoying?

H.B. Koblowitz, author of "Carbondale After Dark"

H.B. Koblowitz, author of "Carbondale After Dark"

To sum up my reaction to "Marooned" in one word, it would be "annoying." The main reason I found your book annoying was because I'd been kicking around a similar storyline - time travel to Carbondale circa 1969 - and you beat me to the punch.

I enjoyed parts of it, especially your descriptions of Carbondale in the early '70s. The story picks up whenever the narrator, Old Pete, gets out of the dorm (and his head) and heads to the strip or the radio studio. You do a good job of describing hangouts and bars, but Old Pete spends way too much time pondering chipped tiles, clouds, his sphincter and daily affirmations. He's a prude who doesn't smoke pot, feels guilty about drinking, and doesn't even attempt to pick up chicks, choosing instead to obsess over his algebra class. I'd think a 58-year-old guy given a 20-year-old body and a second chance at Beaver City during the hippie era would first and foremost want to get laid. He'd also want to get stoned and party like it's 1971 (at least the reader would!).

To me, Old Pete seemed not just politically apathetic but oblivious, with few insights, curiosity or passion as to what the students were rioting about. Although it is there as a backdrop, the student power movement of the Vietnam/civil rights era seemed to be of less import to Old Pete than a chipped tile and an algebra test.

When Old Pete rescues Catherine from the riots, he ponders what a mature person would do, but instead of taking her to the safety of his dorm room, where she could call her parents, and he might have had sex with her or proposed marriage, he instead walks her through the teeth of the riot, then abandons her at her car so she can drive home alone. I don't think either Pete would have done that.

Another problem with "Marooned," for me, is that the first time Old Pete forgets to shave his mustache, the reader knows it's because of Young Pete, yet it takes Old Pete all the way up to the climax to figure out what the reader has known from the get-go, so the climax is kind of anti-climatic.

It seemed to me an odd choice to make the protagonist and antagonist unaware of each other, so they never interacted, much less had a meeting of the minds, so to speak. Couldn't Old Pete have used his magic pencil to scribble a note to Young Pete, regarding choices and consequences, and Young Pete could have written a return note on the bathroom mirror about chilling out and going with the flow, or whatever? In the tug-of-war between Old and Young Pete over Catherine vs. Tammy, their attempts to influence each other might have had more pathos, and possibly character growth - one learns something from the other - if they'd discovered each other, rather than a sudden blackout, deus ex machina, Young Pete proposes to Tammy, the protagonist loses to the antagonist.

Well, as warned, my comments were pretty negative, but mostly had to do with what isn't in the book rather than what is. And I did care enough about the characters and story, as well as setting, to read it all the way through. So congrats on writing a book many people should enjoy.

H.B. Koplowitz

I on the other hand, thoroughly enjoyed reading "Carbondale After Dark."

Robert Rickman



CLICK here to purchase a copy.

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Want to Know What Type of Tree it is…Just Scan it.

When President Delyte Morris was building SIU into a major institution, he encouraged innovation.  Though President Morris probably never thought of this idea,  he would certainly have approved of it. If you're walking around the Carbondale campus, and see a pretty tree, all you have to do is pull out your smart phone and...

Trees Campus Lake SIU Saluki Marooned.

...scan its bar code. CLICK a pretty tree.

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Nearly a generation has passed since SIU was a party school.

Halloween in the 80's and 90's on the strip.  But times change CLICK.

Halloween in the 80's and 90's on the strip. CLICK.


And some people believe that without its party school reputation, Southern Illinois University has lost its identity.  It's been nearly a generation since Carbondale closed the bars along the strip during Halloween.  However things have changed.


But during the Roaring 70's Halloween at SIU was 24/7 and 364 days out of the year (except for Christmas)  Let's go back to the spring of 1971 and read what Earl, a psychology instructor had to say about taking the plug out of the jug,,,,


Protest on the Carbondale Strip, 1970.

Protest on the Carbondale Strip, 1970.  CLICK






But the 80's and 90's were nothing compared to the roaring 70's!  Because then, Halloween was all year long!

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One Way to Promote SIU!

Who among us wouldn't love to zip back in time to re-live a day or two of our college years?

SIU Air2

Campus Lake, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

If you attended Southern Illinois University in the 1970s,  I've found a way: Buckle up and break open Saluki Marooned, a rollicking time travel novel by Robert P. Rickman, an SIU grad himself (Class of '74).



The overpass looked the same is it did 38-years before.



Short of building your own time machine, it’s the best way I know of to get back.     One day in the 21st century, Rickman’s protagonist wakes up to find himself...




"I turned around, and there was Bailey Hall in all of its 1950's glory..." Peter Federson in Saluki Marooned.


....in this 20-year old skin–mustache and all--in his SIU dorm. Marooned on campus. He wonders what the hell is going on -- while marveling at everything he sees.   You’ll see it too because writing in the present tense, Rickman weaves a highly textured tapestry of what life was like back then: bellbottoms, jeans, rock music, environmental teach-ins, anti-war riots, and student radio stations to name a few.



.They’re the backdrop for a terrific tale about the universe giving one man a second chance – and the decisions we’d make if we were able to do it all over ahead.

The Strip, Carbondale, Il. May 1970.

The Strip, Carbondale, Il. May 1970.


Rickman fills his tale with richly drawn characters, and his meticulous research brought back so much local color I’d forgotten – the shape of campus lecture halls, the stacks at Morris Library, the clubs, pizza parlors, and bars we went to -- and our quirky fellow students who inhabited that magical place.

Lawson Hall at SIU.

Mr. Fader wore black Bermuda shorts, knee socks and sported a jaunty 1926 Chicago Cubs baseball cap on his wide head. He was Peters algebra instructor. and held class at Lawson Hall  He was a great teacher when the Cubs won.  But when they lost...


Marta was a pot-smoking, bubble blowing, air head of a hippy who played with her Jello.   But they were all critical experiments. ..CLICK.

I absolutely loved Saluki Marooned -- so much so, I slowed down my reading to stretch it out as long as possible. Now that’s a book that grabs you.

Bob Smith

Thanks much Bob!  Bob is still bouncing along, and still very active in radio.

Bob Smith WSIU Saluki Marooned

Bob Smith on WSIU radio 1973. CLICK on the EV-666 mic. and hear what he's doing now.


WSIU-TV Evening Report Rickman

The author on WSIU-TV circa 1973. See what he's doing now. CLICK on the RCA BK-5 mic.







Paul and Virginia, with pedestrian overpass in the background. Read about an unusual couple and a unique university

Paul and Virginia, with the pedestrian overpass in the background. Read about an unusual couple at a major university...that never should have been.  CLICK the statue.

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Melissa’s Clue # 3

Ramjet Saluki Marooned

Ronald Ramjet of WRRP fame: Ronald Ramjet Productions.

Ramjet here...telling you not to worry Melissa, you'll find the book.  Space cadet Marta, with her love beads and her granny glasses, who Rickman (in a spectacular lack of judgement) put in charge of the clues committee,  knows nothing about radio.   She was going to assign Fritzberger to the task, but even though he is a Radio and TV major...he knows even less than Marta!  So Rickman overruled Marta and put me in charge of this clue.

Now I'm not clear as what all is going on, only that Rickman wrote this novel that takes place now (meaning 1971) and I'm a character it.  The novel is called "Saluki Marooned", and  "marooned" as in "stranded".  Maroon and white are also the school colors.

The Big G

WGNS master control board. See if you can find the SIU mug.

Anyway Rickman sent me some digital (whatever that is) photos of the radio station he works at (WGNS) including this photo of a really nifty looking control board with slide pots!  Wow! There's an SIU mug sitting there and papers all over the place so I assume that Rickman was on-the-air, since I've heard he's really messy.

I've been shown other photos of control boards at the station that were made in the 20th century, that I am more familiar with.  There are something like ten boards in this one radio station.  I've never seen so many boards in one place!  It seems that somebody is no closer than ten feet from a control board any place in the station. (including the restrooms)  In fact there are more boards at WGNS than at the entire ABC radio network.

I think Saluki Marooned is hidden in one of those boards.

Editors note:  Thank you Ronald!  Incidentally the character of, Ronald Ramjet comes from an actual person who was called "ROGER RAMJET" after the cartoon character... who built his own radio station from scratch.

Roger At RRP 1971

This is Roger Ramjet'. CLICK the spiffy clock in the box to HEAR the Jet. (Parental discretion is advised)




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Roger Ramjet and the Big Blooper on WIDB.

Because radio stations have microphones everywhere.

Tempting FateAnd disk jockeys are daring personalities who love to tempt fate, it stands to reason that they swear a lot around microphones.  Or better yet, re-record something, such as a liner, and insert the appropriate naughty word, and then keep it around on a tape cartridge (cart) for everyone's amusement.


Back in 1972 Roger Ramjet while jocking at WIDB had one such recording come around and bite him in the ahhh........let's let Roger tell the story,

The Jet

"I had the 55 minutes of music cart that we played after the first record in the hour set to go. At the last minute, someone walked in behind the board man (who could well have been Otto the Trained Bear) and switched the cart. I knew full well what it would say, but at that point I had no option but to throw the cue anyway."

To learn how the Jet fits into a novel that's written about broadcasting by a broadcaster, CLICK on the WIDB logo.

Old WIDB production board: the Ramjet B.S. liner.

Hear more of the Jet and see what he looks like now by CLICKING the old WIDB production board, where the infamous liner was recorded.

Together Six and the Jet.

The character RONALD Ramjet was based on ROGER Ramjet. Read an excerpt from the novel by CLICKING on the chick.

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I Wrote Saluki Marooned, But I Didn’t Memorize it!

Lake on the Campus, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Much of the action in Saluki Marooned took place around this lake.

Tompson Point, Lake on the Campus, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.  Saluki Marooned started at this lake in 1971, and ended there  forty years later.


Roberty Rickman, wearing the SIU colors maroon and white.

It took me eight years to write Saluki Marooned, and when I finished it,  I had read it at least five times.  I was looking for typos and misspellings before I sent it to the publisher. Despite my best efforts, two typos got by.

One would think considering the fact that I had written the novel, and had read it at least five times, that I would know it very well.  Wellllllllllllllll... 






Nancy Herzog, CLICK here.




Don't forget to check-out Nancy Herzog's novel "More Than a Dream Part 1"






School Spirit!

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Video About the Planned Destruction of Brush Towers

Mae Smith will be the first to go next year, then it will be Schneider in 2021, followed by Neely in 2024.  Loreto Cruz produced this video on Brush Towers which includes: Eye popping views of the campus, interviews with present SIU students, film of the Roaring 70's--including riots and street parties--and the reasons why these literal pillars of Salukiland are doomed.




CLICK an "F"...any "F."



Back in 1971, the destruction of Brush Towers would have been inconceivable to Peter Federson, because Petehad had more urgent concerns.

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It’s official: The only two authors who wrote novels about SIU will attend homecoming together.


Nancy Herzog, author of More Than a Dream.  Give a "thumbs up" by CLICKING.


Robert Rickman, author of Saluki Marooned.

This lady will be meeting this guy at SIU Homecoming this October.  We are the only two authors who have ever written novels about SIU since the university as chartered in 1869.  I spent a few minutes talking about our collaboration on WRFN radio in Nashville during the Experimental Radio program at 1:00 Tuesday afternoons.


Speaking of my favorite hobby: procrastination. This used to be my business card before Terri Sterling saw it.  CLICK on it to hear the story.

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Want to sell more copies of Saluki Marooned? Invite the Competition. What?

In an attempt to spread the word about SIU far and wide, we've decided to ask our main competitor to help us out.

On the surface that doesn't seem like a very bright idea.  After all, there have been only two novels written about Southern Illinois University, and I wrote one of them.  So it would seem that I would be diluting sales of Saluki Marooned by giving the other author (and you know who you are) promotional space on this web site.

It was her idea. CLICK for Terri Sterling's website.

It was her idea. CLICK for Terri Sterling's website.

Terri Sterling told me during a conversation on WRFN, that I should keep in touch with the competition.  Do yeah hear that Nancy?


And check out how I am on my way to eliminating one of my favorite games which I use during one of my favorite activities: procrastination.

 The Story.

                            The story of Peter Federson

CLICK on the helmet to find out how I am cutting back on procrastination.

CLICK on the helmet to find out how I am cutting back on procrastination.

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The author unwittingly wrote a script for his future.

Saluki Marooned author Robert Rickman has had a bout of sickness that has lasted nearly four months: allergic asthma, H1N1, and the stomach flu, which has resulted in emergency room visits, multiple doctors visits, and enough medicine to open a drug store.  He's feeling better now, but (as would be expected) things are beginning to slip.  

In the novel, things are slipping for Peter Federson too...but for a different reason, because Peter has been ill for a long time: mentally ill...

Saluki Marooned SIU

Things are starting to slip...


"I chose to do without making decisions, even small decisions, such as how to clean my trailer, which caused me to be “conflicted,” according to the head shrinkers.

A dust mop had been leaning against the wall in the bedroom for more than a year because, for the life of me, I couldn’t decide where to start the cleaning project.   Should I vacuum the carpet first?   The carpet was covered with stains, coffee grounds, eggshells, dirt, paper and what looked like dried-out olives.  But to get to the rug I’d have to pick up all of the clothes off the floor, and they needed to be washed, didn’t they? 

But if I threw them in the car they’d get mixed up with the clean clothes in the back seat.  So to get around that, I decided to leave the clothes where they were, and wash them individually in the bathtub as necessary. 

And what about the tub?  I hadn’t cleaned that since before the water heater had broken that past winter.  Maybe washing the clothes there would clean the tub, but that left the filthy sink and toilet.  In what order should I clean them?  Until I figured that one out, they’d have to stay dirty. 

On a positive note, I considered the oven and the stove to such messes that they would be impossible to clean, so I didn’t have to decide which to clean first.  And the refrigerator really didn’t need to be cleaned, either, because it had died three years ago, and anything in there was safely out of my sight as long as I didn’t open the door."

But two days later...only two days...Peter Federson's life will change into the epitome of success...success that he won't even remember.  What?  Does that make sense?  It will.  Check out the crawling letters below:

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