Douglas Arvidson is a past winner of the WICE/Paris Transcontinental International Short Story competition. His short fiction has been published in Paris, Prague, and in literary magazines in the United States and he was recently invited to be a staff writer for the Prague Revue, a cutting-edge, online literary journal ( The novels in his fantasy series, The Eye of the Eye of Stallion, include The Face in Amber, The Mirrors of Castaway Time, and A Drop of Wizard's Blood. His new novel, Brothers of the Fire Star, was selected as a finalist in the ForeWord Reviews 2012 Book of the Year national awards and as a finalist in three categories in the 2013 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards: Action Adventure Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Young Adult Fiction. It has become part of the pantheon of Pacific literature and is now included in school literature programs. Brothers of the Fire Star is an adventure story set in the Pacific during World War II and concerns two boys of different races and cultures who escape the island of Guam in a small sailboat when the Japanese army invades. They must then struggle to survive as they master the secrets of the ancient Pacific navigators. Appropriate for young adults as well as adult readers, Brothers of the Fire Star is available on Barnes & Noble, ( and Visit the author's website:

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Dogs and the Detritus of War: When Will We Ever Learn?

Ah, the dogs and detritus of war. Here on Guam, it's everywhere, the rusty, the broken, the remnants of the late, great struggle between Imperial Japan and the Allies. And we live, on our sailboat, in the middle of it. In the middle of an old battlefield, in fact--the battle for Orote Point was fought all around where we now live so peacefully. Above is the memorial to the twenty five dobermans who died working with the Marines and a Japanese midget sub, designed to carry two lucky sailors and couple of torpedoes. It was found washed up on a local beach.

On the right, we have some anti-aircraft guns, or what's left of them. You can see the first one is still pointing up, just as the Japanese gunners would have left it as they died blasting away at American planes.
Below are the remains of the house where a family lived that manned the overseas telegraph cable station. It stretched across the Pacific and was a prime target of the Japanese when they invaded on December 8, 1941--the same day (it was December 7th on the other side of the International Dateline in Hawaii) that Pearl Harbor got hit. There's another house in pretty much the same shape as this one, back farther in the jungle.

Ever wonder what is inside those caves the Japanese were famous for dying in in the Pacific operations? Below, is one view of one of them.

And to the left is the inside of it. Probably a storage area for munitions. Just some Marine graffiti from 1977 in there now. Now that I think of it, the soldiers who left there mark here were fighting another American war at that time. Barney and James Cagney, wonder where they are now. Would be my age, probably.

In any event, there is peace here now. To the right, is Terry and her black cat, Zeke, in the cockpit of our boat, VATNA. Behind her, up in that green you see, is where the caves are. This was all a hell hole in July 1944 when the Marines took it back from the Japanese.