book cover of Unassigned Territory

Unassigned Territory

(1987)
A novel by

 
 
Awards
Bram Stoker Best Novel (nominee)
Publisher's Weekly
In this accomplished new novel that confirms the promise of Nunn's first book, Tapping the Source, he heat of the Mojave Desert not only curls the hairs on a driver's arm; it also makes the few isolated settlements tremendously lonely, the inhabitants rambunctious and vulgar, and faith a cross between beliefs that began long ago in another desert halfway across the world and kooky ideas about extraterrestrials as gods. Into this desert comes Obadiah Wheeler, a preacher trying to escape the Vietnam draft, who has been asked to lead a group of missionaries into this previously unassigned territory in barren Nevada. A man of shaky principles, he is separated from the sect elder and comes upon a ramshackle museum built around a manufactured space oddity. He encounters the trampy half-sister of the museum operator with whom he goes wandering among the desolate outposts while considering mysteries whose solution may yield either great truths or nonsense. Nunn writes with a keen portentousness about the warped people in this wasteland, creating what might be described as a western gothic. His examination of cultish thought is respectful, intriguing and funny, in a narrative that never loses dramatic momentum.

Library Journal
Obadiah Wheeler is a draft-dodger pretending to be a preacher. When he travels from Pomona to the Mojave Desert, he enters ''unassigned territory''an area so sparsely inhabited by members of his sect that it is open to evangelistic efforts. As with Conrad's Heart of Darkness , Nunn's title refers not just to a physical place but also to an uncharted realm of confused moral values. During his sojourn in the wildernessa blend of picaresque wandering and spiritual pilgrimageWheeler discovers some varieties of religious experience far more exotic than his own. He steals a fake monster, tries to sell it to a man named Dr. Verity, gets involved in four murders, and finds true love. Nunn's outlandish characters, though skillfully developed, are like sideshow freaks: they have the power to fascinate, but they are not always credible. Albert E. Wilhelm, English Dept., Tennessee Technological Univ., Cookeville



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Used availability for Kem Nunn's Unassigned Territory

Hardback Editions

April 1987 : USA Hardback
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Title: Unassigned Territory
Author(s): Kem Nunn
ISBN: 0-385-29536-7 / 978-0-385-29536-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Paperback Editions

June 2017 : USA Paperback
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Title: Unassigned Territory
Author(s): Kem Nunn
ISBN: 0-486-81570-6 / 978-0-486-81570-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Dover Publications
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


March 1988 : USA Paperback
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Title: Unassigned Territory
Author(s): Kem Nunn
ISBN: 0-440-50009-5 / 978-0-440-50009-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: Laurel
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Kindle Editions

May 2017 : USA, Australia, Canada, UK Kindle edition
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Title: Unassigned Territory
Author(s): Kem Nunn
Publisher: Dover Publications
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU