Monday, November 29, 2010

More stories by an amazing author...


If you are easily offended, it’s best not to read Lansdale’s “On the Other Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks” story as your introduction to his work.  The first Lansdale story I read was “The Long Dead Day” [discussed in The Dead That Walk].  I loved the story, but forgot who the author was soon after.  [I spent my whole summer reading zombie anthologies one after the other and sometimes its hard to keep track of authors.]  Later I came across a story involving his fictional character, Reverend Jedidiah Mercer, called “Dead Man’s Road”.  That story was likewise phenomenal, and unfortunately the book in which it was originally published has since been out of print.  The third story I came across was “On the Other Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks” [found in Zombies : Encounters with the Hungry Dead and discussed in this blog].  I was offended at first, and it took me awhile to wade through those feelings and begin to appreciate the story.  When I did, I realized what an innovative, trend-setting author Lansdale really was.

I decided to find more of his works in the hopes that I could gain a better understanding of Lansdale as an author.  I also wanted to see what he was capable of doing when not confined to reanimated corpses.  I picked up Bumper Crop when I found out that Dead in the West, like many of his books, was out of print.  Lansdale describes Bumper Crop as an anthology of stories that were memorable to him for a variety of reasons.  An added bonus is that Lansdale himself introduces each story and discusses the publishing successes or failures and the inspiration for the story.

“The Shaggy House” is a really wild story.  There isn’t another word I can think of that would describe it so well.  It is about a house that causes other houses on the block to become diseased and stricken.  Two wily old men take on the house in an attempt to reclaim their neighborhood.  It has a sci-fi edge to it, and is actually very funny.  This story renewed my interest in haunted house stories.

“Pilots” – with Dan Lowry.  This story was really freaky.  It is suspenseful, thought-provoking, and sad.  The story follows a convoy of truckers who must band together to escape the murderous attacks of a black car, aptly named the Black Bird.

“God of the Razor” – I think if I were to give an award for the weirdest story in the book – it would go to this particular piece.  My best description is haunted house meets possession meets elder god meets serial killer.  And I’m not even sure that’s correct.  I just know this story rocks house.

If you are already a fan of Lansdale, you need to read this book.  If you haven’t been acquainted with Lansdale, you need to read this book.  Either way – you NEED to read this book.

Lansdale, Joe R. "Bumper Crop"



[caption id="" align="alignright" width="186" caption="Cover of Dead in the West"]Cover of "Dead in the West"[/caption]


If you are easily offended, it’s best not to read Lansdale’s “On the Other Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks” story as your introduction to his work.  The first Lansdale story I read was “The Long Dead Day” [discussed in The Dead That Walk].  I loved the story, but forgot who the author was soon after.  [I spent my whole summer reading zombie anthologies one after the other and sometimes its hard to keep track of authors.]  Later I came across a story involving his fictional character, Reverend Jedidiah Mercer, called “Dead Man’s Road”.  That story was likewise phenomenal, and unfortunately the book in which it was originally published has since been out of print.  The third story I came across was “On the Other Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks” [found in Zombies : Encounters with the Hungry Dead and discussed in this blog].  I was offended at first, and it took me awhile to wade through those feelings and begin to appreciate the story.  When I did, I realized what an innovative, trend-setting author Lansdale really was.

I decided to find more of his works in the hopes that I could gain a better understanding of Lansdale as an author.  I also wanted to see what he was capable of doing when not confined to reanimated corpses.  I picked up Bumper Crop when I found out that Dead in the West, like many of his books, was out of print.  Lansdale describes Bumper Crop as an anthology of stories that were memorable to him for a variety of reasons.  An added bonus is that Lansdale himself introduces each story and discusses the publishing successes or failures and the inspiration for the story.

“The Shaggy House” is a really wild story.  There isn’t another word I can think of that would describe it so well.  It is about a house that causes other houses on the block to become diseased and stricken.  Two wily old men take on the house in an attempt to reclaim their neighborhood.  It has a sci-fi edge to it, and is actually very funny.  This story renewed my interest in haunted house stories.

“Pilots” – with Dan Lowry.  This story was really freaky.  It is suspenseful, thought-provoking, and sad.  The story follows a convoy of truckers who must band together to escape the murderous attacks of a black car, aptly named the Black Bird.

“God of the Razor” – I think if I were to give an award for the weirdest story in the book – it would go to this particular piece.  My best description is haunted house meets possession meets elder god meets serial killer.  And I’m not even sure that’s correct.  I just know this story rocks house.

If you are already a fan of Lansdale, you need to read this book.  If you haven’t been acquainted with Lansdale, you need to read this book.  Either way – you NEED to read this book.

Another super creepy anthology...

I really enjoyed The Dead That Walk because the stories felt very fresh and new.  I was accustomed to reading zombie literature and feeling terror and revulsion, but not really any sorrow or sympathy before.  The stories were also very unpredictable – which can be difficult to achieve in and of itself.

Each story is preceded by an author biography, which is one characteristic that I look for in anthologies of any kind.  I like to read about the author’s life and the circumstances that influenced their work.

Some standout stories -

  • “For the Good of All” by Yvonne Navarro.  This story was a thriller from beginning to end.  While I was reading it, I thought I understood what was going on, and I couldn’t figure out why the author had chosen to be so mysterious.  By the time I finished the last word I realized that I had no idea what was going on, and the ending absolutely floored me.  I read it again, in fact, to make sure that I hadn’t left out any details.

  • “The Crossing of Aldo Ray” by Weston Ochse.  The idea of roaming through a crowd of the undead has never been comforting, and I have often wondered how long I would last before I gave myself up for human and was eaten.  This story examines a man’s peril as he tries to cross international borders amidst the living dead.  The story makes for an interesting comparison of the struggles of illegal immigrants.

  • “Cool Air” by H.P. Lovecraft.  This story is loosely a zombie story, but is nevertheless fantastic.  It centers around an eccentric shut-in and his unlikely friendship with another man who is renting in the same boardinghouse.  If you like Lovecraft – you know what I mean.  If you haven’t read his stories before – you need to !

  • “The Silent Majority” by Stephen Woodward.  I couldn’t stop laughing during this story.  Richard Nixon comes back from the dead and has some very interesting advice for the new President of the United States during a new period of war.

  • “The Long Dead Day” by Joe R. Lansdale.  This story is very short and very powerful.  A father must make a decision regarding a newly infected family member.  He must also decide what to do with himself and the surviving family after his decision.  [I’m sorry I can’t give a more complete description of this story.  Lansdale is very blunt and straightforward and the effect is something like receiving a blow from a red-hot icepick into the stomach.  I don’t want to ruin that for any potential readers.]

  • “Tell Me Like You Done Before” by Scott Edelman.  Phenomenal.  A re-telling of the Steinbeck classic, Of Mice and Men, only with a few catches.  George and Lenny are plagued by zombies and are forced to go from house to house in order to escape them.  In this particular instance, what you kill pursues you until it kills you.  Considering it’s a retelling of a novel, it’s a short story but still manages to include the major events from the book.

  • “Home Delivery” by Stephen King.  I have always been a fan of the great Stephen King.  I think what I like most about this story is his range of characters.  King’s leading lady starts out sheepish, abused, and insecure.  Through the tribulations of the rising of the hungry dead she finds strength in herself and changes her life forever.  It’s an inspirational story [of a sort] for anyone who has lost someone and isn’t sure what to do with themselves after.  The ending of it is both sad and hopeful.


If you are looking for a varied approach to zombies I strongly suggest this book.

Jones, Stephen. "The Dead That Walk"

I really enjoyed The Dead That Walk because the stories felt very fresh and new.  I was accustomed to reading zombie literature and feeling terror and revulsion, but not really any sorrow or sympathy before.  The stories were also very unpredictable – which can be difficult to achieve in and of itself.

Each story is preceded by an author biography, which is one characteristic that I look for in anthologies of any kind.  I like to read about the author’s life and the circumstances that influenced their work.

Some standout stories -

  • “For the Good of All” by Yvonne Navarro.  This story was a thriller from beginning to end.  While I was reading it, I thought I understood what was going on, and I couldn’t figure out why the author had chosen to be so mysterious.  By the time I finished the last word I realized that I had no idea what was going on, and the ending absolutely floored me.  I read it again, in fact, to make sure that I hadn’t left out any details.

  • “The Crossing of Aldo Ray” by Weston Ochse.  The idea of roaming through a crowd of the undead has never been comforting, and I have often wondered how long I would last before I gave myself up for human and was eaten.  This story examines a man’s peril as he tries to cross international borders amidst the living dead.  The story makes for an interesting comparison of the struggles of illegal immigrants.

  • “Cool Air” by H.P. Lovecraft.  This story is loosely a zombie story, but is nevertheless fantastic.  It centers around an eccentric shut-in and his unlikely friendship with another man who is renting in the same boardinghouse.  If you like Lovecraft – you know what I mean.  If you haven’t read his stories before – you need to !

  • “The Silent Majority” by Stephen Woodward.  I couldn’t stop laughing during this story.  Richard Nixon comes back from the dead and has some very interesting advice for the new President of the United States during a new period of war.

  • “The Long Dead Day” by Joe R. Lansdale.  This story is very short and very powerful.  A father must make a decision regarding a newly infected family member.  He must also decide what to do with himself and the surviving family after his decision.  [I’m sorry I can’t give a more complete description of this story.  Lansdale is very blunt and straightforward and the effect is something like receiving a blow from a red-hot icepick into the stomach.  I don’t want to ruin that for any potential readers.]

  • “Tell Me Like You Done Before” by Scott Edelman.  Phenomenal.  A re-telling of the Steinbeck classic, Of Mice and Men, only with a few catches.  George and Lenny are plagued by zombies and are forced to go from house to house in order to escape them.  In this particular instance, what you kill pursues you until it kills you.  Considering it’s a retelling of a novel, it’s a short story but still manages to include the major events from the book.

  • “Home Delivery” by Stephen King.  I have always been a fan of the great Stephen King.  I think what I like most about this story is his range of characters.  King’s leading lady starts out sheepish, abused, and insecure.  Through the tribulations of the rising of the hungry dead she finds strength in herself and changes her life forever.  It’s an inspirational story [of a sort] for anyone who has lost someone and isn’t sure what to do with themselves after.  The ending of it is both sad and hopeful.


If you are looking for a varied approach to zombies I strongly suggest this book.