Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Some nice ink for a deserving writer

I came across this story at the New York Times and thought it worth sharing: Joe R. Lansdale is a Fresh Discovery, Decades in the Making.

It's so nice to see hardworking mid-listers who do their job and do it well eventually get their due. Lansdale in my opinion is one of the great storytellers of our generation. By that I mean he writes fun, captivating tales that are almost impossible to put down. Though often violent and visceral, his writing also contains that rare quality that only a few authors are able to pull off: Humor.

Lansdale has written many books since his debut novel in 1980 and also seems to crop up regularly in anthologies. I've recently read two of his short fiction pieces in the George R.R. Martin/Gardner Dozois anthology Warriors and the John Skipp-edited Zombies: Encounters with the Hungry Dead. Both were among the standouts in these respective collections (if I see an anthology with Lansdale's name on it, I will buy it. I can't think of a handful of current writers for which I would say the same). He also wrote the foreward to Mark Finn's biography of Robert E. Howard, Blood and Thunder.

If you ever want to explore his writing, I personally recommend starting with Mucho Mojo or The Bottoms, which are probably my favorite two works of his.

I did not know until I read the New York Times piece that Lansdale was recently honored with a Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Horror Writers Association. It's certainly well-deserved. Lansdale speculates in the article about why he is enjoying a sudden run of recent popularity: “People who grew up on my books are now able to get the point across to others that they’re worth reading,” he said.

Here's one other person who feels the same way. I personally think HBO should scoop up the rights to his Hap and Leonard series. They would make for some great viewing.


The Wasp said...

Hap and Leonard are a blast. Read Mucho Mojo first but an only then went back and read the debut Savage Season. I ran through the whole series again last year and was happy how satisfying they remained. So many amazing stories, glad the NYT realized that.

Keith said...

Joe's also a fun person to hang out with at a convention and just listen to. He's very easy-going and personable. And The Bottoms is one of my favorite of his novels.

Fred said...

I've read several of his short stories, but the one I remember best is _Bubba Ho-tep, a mummie tale. It features JFK and Elvis Presley who are living in a retirement home. They discover that a mummy is killing people, so they decide to find and kill it.

It was turned into a film starring Bruce Campbell as Elvis and Ossie Davis as JFK.

Brian Murphy said...

Wasp, yes, I'm looking to reading the last few entries in the series (I haven't gotten around to Vanilla Ride yet, nor his latest novella).

Keith, have you hung out with Joe before? That must have been something.

Fred, I haven't actually read the story but I have seen the film. Very enjoyable (as is anything with Bruce Campbell in it).