Monday, June 25, 2018

Western Weirdness and Voodoo Vengeance: An Informal Guide to Robert E. Howard's American Horrors - Fred Blosser



Fred Blosser has been writing excellent articles, essays, and books about Robert E. Howard for decades now, and he adds to that distinguished body of work with his latest volume, WESTERN WEIRDNESS AND VOODOO VENGEANCE: AN INFORMAL GUIDE TO ROBERT E. HOWARD’S AMERICAN HORRORS. This book takes a detailed look at Howard’s Weird Westerns (prehistoric, historical, and modern) and his contemporary Westerns such as the great “Wild Water” (one of my personal favorite Howard yarns) and the stories in which detective Steve Harrison’s cases bring him to Texas; as well as horror and Weird Menace stories set in the swamplands and the backwoods. Blosser provides plot summaries for more than two dozen Howard stories and discusses each of them, relating them to Howard’s own life, the region where he lived and worked, and other influences.

One of Blosser’s greatest strengths, along with his deep knowledge of Howard and his work, has always been his clear, concise prose, and that’s demonstrated again in this book. Blosser makes his points without ever getting bogged down in the sort of over-analysis you sometimes find in critical studies. As a result, WESTERN WEIRDNESS AND VOODOO VENGEANCE is always fast-paced and entertaining to read, as well as being packed with information and some connections that casual readers of Howard’s work might not be aware of.

Fred Blosser is in the top rank of Howard scholars, and that reputation is well-deserved. Some of my favorite Howard stories, the ones that I’ve read over and over, are discussed in this book and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about them. In the case of the ones I haven’t read multiple times, this volume made me want to read many of them again. I may have to do that. In the meantime, if you’re a Howard fan new or old, I give WESTERN WEIRDNESS AND VOODOO VENGEANCE my highest recommendation.

3 comments:

Peter Brandvold said...

Just ordered my copy. It'll be here in two days. I love Amazon Prime. Not that I'm a slave to instant gratification, but since I am...

Charles Gramlich said...

cool. Gonna have to pick this one up

Confetti Lily said...

Your review is spot on, James. Thanks. Got my copy a couple of weeks ago and had a most pleasant time spending a few hours with it. It's insight and useful and, yep, very well written. (And I think this comment is going to be identified as coming from my daughter, Lily's, account!)