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Mad Dog Summer: And Other Stories [Paperback]

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Item description for Mad Dog Summer: And Other Stories by Joe R. Lansdale...

Joe Lansdale returns with his characteristic dark take on the horrors that lurk beneath the surface of mundane life in this collection of short stories and novellas. Originally available only in limited-edition hardcover, these tales run the gamut from devilish fantasy to twisted courtroom drama to vampire-robot western. Each story has an introduction in which the author relates the background of and inspiration for the story, whether it was drawn from history, literature, or pure imagination. The title story, about a serial killer in Texas in the 1930s, won the 1999 Bram Stoker Horror Award for long fiction.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   261
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.25"
Weight:   0.7 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2006
Publisher   Golden Gryphon Press
ISBN  1930846428  
ISBN13  9781930846425  

Availability  0 units.

More About Joe R. Lansdale

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Joe R. Lansdale is the author of more than three dozen novels, including "The Thicket, Edge of Dark Water, The Bottoms, "and "A Fine Dark Line." He has received the British Fantasy Award, the American Mystery Award, the Edgar Award, the Grinzane Cavour Prize for Literature, and nine Bram Stoker Awards. He lives with his family in Nacogdoches, Texas.

Joe R. Lansdale currently resides in Nacogdoches, in the state of Texas. Joe R. Lansdale was born in 1951.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Horror Fiction > General
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Short Stories > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Mad Dog Summer: And Other Stories?

Wonderful stuff  Sep 14, 2006
Joe Lansdale has the stuff. He's one of the most entertaining writers I've ever had the pleasure of reading, and he never fails to make me faint praise indeed, since most writers lack that ability. Lansdale has a special mojo (no allusion intended). He simply clicks. The magic comes right to you, right off the page. It surrounds you, sweeps you up like a Texas tornado, whaps your noggin a few times, then drops you, sometimes gently, sometimes not. When the ride is over you're bumped a bit, but you're left with a smile on your face and you've got a hearty appreciation for a good ride.

Many of Lansdale's short stories revolve around people who aren't very nice to begin with (though not at all uninteresting)who have things happen to them that are, uhm...not very good. These events happen in a progressive manner, starting with not so good and ending in downright terrible. (See the stories "The Mule Rustlers" and "Screwup" in this collection and you'll know what I mean). The rest of the stories in Mad Dog Summer are no less riveting, no less entertaining. So read, enjoy, and be amazed.
The longer, the better  Sep 22, 2005
As a fan of Joe R. Lansdale, I look forward to each new release with relish. Sometimes, however, these releases are difficult for a man of modest means to acquire, especially when several of Lansdale's works are published by small press publisher Subterranean Press. For a standard hardback release, Mad Dog Summer and Other Stories has a rather high price tag: $40 retail (this site and other sellers often offer a discount, but even that is usually not enough).

So imagine my surprise when I came across this signed limited edition collection of eight fiction pieces (four short stories alternating with four novellas, each with an introduction from the author "hisownself") in the library! I couldn't have been more excited, literarily speaking. Mad Dog Summer and Other Stories turns out to be a bit of a mixed bag, however. Although I like Lansdale's short work, in general its more uneven than his novels. The same occurs here: Two of the four short pieces fall short of ideal, which all four novellas are worthy of celebration.

"The Mule Rustlers" is all about taking fictional revenge on whomever stole Lansdale's own mule years ago. It has a lot of the same great features of other Lansdale fiction, but the unfair ending leaves a bad taste. "Screwup," on the other hand, is pure fun to read. A loser gets in over his head and spends the rest of the time just digging himself deeper while trying to get out of trouble. There's not much in the way of backstory or character development, just one event after another leading up to an ironic, but entirely appropriate, ending, but you won't care. (This is the second story Lansdale has written with his wife, Karen. The first, "A Change of Lifestyle," is available in Bumper Crop.)

"Veil's Visit" was written with Andrew Vachss, a practicing lawyer as well as a writer, who wanted the opportunity to fictionally "defend" Leonard Pine (of Lansdale's Hap and Leonard series of novels) of a crime he committed in more than one of those books. It's short and has an obvious agenda, but until the next Hap and Leonard novel comes along, it's do. Later, Lansdale remembers his mother, and how she influenced his life, in "O'Reta, Snapshot Memories." Like the title says, it's not a linear narrative, but the author fills the prose with such genuine emotion that it's easy to get swept up in it.

"Way Down There" combines cartoons with comic books, Jules Verne with Edgar Rice Burroughs, all with that inimitable Lansdale stamp. A special group of friends go to Hell to rescue Satan (it makes sense in the story) and learn a lot about the underworld along the way. It even includes references for further reading, assuming you've got the right kind of library.

I tried to read some Philip Jose Farmer once and just couldn't get into it. But Lansdale calls him his "outright favorite" (though he does admit to Farmer's unevenness) and wrote "The Steam Man of the Prairie and the Dark Rider Get Down" in tribute. It's a sci-fi Western, complete with metal men, talking ape folk, and rips in the space-time continuum right alongside crusty, meat-eating, livestock-screwing people of the land. Throw in astronauts, torture, and a hearty dose of cannibalism, and you got a wild ride that surprises at every turn. After this recommendation, I may just have to give Farmer another try.

"The Big Blow" just may be a perfect story. Set during the Galveston hurricane of 1900, it offers action, sex, violence, cleansing, redemption, and a small dose of history, as it happens to typically Lansdalean characters. Centering around a boxing match between John McBride and "Lil" Arthur Johnson (later to be called Jack), it's a real action piece, its 56 pages flying past like roundhouse punches. The characters and setting feel impressively realistic, and the plot is entirely believable. I had read it once before, when it came around in rotation on the Free Stories section of the author's website, and it's even better the second time around. I could imagine visiting "The Big Blow" yet again, and I'm not much for re-reading.

The title novella is the last piece in Mad Dog Summer and Other Stories. Fans of Lansdale's Edgar Allan Poe Award-winning The Bottoms may recognize it as the inspiration for that novel. It was originally written to order for publication in Al Sarrantonio's Bram Stoker Award-winning 999 anthology, but Lansdale felt that this story of a young boy's search for a serial killer in the Sabine River Bottoms of East Texas during the Great Depression deserved to be expanded.

A warning: if you have any intention of reading The Bottoms, skip "Mad Dog Summer." They're the same story with the same solution. That said, the novella is an ideal way for fans of the novel to revisit the experience without the same time commitment. I got lucky in being able to read Mad Dog Summer and Other Stories, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to fans of the "champion mojo storyteller." It's also a fine place to start for the newcomer, as it gives a look at the author's ability to span genres without losing his own special touch that keeps his readers coming back time and time again.
Yet another great place to start....  Sep 25, 2004
Just received this book yesterday and sorting my way through
some familiar and the off the wall gems. When you pick up Joe R.
Lansdale short stories you won't find the same old stories,
you'll find some good life lessons and hard luck, some shock
and laughs and down home tales, usually from a very twisted perspective at times. Always top notch stories. I especially
enjoyed joe's expanded novel several years ago, "THE BIG BLOW", with everybody's eyes wide open to hurricanes(this year) this is a good time
to read Joe's take on the most massive early century hurricane and the story of a boxer's inner battles. The combination is a knockout! Also included is one of my two very favorite Lansdale
yarns, (novella size also) called "Mad Dog Summer", which is about as good a story to read as they come by, Lansdale style.
This is a newer turn Joe's taken off the path over the past several years. Stylized from a generation or two once removed, writing in a vein much like the great Lee novel, "To kill a mockingbird" yet purely all Lansdale, this is an award winning novella(as was the full length fully realized "The Bottoms"(Edgar Award winner) from which this was spawned, a story that you won't soon
forget and I'm glad its the title tale and back out. This should be standard reading in all schools across this country,
its that good,(should have won a Pulitzer for such a compeling
piece of fiction). Even though Joe's moved away from some of his earlier shock and awe tales, he never quite lets us off
the hook when it comes to in your face gritty reality and that to me
has always been one of his greatest gifts, he know how to pack a big punch with his words without going overboard with 1000 page novels (and short stories). These stories are made to be savored and read
many times over the years, enjoy them, I sure am. Its also nice to see Joe pay tribute to his mother and share his views at the
same time. Joe's a BIG supporter of children and it all starts
with good parents-teachers and values, another reason I've always found
his stories to be REAL, regardless of their style.

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