xi Introduction: Talking with Karl by Stephen Jones xvii Midnight Sun (Poem)
EXORCISMS and ECSTASIES
Various Entcounters with Karl by Peter Straub Did They Get You to Trade The Kind Men Like Cedar Lane The Slug Final Cut Locked Away Endless Night A Walk on the Wild Side Passages Little Lessons in Gardening I´ve Come to Talk with You Again An Awareness of Angels But You´ll Never Follow Me Plan 10 from Iner Space Prince of the Punks The Picture of Jonathan Collins Gremlin Brushed Away In the Middle of a Snow Dream The Big Dutchman by Frances Wellman
SILVER DAGGER:KANE All Good Friends by David J. Schow In The Wake of Night: An Excerpt The Treasure of Lynortis The Gothic Touch At First Just Ghostly Deep in the Depths of the Acme Warehouse Friends Die by Ramsey Campbell
SATAN´S GUN: ADRIAN BECKER Doc Wagner by Jenny Campbell Satan´s Gun Hell Creek One Paris Night The Truth Insofar as I Know It by David Drake
TELL ME DARK: UNCOLLECTED STORIES Brother Karl: Stories First and Last by James R. Wagner The Education of Gergy-doo-doo Stardust Killer (with David Drake) The Coming of Ghor (from "Genseric´s Fith Son") A Fair Cop Karl Edward Wagner: Sassenach by Brian Lumley
Karl Edward Wagner: A Working Bibliography of English Language First Editions by Scott F. Wyatt and Stephen JonesAfterword: Karl Edward Wagner – A personal Farewell by Bruce C. Hunter Death Angel´s Shadow (Poem)
I am glad I bought this when it came out. Today it is really expensive. There are some interesting pieces here, but also a lot of things which just don´t work. The western stories are interesting, but I can´t see how they should have worked as a novel, as KEW allegedly always planed. I guess it is just me, but I think western and horror don´t mix well. Or things like the Kane and Elric story. This may be a bit harsh, but such things are just fanwank for me.
The diverse writers rememberances are mostly very moving. I never was a fan of David Drake, but his piece is sad. The exasperated account of a man who just can´t understand what went wrong with his friend. Where the others are often polite, he is blunt.
As a book, this is about perfect. I also bought the two Kane collections. Fine hardcovers, built to last.
It looks like this would have been a tighter collection if Steve Jones hadn't been so generous and restricted it to the Exorcism & Exorcism section, the tributes and remembrances. Only found out recently that Wagner died of a condition brought on by alcoholism which adds further pathos to the already sad enough Did They Get You To Change? and Gremlin.
Here are some notes. I also enjoyed The Picture of Jonathan Collins - a revamp of Oscar Wilde - but didn't scribble anything down. Does Ed Wood appear in Plan 10 from Inner Space?
Did They Get You To Trade?: Nemo Skagg, former lead singer with hugely influential punk band Needle (Excessive Bodily Fluids, The Coppery Taste Of Blood, etc.), is now a grimy down and out alcoholic, cadging cigs and 10p's with the best of us. Ryan Chase, a good natured American portrait artist, generously funds their pub crawl from Bloomsbury through to Kensington Market in return from Skagg's story of "where it all went wrong". Finally, in the squat-cum-vault that Skagg has made his "home", Ryan learns that the fallen idol is one star who never forgot his loyal fans, particularly the dead ones.
Name-checks include Sid Vicious & Nancy Spungeon, Betty Page, Brian Jones, Elvis, several dead rock and film stars and Tennant's Super.
The Kind Men Like: 'fifties glamour model Kirsti Lane (obviously based on Betty Page, who is mentioned several times in the text) disappeared at the height of her popularity, an exit that sparked many a wild rumour. "People said that Kirsty could get a little rough on the submissive model when she was the dominant one", her one-time photographer Steinman to Chelsea, who is trying to trace her for reasons which become apparent at the (spectacular) close of the story. "I know some of the girls wouldn't work with her unless they played the mistress."
Gremlin: "As I crawled through the maggot-filled loam where I had laid, my rotting brain held only one blazing thought. I would clutch her naked throat in my decaying fingers until her eyes bulged out like lanced condoms and I could grind them in my fetid teeth!"
An extract from washed up, genre-hopping pulp author Blaine Adams' soon-to-be bestseller The Calling From The Grave. Blaine has really gone to seed since wife Karen walked out and his loyal mutt Buford died (it's close, but he thinks he misses the dog more), and his inept, Gin-fuelled experiments in cookery have been an unmitigated disaster. When Buford was around, that wasn't such a problem as that brute would slobber up anything you put in front of him no matter how rotten and unappetising, but it's got so that the house stinks of fetid food waste. Blaine, being a decent bloke, takes to leaving out bowls of his slimy culinary disasters for the creatures of the woods enjoy. Surprise, surprise, his meals are a big hit with something out there. As though his good deed were being repaid ten-fold, Blaine now discovers he's a talented author, just so long as he rattles out his novels in a drink induced coma or else how explain those neatly typed, brilliantly written pages he finds awaiting him each morning?
Gremlin first appeared in the debut issue of David Riley's Beyond magazine which we should be getting to shortly!
The Slug : Successful author Keenan Bauduret unwittingly invites a psychic sponge into his life when, feeling sorry for his fellow writer, the mindless slob Casper Crowley, he approaches him at a party and innocently agrees to let him drop by some time and consult his library. The nightmare begins the following day. Crowley gatecrashes his entire existence, a constant drain, stuffing his face with pizza and getting it all down his beard, helping himself to the booze, cracking unfunny and obscene jokes about Sorority girls, etc., etc.
As a result Keenan Bauduret's career collapses (sales of Crowley's latest, Nazi Druids, eclipse those of every one of Bauduret's books combined) and he realises the only way to get his life back is to rid himself of this bloated, strength-sapping slug for good ....
Passages: The 25th Pine Hill High Class of '63 reunion. Marcia, Fred and Grant reminisce and confess their phobias. Marcia, whose hair is naturally frizzy, was terrified of spiders, her brothers teasing her that they'd crawl out of her Afro and eat her brains: Fred's family have never let him forget how his sister and her friends dressed him as a girl and initiated him into their Sorority: Grant, now a famous surgeon, was and still is terrified of needles, having had a syringe stick in his arm as an infant. He reveals how he overcame this handicap to succeed in his profession ....
From the first, I set myself against "literature"; the story was the thing, and no amount of style could persuade me to select a story that lacked genuine, unadulterated horror. For those who wanted something high-brow there was plenty.