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The Best of Joe R. Lansdale

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  625 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
By turns absurd, hilarious, and terrifying, this outrageous collection features the best writings of the high priest of Texan weirdness. Odd-ball detectives, malicious rocks, spectral prehistoric fish, and vampire hunters permeate these vividly detailed stories. Featuring cult-classic award-winning tales such as Night They Missed the Horror Show and Mad Dog Summer, along w ...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published February 1st 2010 by Tachyon Publications (first published 2010)
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This is one of the best and most diverse story collections I've ever read. Period.

I've heard all kinds of great things about Lansdale's work and I had read a few of his short stories and enjoyed them quite a bit. But then I got caught up in this reading slump that I couldn't shake and I had this collection on hand. I picked it up, and WHABAM, I'm a Lansdale convert. More than that...I'm a Lansdale proselytizer!

These stories vary widely, there's some flat out humor, brilliantly combined with horr
Joe Lansdale seems almost respectable these days. After a decade of writing books like The Bottoms and A Fine Dark Line which got him mainstream accolades and success, it got easy to forget that this is a guy who originally made his name doing exceptionally gory horror stories and novels. I’d gotten caught up in his Hap & Leonard series as well as the other recent novels so I’d forgotten about early bucket-o-blood books like The Drive-In and The Nightrunners.

So it was kind of a slap in the f
Brilliant, but not for the easily, or even remotely easily, offended. This man is dangerously good.

Great novella length stories: Bubba Ho-Tep, Mad Dog Summer, The Big Blow. Fantastic short stories like Not From Detroit, Fish Night, Incident On and Off a Mountain Road and The Events Concerning a Nude Fold-Out Found in a Harlequin Romance and White Mule Spotted Pig. This is a great introduction to all styles and types of writing that make up Lansdale’s work.

Lansdale’s style is almost impossible to
Steve Vernon
Feb 02, 2010 Steve Vernon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Just this morning finished reading Tachyon's new collection, THE BEST OF JOE R. LANSDALE.

Okay, for starters, I'm a big Lansdale fan. Just haven't read too much of his that I haven't enjoyed immensely.

As with most "best of" collections there were several stories I had read, notably The classic "On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks", the many-times reprinted "Night they Missed the Horror Show", the Toho monsterama "Godzilla's Twelve-Step Program" and the rock solid historical nov
Rick Soper
Apr 07, 2014 Rick Soper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first books from Joe R Lansdale and it's a collection of short stories most of which were very interesting, but some of which seemed disgusting for disgusting's sake, as well as being rife with racial slurs which were a little much for me. A few stories stuck out like the opening ode to the Japanese monster flicks I grew up with that threw the hilarious spin on Godzilla trying to give up his Tokyo stomping ways through a twelve step AA type program which was just great fun. I was fami ...more
Shedrick Pittman-Hassett
Joe R. Lansdale is becoming one of my all-time favorite writers. I've been listening to his "Hap and Leonard" series of pulpy mysteries on audio and have absolutely loved them. This collection ranges from the harrowing ("Mad Dog Summer") to the downright weird ("Bubba Ho-Tep", "On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks"). Always great fun from a truly fearless writer.
Mar 11, 2014 Jacob rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Why did I read this book?

I read an oddball short story by Lansdale in Steampunk. It was sort of gross, but so different than anything i'd ever read i wanted more of it.

The details about this book refer to stories about Godzilla's 12 step program, Elvis fighting a mummy and a guy's girlfriend turning into a zombie. I was hooked.

and then i was disappointed.

That's all there was to the oddness i expected. The rest of the stories are suspense stories sprinkled with a little supernatural activity, ma
Sep 08, 2010 Marvin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
There are a lot of Joe R. Lansdale anthologies hanging around out there. Most of these stories have been collected before and often. Yet this new collection is a good introduction to Lansdale's short fiction. They run the gamut from his earlier splatter-punk writings to straight horror to his visceral suspense tales. The highlights include "Mad Dog Summer" which is the predecessor to his novel The Bottoms, Bubba-Ho-Tep", "On The Far Side of The Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks", and the extremely ...more
Midnight Blue
Apr 08, 2013 Midnight Blue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was familiar with some of Joe R Lansdale's work because his stories are usually in all the best anthologies.....and I was not disappointed by this collection. His story "Incident on and Off a Mountain Road" was the basis for one of my favorite Masters of Horror episodes and "Mad Dog Summer" is hands-down one of the best short stories (more of a novella really) that I've ever read. Lansdale combines the storytelling gift of a Stephen King novel with the weird and compelling cinematic quality of ...more
Jun 02, 2015 Susan marked it as wishlist  ·  review of another edition
Crucified Dreams: Introduction • essay by Joe R. Lansdale
Godzilla's Twelve-Step Program • (1994) • shortstory by Joe R. Lansdale
Bubba Ho-Tep • (1994) • novelette by Joe R. Lansdale
Mad Dog Summer • (1999) • novella by Joe R. Lansdale
Fire Dog • (2003) • shortstory by Joe R. Lansdale
The Big Blow • (1997) • novella by Joe R. Lansdale
Duck Hunt • (1986) • shortstory by Joe R. Lansdale
Incident On and Off a Mountain Road • (1991) • novelette by Joe R. Lansdale
The Events Concerning a Nude Fold-Out Found
Apr 21, 2014 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first foray into Lansdale's work, and I feel sated for a while now. This is a man with a fantastic imagination and some spectacular turns of phrase, and I found myself in awe of several of these stories, particularly "Fire Dog," "Cowboy," "Fish Night," and "Mad Dog Summer."

There were some weak entries in this anthology, but that is always a given with these, and is strictly a matter of personal taste and opinion.

One thing that did kind of stick out to me, no pun intended, was Lansdal
Norman Leonard
Jul 09, 2010 Norman Leonard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection was a hoot. It recalled in me the fears and wild designs of growing up in small town America -- not Mayberry, mind you, but rather the small towns that exist on the margins, those places where the soil underfoot always feels unstable and the only thing that was certain was that this world is a weird fucking place.
May 17, 2016 Laurel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review of Fish Night

This story had me chuckling in parts, shaking my head in others, and hid the odd gem of sheer brilliance with words. Not strictly a time travel story, there is nevertheless time travel - after a fashion. Pretty much of a "strip yourself of things that attach you to this time and you can join another time" nature. And that's where some of the humour comes in.

I really enjoyed this short story. Vivid writing that captures the imagination, transforming one to a hot, dusty desert
John Cozzoli
Apr 13, 2010 John Cozzoli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to John by: agent
May 11, 2015 Tlingit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd already read Bubba Ho-Tep so I knew I liked Lansdale's style. I think I read another story in this book, the one where the two hicks get drowned in the end. One thing abut Lansdale is that his characters are not 100% goody goody. They may be stinky, raunchy, twisted, prejudiced and ignorant but they're someone I can believe would be alive and isn't part of your moral tale even if inthe end they deserved to die (or not.) This book was a welcome distraction from the crappy anthology tat Harlan ...more
Sep 11, 2016 Jaye rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthology
Reading Hap and Leonard got me in the mood to read more Joe Lansdale, and I thought this anthology might be a good place to start. There are a couple of stories I recall from elsewhere, such as "Bubba Ho-Tep" (which was adapted to film). Most of the stories are set in Lansdale's native East Texas, and some are set in the early 1900s. A few of the stories have weird themes, such as a story about Godzilla in rehab and the aforementioned mummy story.
Peregrine 12
Aug 09, 2013 Peregrine 12 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of horror, edgy stories
Disclaimer: I did not read this book all the way through.

Horror isn't my thing, so I didn't enjoy the stories as much as horror fans probably would. These stories have a heavy emphasis on torture and maiming and killing of innocent people, and that doesn't interest me very much so I quit the book after the first 60% and a quick view of the latter 40%.

Make no mistake: Joe Lansdale is a truly great author. He combines a fantastic imagination with a sense of humor and some of the best writing on t
Brad Fitzpatrick
There's just something about they way Joe R. Lansdale writes that makes me stay up way too late turning pages. This is my first exposure to his short stories which I enjoy reading in between full-length novels. I'm getting more into the short story format... they make great palette cleansers. After this I believe I will be venturing into the world of Raymond Carver. A good friend of mine brought this author to my attention. I would link to said friend's GoodReads profile, but he has not graced u ...more
Alice Lee
May 15, 2011 Alice Lee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
My first exposure to Joe R. Lansdale - an impulsive read without knowing much about the author at all. Boy was I in for a treat!

First of all, his writing is much better than I expected of a horror writer. He does go a bit metaphor-happy at times, but it's something I can overlook.

His range of writing chops is impressive. He can write from different points of view, from different characters effortlessly. His stories range from serious to humorous to downright horrifying - most of the time it's a
Gabriel Valjan
Oct 21, 2013 Gabriel Valjan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"6:38 P.M. On an afternoon hotter than two rats fucking in a wool sock, John McBride, six-foot one-and-a-half, 220 pounds, ham-handed, built like a wild boar and of similar disposition, arrived by ferry from mainland Texas to Galveston Island, a six-gun under his coat and a razor in his shoes."

Joe R. Lansdale. 'The Big Blow' in the best of Joe R. Lansdale. Tachyon (2010). p. 121

In an arresting opening sentence with a nice use of dashes Lansdale sets the tone and the barometer for a short story t
David Ward
The Best of Joe R. Lansdale by Joe R. Lansdale (Tachyon Publications 2010) (Fiction). This is a collection of Joe R. Lansdale's short stories. My favorites from this bunch were “The Big Blow,” which is based on the unnamed Galveston, Texas hurricane of 1900; “Cowboy,” which is a look at racial expectations; and “Fish Night.” With apologies to Kinky Friedman, there can be no weirder writer in Texas today than Joe Lansdale. My rating: 7/10, finished 3/17/16.
Alan Lampe
Oct 23, 2015 Alan Lampe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was recommended this book to help me with the cussing/swearing that I am using in my own book. There is cussing/swearing in Joe's tales, but I don't think this helped me the way it was intended. I was anticipating some great sarcasm laced with cuss/swear words, but that is not here. The stories are very interesting, I did enjoy them. The Bubba Ho-Tep story was particularly amusing. I really enjoyed the story set in Galveston during the hurricane that nearly destroyed the island back in the ear ...more
Apr 04, 2012 Todd rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mixed. "Bubba Ho Tep" and "Incident On and Off a Mountain Road" are choice, and the man can definitely write, but some of the stories lost me due to the casual overuse of a certain racial epithet and really over the top, crude sexual language. I'm normally not put off by such things (at least when used to make some sort of point), I know there are people out there who think like that, and the characters that bothered me are hardly heroes in the traditional sense. However, in several cases it did ...more
Tammy Schisler
May 28, 2016 Tammy Schisler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you've never read Joe R. Lansdale... it's time. He's dark, he's funny, and he's downright disturbing. His short fiction is collectable, and this book is a great place to start. His style is incredibly incredible, and very East Texas! Buy the book.... just do it. Be prepared to be entertained.
May 09, 2012 Lindsay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: misc-horror
Joe R. Lansdale tells stories that are simple and uncomplicated, but still riveting and very entertaining. My personal favorites were "Godzilla's Twelve-Step Program," "Mad Dog Summer," "The Big Blow," "Incident On and Off a Mountain Road," and "Night They Missed the Horror Show." Lansdale's style wavers between horror and dark comedy and is effective regardless of which direction the story takes. His comedies are darkly funny and full of tongue-in-cheek humor. His horror is sharp and visceral. ...more
A fun collection. Stories range in quality from really good to terribly mean-spirited and half-baked. 'Godzilla's Twelve Step Program', 'Bubba Ho-tep' (the movie is nearly a straight word adaptation, kudos to Don Coscarelli), 'Fire Dog', 'Duck Hunt', and 'Incident On and Off a Mountain Road' are definite highlights. Conceptually, all of the stories are very good, but some are just underdeveloped and clearly the work of a writer trying to find his voice. Lansdale is not for those with a weak stom ...more
Eclectic Reader
Nov 24, 2011 Eclectic Reader rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
I have long been a fan of Mr. Lansdale and enjoyed meeting him at FenCon in Dallas in 2010. While his stories can be a little crude at times - and are most definitely male centric - Lansdale's work never fails to elicit a smile or a chuckle or a gasp.

Some reviwers at Good Reads have compared Lansdale's work to King's. Nope. They got it wrong. Lansdale's work surpasses King. It's a shame Lansdale hasn't found the wider audience he deserves. Of course, the slant toward male readers vs. female one
Jun 03, 2015 Lpdot rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some really weird stuff. Reminds of stories by Roald Dahl. Excellent reading.
Nov 21, 2014 Harold rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the third book in a row I've read that was an anthology by a single author - and easily the best (sorry David Cross). Joe R. Lansdale is a terrific writer and the stories collected here span his entire career - ranging from the dark and gritty to the full-blown batshit crazy. If you've seen the film adaptation of his story "Bubba Hotep" (included here) then you'll know what to expect. Two of his early "splatterpunk" stories I'd read back when I was a kid, but the rest of the collection w ...more
Jul 28, 2011 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lansdale is a storyteller at heart and these are gutsy, hyper-realistic slices of a Texas which it would be nice to think is only a product of his imagination. These stories contain zombies, rednecks, far-dystopian futures, and past time reminiscences. Mostly told in a no-nonsense matter of fact style, they are an engaging read and whilst they won't win any 'literary' awards there are a fair number of award-winning stories amongst the bunch. Entertaining, sometimes comic, often disturbing, but n ...more
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Lush Library: The Stars Are Falling - Joe R. Lansdale 6 22 Jan 31, 2012 08:23AM  
  • Haunted Legends
  • The Imago Sequence and Other Stories
  • The Ammonite Violin & Others
  • Mr. Gaunt and Other Uneasy Encounters
  • Cold to the Touch
  • Quiet Houses
  • The Grimscribe's Puppets
  • Holes for Faces
  • Somewhere Beneath Those Waves
  • October Dreams: A Celebration of Halloween
  • The Ant King: And Other Stories
  • Best New Horror 19 (The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, #19)
  • Crackpot Palace: Stories
  • The Ones That Got Away
  • Songs of a Dead Dreamer
Joe R. Lansdale is the winner of the British Fantasy Award, the American Horror Award, the Edgar Award, and six Bram Stoker Awards. He lives in Nacogdoches, Texas.
More about Joe R. Lansdale...

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