High Cotton: Selected Stories of Joe R. Lansdale by Joe R. Lansdale
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I first read this in that quasi-mythical time before Goodreads. In fact, I thought I'd lost it but my brother found it when he was cleaning out the trunk of his car a few years ago. I'm waiting on the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen book I'm missing so it seemed like a good time to give it a whirl. Thanks to the magic of getting older and forgetting a lot of stuff, it was like a mostly new reading experience.
I was 23 when this came out and it was early in my Lansdale fandom. Now I'm pushing 46 and I've read over 50 Lansdale books. Half a life later, this is still a kick ass short story collection. It shows off Lansdale's versatility. There are funny stories, horror stories, crime stories, sf stories, and just plain fucked tales.
I've been on Goodreads for 15 years and still don't know how to competently review a short story collection. Mr. Weed Eater, the tale of a blind man plaguing a good Samaritan, is still one of my favorites. Trains Not Taken, an alternate history tale where Wild Bill Hickok is just a clerk, hit a lot harder than it did back in the day. Other stories, like The Night They Missed the Horror Show and An Incident On and Off a Mountain Road, are just as kick ass as they were back when I could barely grow decent facial hair.
I wouldn't say there's a dud in the bunch. There's a plethora of n-words scattered throughout, something that might turn off some readers but that's how the caliber of people Lansdale frequently writes about talk.
High Cotton is a short story collection that packs a wide variety of punches. Five out of five stars.
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