Research Into Marginal Living

John D. Keefauver. Lethe, $20 trade paper (286p) ISBN 978-1-590-21514-2
These 30 outstanding stories from Keefauver are, as Joe R. Lansdale puts it in the introduction, “from another dimension.” This is more than just a collection from a prolific but obscure speculative author; it’s the swirling record of a uniquely off-kilter writer’s trajectory across genres, from straightforward crime (“The Jam”) to mind-melting surrealist horror (“Getting to Lord Jesus Is a Powerfully Important Thing”). A mailman watches a house shrink each day (“Special Handling”); a lonely man learns to smile when he finds a doll in the garbage who smiles back (“Past a Smile on the Wall”); a hapless postal worker helps the hippies win the culture war (“How Henry J. Littlefinger Licked the Hippies’ Scheme to Take Over the Country by Tossing Pot in Postage Stamp Glue”); and a washed-up trapeze artist with a bellyful of sawdust applies for a day job (“The Daring Old Maid on the Flying Trapeze”). Of particular note is “The Pile of Sand,” a lost weird fiction classic that readers owe it to themselves to be astounded by. Editor Scott Nicolay provides commentary at the end of each story, discussing how each fits into the development of Keefauver’s singularly strange oeuvre. This collection will leave minds scrambled in the best of ways. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/14/2021
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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