Already renowned for his work in horror and “splatterpunk,” Joe R. Lansdale (the Hap and Leonard series, Cold in July, Bubba Ho-Tep) helped cement the Weird Western genre as we know it with THE MAGIC WAGON and several other titles beginning in the 1980s and continuing more than 30 years later to this day.
First published in 1986, THE MAGIC WAGON tells the tall tales of narrator Buster Fogg and the group of traveling merchant marauders he takes up with after his family is killed by a tornado. Their adventures take them through dank caves, across the countryside, and into Mud Creek - an East Texas town that would have made Deadwood look like the Land of Oz.
INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR
BookVoice: How would you describe THE MAGIC WAGON to someone who might not have heard of the story?
Joe: That's a toughie, but I will say this, if you think it's a standard Western, you're wrong. If you think it's something else, oddly, you're also wrong. It takes place at the turn of the century, 1909, and the West as we think of it was gone, but there is a residual somewhat ghostly residue of its existence, though much of what we think about the West is wrong and is built on movie images. That's part of what the story is about. We don't even know if this is Wild Bill's body, not actually. But in Billy Bob's mind it is for certain. And for him the Dime Novel idea of what the West was is pervasive with him. He prefers the myth to the truth. The myth gives him comfort. What's going on here is a story told by a kid who has had a rough life in a short time, and he's telling a story that manages to be about age and race and broken dreams. It deals with some real historical figures, but the truth is, Buster is an unreliable narrator. He tells what he thinks he knows, and senses what he thinks is going on, a kind of supernatural aspect, but that may or may not be more in his head than in reality. And hey, you get a wrestling chimpanzee.
CRITICAL ACCLAIM FOR THE MAGIC WAGON
-- "The true charm of the story, though, is in its telling, which melds laconic humor, colorful colloquialisms and outrageous figures of speech into a Twainesque tall tale. This novel endures as a modern western classic." - Publishers Weekly
-- "Classic Lansdale." - Ricky L. Brown, Amazing Stories
-- The Magic Wagon is "to the 1980s what True Grit was to its decade." - Dean R. Koontz
-- "Part tall tale, part suspense story, part dark fantasy, The Magic Wagon is wholly unique and unfailingly SUCCESSFUL." - Ed Gorman, Trails West
-- "A delight." - Books of the Southwest
-- "An assortment of colorful, often humorous characters gives this insightful and gritty tale authenticity and a sense of wonder." - Booklist
-- "Pure escapist reading." - The Antioch Review
-- "This is a rare, wonderful book." - Lewis Shiner, The Austin Chronicle
-- "Joe R. Lansdale proves he can show his readers a good time—and leave them a little something to think about afterward." - The New York Times Book Review
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joe R. Lansdale is the author of fifty novels and more than three hundred short stories. His work has appeared in national anthologies, magazines, and collections, as well as numerous foreign publications. He has written for comics, television, film, newspapers, and Internet sites.
His work has been collected in at least thirty short-story collections, and he has edited or co-edited over a dozen anthologies.
Lansdale has received the Edgar Award, eleven Bram Stoker Awards, the Horror Writers Association Lifetime Achievement Award, the British Fantasy Award, the Grinzani Cavour Prize for Literature, the Herodotus Historical Fiction Award, the Inkpot Award for Contributions to Science Fiction and Fantasy, and many others.
THE MAGIC WAGON is also available from BookVoice in a signed/numbered limited edition hardcover. Includes an all-new introduction by the author, new artwork and inside sketches, a rare Western short story by Joe, and more. Limited to only 500 copies. www.bvpstore.com