[EPUB] ✹ Why Not You and I By Karl Edward Wagner – Horse-zine.co.uk

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About the Author: Karl Edward Wagner

Karl Edward Wagner 12 December 1945 13 October 1994 was an American writer, editor and publisher of horror, science fiction, and heroic fantasy, who was born in Knoxville, Tennessee and originally trained as a psychiatrist His disillusionment with the medical profession can be seen in the stories The Fourth Seal and Into Whose Hands He described his world view as nihilistic, anarchistic



10 thoughts on “Why Not You and I

  1. says:

    Look up and down that long lonesome road,Where all our friends have gone, my love,And you and I must go.They say all good friends must part someday,So why not you and I, my love, Why not you and I Attributed to Janis Joplin, this melancholic tune is the leitmotif of this collection of genre transcending stories from one of the most underrated writers in the field of speculative fiction I became familiar with the work of Karl Edward Wagner by reading his series of dark sword sorcery adventures featuring Kane, a man cursed with immortality and eternal failure for killing his biblical brother Kane is a homage paid to Robert E Howard and Fritz Leiber, am anti hero travelling the darkest paths of the human psyche Yet Kane is just one facet of Wagner s personality It may be his most famous creation, but it is not representative of the artist s incredible range of interests and styles Why Not You and I is a much better showcase for Wagner s talent, a collection of subtle and personal accounts of trauma and mental anguish that is all the powerful for their real world setting and for their honesty hinting at autobiographical roots A couple of psychiatrists, several writers, publishers, adventurers, convention goers the leading characters in the stories all suggest Wagner went for inspiration to the places he is most familiar with Another recurrent note is the depression and the bitterness at the marginalization and derisory comments directed at the genre he loved best speculative fiction His gaze fell upon a familiar volume, and he pulled it down with affection It was a tattered asbestos cloth first of Bradbury s Fahrenheit 451 Thank God you re dead and gone, he murmured Never knew how close you were or how cruelly wrong your guess was It wasn t government tyranny that killed us It was public indifference Into Whose Hands is the opening gambit in the collection and offers us a glimpse at the reason Wagner renounced a career in psychiatry and dedicated himself to writing A night time resident at an insane asylum haunts the corridors of the sprawling complex witnessing all the pain of the world in the cries of the people who have slipped through the cracks of our social edifice Old Loves is a horror gem set in the world of popular TV shows and their fans A nerdy man who is editing a fanzine in his basement gets a chance to interview his idol, Stacey Steele, once the female star of a James Bond spoof More Sinned Against is another look at the sordid side of the Hollywood dream factory Katharina Oglethorpe, a wholesome young kid from the Midwest, dreams of a career in movies and becomes Candace Thornton Succes is elusive and several minor roles only prolonge her agony Things can always get worse though and Candace sinks even lower after meeting a predatory male lead As Candi Thorne she ends up playing in worse and worse sex flicks, right until drugs, violence and dissillusionment push her to the edge of suicide A little supernatural aid might bring back some karma balance Shrapnel is an even weirder example of karma revenge, something that would work very well as an episode of Twilight Zone A lawyer goes to a scrapyard to find a spare part for his vintage car There he gets delayed and exposed to the harsh light of the sun and to the heat one reason to suspect his visions of a different type of spare parts collection It looked like the wreckage of a hundred stained glass windows, strewn across a desolate tangle of wasteland in a schizophrenic kaleidoscope The Last Wolf is my favorite piece, a simple story of a man sitting at his typewriter, punching out stories nobody is interested in reading His agent tries to convince him to write something popular, or to get some articles for the news, or maybe write for TV All of these options are refused as cheap, trashy, hack jobs, unworthy of a true writer and disrespectful of his readers Pretty pictures, advertisements mostly, and a few paragraphs of captions Like the newspapers Not even real paper any They re just transcripts of the television news Pieced together by faceless technicians, slanted and censored to make it acceptable, and then presented by some television father image Outside of Goodreads, the dismal landscape of people no longer reading books feels all to real in this decade of twitterings and doctored pictures, of endless movie remakes and formulaic TV series The words written by Wagner three decades ago feel prophetic Not much reason to read those books not when everybody s already seen it on TV There just isn t any market for books in today s world You re like a minstrel when all the castles have fallen, or a silent film star after the talkies took over You ve got to change, that s all I won t say I can t use the money But I m a writer, not a hired flunky who hacks out formula scripts according to the latest idiot fads of tasteless media I wish I could say the future has proven the last wolf wrong, and there are definitely great stories stil being penned each year But the overall number of readers I believe is in decline, and the image of the lonely man with the worlds of wonder spinning inside his head, worlds nobody is interested in exploring, is the portrait of Karl Edward Wagner that comes closest to a self portrait The last writer sits alone in his study.His eyes glow bright, and his gnarled fingers labor tirelessly to transform the pictures of his imagination into the symbolism of the page His muscles feel cold, and his bones are ice, and sometimes he thinks he can see through his hands to the page beneath Neither Brute nor Human follows two aspiring writers in speculative fiction over three decades of their careers, mostly through meeting them at annual literary conventions From obscurity to world fame, alcoholism and drugs and the demands of the public the questions of integrity and value that were sketched in the previous story are further explored Do you ever wonder why we do this he asked Harrington For fame, acclaim not to mention a free drink Piss on it Why do we put ourselves on display just so an effusive mob of lunatic fringe fans can gape at us and tell us how great we are and beg an autograph and ask about our theories of politics and religion You swiped that last from the Kinks, Damon accused Rock stars Movie stars Sci fi stars What s the difference We re all hustling for as much acclaim and attention as we can wring out of the masses Admit it If we were pure artists, you and I and the rest of the grasping lot would be home sweating over a typewriter tonight Why aren t we It s because we re all vampires Sign of the Salamander is a homage paid to the golden age of pulps, the longest novella in the collection, embracing all the cliches of the adventure thriller with a supernatural twist You cannot deny, my dear friend, that there are in existence creatures who are neither man nor beast, but strange unearthly creations, born of the nefarious passions that arise in distorted minds The story has all the ingredients for success ace pilots from the first world war, a deranged genius scientist, a beautiful countess with hidden talents, spooky settings in the Appalachians, guns and blood and horrible dangers The true gem for me is the indication that horror is not an outside force, but is born inside the twisted minds of men, usually men driven to extremes by war, famine and other atrocities Here in this hell world of barbed wire, machine guns, poison gas, tanks, dysentery, aeroplanes, mud and patriotism and wholesale slaughter Mordred would rant on and on about a spiritual Hell a Hell of actual demons and devils and elemental creatures and dark forces who shaped man s destiny Some of the images are reminding me, possibly intentional on the part of the writer, of H.P Lovecraft at his best Man, we agreed, has little or no idea of the hostile cosmic forces that play with him He believes himself to be rational, and his universe to be logical and bound by laws of science but this is a lie Mankind is but a struggling swimmer, perilously floating over a vortex whose depths and currents are beyond his comprehension and, What wonder that his closest friend whom he had grown to hate had returned to him from the dead What marvel that this man the world proclaimed a brilliant scientist talked to him now in sober tones of medieval witchcraft and elder sorceries, of creatures from time s dawn and monstrosities of depraved cities, of Carsultyal and Carcosa and those who dwelt there, of the Somme and Verdun and those who died there, of ancient grimoires and suppressed tomes of forbidden research, of fiends from blackest Hell and demons spawned by man himself NOTE Carsultyal is an ancient town from the Kane books, Carcosa is the name of the publishing house Wagner established, originating in an Ambrose Bierce story Alraune is a story by Hanns Heinz Ewers, mentioned in the text as a source of inspiration and as a reference Blue Lady, Come Back is a ghost poltergeist story loosely connected to the previous pulp by making the protagonist, Curtiss Stryker, the writer of the Sign of the Salamander and keeping the Knoxville Appallachian connection A psychiatrist, Dr Russ Mandarin, returns as the main character s side kick, offering us two alternative views on the supernatural a hoax or a true story I wandered alone one night,till I heard an orchestra playI met you where lights were bright,and people were care free and gayYou were the beautiful lady in blue,I was in heaven just waltzing with youYou thrilled me with strange delight,then softly you stole away The two friends are called to investigate weird happenings in the house of a beautiful lady, with fatal consequences The recurring theme of the disillusioned writer of popular fiction returns with a vengeance Writers don t have friends Only deadlines And cheating publishers And meddling editors And carping reviewers And checks that never come when they re supposed to come, and are always short when they do come I ve scraped along for a living at this damn trade for over forty years, and I m still living hand to mouth, and I m just an old hack to my fellow writers The Blue Skirt Waltz serves as the theme song to this great example of Wagner s talent, the blue lady his elusive muse I dream of that night with you,Lady when first we met We danced in a world of blue,How can my heart forget Blue were the skies, and blue were your eyes,just like the blue skirt you woreCome back blue lady, come back,Don t be blue any Silted In is very short but packs a heavy punch It is also the most depressive story here not that the others are sunny side up in any way An old writer sits alone and drinks himself to death after he loses his beloved wife He is surrounded by books and he holds imaginary conversations with famous people that also made a mess of their lives after reaching the peak of their careers Joplin, Hendrix, Elvis, Jim Morrison Oh wow You re buried alive man exclaims a rare visitor at seeing him surrounded by books, and I cannot help but feel a chill down my spine, knowing Wagner died so young from alcohol and depression, virtually unknown.This was my last Halloween read in 2016, and the cherry on the cake of my monthly horror journey I believe Wagner was and still is seriously underrated and his efforts as a poet, novelist, publisher, editor, critic and convention pillar deserve better from us readers.


  2. says:

    Took forever to track it down, amazingly disappointed Found it to be dated, smug and hipster in ways that have not aged well This collection is like watching your uncle try on his ripped denim biker vest from the early 80 s and discovering the buttons are now a foot away from meeting This might have been cool to someone back in the day for some long forgotten reason, but it s not now Not really horror, either.Tedious and self indulgent and that s coming from someone who wanted to like it I sold this book immediately while someone still wants it.


  3. says:

    This hardcover is numbered 110 of 300 an is signed by Karl Edward Wagner and Ron and Val Lakey Lindahn.


  4. says:

    Wonderful There s a sense of realism in Wagner s prose lacking in others, and yet he was able to channel the fantastic so well, also Here s hoping I can find his other collection like I found this one


  5. says:

    De todas las historias, solo un par valieron la pena No han pasado bien el paso del tiempo.


  6. says:

    The book was well written, however, only 2 of the stories were of interest to me.


  7. says:

    I had been wanting to find a Karl Edward Wagner horror collection since I was in the 7th grade and learned about him from the Daw Year s Best Horror series, one of which I remember I picked up at a bookstore on a field trip I had read Sticks in a Lovecraftian collection I bought just for that one story a few years ago, and I had also read The Fourth Seal somewhere After years of searching and bafflement that Wagner s legendary, influential horror is out of print and so hard to find, I finally tracked this sucker down.First off, surprisingly, these stories mostly were not what I would call horror stories More like that newer phrase that s mentioned a lot, weird fiction My favorites were Into Whose Hands, a quiet, strange story that takes place in the dead of night in a psychiatric hospital Snack machines, coffee, skeleton crew, flourescent lights, crazy and not so crazy people, a doctor who may or may not be fucking with the patients, etc Very cool, lonely atmosphere Neither Brute Nor Human, I really didn t understand the title unless it s something to do with genre fiction tropes, but the story, following the two different lives of two genre writers from the beginnings of their careers to the death of one of them was very good Again, barely horror at all, though the end was a little scary in what it was saying about fame and fortune and how they can easily lead to the destruction of a person Blue Lady Come Back, another mysterious title, was a great, round about supernatural murder mystery that cleverly involved the fictional writer of another long story, Sign of the Salamander These stories were both longer than I had thought they would be and less scary, but I loved the writing There is also something very lonely and negative about the stories, which is hard for me to articulate, but the stories about how much KEW drank seem to fit the image I have of the man who wrote these stories.


  8. says:

    Karl Edward Wagner s 2nd I believe short story collection was a fitfully entertaining enterprise that I found unfortunately frustrating for how cold some of the stories left me Frequently I found Wagner s beginnings and middles really interesting and absorbing, only to be disappointed by lackluster, predictable, or just plain confusing endings, as in the stories Old Loves , Lacunae , and Blue Lady, Come Back Oftentimes I felt as if I was missing something, that I just wasn t picking up what hundreds of other horror lit fans were vibing on To be sure, Wagner has a lot of good stuff here, he has an energetic mix of pulpy prose and a clinician s understanding of the human heart that can be a cunning mix His skill at writing male friendships is readily apparent in the first and best story in the collection, Neither Brute Nor Human, a bromance about two genre fiction writers, one of whom falls down the rabbit hole of fame into a place of madness and depravity I loved this story Wagner s detailed knowledge of the publishing world is sincere, laconic and funny, and ends with a bang Unfortunately, nothing else quite matched it, although his pulp pastiche The Sign of the Salamander was a gorgeously junky, entertaining read, even if the follow up tie in story, Blue Lady, Come Back seems to go nowhere very special Other stories like More Sinned Against and Shrapnel were good, but didn t leave much of an impression Overall, I just have incredibly mixed feelings about this collection I need to read of Wagner s work before I form a solid opinion on him.


  9. says:

    Good horror book expecially interesting if you followed Wagner s life at all.


  10. says:

    A pretty rare collection of Karl Edward Wagner s short stories.


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