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The Tall Grass and Other Stories

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A midnight train slows to a stop between stations, leading a wakeful passenger to step out and stretch his legs. The conductor really should’ve locked his compartment door better… There are thirty-three stories in this collection of Joe Lansdale short fiction, some meaty, some mini-sized. A few are so short that if you blink, you might miss them, but maybe that’s all part A midnight train slows to a stop between stations, leading a wakeful passenger to step out and stretch his legs. The conductor really should’ve locked his compartment door better… There are thirty-three stories in this collection of Joe Lansdale short fiction, some meaty, some mini-sized. A few are so short that if you blink, you might miss them, but maybe that’s all part of Lansdale's plan: slipping an innocent-looking seed in your subconscious, there to sprout when you least expect it. Sometimes the shortest stories stick with you the longest, because you wind up filling in most of the details yourself. Tricky, that, but don’t think Lansdale didn’t set it all up like a complicated carom shot. Hello, cue ball. Completists take note: many of these stories appeared in “The King and Other Stories” and “Unchained and Unhinged,” neither of which are available electronically. Added to them are several, "The Tall Grass" included, which have never been featured in any Lansdale collection, digital or otherwise. They run the gamut from weird to horrifying to thought provoking, stories that Lansdale feels have a “sharp and memorable impact, like ice pick pokes that hopefully left no wounds.” Poke poke.


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A midnight train slows to a stop between stations, leading a wakeful passenger to step out and stretch his legs. The conductor really should’ve locked his compartment door better… There are thirty-three stories in this collection of Joe Lansdale short fiction, some meaty, some mini-sized. A few are so short that if you blink, you might miss them, but maybe that’s all part A midnight train slows to a stop between stations, leading a wakeful passenger to step out and stretch his legs. The conductor really should’ve locked his compartment door better… There are thirty-three stories in this collection of Joe Lansdale short fiction, some meaty, some mini-sized. A few are so short that if you blink, you might miss them, but maybe that’s all part of Lansdale's plan: slipping an innocent-looking seed in your subconscious, there to sprout when you least expect it. Sometimes the shortest stories stick with you the longest, because you wind up filling in most of the details yourself. Tricky, that, but don’t think Lansdale didn’t set it all up like a complicated carom shot. Hello, cue ball. Completists take note: many of these stories appeared in “The King and Other Stories” and “Unchained and Unhinged,” neither of which are available electronically. Added to them are several, "The Tall Grass" included, which have never been featured in any Lansdale collection, digital or otherwise. They run the gamut from weird to horrifying to thought provoking, stories that Lansdale feels have a “sharp and memorable impact, like ice pick pokes that hopefully left no wounds.” Poke poke.

33 review for The Tall Grass and Other Stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    GD

    I swear to god sometimes I think Joe Lansdale can do no wrong. He can, but sometimes I think he can't. This book had over thirty stories in it, and, unless I'm forgetting something, all of them kicked major, major ass. These stories range in length from short to micro, and I swear to god he must have been on acid when he thought of half of these. But it doesn't have the stench of bizarro fiction around it, these are really well-written stories in the classic "hey spin us one of your yarns, Joe" I swear to god sometimes I think Joe Lansdale can do no wrong. He can, but sometimes I think he can't. This book had over thirty stories in it, and, unless I'm forgetting something, all of them kicked major, major ass. These stories range in length from short to micro, and I swear to god he must have been on acid when he thought of half of these. But it doesn't have the stench of bizarro fiction around it, these are really well-written stories in the classic "hey spin us one of your yarns, Joe" Joe Lansdale voice. I can't pick a favorite, but one that I can't get out of my mind is about a pansy little guy who takes a supplement from a doctor to grow, and he keeps getting bigger and bigger. I kept expecting the story to end on the next page, but he keeps getting bigger and bigger, and the story gets weirder and weirder. My favorite part has him using humans as toilet paper but they start tearing so he uses cows instead. Holy shit hahahahaha. Only certain kinds of people would like this book. My dad is a huge fan of Joe but only knows him from his mysteries and Hap and Leonard books, he'd totally hate this one haha. But if you aren't easily offended or grossed out and are in the mood for a bunch of crazy ass shit, this will do it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Craig Childs

    I have mixed opinions about this latest collection from Joe R. Lansdale. Most of these 33 stories are in the style known as flash fiction—less than 1,000 words. They used to be called short-shorts years ago. I personally find this to be a quirky format, no matter the author, but there is no denying Lansdale is skilled at it. A lot of his early classic stories used this format, including “The Job”, “Bar Talk”, and “My Dead Dog, Bobby”. My favorites from this new collection were the sci-fi themed I have mixed opinions about this latest collection from Joe R. Lansdale. Most of these 33 stories are in the style known as flash fiction—less than 1,000 words. They used to be called short-shorts years ago. I personally find this to be a quirky format, no matter the author, but there is no denying Lansdale is skilled at it. A lot of his early classic stories used this format, including “The Job”, “Bar Talk”, and “My Dead Dog, Bobby”. My favorites from this new collection were the sci-fi themed “Dragon Chili” and “Big Man: A Fable” both of which remind me of early Harlan Ellison. “The King” is a particularly nasty old-fashioned horror story. Lansdale channels his inner Kurt Vonnegut in the satire “Surveillance,” a dystopian look at how our culture devalues personal privacy. “Rainy Weather” is an all-too-brief tale of a nihilistic crime spree, the kind of thing Dashiel Hammett might have written if he was hungover and in a particularly bad mood. “Hanging” and “Jack’s Pecker” are vintage Lansdale; I am not sure how else to say it. No other writer could have come up with anything similar. Only five of these stories are new and have never been collected in any other Lansdale book: “The Tall Grass”, “Dark”, “The Ears”, “Rex”, and “Hit Call”. The first two were the best of the new batch, both memorable horror stories. “The Boy Who Became Invisible” previously appeared as a bonus story at the end of Hyenas, a story of Hap Collins’ childhood that goes a long way toward explaining his character’s worldview throughout the Hap-and-Leonard series. “Drunken Moon” was culled from an ultra-rare and expensive limited-edition anthology Trapped in the Saturday Matinee. It was also recently adapted into a short film. The rest of the stories were previously collected in the now out-of-print volumes, Unchained and Unhinged and The King and Other Stories. I gave this collection 4 stars, because I am glad these stories are back in print, for readers who want flash fiction. However, it is a shame that five essays from Unhinged were left out, as well as two stories from King (“An Arrow in the Air”, “Snake”). Lansdale completists still have to hunt down these ultra-pricey hardbacks. I do not really understand this publishing strategy, since neither the author nor publisher collects royalties from secondary market sales. I think it would have been easier on fans, and more profitable for the artist, if all the content had been included in this new ebook. All in all, this collection will certainly appeal to fans of the flash fiction format. For everybody else, the content may feel scant. Hardcore Lansdale aficionados will probably want to pick this up, but please be aware this volume does not fully supersede the earlier collections.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Eric Atkisson

    I have never been disappointed with any of Joe's short story collections, and this one was no exception. It has a bit more of an experimental feel than his others, with a number of whimsical flash fictions throughout that will likely not resonate with every reader, but are still worth the read for a chuckle or sometimes a groan. A few of the stories are true gems and among his best. All in all a worthwhile read for any Lansdale fan. I have never been disappointed with any of Joe's short story collections, and this one was no exception. It has a bit more of an experimental feel than his others, with a number of whimsical flash fictions throughout that will likely not resonate with every reader, but are still worth the read for a chuckle or sometimes a groan. A few of the stories are true gems and among his best. All in all a worthwhile read for any Lansdale fan.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    Loved the stories. Usually in a collection like this there are always the good and the bad, but I really didn't find a single story that I didn't like. Loved the stories. Usually in a collection like this there are always the good and the bad, but I really didn't find a single story that I didn't like.

  5. 5 out of 5

    James J. Harvey

  6. 5 out of 5

    Fraser Burnett

  7. 5 out of 5

    Robert

  8. 5 out of 5

    Anna

  9. 5 out of 5

    Paul Lazenby

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nick Lopez

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dennis Humphries

  12. 5 out of 5

    Timothy

  13. 5 out of 5

    Chet Williamson

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dayna Warren

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alexander Gent

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Stitzell

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kim

  18. 5 out of 5

    Danny Farham

  19. 5 out of 5

    mark a turpin

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brooks

  21. 4 out of 5

    Denis Pedersen

  22. 5 out of 5

    Martha

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  25. 5 out of 5

    Chris Warneke

  26. 5 out of 5

    steven puttock

  27. 4 out of 5

    John

  28. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Hagood

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

  30. 5 out of 5

    David Walter

  31. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

  32. 4 out of 5

    Francelia Belton

  33. 4 out of 5

    Darla

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