Tag: Stephen King

Author Spotlight: Don Webb

Nothing had gone right in the week before the Con.

Edgar Wagner’s son Mike had come out as gay, and Edgar could handle that, he really could. Mike also decided to leave Stanford mid-semester and live with his lover. Edgar’s wife of twenty years asked that “they take a break.” Edgar’s doctor was not happy about his blood pressure or his bad cholesterol. Edgar’s latest novel Those Outside had a mixture of a couple of bad reviews—and worse still NO reviews from some of the big newspapers that had lauded him for the last decade. There were big stacks of the book at various dealers tables at World Horror, and the adoring lines of fans asking for an inscription had died down to the few asking for an autograph as a possible E-bay investment. Edgar was wondering what it would be like to go back to teaching at his age.

It was fall and it was Providence, Rhode Island so it meant that every other panel Edgar was on had to do with Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937). Every writerly virtue (‘My god his imagination!’) and every writerly vice (‘Do you really need to use the word eldritch twenty three times in one story?’) of Mr. Lovecraft was being discussed again and again. But Edgar Scott Wagner was not getting the panel he needed. He needed the panel called ‘What do you do if you have an idea for four horror novels and you are writing your ninth?’ It was late afternoon and Edgar walked out of the hotel and took off his badge and headed downtown. He always loved to walk. There was lots of walking in his books. He wrote a novella about walking, called “Walking” which (as almost every reviewer pointed out) owed a great deal to Stephen King’s The Long Walk. There were four things that Edgar Wagner loved: walking, pawn and thrift shops, history, and horror stories.

REVIEW: ‘The Wide Carnivorous Sky & Other Monstrous Geographies’ by John Langan

I was prepared to hate this book. It seemed pretentious—story notes, foreword and afterword by two better-known writers (Laird Barron and Jeffery Ford), an untranslated line from Voltaire as a story tag . . . . Then I read the first story, a seemingly pointless vignette called “Kids.” I put the book down by the toilet in the master bath.

Nevertheless, having no other reading material available a few days hence, I read the novella that followed “How the Day Runes Down.” It was then that I realized I was dealing with a major stylist: Langan wrote a zombie story in the pitch-perfect voice of the stage manager of Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town. Unlike some silly zombie pastiches that mock literary classics, this was the perfect voice. It also contained a reasonable critique of what’s wrong with other zombie tales. I will re-read this piece if I ever try to write another zombie story.