Thursday, October 27, 2016

Who Fears the Devil

Caught up in too much work, too much writing, too much pulp revolutioning, too much wargaming, and too much fathering, what's a man to do?

Combine them as much as possible.  I wargame with my teen son and tween daughter.  (If you stretch the definition a bit, I even wargame with my three year old.)  I read Cirsova to my four year old, and now thanks to a G+ recommendation, I read Manly Wade Wellman to my four year old, too.  It's October, so it's time for a little creepy story telling. Also, these tales are a part of our cultural heritage - at least while we still have our own culture, anyway - and after reading the Hobbit several times over to each of the older kids, it's time to expand our horizons beyond the Tolkien.

Silver John is a wandering troubadour of the Appalachian country, and Manly Wade brings you the stories of his encounters with the monsters of Americana.  Most of these stories were published in the old pulp magazine Planet Stories, and so they may be available for free somewhere on the internet, but it was worth the three dollar price point to save the hassle of finding them, collecting them, and wrestling them onto my ancient cell phone.  (Late 2014 is Babylonian-style ancient in cell phone years.  I'm using a museum piece.)

These are some fun little stories.  The monsters of each story are not like the standard humanoid theme and variation that you see in most modern fantasy, nor are they simple European Grimm's tales moved over to the New World.  Of course, you do see Appalachian style witches, but for the most part these are unique critters vaguely described and organically grown out of the rocky Appalachian soil.  Wellman has a gift for character descriptions that provide detailed characterizations and set the stage for the story to follow, and the downhome style of speech used by the first person narrator is note perfect for the stories he tells.

If you love short fiction, and are in the mood for some atmospheric and moody Creepshow style monster tales, this is well worth a shot.

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