10 thoughts on “In a Lonely Place

  1. Steve Steve says:

    I finally was able to run down a copy of Wagner s In a Lonely Place, via Interlibrary Loan It s ridiculous, given the quality of the stories within this collection, that it s out of print, and prohibitively expensive if you decide to purchase a used copy Wagner was a very interesting guy, a Pulp writer who trained to be a doctor, and psychiatrist If interested to know , there s long piece on him from a high school friend, John Mayer, with whom he shared a real interest in Pulp, at http I finally was able to run down a copy of Wagner s In a Lonely Place, via Interlibrary Loan It s ridiculous, given the quality of the stories within this collection, that it s out of print, and prohibitively expensive if you decide to purchase a used copy Wagner was a very interesting guy, a Pulp writer who trained to be a doctor, and psychiatrist If interested to know , there s long piece on him from a high school friend, John Mayer, with whom he shared a real interest in Pulp, at I said above, the stories in A Lonely Place are of high quality, the influences varied, though Lovecraft seems prominent In several stories Wagner s own biography plays out a bit beneath the surface, but if I hadn t of read the article, I wouldn t of known that Briefly 1 In the Pines A modern day ghost or is it story set in the mountains of Tennessee A couple tries to put their lives back together after an automobile accident Wagner really captures the area, and the people of the mountains really well And he wisely incorporates the old blues song In the Pines into the story It s a dark, haunting song, and Wagner delivers a worthy story to accompany it.2 Where the Summer Ends Great story, with a goofy title I would of called it Kudzu Hints of Lovecraft A college student, and collector like Wagner himself , befriends an old antique store owner in the Red Hook part of Knoxville 3 Sticks A much anthologized and for good reason story of an ancient race, a war veteran and artist , and some strange art work found in the woods I can t help but wonder if the makers of Blair Witch Project took the weird things hanging from the trees from this story Again, Lovecraft influenced Also, something of an homage to Pulp artists.4 The Fourth Seal Not bad, but not great either, story of medicine, doctors, and secret cults Wagner s personal biography plays out some here.5 More Sinned Against A shift in style, telling a modern day Hollywood Babylon Life in the Fast Lane story, that involves porn, drugs, and Voodoo Not bad, but not great either.6 .220 Swift Completely crazy story involving secret gold mines, little people, mountaineers, moonshine, folk lore, a hit man, Spanish conquistadors, and, ultimately, an albino king from the underworld Wonderful.7 The River of Night s Dreaming A dreamlike and nightmare like story involving an escapee from a prison, an old dark house, and some kinky stuff Wagner s background in psychiatry is evident here Very good.8 Beyond Any Measure Wild story involving reincarnation, drugs, sex, black magic, set in a very decadent modern day London There s a party scene that seems right out of Eyes Wide Shut Good, with a very twisted ending


  2. S̶e̶a̶n̶ S̶e̶a̶n̶ says:

    Sticks was phenomenal and so tightly streamlined it made most of the other stories feel overwritten It is no wonder this story has been anthologized so much The River of Night s Dreaming a King in Yellow story was also somewhat good, although it went in a much less interesting direction than I had hoped for after the intrigue of the opening scenes220 Swift held promise, but ultimately relied too much on a somewhat tedious build up that grew muddy and failed to deliver much of substa Sticks was phenomenal and so tightly streamlined it made most of the other stories feel overwritten It is no wonder this story has been anthologized so much The River of Night s Dreaming a King in Yellow story was also somewhat good, although it went in a much less interesting direction than I had hoped for after the intrigue of the opening scenes220 Swift held promise, but ultimately relied too much on a somewhat tedious build up that grew muddy and failed to deliver much of substance, considering the investment At times Wagner employs the male gaze to a ridiculous extent, like in Beyond Any Measure where the two roommates are lounging around together in their lingerie because that s normal and he feels the need to describe how the one woman s straining thigh muscles shaped her buttocks nicely as she reached for a book Seriously Beyond that, many of these stories are weighed down with the kind of banal and unnecessary expository detail for which I long ago lost any patience


  3. Ben Loory Ben Loory says:

    i d been looking for this book for about ten years, could never find it for less than 50, finally stumbled on it by accident at the LA paperback book festival, 20, couldn t afford not to buy it, went home and read it straight through, filled with glee now, was it worth it well, i would say no, although Sticks is of course a great story, scary as hell and often anthologized , and.220 Swift is pretty good and Where the Summer Ends and The River of Night s Dreaming are both excellen i d been looking for this book for about ten years, could never find it for less than 50, finally stumbled on it by accident at the LA paperback book festival, 20, couldn t afford not to buy it, went home and read it straight through, filled with glee now, was it worth it well, i would say no, although Sticks is of course a great story, scary as hell and often anthologized , and.220 Swift is pretty good and Where the Summer Ends and The River of Night s Dreaming are both excellent okay so i guess it s worth it already but then THEN the last story, Beyond Any Measure, which frankly isn t really all that good lots of goofy 80s leather SM cocaine party nonsense, and chicks makin out in the shower for our enjoyment , suddenly, on the last two pages, pulls out this amazing premise, holy shit such a great idea couldn t believe it just really brilliant wish the story itself was better, but hey it s a once in a century type story idea and if wagner never did anything else in his life, that idea alone would last him forever much respect


  4. Barry Barry says:

    While I am proud of the fact that I was even able to obtain a copy of this book for merely being a 1984 mass market paperback, this book can cost upwards of 40 in online shops keep an eye out in your local used bookstores , and evenso that I finally read the thing, I have to say I was a little underwhelmed by my first exposure to Karl Edward Wagner.The first three of the seven stories herein are nearly brilliant, and cemented Mr Wagner as an author I wish to continue to explore in th While I am proud of the fact that I was even able to obtain a copy of this book for merely being a 1984 mass market paperback, this book can cost upwards of 40 in online shops keep an eye out in your local used bookstores , and evenso that I finally read the thing, I have to say I was a little underwhelmed by my first exposure to Karl Edward Wagner.The first three of the seven stories herein are nearly brilliant, and cemented Mr Wagner as an author I wish to continue to explore in the immediate future The other four, however, left me rather frustrated, mainly because after the bar had been set so high from the earlier stories, these were actually pretty disappointing.Take, for instance, The Fourth Seal, a conspiratorial tale of the medical world It s paced perfectlyon that later , and its great revelations are well executed yet the ending just felt hamfisted and kind of predictable220 Swift, a particular favorite of Peter Straub, started out nicely two archaeologists explore a series of mines in the west, with signs quickly growing in number and certainty that something inhuman had created the warren of tunnels beneath the ground Sounds neat and creepy, doesn t it It is, quite so, for the first half yet just when things seem to come to a dark conclusionit takes a strange turn, showing what appears to be an epilogue of sorts, which quickly expands into a whole other stretch of revelation which, frankly, I found quite out of place in the overall framework and context of the story And to top it off, the denouement, while tying back into the original promise of the story, felt somewhat forced into a different direction, and I wasn t left very satisfied with it The River of Night s Dreaming had a most astonishing buildup, with a bus containing mental hospital patients crashing off of a road and into a river, and an unnamed woman, having narrowly survived the river, wandering into a creepy, seemingly deserted town Like.220 Swift, however, the turn it takes from there was kind of out of the proverbial left field, and at times got kind of exploitative and aimless By the ending, I was downright frustrated, and really wished Mr Wagner might have consultedwriter editor friends before setting pen to paper for its second half.Finally, Beyond Any Measure a spin on the classic hypnosis gone wrong trope was frankly, at times, a bit of a mess Overlong and rambling at times, there were some truly great curiosities at work, but again exploitative to a fault, and the grand revelation, dropped in at the very end through monologue, felt lazy and forced.BUT I did give this three out of five stars, remember.Those three stars owe mainly to the first three stories, which are so powerful and memorable that I still have much faith in my continued exploration and appreciation of Mr Wagner s works.Take, for instance, In the Pines After a beautifully moody introductory companion piece, this quiet and densely atmospheric ghost story takes the reader into the rented summer house of a broken couple, and the curious discoveries they make in their woodland abode Although by strokes it takes a few familiar turns that may have some jaded readers rolling their eyes, the prose and pace are downright perfect, and it s a perfect opening story for the collection.I ll get back to the second story in a momentI d read Sticks several years ago, during my anything post Lovecraft binge reads, but could not quite recall much of it Having re read it, I was astonished by the atmosphere and the sweeping timeline taking place just before the protagonist goes off to World War II, and in the years after his return , and all the so by its brilliant use of cosmic horror and sinister architecture The titular bundles of broken branches arethan a little reminiscent of both The Blair Witch Project and the first season of True Detective, which can t be a coincidence be sure to read the author s afterward immediately following the story for an informative, if somewhat unsettling, backstory to Sticks And then there s Where the Summer Ends My gods, but what a story An all too realistic starving artist frequents a junkyard thrift shop in a small, kudzu choked midwest college town, andI really don t know if I want to share muchthan that This will in all likelihood stay with me as one of the most perfectly paced horror stories I ve ever read, with the creeps only very gradually venturing forth from the shadows, with blink and you ll miss it hints of what s to come buried throughout the narrative Full disclosure I read this story while sitting in the laundromat with my wife, and when the ending came THAT ENDING , I actually burst out laughing It was that good.While my Odyssey of hunting down a copy of In a Lonely Place ultimately led to a somewhat mixed reading experience, I mthan a little glad that I went through with it and with three absolutely unforgettable stories rocking my world, I know I ll be returning to the works of Karl Edward Wagner again, soon enough


  5. Jim Jim says:

    Introduction Peter Straub pretty much raves about KEW, high praise from one of his peers It s really interesting reading this in comparison to the introduction he did to Walk on the Wild Side The Best Horror Stories of Karl Edward Wagner, Volume 2.Prologue to In the Pines Lonely Places is a mood setting page that paints a bleak picture In the Pines is wonderfully macabre The descent of the main character is perfectly donehorrible for its relation to the author Where the Sum Introduction Peter Straub pretty much raves about KEW, high praise from one of his peers It s really interesting reading this in comparison to the introduction he did to Walk on the Wild Side The Best Horror Stories of Karl Edward Wagner, Volume 2.Prologue to In the Pines Lonely Places is a mood setting page that paints a bleak picture In the Pines is wonderfully macabre The descent of the main character is perfectly donehorrible for its relation to the author Where the Summer Ends Wow I last read this years ago remembered it as creepy, but wow Such a cool idea so well done I felt the heat of the night Sticks I like it when I have difficulty telling when I stepped out of reality into the supernatural Perfect The Fourth Seal is perhaps one of the best most believable conspiracy theories I ve ever read220 Swift takes several tropes that Robert E Howard used in his stories, an old Greek myth, blended uniquely served superbly I kind of knew where it was going, but the ending still horrified me The River of Night s Dreaming So often the supernatural element is obvious In this story, the POV is so unreliable as to toss reality up for grabs What really happened I m not sure, but it was one hell of a trip I m not sure it s over, either How cool Beyond Any Measure Why hasn t this happenedoften It s such a wild twist, but seems almost obvious when it finally happens view spoiler A woman is reincarnated takes revenge on the vampire inhabiting her former body hide spoiler Seriously, this should be held up as a standard for all these PNR UF writers They could learn a thing or three


  6. Charles Charles says:

    This is a collection of Wagner s short horror stories and it s one of my favorite horror collections of all time Incredible stories that really stay with you long after you read them It s too bad Wagner died so young.


  7. Ronald Ronald says:

    I first came across Karl Edward Wagner as the editor of a series of Year s Best Horror Fiction It was from that series that I encountered some fantastic stories, such as Tiger in the Snow by Daniel Wynn Barber, Egnaro by M John Harrison, and Black Man in a Horn by T.E.D Kline Karl Edward Wagner studied medicine and psychiatry but became disillusioned and left it, writing Conan the Barbarian novels and short horror fiction I got this book from the public library.In some ways, Karl Edwa I first came across Karl Edward Wagner as the editor of a series of Year s Best Horror Fiction It was from that series that I encountered some fantastic stories, such as Tiger in the Snow by Daniel Wynn Barber, Egnaro by M John Harrison, and Black Man in a Horn by T.E.D Kline Karl Edward Wagner studied medicine and psychiatry but became disillusioned and left it, writing Conan the Barbarian novels and short horror fiction I got this book from the public library.In some ways, Karl Edward Wagner is an old school horror writer in other ways, he has a contemporary approach In The Pines A well crafted and well written story about a seductive female ghost But as ghost stories go, kind of routine Where The Summer Ends The story takes place in KEW s homestate of Tennessee Strange, dangerous creates hide in the kudzu Kudzu is a vine that will grow a foot a day during the summer and simply overwhelm anything in its path Sticks This story won the British Fantasy Award and was a runner up in the World Fantasy Award for best short fiction Lovecraftian fiction but written in a contemporary style Earlier on goodreads I had described paint by numbers Lovercraftian fiction, and this story exhibits it 1 Reference to an imaginary and dangerous book2 God like space aliens3 One of the characters goes mad The Fourth Seal Not so much horror, butlike 1970s style conspiracy fiction, and like some episodes of the X Files A young, brilliant doctor, encounters a secret organization which 1 has the cure for various diseases, but withholds it from the public, and 2 occasionally unleashes new diseases Why does this organization do this In order to keep the prestige of the medical profession high More Sinned Against The main character worked in Hollywood, performing in sleazy porn torture movies, and with supernatural help, gets revenge on her erstwhile lover who went on greater success in tv and movies220 Swift Investigation of caves go awry, but one of the characters discovers his kinship with an underground race The River of Night s Dreaming Hey, a story inspired by The King In Yellow KEW says of this story The protagonist is actually male, but perceiving himself as female in his psychotic state and the reality of the story is from his her point of view The story is deliberately set upon two levels, supernatural and psychotic, and the levels merge and interchange The story concludes with remarkable lines from the fictional, dangerous play The King in Yellow I resist the temptation to reprint them here Beyond Any Measure A supernatural, suspense story, with reincarnation, vampires, lesbianism, wild parties


  8. Kristine Muslim Kristine Muslim says:

    Sticks and The Fourth Seal are two of the most terrifying stories I ve read.


  9. Crystal Pegasus Crystal Pegasus says:

    I was lucky enough to obtain a copy when first published, and it has pride of place in my library.It can still be found, but the price is ridiculous.Although Karl is over fond of the word lich, these stories stand the test of time and are truly unforgettable Especially Sticks and The Fourth Seal I highly recommend.


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