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Howard Who?: Stories (Peapod Classics) Paperback – August 1, 2006

4.6 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Howard Waldrop, born in Mississippi and now living in Austin, Texas, is an American iconoclast. His highly original books include Them Bones and A Dozen Tough Jobs, and the collections All About Strange Monsters of the Recent Past, Night of the Cooters, and Going Home Again.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The Ugly Chickens: My car was broken, and I had a class to teach at eleven. So I took the city bus, something I rarely do. I spent last summer crawling through The Big Thicket with cameras and tape recorder, photographing and taping two of the last ivorybilled woodpeckers on the earth. You can see the films at your local Audubon Society showroom. This year I wanted something just as flashy but a little less taxing. Perhaps a population study on the Bermuda cahow, or the New Zealand takahe. A month or so in the warm (not hot) sun would do me a world of good. To say nothing of the advance of science. I was idly leafing through Greenway's Extinct and Vanishing Birds of the World. The city bus was winding its way through the ritzy neighborhoods of Austin, stopping to let off the chicanas, black women, and Vietnamese who tended the kitchens and gardens of the rich. I haven't seen any of those ugly chickens in a long time, said a voice close by. A greyhaired lady was leaning across the aisle toward me. I looked at her, then around. Maybe she was a shoppingbag lady. Maybe she was just talking. I looked straight at her. No doubt about it, she was talking to me. She was waiting for an answer. I used to live near some folks who raised them when I was a girl, she said. She pointed. I looked down at the page my book was open to. What I should have said was: That is quite impossible, madam. This is a drawing of an extinct bird of the island of Mauritius. It is perhaps the most famous dead bird in the world. Maybe you are mistaking this drawing for that of some rare Asiatic turkey, peafowl, or pheasant. I am sorry, but you are mistaken. I should have said all that. What she said was, Oops, this is my stop, and got up to go. ú ú ú ú ú My name is Paul Linberl. I am twentysix years old, a graduate student in ornithology at the University of Texas, a teaching assistant. My name is not unknown in the field. I have several vices and follies, but I don't think foolishness is one of them. The stupid thing for me to do would have been to follow her. She stepped off the bus. I followed her.
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Product Details

  • Series: Peapod Classics
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Small Beer Press (August 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931520186
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931520188
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,354,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Howard Waldrop, born in Mississippi and now living in Austin, Texas, is an American iconoclast. His highly original books include Them Bones and A Dozen Tough Jobs, and the collections All About Strange Monsters of the Recent Past, Night of the Cooters, and Going Home Again. He won the Nebula and World Fantasy Awards for his novelette "The Ugly Chickens." George R.R. Martin is the author of the bestselling Song of Ice and Fire series of novels. His fiction has won the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy Award, Stoker, and Locus Awards. He worked on the TV shows The Twilight Zone and Beauty and the Beast. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Howard Who? is a short story collection by Howard Waldrop with an introduction by George R. R. Martin.

It consists of the following stories.

The Ugly Chickens

This story won the Nebula and the World Fantasy awards as well as being nominated for a Hugo.

It puts forth the question What if the Dodo hadn't been wiped out.

Der Untergang des Abendlandesmenschen

I have no idea what this story was about, but I was never the less tremendously entertained by it.

Ike at the Mike

Did you ever wonder how the world would be different if Eisenhower and Patton had been in a band with Louis Armstrong rather than leading the allies in Europe? Well Me neither, but Howard did, and its a wonderful story.

Dr. Hudson's Secret Gorilla

Classic old school horror movie plot. Or old school bugs bunny cartoon either way .

. . . the World, as we Know't

I don't see the word Phlogiston used enough anymore. This story is a cautionary tale of a science experiment gone bad. Really, Really, horribly bad.

Green Brother

This is the first of two Native American centered stories. I much preferred the next one.

Mary Margaret Road Grader

Or Mad Max meets the county fair. This is a post apocalyptic story where Native American again rule the plains of the US, and they engage in tractor pulls.

"Save A Place in the Lifeboat for Me

Abbot and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, and others are sent to prevent "The day the music died." This was also one of my favorites perhaps because I've been to the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake IA many times.

Horror, We Got

You've got to love a time travel tale crossed with a Zionist conspiracy don't you?
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Format: Hardcover
The title does not lie. This is a collection of 12 outstanding stories. Each story is a tiny gem, a short 13-25 page story that makes a large impact.
Waldrop's stories have to be read to be believed. He is able to turn the mundane into the spectacular. Take 'Man Mountain Gentian' about sumo wrestlers with telekinetic powers. Or 'Heirs of the Perisphere' about intelligent Disney robots that are mistakenly activated years after humanity mysteriously disappeared. 'Mary Margaret Road-Grader' is a fascinating story about Native American Tractor pulls. World-Fantasy-Award winning story 'The Ugly Chickens' is about a possible rediscovery of the supposedly extinct Dodo. 'God's Hooks': a story about a fishing expedition for Leviathan and the consequences thereof.
There is not a bad story in this collection. Waldrop is a towering talent in the speculative fiction scene. Unfortunately most of his works are out-of-print. He's written a lot of stories but it takes an effort to track them down. Trust me, it's worth it. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Howard Waldrop is the best writer you've never heard of. Thing is, where other writers become specialists -- mining a particular vein of obsessions in a single, recognizable tone of voice -- no two Waldrop stories are alike.

His scope is staggering. These stories, written between 1974 and 1983, invite us into the quest of 18th-century natural philosophers to isolate the atomic substance "phlogiston"; into a proud Native American society based on auto theft and tractor pulls; into a band of time-traveling Jewish terrorists; into a tournament for telekinetic sumo wrestlers; into a reunion concert for two of the world's greatest jazz musicians, Louis Armstrong and Dwight Eisenhower. And I haven't even mentioned that there are cowboys gunning for vampires, Izaak Walton as a 17th-century Captain Quint, robot simulacra of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy as the last survivors in a postapocalyptic landscape, and Groucho Marx as God.

If you love dazzlingly imaginative science fiction and fantasy writing, you must read this book.
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Format: Paperback
I have been obsessed with Howard Waldrop for about fifteen years. The first three were spent trying to find his collections (this one especially) or locating a working copier so I could xerox any stories I located in the library. It was attempting to purchase "Howard Who?" and "Strange Monsters of the Recent Past" online that led me to become an Amazon.com member. Now I've got everything he's done up to a booklet containing two of his stories I bought from a gentleman in Austin. I found out recently that he was hospitalized for heart troubles. I don't know what his condition is now, but I would advise everyone to get as much of his work in your hands as you can before they go out of print again. And this is the best place to start, his first collection.
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By A Customer on June 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
First let me confess I have not read this book, not yet... You see I read Heirs of the Perisphere years ago when it was first published * ahem * in Playboy (Nothing risque in the writing, just well written.).
More memorable than the girl, I still remember passages today - must have been close to twenty years ago.
Mr Waldrop... Genius. Years ahead of his time. Great writer. I highly recommend.
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Format: Paperback
You've never heard of Howard Waldrop. The man's been pounding on his typewriter since before you were out of diapers, and even if you're a science fiction aficionado, you haven't heard of him. He's won the trifecta of major s/f awards -- Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy -- and "turns up monotonously on the shortlists for every major award in the field and most of the minor ones", as George R.R. Martin puts it, but you haven't a clue who he is. Fortunately, Small Beer Press is working tirelessly to remedy this shocking deficit in the American character; their Peapod Classic series is dedicated to putting influential, out-of-print, unjustifiably obscure titles back on shelves, and "Howard Who? Twelve Outstanding Stories of Speculative Fiction" is their most recent offering.

Why should you care that you've never heard of Waldrop? Because Waldrop's stories bend our brains open a little further. He writes with the plain grace of William Carlos Williams, but instead of giving us plums and red wheelbarrows, Waldrop offers "squid in the mouth" stories of time travel, alternate history, telekinesis, and Disney robots. In a field choked with derivative work, Waldrop doesn't write like anyone else, living or dead. He gives us the world not just as it should be, or could be, but as it cannot be. Unfortunately, by writing about the fantastic with a literary sensitivity to linguistic and narrative economy, Waldrop squarely lands in a no-man's-land genre often called "slipstream"; his stories are too literary to find a broad readership in the teeming mass-market aisles, and too damn weird to grace the pages of the New Yorker.

So, what do you get if you get "Howard Who?
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