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The Damned Highway Paperback – August 2, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Books (August 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595826858
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595826855
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

All of Thompson's violence is Great and Terrible, like Wizard of Oz.
John Goodrich
THE DAMNED HIGHWAY may be a departure from Keene's usual style, but it's just as enjoyable, if not more so, than the rest of his work.
Daniel V. Reilly
You would probably expect a book like this to be almost too inside or inaccessible for non-fans of Lovecraft and/or Thompson.
Wag The Fox

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Brendan Moody TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
The premise of Brian Keene and Nick Mamatas's The Damned Highway is the type that makes a lot of reviewers say "How did they ever come up with that!" (With a subtext, at times, of "What were they smoking?") But in fact a hybrid of the gonzo journalism of Hunter S. Thompson with the horror fiction of H. P. Lovecraft, of radical political critique with cosmic horror, is eminently natural. They have in common a conviction that dark forces are moving behind the scenes, an exclusion from mainstream society, a paranoid intensity that is, under the circumstances, justified and saner than the usual variety of sanity. Cthulhu doesn't exist, but the pathetic tininess and isolation of humanity that he symbolizes is very real; the details of a given iconoclastic political ideology may be unconvincing, but that power serves itself at the expense of the mass of mankind is hardly arguable.

I am, alas, unfamiliar with the work of Hunter S. Thompson, so I can't judge how well Mamatas and Keene have captured his voice, but that their prose has a distinctive voice is indisputable. Cynical, frustrated, forceful, neurotic: descriptive labels come to mind easily enough, but only a quotation can capture it.

"The world has turned dangerous and strange, like some severely deformed child who should have been put down at birth in an act of mercy, but instead has been allowed to live and suffer for far too long. There is something prowling around outside my front door, and though I have heard it many times tonight, I don't know what it is. It can't be the peacocks because I killed them earlier in a moment of blind rage and gripping paranoia, but there is something out there, lurking in the night.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Daniel V. Reilly VINE VOICE on August 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
I've been a longtime fan of Brian Keene's (I ordered THE RISING the day Delirium put it up for sale.....), and, in my opinion, he's always been the "Old Faithful" of the Horror genre.....No matter what he's writing, whether it's a subject that fully captivates you or something that's been done to death, you usually put down the book thinking "DAMN, that was good!" He's an Author you can count on. Nick Mamatas, I'm embarrassed to say, is someone whose fiction I'm not very familiar with....I'll probably have to remedy that after reading THE DAMNED HIGHWAY: FEAR AND LOATHING IN ARKHAM.

THE DAMNED HIGHWAY's high concept is "Hunter S. Thompson does Lovecraft", which would seem to put it in the (Sometimes rightfully) maligned category of the "Mash-up" novel, popularized lately by such books as PRIDE & PREJUDICE & ZOMBIES and SENSE & SENSIBILITY & SEA MONSTERS. That would be doing THE DAMNED HIGHWAY a great disservice, since Keene and Mamatas have crafted a razor-sharp satire of the Watergate era, perfectly channeled through the voice of Hunter S. Thompson, or "Uncle Lono", as he's known here. Lono's cross-country trek through the seamy underbelly of Nixon's America takes him through Lovecraft's Innsmouth, where he uncovers a plot that stretches from R'Lyeh all the way to The White House, and involves many of the big political figures of the day. Keene and Mamatas manage to combine forces seamlessly, delivering a pitch-perfect pastiche of Thompson's voice and narrative style, and the story itself is hilariously demented. I'm glad to see Dark Horse get into the Brian Keene business, and I hope to see them publish more by him in the future. THE DAMNED HIGHWAY may be a departure from Keene's usual style, but it's just as enjoyable, if not more so, than the rest of his work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Tresca VINE VOICE on May 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
I came to "The Damned Highway: Fear and Loathing in Arkham" because of my interest in works derivative of H.P. Lovecraft's horror legacy. A mash-up between the Cthulhu Mythos and Hunter S. Thompson's gonzo style seemed like an interesting marriage, and authors Nick Mamatas and Brian Keene seized upon the more extreme elements of Thompson's conspiracy theories to weave an entirely new narrative that, if not always terrifying, is certainly strange.

Holed up in his fortified compound, "Owl Farm" in Woody Creek, Colorado, Thompson decides to pursue the American Nightmare, the corollary to his unfinished book "Joint Chiefs" about the death of the American Dream. This is Thompson in his later years, infamous thanks to Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury cartoon caricature of him, Uncle Duke, who was in turn inspired by Thompson's alias Raoul Duke. Thompson adopts a new alias as Uncle Lono, the Hawaiian deity of fertility, agriculture, rainfall, and music. It's not long before Thompson takes "fungi from Yuggoth" which gives him extra-spatial perception and a connection to others who take the alien mushrooms. This drug ex machina leads Thompson/Lono into the middle of a conflict between upper class Arkham thugs supporting the political machinations of Richard Nixon and the subhuman fish-people of Innsmouth. Their two deities vie for dominance: Moloch, a giant owl worshipped at the Bohemian Grove attended by Nixon, and Cthulhu, the Elder God we know and love.

We're never entirely sure what's going on thanks to Thompson's gonzo journalistic style. Lovecraftian references are often inserted at random; characters appear and disappear, and the narrative cuts away whenever there's action.
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