Bubba and the Cosmic Blood-Suckers Kindle Edition
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There's some good natured fun, a little bit of scares (I don't think the author was really out to do too much horror damage), and a handful of eccentric and quirky characters. The creatures seem like something that dropped in from an abandoned Dean Koontz project - not a bad thing.
It's an okay story. Not Joe R. Lansdale's best efforts but one thing I have always admired about the author is that he is willing to pay homage to the kinds of stories that excited and inspired him as a kid. This is definitely a case of Lansdale trying his hand a bit of old school sci-fi pulp.
I recommend it to anyone who enjoys the old style science fiction/adventure pulp stories.
***Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this title.
I've never seen the film of BUBBA HO-TEP, but I loved the tale with all of its warped humor and fun characters. There was less humor in this book, which I found disappointing, but there were some cool inter-dimensional monsters, as well as some freaky shadowy vampire like creatures as minions and what's not fun about that?
The characters here were a mismatched bunch and I would like to see an entire novel based on the character of The Blind Man. (He may not be able to see, but all of his other skills as well as his psychic abilities are well honed.) I would also love to know more about Johnny, (sometime narrator of this tale) and John Henry, wielder of the giant hammer. Lastly, the horny house ghost also interested me. Unfortunately, this short novel moved so fast that I didn't get to know these characters as much as I would have liked.
BUBBA AND THE COSMIC BLOOD-SUCKERS was full of bloody horror action and a lot of fun, but I guess I was expecting a little more from the Champion Mojo Storyteller Joe Lansdale. But hey, a so-so Lansdale book is better than most good books by other authors, so if this premise sounds interesting to you, I say give it a go! You could do a lot worse.
*Thanks to Subterranean Press for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*
One of my favorite horror novels is Lansdale’s The Bottoms, a truly frightening story. As you might guess from the title, Bubba and the Cosmic Blood Suckers plays with the horror genre but the story’s tongue-in-cheek nature makes it more funny than scary. Still, the creatures Lansdale describes in the opening chapter (written as a straight horror story) demonstrate how capably Lansdale can scare the pants off his readers. Had he written this as a straight horror story, I might have wet the bed.
So perhaps it's fortunate that Lansdale quickly introduces Elvis and his team of monster fighters, led by his manager, Colonel Parker. Already, I’m sure, you can see the potential for humor. This is a jaded Elvis, at the peak of his career and starting to lose control of his weight. He still has his charisma (and still has a lot of sex), but the charisma is attracting a dark force from another dimension. The “cosmic blood suckers” in the novel’s title actually feed on charisma more than blood, which makes Elvis a prime target.
Johnny Smack, who tells some of the story in the form of journal entries, is one of Elvis’ bodyguards. He is also part of the Hidden Agenda, a group that for centuries has battled monsters. After bodies are discovered of unidentified people who have had their innards sucked out, Richard Nixon sends Hidden Agenda on a mission to tame the responsible monsters. The Colonel, Johnny Smack, John Henry, a charismatic singer named Jenny, a wizard named Jack, and a fellow called the Blind Man join Elvis on the Hidden Agenda team.
The concept is goofy enough to be funny, and Lansdale adds characteristic bits of humor in nearly every paragraph. One of my favorites is a barrier to keep ghouls away that is made from ashes from incinerated corpses mixed with nun pee, but there are too many examples to count. One of the funniest passages involves Elvis’ sexual encounter with a ghost. Well, it’s Elvis, so he really can’t refuse.
I can’t say I laughed out loud at much of the goofiness, but I was consistently amused and entertained. Lansdale can do that without even trying, but the story does give the impression that he didn’t try very hard. I look forward to Lansdale returning to meatier work, but in the meantime, there’s nothing wrong with being amused.