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Peckinpah Paperback – August 10, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"A bludgeoning celluloid rush of language and ideas served from an action-painter's bucket of fluorescent spatter, Peckinpah is an incendiary gem and very probably the most extraordinary new novel you will read this year." Alan Moore, author of Watchmen, V for VendettaFrom Hell andThe League of Extraordinary Gentlemen 

"D. Harlan Wilson's latest romp of a book, Peckinpah: An Ultravoilent Romance, proves that Wilson is either a genius or a madman, in all likelihood a crazed hybrid of both. A book that will delight Wilson's fans and mortally shock the unintiated." Eric Miles Williamson, author ofWelcome to Oakland and East Bay Grease 

"Wilson's surreal view of a midwestern town called Dreamfield features the author's trademark prose which goes from violent to hysterical to bizarre--sometimes within the same sentence . . . all the while leaving behind witty commentary and observances on the rural lifestyle." Horror Fiction Review

About the Author

D. Harlan Wilson is an award-winning, critically acclaimed novelist, short story writer, editor, literary critic, and Professor of English at Wright State University-Lake Campus. In addition to numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, hundreds of his stories and essays have appeared in magazines, journals and anthologies throughout the world in multiple languages. Wilson serves as reviews editor of the academic science fiction journal Extrapolation and managing editor of Guide Dog Books, the nonfiction syndicate of Raw Dog Screaming Press. For more information, visit DHarlanWilson.com and TheKyotoMan.com.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 116 pages
  • Publisher: Shroud Publishing, LLC (August 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 098198942X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981989426
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,619,387 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. David Osborne on November 12, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In 1994 Alan Moore wrote a short story about a woman named Maureen Cooper, a bartender who slowly comes to realize she exists only as a character on a popular TV soap. The story was dense, verbose, brilliant metafiction, blending the story of Maureen with that of the actress who played her (who was herself not who she seemed) with a vicious polemic on television and its effects on society. It was called "Light of Thy Countenance" and there are two reasons I bring it up: first, because I feel that it is the spiritual predecessor to D. Harlan Wilson's amazing "Peckinpah", and secondly, because of Alan Moore himself, who felt strongly enough about this book to provide a blurb on the cover.

"Peckinpah" is difficult to categorize, a satirical meta mash-up of microfiction and microcriticism into something that maybe resembles a novel but is, I think, something much more interesting.

The back cover blurb does its best: it tells us "Peckinpah" is about Felix Soandso, the husband of a murdered woman who must wreak righteous vengeance on her killer, Samson Thataway, the hyperviolent leader of the Fuming Garcias, a Reservoir Dogs-esque clone army. Sure thing, back cover, but I'd argue that the story is just as much about a man who tears pigs in half or a shoe store clerk witnessing his coworkers disappearing beneath a stampeding tractor or corn stalks that open to reveal chainsaws.

Amidst all the absurdity, a wide variety of film motifs come under fire, such as rape scenes, lazy endings, and the fetishism of weaponry and violence.
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I just don't know what to think after this. An unusual book, for sure! An homage/mock homage to legendary director Sam Peckinpah who directed ultraviolent movies such as: The Wild Bunch, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, Ride the High Country, The Ballad of Cable Hogue, etc.

It's hard for me to say whether I truly liked it or not. The book is structured in jagged bits and pieces, and it covers a whole lot; however, only a little more than half of the chapters actually involve the story and characters mentioned in the summary. The rest of "Peckinpah" includes theories on the nature of ultraviolence, short essays about Sam Peckinpah himself, and random filler. It can be a challenge if you don't know what you're in for, and I sure didn't until I did some research on Sam Peckinpah on my own. By the end it made a kind of sense, it was rather like reading a transcript to a violent comic or movie script.

The story feels like a novella spaced with descriptive word slam poetry in between. This is definitely a book where every word counts, and at times when the story wasn't center stage it felt more like a poem than a novel. D. Harlan uses great language when describing scenes. At times the images that assault your mind are at a rapid speed, with short chapters, like a ultraviolent Peckinpah directed scene. I felt that if I didn't read it all in one sitting I would lose the image and pace of the story. I had to trudge on.

I gotta say once I understood what the story was about I really appreciated D. Harlan Wilson's writing format. Setting up scenes with camera angles, moving shots, close-ups, fade-outs, sound effects, etc. really giving it a movie director touch and bringing the chapters/scenes to life. It was a definite challenge of a read which took some work and rereading on my part but I think it was worth it in the end. Definitely a unique read. Recommended for fans of violence and bizarro!
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When a psychopath named Samson Thataway and his gang, the Fuming Garcias, ride into Dreamfield, Indiana, it means trouble for the small town. During an orgy of rape and murder, they made two mistakes: they raped and murdered Felix Soandso's wife, and they left Felix alive...

Peckinpah is an absurdist tribute to the films of Sam Peckinpah. While my summary makes it seem like a fairly standard revenge tale, it's not. It's so weird that even though it was less than 110 pages, I couldn't have taken much more.

Peckinpah seems to take place in the same world as DHW's SciKungFi trilogy. Amerika was mentioned a few times, as were the goat-headed men. Since the book was a tribute to Peckinpah films, I knew how it would end but it was still fun getting there.

That's about all I can articulate about Peckinpah right now. It's slightly less weird than Dr. Identity and way less weird than Codename Prague. It's an enjoyable little book and a good way to spend a couple hours.
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D Harlan Wilson's Peckinpah is one of his best works, and that's saying a lot. Wilson takes his own flare for high-minded weirdness and jacks it up a billion notches. The book is structured in jagged bits and pieces, and it covers a wide variety of topics. Only about half of the chapters involve the actual story and characters. The rest of Peckinpah includes theories on the nature of ultraviolence and short essays about Sam Peckinpah himself. It can be daunting if you don't know what you're in for.

Part of Peckinpah is a classical revenge tragedy starring Samson Thataway and Felix Soandso. Thataway is a surreal character. He and his Fuming Garcias are almost the living embodiment of ultraviolence. They carve a trail through the earth with their LeBarons, performing gruesome executions and epic acts of random destruction. Felix Soandso's wife is killed during the massacre, and naturally he sets out to take revenge on the Fuming Garcias' insane leader, Samson Thataway. Along the way we learn more about who Sam Peckinpah was and some sophisticated theories on ultraviolence.

In my opinion, Wilson really flexes his muscles when he shows us his violent scenes using film references. Peckinpah is like a literary version of Natural Born Killers, Kill Bill, and some of the more violent anime out there. Certain scenes are described with camera angles, moving shots, close-ups, fade-outs, and sound effects. These scenes are some of the most vivid stuff I've ever read. Overall, D Harlan Wilson isn't content to write a revenge story. Instead, he uses his sharp and colorful style to examine and dissect a dead director and his love affair with ultraviolence. Truly, Peckinpah is an ultraviolent romance.
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