Thursday, December 11, 2014

Happy Birthday Karl Edward Wagner

This Friday is Karl Edward Wagner's birthday. To celebrate, I'll be posting a creature from his amazing story Where the Summer Ends. 

Wagner was a strange dude. He started off his professional career as a psychiatrist but then became known to the weird fiction world for his anarchistic biker attitude and appearance. 

His short story Sticks is known as one of the best Mythos stories, his Kane character is widely accepted as one of the best anti-heroes in the sword and sorcery genre and he's responsible for excising L. Sprague DeCamp's clumsy attempts at continuity from Howard's Conan stories and restoring them to the original text. On top of all that he was also known as a fantastic editor, having helmed  The Year's Best Horror for 15 years.

He's also full of great quotes

On choosing content for YBH:
" I play no favorites with authors. Big Name Pro has the same shot as first story small press writer. I’ve run stories by Stephen King, and I’ve run stories by writers who may have never written another story. I have maintained this attitude for fifteen years as editor: No taboos. No holds barred. No free rides. Excellence required. Whiners piss off."

On why horror is so popular:
That question does get asked a lot and I've thought about it a lot and I know the answer. Because it's sex. It's dirty, smutty stuff, there's subliminal messages hidden in there. If you read Frankenstein backwards.... (applause/laughter) So now you know. If you take close ups, photographs, I've seen this done, of simple words in these horror books, you can see suggestive shapes and poses. The paper on which these things are printed has been imprinted with a subtle aphrodisiac. If you turn the pages you're already a lost soul."

On Lovecraft:
"To my mind, what’s im­pressive about Lovecraft is his profound cosmic negativism: the idea that mankind is confronted by horrors that are completely beyond his comprehension, forces against which he is powerless, and when he begins to realize these horrors exist, they inevitably destroy him."
Karl Edward Wagner interviewed by Dr. Elliot, July 1981


1 comment:

  1. I didn'tknow it was his birthday. I really like the Kane stories but I have recently read some of his horror stories and they are the right stuff too. I think i became a fan after reading John Mayers The Dark Muse of Karl Edward Wagner articles.