You Should Read This: The Complete Drive-In by Joe R. Lansdale

Cover of The Complete Drive-In by Joe R. Lansdale, accompanies blog post reviewing the book by speculative fiction writer Cat Rambo.

I find the book's free-wheeling nature inspirational, although it's a gloomy message at the heart of it all.

Joe R. Lansdale is a favorite writer; this was my entrance into his work and it hooked me thoroughly.

What: The Drive-In by Joe R. Lansdale has two sequels, The Drive-In 2: Not Just One of Them Sequels and The Drive-In 3: The Bus Tour. Underland Press did a collected edition a few years back that is terrific, but it looks as though it’s out of print now. The story begins when a few friends go to the All Night Horror Show at a drive-in theater and find themselves transported to an alternate dimension, forcing the theatergoers to live on popcorn, fountain drinks, and eventually each other. Then it gets weird.

Who: Those willing to abandon themselves to the book, to strap themselves into the funhouse ride Lansdale has prepared will have the time of their life.

Why: Read this for dialogue that flows over you. For a gradual creep into weirdness that disorients and amazes all at once.

When: Read this when you want to be reminded that a good writer can take us wherever he or she likes. WHen you need to be shown that you can be as weird and surreal and downright odd in your writing as you like, as long as you do it with panache.

Where and how: Lansdale is a terrific reader – if you get a chance to hear him in person, do it! If not, try an audio book, in order to appreciate the way it flows. And don’t read it in scraps. Sit down and stay a spell.


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About Cat

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov's, Clarkesworld Magazine, and the magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Her story, "Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain," from her collection Near + Far (Hydra House Books), was a 2012 Nebula nominee. Her editorship of Fantasy Magazine earned her a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2012. She is the current President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). She is currently working on Exiles of Tabat, the third book of the Tabat Quartet. A new story collection, Neither Here Nor There, appears from Hydra House this fall.
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