"Dark, tender, gruesome, evocative, funny — sometimes all in the same story: It's hard to pin down Lansdale's fiction. . . . there's one thing that pulls all these disparate stories together. Lansdale's voice."
— Charles de Lint, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, September 2004
"When you finish one [of these 26 stories], you can't help but reach for another one."
— CNN.com Entertainment News, May 10, 2004
In Lansdale's own words, this collection, and the previous collection High Cotton, "are, to date, the definitive volumes of my short work." Bumper Crop, like High Cotton, showcases some of the favorite Lansdale stories, most of which are out of print. These twenty-six stories contain some of Lansdale's most violent dark horror: "God of the Razor," where the dark god behind serial killers is introduced. A martial arts fight to the death, between a reluctant champion and a sadistic alpha-male, the ultimate "Master of Misery," clearly defines good and evil, but does good EVER win? Why would a man live and work in "The Dump," unless he had a special junkyard "dog" to care for? And human sacrifice, to insure prosperity, or as a coming-of-age ritual, are themes of "On a Dark October" and "Duck Hunt." And the influence of Bradbury is evident in "The Fat Man," where young boys learn, the hard way, that some mysteries should not be investigated. And what drives a serial killer, and what does he do on his nocturnal "Walks?" And why is "Old Charlie" such a good fisherman?
Many of the stories are truly weird tales, such as the story of false teeth with an appetite, in "Chompers." "Billie Sue" is away, so her mate will play with the available woman next door, for awhile; but Billie Sue is only a few spadefuls of earth away. "The Shaggy House" needs more than a facelift — it needs something more, and it decides to fulfill its needs on a quiet street, peopled by retirees.
Writers and writer-hopefuls will appreciate "Bestsellers Guaranteed," where the secret of becoming a bestselling author is finally revealed, and the price of such.
A truly sad tale describes one of the many costs of discrimination, and makes one wonder why you hardly ever see a black "Cowboy," at least in the popular Western literature.
These, and the other thirteen stories, all have individual introductions by Lansdale, where he explains the humorous, weird, and sometimes sad genesis for each story.
Cover art by John Picacio.
"In his foreword to this chicken-fried and jalapeņo-laced story collection, a follow-up to High Cotton (2000), Lansdale describes these 26 tales as graduates from the 'twist and surprise and ain't that damn weird school.' He's about right."
— Publishers Weekly, February 16, 2004
Trade Paperback Reprint, ISBN: 1-930846-33-9
Out of Print!
Note — All reviews refer to the original hardcover edition:
Read the Booklist review
Read the CNN.com Entertainment News review
Read Charles de Lint's review in the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
Read Paula Guran's review in Cemetary Dance
Read the Ghoti Magazine review
Read the Publishers Weekly review
Read the SFSite review
Read the Ticonderoga Online review
Read the review on The Green Man Review
View the wraparound dust jacket art and original sketch by John Picacio