The Howard Waldrop Reader

The nice folks over at SF Site have just published their Howard Waldrop Reading List, as compiled by Rodger Turner. It’s a good list, though the date for All About Strange Monsters… looks wrong to my eye.

Anyhow, that list got me thinking. Howard has, by my count, published about seventy-five short stories since “Lunchbox” appeared in Analog back in May of ’72, and in the intervening thirty five years he’s written about pretty much everything you could possibly imagine, and a lot you couldn’t have. But, no-one’s ever published a ‘best of’, a selection of the Waldrop stories you simply have to read. I’m unlikely to publish such a thing, but I thought I might throw together a first pass list for what would be The Howard Waldrop Reader.

I knew that any list would need to include the most famous stories, and a few lesser known ones. It would have to range across his entire career, and it would also have to include some of the longer stories. I decided to restrict myself to just one collaboration, though Waldrop is an accomplished collaborator. The list of fifteen stories that I came up with is probably too long for a real book (I’m guessing about two hundred thousand words), and there are too many novellas (four), but there are no duds. If I had time, I’d re-read the stories, fine tune things, and then get running order, but this is just playing and was done in ten minutes.

1. The Ugly Chickens
2. God’s Hooks!
3. Flying Saucer Rock and Roll
4. Custer’s Last Jump (with Steven Utley)
5. Do Ya, Do Ya, Wanna Dance?
6. Helpless, Helpless
7. Ike at the Mike
8. Major Spacer in the 21st Century
9. Mr. Goober’s Show
10. Night of the Cooters
11. Why Did?
12. The Sawing Boys
13. A Dozen Tough Jobs
14. US
15. You Could Go Home Again

One thing I promise: if you hunt out the stories, you’ll find every one’s a winner.