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HOWARD WHO? by Howard Waldrop



Pub Date: July 18th, 1986
ISBN: 0000119156
Publisher: Doubleday

Anachronism, absurdist juxtaposition, and wishful thinking are the chief components of these 12 tales, 1976-85; while impressively researched and constructed, several will baffle as many readers as they delight. Sometimes the technique is effective, as in the justly famous, southern-fried dodo yarn, ""The Ugly Chickens,"" and "". . . The World, as We Know't,"" where some early American alchemists, attempting to isolate the (mythical; but here, real) substance phlogiston, accidentally set the world ablaze. Elsewhere, though, several recipes of seemingly random ingredients (e.g., reality-as-B-movie plus cowboys plus Nazis plus vampires) yield only meaningless hodgepodge. Other tales exhale an air of profundity, but end up merely peculiar and inert because inconsequential (Izaak Walton and John Bunyan go fishing, and catch Leviathan; after a nuclear war, a robot Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and Donald Duck go digging up a time capsule). And the remaining topics range from disturbing, unpleasant Messages to brain transplants, Indians, and psychokinetic sumo wrestlers. Eclectic, exotic fabulations, then--all too often pointless.