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Every reader of SF comes across a title now and then that intrigues you, infuriates you, confuses you and/or enervates you. It leaves you with such a strong impression that you just have to share with others the impressions it left. It is so different from other books you have read. You recommend it, you pass along copies because you want to see if it is just you or that the book is really as interesting, you mention it constantly. Time passes and the book becomes harder to find. It is slipping out of print. How can you keep spreading the word about this fascinating book that you see as an overlooked odd speculative fiction classic?

This is another in a periodic list of such titles. This time, Rick Klaw tells us what titles have struck a chord with him. Once you are finished with this list, have a look at the others in the series of Ten Overlooked Odd Speculative Fiction Classics.

Ten Overlooked Odd Speculative Fiction Classics
by Rick Klaw

Even though I know I am missing a few books (Really, can anyone make a complete list in but ten books?), I decided this would be enough to keep y'all busy. At least for a little while. To include all the unheralded odd books, I would either need a much longer list or help from my friends. I went with the latter. In the months ahead, others will make their suggestions for Ten Overlooked Speculative Fiction Classics. The truly amazing thing about the other lists is that so far no one has duplicated any books. This should be a lot of interesting fun.

Perhaps the most unsettling thing about my list is that only two of the books are currently in print in the US and both from small presses. Sadly, as you will discover, most of the contributor's lists have that problem. Happy hunting!

(This article first appeared in a different form in Volume 5, Number 4 (Fall/Winter 2000) of the magazine Nova Express.)

10 to 6
Anno Dracula Anno Dracula
Kim Newman
Dracula defeats Van Helsing and becomes the Prince consort to Queen Victoria. Some mysterious stranger is mutilating and killing the vampiric prostitutes of Whitechapel. All this happens before you even open Anno Dracula. Kim Newman's masterpiece deserves more attention and it sure doesn't deserve to be out of print. It is literary what if at its finest.


Dead In The West Dead In The West
Joe R. Lansdale
Zombies, gun-totin' preachers, and Joe R. Lansdale. Need I say more?


Mind Parasites Mind Parasites
Colin Wilson
People talk about Colin Wilson's other books like The Outsider and The Philospher's Stone but his Lovercraft pastiche, Mind Parasites, is my favorite.


Lunatics Lunatics
Bradley Denton
Jack is naked and Jack is in love with the moon. And then things get weird. Lunatics is an utterly charming contemporary fantasy.


Zod Wallop Zod Wallop
William Browning Spencer
In Zod Wallop, William Browning Spencer out-Carroll's Jonathan Carroll. It is a truly magical story of a man haunted by the children's book he created. Another book that hasn't deserved its fate. May history be kinder to it than its publishers have been.


5 to 1
Bones of the Moon Bones of the Moon Bones of the Moon
Jonathan Carroll
Bones of the Moon is one of the master's finest books and it is also one of his hardest to find. It's always lyrical and magical. Any Jonathan Carroll will do, but to me, this is the best.


Dr. Adder Dr. Adder
K.W. Jeter
You don't get much weirder than this long out of print classic. A richly disturbing novel, Dr. Adder is cyberpunk dystopianism at its finest.


Uncle Ovid's Exercise Book Uncle Ovid's Exercise Book
Don Webb
Uncle Ovid's Exercise Book is a book that is almost impossible to categorize. 99 stories (most short shorts) all dealing with change. An amazing piece of work comes from this very talented writer.


The Hereafter Gang The Hereafter Gang
Neal Barrett, Jr.
Neal Barrett, Jr. is maybe the least acclaimed deserving writer of the 20th century. Sure that may be a bit of hyperbole but not much. For forty-something years, Neal Barrett, Jr. has consistently produced some of the best weird fiction going. And this book is his masterpiece. It's a wonderfully odd book that teaches us that heaven is in Oklahoma.


The Exploits of Engelbrecht The Exploits of Engelbrecht abstracted from The Chronicles of the Surrealist Sportsman's Club
Maurice Richardson
The Exploits of Engelbrecht abstracted from The Chronicles of the Surrealist Sportsman's Club is, hands down, the single strangest book I have ever read. Complete with illustrations, this collection of short stories follow the adventures of Engelbrecht, the surrealist boxer.



Copyright © 2001 Rick Klaw

Not content with just being a regular columnist for SF Site, Rick Klaw is also the fiction editor for RevolutionSF. He is currently an unemployed book buyer, who is on the look out for some freelance editing gigs. If any come your way, please drop him a line.

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