Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
The God of the Razor
Joe R. Lansdale
Subterranean Press, 295 pages

The God of the Razor
Joe R. Lansdale
Joe R. Lansdale has been a student of the martial arts for more than thirty years. In fact, his standard day is six hours at the typewriter, three hours at Lansdale's Self Defense Systems, the martial-arts studio which he owns and at which he teaches. His recent books include Zeppelins West and Flaming London. He lives in Nacogdoches, Texas, with his wife, Karen, writer and editor.

Joe R. Lansdale Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Retro Pulp Tales
SF Site Review: Bumper Crop
SF Site Review: Bumper Crop

Past Feature Reviews
A review by John Berlyne

According to the bibliography on his web site , The Nightrunners was Joe Lansdale's second published novel, appearing in 1983, two years after his debut, Act of Love. Wikipedia and other online resources list 1987 as the year of publication and this is verifiable when the Dark Harvest edition first appeared. Whatever the details of its origins, The Nightrunners is notable in Lansdale's earlier works, not only as an archetypical example of his very particular brand of dark hyper-violent fiction, but also as it is marks the first appearance of Lansdale's spectacularly powerful and demonic The God of the Razor, a character that inspired a collection of his very own tribute stories published recently by Subterranean Press . Following up on the success of that collection entitled Lords of the Razor, Subterranean have now reissued The Nightrunners, along with some other much shorter pieces under the title The God of the Razor, and Lansdale has provided an introduction to the whole collection.

To some horror fans, this early Lansdale is a genre classic, and it certainly displays many of the admirable qualities and definitive traits we now associate with this most original of authors. Certainly no other writer comes to mind so capable of fusing revulsion and comedy together so effectively, often in the space of a single sentence, although The Nightrunners contains a good deal less amusement than many later Lansdale works. At the same time, the story radiates a nastiness that curiously seems to date it -- what may have been shocking for readers back in the early 80s has become, if not exactly the norm, certainly less taboo than it was back then. In spite of this, Lansdale's brutality, his bold and unrelenting fearlessness and unapologetic attitude towards the darkest and most unpleasant areas of fiction gives his writing an energy few can match. There is nothing subtle in The Nightrunners -- this is no delicate satire. Instead it is a story of wanton murder, rape and demonic possession and Lansdale swings this story around like a blunt instrument, his style fast and loose, full of fizz and the bold arrogance of a writer fully aware of his own talents.

The God of the Razor is full of loud, brash tales -- the reading equivalent of some album by a thrash metal band -- all told at the same jagged, high-pitched frequency and with the same dramatic crash of cymbals. There is little tonal variation in the collection, the notable exception to this being a piece called "Not From Detroit," in which a old man tries to cheat death and which is a gentler, more whimsical and altogether more sophisticated piece than the rest of the generally exhausting body of contents. All the pieces however, feature Lansdale's fabulously efficient character set-ups, and the author's direct approach is a prime example to us all, readers and writers alike, as to how to get right to heart of a story.

For those looking for a new God of the Razor piece in this collection, I fear you may be disappointed -- there is a new story, but it is so short it barely qualifies even as a vignette, not even three pages long. All other stories have appeared before, some many times and some quite recently, and though it is a fine thing to have all these stories gathered in one volume, there is little new in it for Lansdale devotees. For readers new to The God of the Razor though, there are horrors here that may lead to sleepless nights.

Copyright © 2007 John Berlyne

John Berlyne is a book junkie with a serious habit. He is the long time UK editor of and is widely acknowledged to be the leading expert on the works of Tim Powers. John's extensive Powers Bibliography "Secret Histories" will be published in April 2009 by PS Publishing. When not consuming genre fiction, John owns and runs North Star Delicatessen, a gourmet food outlet in Chorlton, Manchester.

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or anything else worth mentioning, please send it to
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide