Howard Who?

Howard Waldrop  - published August 2006

2006 · trade paper · 9781931520188 / ebook
2nd printing May 2021

“Italo Calvino once said that he was ‘known as an author who changes greatly from one book to the next. And in these very changes you recognize him as himself.’ Much the same could be said of Howard Waldrop. You never know what he’ll come up with next, but somehow it’s always a Waldrop story. Read the work of this wonderful writer, a man who has devoted his life to his art—and to fishing.”
—Michael Dirda, Washington Post

Introduction by George R.R. Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire): “If this is your first taste of Howard, I envy you. Bet you can’t read just one.”

The third entry in our Peapod Classics reprint line is a twentieth-anniversary celebration edition of Howard Waldrop’s erudite, gonzo, wistful, funny, and beautifully written debut collection of short stories.

Waldrop has a capacious, encyclopedic knowledge of superheroes, baseball players, Mexican wrestlers, world wars, long-dead film stars, oddball television shows, pulp serials, radio plays, fairy tales, scientific expeditions, extinct species, and knock-knock jokes.

  • What if the dodo wasn’t extinct after all?
  • What if sumo wrestlers could defeat their opponents with the power of the mind?
  • What if Izaak Walton and John Bunyan went fishing for Leviathan in the Slough of Despond?

Acclaimed cult author Waldrop’s stories are sophisticated, magical recombinations of the stuff our pop-culture dreams are made of. Open this book and encounter jazz singers, robotic cartoon ducks, nosferatu, angry gorillas, and, of course, the dodo.

Never published in paperback, long out of print, and extremely collectible, Howard Who? was Waldrop’s amazing debut collection. If you haven’t read Waldrop before, you’re in for a treat.

Table of Contents
Introduction by George R. R. Martin.
The Ugly Chickens
Der Untergang des Abendlandesmenschen
Ike at the Mike
Dr. Hudson’s Secret Gorilla
. . . the World, as we Know’t
Green Brother
Mary Margaret Road-Grader
Save A Place in the Lifeboat for Me
Horror, We Got
Man-Mountain Gentian
God’s Hooks
Heirs of the Perisphere

“Back in print after so many years, Howard Who? remains a terrific collection of short stories. There is nobody else alive writing stories as magnificently strange, deliriously inventive, and utterly wonderful as Howard Waldrop.”


Praise for Howard Waldrop:
“Clever, humorous, idiosyncratic, oddball, personal, wild, and crazy.”
— Library Journal

Wise and funny.”
— Publishers Weekly

“An authentic master of gonzo sf and fantasy.”
— Booklist

“Erudite and gonzo.”
— Science Fiction Weekly

“Waldrop subtly mutates the past, extrapolating the changes into some of the most insightful, and frequently amusing, stories being written today, in or out of the science fiction genre.”
— The Houston Post/Sun

” The man’s a national treasure!”
— Locus

“The resident Weird Mind of his generation, he writes like a honkytonk angel.”
— Washington Post Book World

About the Author:

Howard Waldrop, born in Mississippi and now living in Austin, Texas, is an American iconoclast. His highly original books include Them Bones and A Dozen Tough Jobs, and the collections All About Strange Monsters of the Recent Past, Night of the Cooters, and Going Home Again. He won the Nebula and World Fantasy Awards for his novelette “The Ugly Chickens.”

George R.R. Martin is the author of the bestselling Song of Ice and Fire series of novels. His fiction has won the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy Award, Stoker, and Locus Awards. He worked on the TV shows The Twilight Zone and Beauty and the Beast. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


Publication history

First published as Howard Who? Twelve Outstanding Stories of Speculative Fiction by Doubleday in 1986.

Also by Howard Waldrop:


The Texas-Israeli War: 1999 with Jake Saunders (1974)
Them Bones (1984)


Howard Who? (1986, 2006)
All About Strange Monsters of the Recent Past: Neat Stories (1987)
Night of the Cooters: More Neat Stories (1990)
Going Home Again (1997)
Custer’s Last Jump and Other Collaborations (2003)
Heart of Whitenesse (2005)
Things Will Never Be the Same: A Howard Waldrop Reader: Selected Short Fiction 1980-2005 (2007)
Other Worlds, Better Lives: Selected Long Fiction, 1989-2003 (2008)
Horse of a Different Color (2013)


A Dozen Tough Jobs (1989)
A Better World’s in Birth (2003)


Dream Factories and Radio Pictures (2003)


I, John Mandeville
The Moon World
Moving Waters