Horse of a Different Color

Howard Waldrop  - published November 2013

November 12, 2013 · $24 · trade cloth (9781618730732) · ebook (9781618730749)

Signed copies available.

Austin Chronicle profile: Howard Waldrop, Upright & Writing

“What’s most rewarding in Mr. Waldrop’s best work is how he both shocks and entertains the reader. He likes to take the familiar — old films, fairy tales, Gilbert & Sullivan operettas — then give it an out-of-left-field twist. At least half the 10 tales in his new collection are prime eccentric Waldrop . . .  as he mashes genres, kinks and knots timelines, alchemizing history into alternate history. In “The Wolf-man of Alcatraz,” the B prison movie rubs fur with the Wolf-man; “Kindermarchen” takes the tale of Hansel and Gretel and transforms it into a haunting fable of the Holocaust; and “The King of Where-I-Go” is a moving riff on time travel, the polio epidemic and sibling love.
“Among the most successful stories is “The Horse of a Different Color (That You Rode In On),” an improbable confluence of vaudeville (two of the main characters perform in a horse suit) and the Arthurian Grail legend that manages to name-check Señor Wences, Thomas Pynchon, “King Kong” and more as Mr. Waldrop tells of the Ham Nag — “the best goddamned horse-suit act there ever was.” It’s certainly the best horse-suit-act story I’ve ever read.”
New York Times

Howard Waldrop’s stories are keys to the secret world of the stories behind the stories . . . or perhaps stories between the known stories. From “The Wolfman of Alcatraz” to a horrifying Hansel and Gretel, from “The Bravest Girl I Ever Knew” to the Vancean richness of a “Frogskin Cap,” this new collection is a wunderkammer of strangeness.

The title story, “The Horse of a Different Color (That You Rode in On)” is a masterpiece that crashes together aged-vaudevillian Manny Marks (who changed his name from Marx so that his brothers couldn’t ride to success on his coattails), “the best goddammed horse-suit act there ever was,” and the story of two men and their hunt for the holy grail. It’s a uniquely American take on the Arthurian legend that Waldrop takes to places (theaters, diners, resthomes) that he could do.

Howard Waldrop also provides an introduction to the book in his inimitable manner as well as Afterwords to most of the stories.


Locus Recommended Reading

“Waldrop combines erudition with authentic folksiness, optimism with a cold clear vision of life’s pitfalls and false paths.”
BN Review Best of the Year

“Filled with the same joie-de-vivre, sense of wonder, ingenious invention and eternally youthful appreciation for the weird and magical rollercoaster ride that is existence.”
—Paul Di Filippo, Locus Online

“I didn’t quite know what to expect going into this collection, and in a way I still don’t. Waldrop’s writing is impossible to characterize, and almost as difficult to describe. He is a unique voice, and I regret that I didn’t discover him sooner–I certainly intend to seek out more of his work now that I have tried it. I highly recommend this book, and I hope it’s publication will win Waldrop new fans.”
SF Revu

Table of Contents

Introduction: Old Guys With Busted Gaskets

Why Then Ile Fit You
The Wolfman of Alcatraz [excerpt on]
“The Bravest Girl I Ever Knew…”
Frogskin Cap
Avast, Abaft!
Thin, On the Ground
The Horse of a Different Color (That You Rode in On)
The King of Where-I-Go

About Howard Waldrop’s books

“The most startling, original, and entertaining short story writer in science fiction today.”
—George R. R. Martin

“”If Philip K. Dick is our homegrown Borges (as Ursula K. Le Guin once said), then Waldrop is our very American magic-realist, as imaginative and playful as early Garcia Marquez or, better yet, Italo Calvino…. 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

“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

“You want funny? Howard’s got funny. You want weird? Howard’s got weird. You want mind-bending? You’re about to get it.”
—Cory Doctorow

“It always feels like Christmas when a new Howard Waldrop collection arrives.”
—Connie Willis

“There’s no better writer alive than Howard Waldrop.”
—Tim Powers

Three Ways of Looking at Howard Waldrop (and Then Some)
Jed Hartman (et alia)

About Howard Waldrop

Howard Waldrop, born in Mississippi and now living in Austin, Texas, is an American iconoclast. His highly original books include Them Bones and Readercon Award-winner A Dozen Tough Jobs, and the collections Howard Who?, All About Strange Monsters of the Recent Past, Locus Award-winner Night of the Cooters, Other Worlds, Better Lives, and Things Will Never Be the Same. He won the Nebula and World Fantasy Awards for his novelette “The Ugly Chickens.” In 2021 Waldrop was awarded the World Fantasy Life Achievement Award.