A Short Collection by Karl Edward Wagner

Little-Ochre-Book-596x596A Little Ochre Book of Occult Stories
Karl Edward Wagner
Stephen Jones, ed.
Borderlands Press
hardcover, 136 p., $30

I’ve been reading this slim volume this week.  Not that it should have taken me a week, but with the hours I’ve been keeping, a few minutes a night is the best I can do.

It’s been a while since I’ve read Wagner.  This collection reminded me why I like his work.

In addition to an introduction by Stephen Jones, there are four poems, three stories, and a brief, never published article.

The stories are “The Last Wolf”, the classic “Sticks”, and one of the best Kane stories, “Undertow”.

The article was “The Midnight Train to Providence”.  It was supposed to be published in Britain in a volume in honor of Lovecraft’s centenary.  The printer went bust after being paid, and that was that.  Until now.  Wagner discusses Lovecraft’s story “He” in “The Midnight Train to Providence”, concluding that it is Lovecraft discussing his return from New York.   I’ve not read “He”, so I can’t comment on this idea.

The poetry was excellent.  I generally don’t discuss individual poems.  I don’t want the review to be longer than what is being reviewed.

A Little Ochre Book of Occult Stories is part of Borderlands Little Book series.  They’re a bit pricey for the casual reader, but then Borderlands is a publisher of collectible books.  I’m going to be putting some of them on m Christmas list.


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