Something Lumber This Way Comes, or, the House from Space

August 25, 2016 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, )

lumberSomething Lumber This Way Comes, or, the House from Space by Joe R. Lansdale and Doug Potter


Earlier this year, I read The Halloween Mouse by Richard Laymon. I didn’t review it or add it to my list of finished books, because it was a kids’ book, and it seemed too short, with too many full-page illustrations to consider it a full book. I’ve had Something Lumber This Way Comes for a while and started reading it this morning, when I had some time to kill, knowing it was a kids’ book and expecting to treat it the same way I did The Halloween Mouse. It turns out that it’s a bit lengthier, and more narrative-heavy, so I decided to include it. Besides, it was longer than some of the novellas I’ve added to my list this year.

The thing is, I don’t really know how to review a kids’ book. Not only do I not have kids, neither do I know what makes one kids’ book better than another. What I do know is adult fiction, and this book … well, it isn’t for adults. It lacks any characterization or plot, relying instead on the idea of a vampire house to carry the entire book. For kids, maybe this is enough; for adults, the story is best viewed as a curiosity.

There’s an afterword to the book where Lansdale tells us that he wrote this book shortly after The Nightrunners, using the image of a house he had in that story as its inspiration. He wrote the story and read it to his kids, and more or less forgot about it after that. Years ago, Subterranean Press put together a series of books called The Lost Lansdale, bringing back some long lost Lansdale stories, and this was one of them. It’s fitting that a small press brought the book into print, since it doesn’t hold much value outside of Lansdale’s fans.

The story isn’t terrible, but neither is it great. I mentioned in my review of Hot in December that Lansdale is more a writer you read for his style, and this book lacks it all together. There’s a good reason for that — Lansdale’s normal style is definitely not for kids — but it means that the product won’t meet the expectations. It might be fun to read the book aloud to kids, like Lansdale did, but otherwise this is worth skipping, even for fans.


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