S.T. Joshi: An H.P. Lovecraft enthusiast and biographer, he wrote a real rattlesnake called The Weird Tale. It's got a little something about all my fellas: Lovecraft, M.R. James, Arthur Machen, Lord Dunsany, Algernon Blackwood. One thing I don't like, while citing the magnanimity of Lovecraft for responding to letters sent by fans, Joshi never responds to mine!
M.R. James: I've got a silly "four pillars" of "horror" who I think about as I fall asleep; Edgar Allan Poe (for being the template), H.P. Lovecraft (for making it cosmic), Stephen King (for bringing it into the suburbs), and M. R. James' Collected Ghost Stories (especially "Oh, Whistle and I Will Come to You My Lad") are some of the best arguments made for why a very small idea can do a very big thing.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky: Fans of horror and the weird-tale tend to take classic authors and declare, "They fit into our genre! I promise!" in seeking some kind of legitimization (bring up the genre at a literary party, you'll see they need it). I'll do the same with the Brothers Karamazov here. Always confused for being denser than it is, the book is soap-operatic; Dad is killed and one of the four sons did it. Whodunnit?
William Faulkner: Ever go on a book bender? I lost dates over this guy. Lost weight. I've read every itty word the man committed to paper and it wasn't enough. I wanted to drink like him, walk like him, have hair like him. But I never wanted to talk like him. Absalom, Absalom! is a Southern-wizard-gift-wonder.
Charlie Kaufman: He writes movies, not books. But this guy is a total tornado. And doesn't it sometimes feel like there's so much celebrity in the world right now that one might pop up out of your toilet? Well, it's a good thing when the writer is the marquee name above the "stars." I heard he wrote a script about a "Weirder Al" in his early days. Anyone know if this is true?
Josh Malerman's top five in recordings
Screamin' Jay Hawkins At Home with Screamin' Jay Hawkins: He was like Elvira for me the first time I saw him. Seeing him adorned with skulls, reptiles, bats and bubbles. ... I was worried he was going to eat Mom!
Erasure The Innocents: As a sexually mortified youth, I related to the androgyny. Fancying myself a cool sibling, I took my kid-brother to go see them at the State Theatre. When we walked in, I told Ryan, "Be careful! All these guys look like maniac bikers!" But a trip to the bathroom and finding a man in ass-less chaps with a rose between his teeth, I had a revelation: "Ryan! Nobody here is going to hurt you. This place is kind of like the Blue Oyster Bar in Police Academy."
Doors The Doors: Almost everyone who dislikes them does it because of something not related to the music. I blame it on Oliver Stone's movie, which plays like an SNL skit now. I'm not into blues-rock either, but have you heard "Soul Kitchen"? Delightful.
DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince Nightmare on My Street (cassingle): Not as good as the movie it puns and not as good as their other songs, but still. Just YouTube it.
Lee Hazlewood Cowboy in Sweden: Blondes, horses, blond horses, and the wizard of weird singing about Stockholm and prison. "Easy and Me's" lyrics are Twinkie-good.
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