I was at the Windy City Pulp and Paperback convention here in Chicago over the weekend — hands down one of my favorite shows, and absolutely the place where I make my best finds, year after year — and I stumbled across a paperback I’d never seen before.
Now, this really isn’t all that unusual. Last year I found Carl Jacobi’s Revelations in Black, The Bumper Book of Ghost Stories, Stephen E. Fabian’s luscious art book Ladies & Legends, and a bunch more things, just as examples. But I expect to be surprised by odd British books and small print run paperbacks from the 1970s. I don’t expect to discover that a major anthology from the 1990s — from one of the biggest paperback publishers in the country, and edited by no less a personage than Joe R. Lansdale — has completely slipped my radar.
Razored Saddles was originally released in a limited edition hardcover by Dark Harvest in September 1989, and nominated for a World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology. The hardcover is relatively easy to come by, and in fact I’ve seen plenty of them over the years. But the paperback must have come and gone in a flash, because I’ve never come across a copy in over 25 years.
The dealer who was offering it for sale was well aware of its scarcity — he wanted more than I would expect to pay for the limited edition hardcover. Well, I’m loathe to pay more than the cover price of a modern paperback for any vintage paperback, and I didn’t in this case. But I admit I was tempted… Razored Saddles looks like a stellar collection of weird western tales from a Who’s Who of early 90s horror writers, including Neal Barrett, Jr., Robert R. McCammon, David J. Schow, Lewis Shiner, Howard Waldrop, Richard Christian Matheson, F. Paul Wilson, Richard Laymon, and many others. And let’s face it. That cover, with a gun-toting skeletal cowboy mounted against a stark blue sky, very nearly seals the deal.
But instead of spending even more money at the show, I came home and added the Avon edition of Razored Saddles to the list of vintage paperbacks I’m on the hunt for (alongside Clifford D. Simak’s Off-Planet and E F Benson’s The Horror Horn.) We’ll see if I can track down a copy online in the next few months.
In the meantime, here’s a look at the table of contents:
Introduction: The Cowpunk Anthology by Joe R. Lansdale and Pat LoBrutto
“Black Boots” by Robert R. McCammon
“Thirteen Days of Glory” by Scott A. Cupp
“Gold” by Lewis Shiner
“The Tenth Toe” by F. Paul Wilson
“Sedalia” by David J. Schow
“Trapline” by Ardath Mayhar
“Trail of the Chromium Bandits” by Al Sarrantonio
“Dinker’s Pond” by Richard Laymon
“Stampede” by Melissa Mia Hall
“Razored Saddles” by Robert Petitt
“Empty Places” by Gary L. Raisor
“Tony Red Dog” by Neal Barrett, Jr.
“The Passing of the Western” by Howard Waldrop
“Eldon’s Penitente” by Lenore Carroll
“The Job” by Joe R. Lansdale
“I’m Always Here” by Richard Christian Matheson
“”Yore Skin’s Jes’s Soft ‘N Purty…” He Said.” by Chet Williamson
Razored Saddles was published in hardcover by Dark Harvest in Sep 1989, and in paperback by Avon in Oct 1990. It is 285 pages, priced at $3.95. The cover is by Lee McCloud.
See all of our recent Vintage Treasures here.