Dead on the Bones: Pulp on Fire

Dead on the Bones: Pulp on Fire


(preorder—to be published in Fall 2016)

“I was living in a pulp writer fury, a storm of imagination.” So Joe R. Lansdale, award-winning author of more than twenty novels and two hundred short works, describes the birth of his desire to be a writer after encountering pulp storytelling as a kid in TV, comics, and books. Now Dead on the Bones: Pulp on Fire collects eight stories where Lansdale pays tribute to the rip-roaring tales of his youth.

Dedicated to Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard, “Under the Warrior Star” finds hero Braxton Booker on another, battle-wracked planet, while  “Tarzan and the Land That Time Forgot” was expressly permitted by the Burroughs estate. In “Dead on the Bones,” a Conjure Man facilitates a boxing match between the living and the dead, with a twist. “The Gruesome Affair of the Electric Blue Lightning” crosses Poe with horrors that could have walked straight out of Lovecraft. Meanwhile, in “Naked Angel” a cop discovers a dead woman encased in ice on the noir streets of Los Angeles, not realizing he shares a personal connection with her. Other stories here bring readers face to face with vampires and far stranger creatures, all in Lansdale’s signature, Texas Mojo style.

Lansdale is rightly recognized as one of the most distinctive voices in modern fiction, pulp or otherwise. From Venus to vampires, Dead on the Bones is a fine, thoroughly enjoyable demonstration of why.

Limited: 1500 signed numbered hardcover copies

Table of Contents:

  • Pulp Fury: An Introduction
  • The Gruesome Affair of the Electric Blue Lightning
  • The Redheaded Dead
  • King of the Cheap Romance
  • Naked Angel
  • Dead on the Bones
  • Tarzan and the Land That Time Forgot
  • Under the Warrior Star
  • The Wizard of the Trees


The Gruesome Affair of the Electric Blue Lightning
Translated loosely from the French

This story can only be described as fantastic in nature, and with no exaggeration, it deals with nothing less than the destruction of the world, but before I continue, I should make an immediate confession. Some of this is untrue. I do not mean the events themselves, for they are accurate, but I have disguised the names of several individuals, and certain locations have been re-imagined—for lack of a better word—to suit my own conscience. The end of the cosmos and our world as we know it is of considerable concern, of course, but no reason to abandon manners.

The Redheaded Dead
In memory and tribute to Robert E. Howard

Reverend Mercer knew it was coming because the clouds were being plucked down into a black funnel, making the mid-day sky go dark. It was the last of many omens, and he knew from experience it smacked of more than a prediction of bad weather. There had been the shooting star of last night, bleeding across the sky in a looping red wound. He had never seen one like it. And there had been the angry face he had seen in the morning clouds, ever so briefly, but long enough to know that god was sending him another task in his endless list.

King of the Cheap Romance
(In memory of Ardath Mayhar)

I glanced at the body and trembled. I looked at the blue ice directly in front of me, and beyond that at the vast polar regions of Mars, stretched out flat, and way beyond that was a mountain rise. Past that rise was where I needed to go. I felt cold and miserable and sad, and for one long moment I wanted to quit. Then I told myself, that’s not what Dad would have wanted. That’s not what he would have wanted his daughter to do.

We Kings, we weren’t quitters. It had been drummed into my head since birth. I looked down at Dad’s corpse, all that was left of my family, wrapped in silver bedding, lying on the sled, and it was as if I could hear him now. “Angela, put your ears back and your nose forward, and keep going. That’s how we do. Just like an old mule. That’s how we Kings are. We keep on going when everyone else has already quit.”

Naked Angel

Deep in the alley, lit by the beam of the patrolman’s flashlight, she looked like a naked angel in midflight, sky-swimming toward a dark heaven.

One arm reached up as if to pull air. Her head was lifted and her shoulder-length blond hair was as solid as a helmet. Her face was smooth and snow white. Her eyes were blue ice. Her body was well shaped.

One sweet knee was lifted like she had just pushed off from the earth. There was a birthmark on it that looked like a dog paw. She was frozen in a large block of ice, a thin pool of water spreading out below it. At the bottom of the block, the ice was cut in a serrated manner.

Dead on the Bones

It was solid night out there in the woods down by the river, but we had plenty of light cause there was a big fire built up in the middle of the clearing for just that reason, and there was a dozen kerosene lanterns hung in the trees. The trees was mostly willows, though there was some giant oaks, and I was under one of the oaks getting ready to clean three catfish that was going to be grilled up for supper.

Tarzan and the Land That Time Forgot

The great cigar shaped zeppelin, the 0-220, rose up from the great depths of Pellucidar, the underground world with its constant daylight and stationary sun, rose up and through a gap at the roof of the world. It floated high in the sky above the arctic waste, and set a course straight for England, where Tarzan, one of its passengers was to meet up with his wife Jane; a trip promised him by Captain Zeppner, the commandant of the ship. Tarzan had made several trips to Pellucidar in the last year or so to aid his friend David Innes in numerous endeavors in the world inside the world, but now he was too long without Jane and wanted to be with her.

Under the Warrior Star

Dedicated to the great creators of Planet adventure and sword and sorcery: Edgar Rice Burroughs, Otis Kline, and Robert E. Howard. Goodbye to nostalgia.

Chapter One
My History

I write here on yellow pad among the bones of the dead. The wind whistling through broken glass.

My name is Braxton Booker. This vast and empty underground structure, where I now sit, recording my experiences, is really where my story began, and now it is where it ends. But, to better understand what has happened to me, I’ll move to an earlier beginning, and tell you about the events of my life that made me the perfect person for this strange adventure.

Not that I expect you to believe me. Providing anyone ever reads this. The bottom line is it is all so fantastic. If someone were to tell me what I am writing on my pad, or give it to me to read, I would think them either a liar or mad. But my experiences weigh on me like the tumbling stones of an avalanched mountain, and recording my adventures somewhat lifts that weight from my soul. So, here it is.

The Wizard of the Trees

I am here because of a terrible headache. I know you will want more of an explanation than that, but I can’t give it to you. I can only say I was almost killed when the great ship Titanic went down. There was an explosion, a boiler blowing, perhaps. I can’t say. When the ship dove down and broke in half, I felt as if I broke in half with it.


296 pages
United States
Subterranean Press
In Print