Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Appendix Z - Karl Edward Wagner

Appendix Z - Karl Edward Wagner

If there is reincarnation then Robert E. Howard was reborn as this man. Wagner was a hell of a writer. His Kane books fall somewhere beside Howard's Conan, somewhere down a dark and twisted version of Earth and Hyperborea where man is just the latest and far from the most powerful occupier of the planet, where raw strength, intelligence and determination follow a nightmare path of sorcery and death.

As much as I love the Kane stories it was reading two of his Weird Tales style anthologies that I came to appreciate the talent and versatility of Wagner. Pulp stories, Lovecraftian stories, horror and adventure and just damn weird stories.

If I were to pick one story I'd say Bloodstone. For me it is the best of the Kane tales and Kane strikes a deeper chord for me than any of the others, but honestly, it is hard to go wrong with his work. Some shines out a bit more, like 'Sticks' but these are good stories from a great writer.


Red Harvest
Songs of the Damned


.220 Swift
A Walk on the Wild Side
An Awareness of Angels
At First Just Ghostly
Beyond Any Measure
Blue Lady, Come Back
Brushed Away
But You'll Never Follow Me
Cedar Lane
The Coming of Ghor
The Dark Muse
Deep in the Depths of the Acme Warehouse
Did They Get You to Trade?
The Education of Gergy-doo-doo
Endless Night
Exorcisms and Ecstasies
A Fair Cop
Final Cut
The Gothic Touch
Hell Creek
I’ve Come to Talk With You Again
In a Lonely Place
In the Lair of Yslsl
In the Middle of a Snow Dream
In the Pines
In the Wake of the Night
Into Whose Hands
Killer (with David Drake)
The Kind Men Like
Legion from the Shadows
Little Lessons in Gardening
Locked Away
More Sinned Against
Neither Brute Nor Human
Old Loves
One Paris Night
The Other Woman as by "Kent Allard"
The Picture of Jonathan Collins
Plan 10 From Inner Space
Prince of the Punks
The River of Night’s Dreaming
The Road of Kings
Satan’s Gun
Sing a Last Song of Valdese
The Slug
The Treasure of Lynortis
Two Suns Setting
Unthreatened by the Morning Light
Walk on the Wild Side
Where the Summer Ends
Why Not You and I?


Darkness Weaves
Death Angel's Shadow
Dark Crusade
Night Winds
The Book of Kane
Gods in Darkness

Midnight Sun: The Complete Stories of Kane 


  1. His two pure horror collections (In a Lonely Place & Why Not You and I?) are also top notch.

  2. Some great stories in those. His versatility as a writer really comes to light in these. Now I have to reread them.

  3. I'm amazed atr someone in OSR-blogosphere noting the man's works. Since I read finnish translation of Darkness Weaves he has been influence in my taste of gaming and literature.

  4. I hope there is a good translation of all his work, especially his Kane stories. I'd be surprised if the people who actually were involved with 1e AD&D back in the day weren't almost all Kane fans.

  5. Darkness Weaves is only finnish translation out of Wagners works, I have read other in english. I think I like his short stories the best like At First Just Ghostly but Bloodstone and Dark Crusade are pretty good too.

    I also really dig these personal lists of recommendations because it shows people are not treating Appendix N as some sort of western canon of fantasy literature.

  6. I also use these lists to keep looking for the stories I haven't read. Appendix N does touch on a good number of the highpoints (as seen from the late 1970's) but it was only a personal list of what influenced D&D rather than fantasy or weird fantasy recommendations beyond that. Wagner's other work is excellent as well and if you like Lovecraftian horror you should try Sticks. His Conan story Road of Kings is definitely worth trying.

  7. Trivia note Road of Kings was written almost entirely by Wagner's good buddy David Drake. Wagner had missed many deadlines due to his alcoholism and Drake finally couldn't stand it, stepped in and finished the novel from Karl's notes and they turned it in as Wagner's own. Drake fessed up after Wagner had passed away. Still one of the better non-Howard Conan works.

    1. Drake is a hell of a writer, but that does surprise me because he tends to be pretty lousy at fantasy.