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Lansdale has written novels and stories in many genres, including Western, horror, science fiction, mystery, and suspense. He has also written for comics as well as Batman: The Animated Series. He has written 45 novels and published 30 short story collections along with many chapbooks and comic book adaptations. Several of his novels have been adapted to film.

Frequent features of Lansdale's writing are usually deeply ironic, strange or absurd situations or characters, such as Elvis Presley and John F. Kennedy battling a soul-sucking Egyptian mummy in a nursing home (the plot of his Bram Stoker Award-nominated novella, Bubba Ho-Tep, which was made into a movie by Don Coscarelli). He is the winner of the British Fantasy Award, the American Horror Award, the Edgar Award, and ten Bram Stoker Awards.

Joe Lansdale has won ten Bram Stoker Awards over the course of his long career. The short story Night They Missed the Horror Show won the award for "Short Fiction" in 1988. In the "Long Fiction" category (which is for novellas, though it also initially included comic book work as well), he won in 1989 for On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks, 1997 for The Big Blow, and 1999 for Mad Dog Summer (a shared award with Brian A. Hopkins' "Five Days in April"). In 1992 the story The Events Concerning a Nude Fold-Out Found in a Harlequin Romance shared the "Long Fiction" award with Aliens: Tribes by Steve Bissette. In 1993, Jonah Hex: Two Gun Mojo won in the newly created "Other Media" category. Lansdale's 2006 anthology Retro Pulp Tales tied for the Best Anthology category with Mondo Zombie edited by John Skipp.[38] He just won his tenth Bram Stoker in the long fiction category for Fishing for Dinosaurs which was published in the collection Limbus 2.

He was also nominated nine other times. The Drive-In and Savage Season were nominated in the "Novels" category in 1988 and 1990, respectively. By Bizarre Hands and Writer of the Purple Rage were nominated for "Fiction Collection" in 1989 and 1994. The short story Love Doll: A Fable was nominated in "Short Fiction" in 1991. The novella Bubba Ho-Tep was nominated for "Long Fiction" in 1994. Something Lumber This Way Comes was nominated in a new "Work for Younger Readers" category, and Jonah Hex: Shadows West #1 was nominated for "Illustrated Narrative", both in 1999. Red Romance (published in DC Comics' Flinch #11) was nominated for "Illustrated Narrative" in 2000.

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Life in East Texas circa 1958 is not very exciting until Stanley discovers a stash of old, crumbling love letters in a pile of burnt rubble behind the drive-in. As Stanley reads through the letters, he finds himself in the middle of a town mystery and discovering the secrets of his sleepy town.

Stanley, with the help of the old projectionist and his older sister, uncovers the identities of the people who penned the letters and sheds light on a shocking 20 year-old murder plot. As Stanley unearths more and more truths, he realizes the injustices of life in East Texas in the 1950’s including class, race, gender, and the cruelty of unrequited love. Stanley feels betrayed by his family and his town as he takes a closer look at the dark truth and refuses to allow himself to succumb to the darkness.

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“There isn’t any line. The only line is the one you draw yourself.” – Gidget

Bill Roberts had a history of messing things up. Things with his poor dead mama, for one. For another, the firecracker stand job he was planning with Fat Boy and Chaplin. And then there was his face, of course. When Bill finally crawled out of the swamp that day, his face was swollen to unrecognizable with stings and bites.

Bill’s disfigured face and lack of smarts only serve to attract John Frost, manager of the Oddities of the World carnival and freak show. Bill fits in nicely with Double Buckwheat, Bim, Potty and the other carnival freaks. Frost runs the show with a beautiful blonde bombshell Gidget, a woman so desireable she can persuade Bill and the rest of the Oddities crew into doing just about anything. Before Bill knows it, he’s wrapped up in a dark scheme that threatens to burn everyone involved.

Freezer Burn will have you rooting for the underdogs, and cringing at the behind-the-scenes horrors of the freak show.

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On an island with a prison for the most evil and powerful criminals in the world, a new prisoner is strapped to the electric chair for execution. After multiple surges of electricity and nearly knocking out power to the entire island, the prisoner is finally dead. The staff buries him in the prison graveyard with a simple marker baring three numbers: 489.

After the body is buried, a violent storm rocks the islands and a staff member goes missing. The crew rushes into the storm, searching for their lost comrade. They find that the burial site of prisoner 489 has been unearthed, and the body that was inside has gone missing. With a horrific finding and strange noises around them, a powerful threat is closing in. It’s a threat that they thought was impossible, and it will force them into a battle for their lives.

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Peculiar weather settles over a bustling Texas sea port, a city made prosperous off the cotton trade and thick with racial inequality. The sky above Galveston, Texas darkens to the sickly green of a healing bruise, the sea turns black, and the inhabitants of the city have no idea the force of the hammer about to drop on them.

The wild wind blows boxer John McBride into town, a white prize fighter with seemingly superhuman fury and skill. As black boxer Jack L’il Arthur Johnson prepares to fight this fierce opponent, the storm closes in. If he can survive the ring and the vicious undercurrents of the Jim Crow south, L’il Arthur will still have to fight his way through the storm winds, the rising flood waters, and the violent night.

On September 8th, 1900, a hurricane ripped apart Galveston, Texas, killing nearly 8,000 people and nearly obliterating the town. Lansdale’s story brings dimension to many who lost their lives that day, and a few who survived.