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REVIEW: Zepplins West by Joe R. Lansdale

REVIEW SUMMARY: Adventure western that meets pulp science fiction with a bit of humor mixed in.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Buffalo Bill Cody and his Wild West show find themselves wrecked on the Island of Dr. Momo and then things get really strange.

PROS: A great combination of classic real and fictional characters put together in a quick paced adventure.
CONS: A few too many sexual references, and a plot that is more pulled together to take advantage of the characters versus something that may have been planned ahead of time.
BOTTOM LINE: If you like adventure westerns and looking for a unique take on pulp fiction, look no further.

Where does one begin when reviewing a book like this, and I guess I should start with the key point made right at the beginning of the book. Buffalo Bill Cody is a disembodied head kept alive in a modified battery jar using activated pig urine. Now think about that one line and you start to have the makings of an interesting book. Throw in Annie Oakley, Sitting Bull, Wild Bill Hickock and you have the makings of an exciting western with SF elements, but he does not stop there. Mr. Lansdale manages to meld in elements from The Wizard of Oz, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and The Island of Dr. Moreau. He also introduces Ned the seal who I think best represents the intelligent reading/writing seal readership of the world. While I would love to give all the details of this book, I am afraid that it is best experienced by reading what Mr. Lansdale has crafted.

The action is extremely fast paced in this book, and it is quite the page turner. I know I have seen comparisions of this book to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but I like the spin that Mr. Lansdale has given to the characters and thier environments. This book is quite short and I originally picked it up after finding a copy of the sequel (Flaming London) in the science fiction section at my public library. It includes a great many illustrations of the characters and that adds to the overall experience. It is not a perfect book in a couple of ways, and although its is billed as having comedic elements they were subdued in my opinion. Furthermore, there is alot of discussions about sex and the size of certain male body parts, and while these are not offensive, there seemed to be a few too many for such a small book.

Overall, the experience was good and I look forward to reading other Lansdale books (starting with Flaming London) to see what else he has to offer.

5 Comments on REVIEW: Zepplins West by Joe R. Lansdale

  1. You had me at “The Island of Dr. Momo”. 🙂

  2. How freaky is it that we both posted reviews of the same book on our blogs on the same day? Hope you’re enjoying Flaming London as much as I am!

  3. I have finished Flaming London and I will be posting a review later today. I honestly think that book is better than this one, and all will be revealed in my review 🙂

  4. tim –

    totally unrelated…i’m replying to this post because it was the first I saw that you posted…

    …but i noted you’re reading Succession (Empire Risen/Killing of Worlds-Westerfield) and I was just wondering what you thought of it – because i really enjoyed it. Will you be reviewing these books (I can barely stand to think of them as a duology because they’re so much better read all at once straight through) on the site?

    anyways – hope you like them.

    (even if you don’t review them – if you want to let me know, I’m down)


  5. Not to come between Tim and his adoring fans, Jessica/Chani (:O), but may I direct your attention to my own SF Signal reviews of Westerfeld’s The Risen Empire and The Killing of Worlds?

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