Austin writer Neal Barrett, Jr.s novels and stories span the field from mystery/suspense, science fiction, Westerns, historical novels, and young adult novels to off-the-wall mainstream fiction. Reviewers have called his contributions to publications such as OMNI and Asimovs Science Fiction Magazine, stories that defy any catagory or convention.
In addition to his appearance in a number of magazines, his work has been published in collections such as The Best of the West, Razored Saddles, The New Frontier, The Best From Fantasy & Science Fiction, Nebula Awards 24, OMNI:Best Science Fiction I, Asimovs Robots, Dark at Heart, The King is Dead, Hardboiled, The Years Best Science Fiction (Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Tenth and Eleventh Annual Collections), etc.
His novelette Ginny Sweethips Flying Circus was a finalist for both the Science Fiction Writers of America Nebula Award, and the Hugo Award, for best novelette of the year. His short story, Stairs, received a Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. The New York Review of Science Fiction named the story as possibly the most all-out weird story of the year.
Barrett has a habit of crossing genre lines with his fiction. Sallie C. from The Best of the West, and Winter on the Belle Fourche from The New Frontier, were both chosen for Gardner Dozois The Years Best Science Fiction. Winter on the Belle Fourche was named a runner-up for the Best Western Short Story of the Year by the Western Writers of America.
His 1986 novel, Through Darkest America, received acclaim from readers and critics alike. Twilight Zone reviewer Edward Bryant called it a book of astonishing power...simply one of the best books Ive read this year.
His 1991 novel, The Hereafter Gang, was hailed by The Washington Post as one of the great American novels. American Book Review said, An abundance of everything the great American novel should have, evocative style, memorable characters and, most of all, a unique vision that will change the way the reader sees the everyday world...
The authors 1992 mystery/suspense novel, Pink Vodka Blues (St. Martins Press), was optioned by producer David Brown and purchased by Paramount Pictures. His second novel in this field, Dead Dog Blues, was released by St. Martins Press in 1994.
In a starred review, Publishers Weekly said of Pink Vodka Blues, Hits the ground running and never lets up...sharp, irreverent humor and nonstop action make this a sure-fire winner...
Booklist said of Dead Dog Blues, Barrett... has hit paydirt a second time, once again mixing a breezy, ironic narrative with situations that are anything but funny. Its a roller-coaster ride to hell, and the guy in the next seat is crackin wise.
Barrett completed his third mystery/suspense, Skinny Annie Blues, in the summer of 1995. This novel, first in the authors new Wiley Moss series will be published by Kensington Publishing Corporation in 1996 in conjunction with a national book tour. Kensington will also publish the paperback editions of Pink Vodka Blues, Dead Dog Blues, and Skinny Annie Blues. Barrett is currently at work on a second book in the Wiley Moss series.
If its picturesque loonies youre looking for, youve come to the right bin.
- Kirkus Reviews
Slightly Off Center, a collection of eleven of Barrettts short stories and novelettes, was published in 1992. Locus named this collection One of the best of the year, and named a story from the collection, Four Times One, as one of the best short stories of the year. Gardner Dozois chose the collections one-act play, The Last Cardinal Bird in Tennessee, for his tenth annual, The Years Best Science Fiction, gave three more of the stories honorable mention and named the collection itself one of the best of the year.
Barrett has been Guest of Honor at ArmadilloCon science fiction convention in Austin, Texas, and in 1995 was Toastmaster at Texas A&Ms AggieCon. In late November of 1995 he will serve as Toastmaster at SoonerCon in Oklahoma City, and in 1997 we will be proud to have him serve as Toastmaster of the 55th World Science Fiction Convention in San Antonio.
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