Innsmouth Free Press On The Merkabah Rider Series

I wanna take a minute to familiarize the peanut gallery with the excellent, insightful reviews J. Keith Haney has been giving the entire Merkabah Rider series since it’s beginning.

I love IFP’s reviews anyway and am really honored to see Merkabah Rider get such an appreciative write up over there.

Here they are in order, with some of the best bits quoted. Please take a look at the links for the full review.


‘There are two elements of Merkabah Rider that  make it stand out. One, the clash of cultures highlighted throughout.  Too much of what we have come to accept of the history of the old  American West has come from white-washed Hollywood films and their pulp  predecessors. The biggest mistake these fictions make is that everything  is just as homogenized as we like to pretend our society today is.  Erdelac reminds us that this landscape has many competing cultures  knocking heads, with little to no arbitration to keep the bloodshed  down. He shows that the main source of the strife is when all the ugly  prejudices that these immigrant cultures came up with in the Old World  follow them out west.

Two,  there are no happy endings at the close of most of these tales.  Westerns have been selling happy endings like hot cakes for well over a  century now, but a few of the best ones (Unforgiven, the comic miniseries Saint of Killers)  leave troubling endings that echo in the brain long after the story is  over. By the volume’s conclusion, the Rider has lost more than he has  gained and too many of his opponents prove to be more sympathetic than  they would seem at first glance.’


‘The  extraordinary characterization and culture clash are back here with  gusto. The Yiddishcentric cosmic view I had complained about in the last  volume is more-than-rectified here. The main trunk of the tree is still  Yiddish tradition, but the branches of it manage to incorporate the  Great Old Ones into the woodwork. It has the added bonus of showing  faith of any kind as a constant struggle to keep up with the real world,  rather than an issue that can be settled forever and ever. Modern-day  Christianity could learn something from this lesson. In addition, the  gradually increasing price of the Rider’s quest is brought painfully  home. This also closely follows the Lovecraftian model of mystical  insight: the more you learn about how the universe works, the more it  costs you. The Rider’s journey adds the twist that he started off his  journey THINKING he knew everything. But the revelations take as hideous  a toll on him as they do on any of the scientific rationalists of the  coming century (Lucifer’s punishment for these souls is particularly  unsettling).’



‘For a reviewer, it is always a pleasure to find the unexpected trinket of treasure somewhere in the pile of dreck that too many novels of any genre tend to indulge in. The Merkabah Rider series has been exactly that, combining the Weird West mystic overtones of Joe R. Lansdale with the commitment to historical accuracy of Max Allan Collins. Having picked up on Mr. Erdelac’s work in “Crawling Chaos Blues” for the first time and loved his unique, historically based take-off on the Mythos, I can honestly say that I am looking forward to the next work that comes from his pen.’

Published in: on April 14, 2012 at 1:53 am  Leave a Comment  

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