Edward M. Erdelac is the author of nine novels, including the acclaimed Lovecraftian/weird western series Merkabah Rider and Andersonville. His fiction has appeared in dozens of anthologies and periodicals including most recently, the Stoker award winning After Death, Edge of Sundown, Atomic Age Cthulhu, Flesh Like Smoke, and Star Wars Insider Magazine. Born in Indiana, educated in Chicago, he lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife and a bona fide slew of kids. News of his work and excerpts can be read at http://www.emerdelac.wordpress.com
Edward kindly revealed the books and authors that influenced him to Fantasy Book Review in August 2015.
Is there a book you own which can put a smile on your face and make you feel happy simply by holding it in your hand?
Which book or series makes you feel most nostalgic, remembering the period in your life you first read it?
Robert E. Howard's Conan series. Takes me back to eighth grade/Freshman year of high school, Dungeons and Dragons, video game arcades. I go back to Howard's works at least once a year. They're comforting and they've never lost their appeal.
Which book or series makes your blood pump and your palms sweaty?
William Peter Blatty's two Exorcist novels, The Exorcist and Legion. Read them deep into the night and I remember having to turn on The Three Stooges to scrub my brain before I could fall asleep. Terrifying books.
Are there any authors in particular that have been inspirational to you and influential upon your work?
Tons! Howard, of course. Tolkien, Cormac McCarthy, Joe Lansdale, Ambrose Bierce, Alan Moore, Larry McMurtry, Mickey Spillane, Patrick O'Brian, Richard Matheson, George Macdonald Fraser, John Irving, Lovecraft, Fritz Leiber, Matthew Stover, Rod Serling, Stephen King, Piers Anthony, Dennis Wheatley, Ray Bradbury, Douglas Adams…. I'm sure I'm forgetting some.
And finally, Fantasy Book Review is all about recommending the best reads the genre has to offer. Could you please offer our readers a fantasy recommendation of your own?
This is probably not news to any die hard fantasy fans, but Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn is a brilliant, lyrical novel and really worth seeking out if you've only seen the Rankin and Bass cartoon.
Edward's latest novel, WITH SWORD AND PISTOL, was published on October 16, 2015.
In 1740 A British marine and a Dominican Blackfriar are hunted across a cannibal isle by a savage crew of shapeshifting pirates.
In 1742 A sadistic samurai sword tester leads a pair of criminals in a bid to escape a prison filled with the ravenous walking dead.
In 796 Sinbad the Sailor leads his crew to a monster-haunted island to retrieve a magic sword from its demon owner.
In 2001 a South Houston gangbanger learns the utterly horrific secret behind the incomprehensible powers of a Liberian clique of ex-child soldiers.
Hundreds of years removed. Thousands of miles apart. But they all fight to the bloody end WITH SWORD AND PISTOL.
Georgia, 1864. Camp Sumter, aka Andersonville, has earned a reputation as an open sewer of sadistic cruelty and terror where death may come at any minute. But as the Union prisoners of war pray for escape, cursing the fate that spared them a quicker end, one man makes his way into the camp purposefully. Barclay Lourdes has a mission - and a secret. But right now his objective is merely to survive the hellish camp. The slightest misstep summons the full fury of the autocratic commander, Captain Wirz, and the brutal Sergeant Turner. Meanwhile, a band of shiftless thieves and criminals known as the "Raiders" preys upon their fellow prisoners. Barclay soon finds that Andersonville is even less welcoming to a black man - especially when that man is not who he claims to be. Little does he imagine that he's about to encounter supernatural terrors beyond his wildest dreams... or nightmares.
"Simply put, Andersonville seamlessly blends the historical and the fantastical to create a magnificent story that entertains and educates without pushing any particular world views or beliefs on the reader. This is a book has gone the extra mile to cater for all readers with varying levels of familiarity with the American Civil War. I loved this book, and I highly recommend it to all fantasy and historical fiction readers."
Erdelac mixes the Wild West with Jewish Mysticism, Catholicism, American Indian religion, a little Chinese religion, and a lot of Lovecraftian goodness. This is so different to the stuff I normally read, but Erdelac's writing is so good that I can't help but race through episode with a big grin on my face. The Rider is awesome character, and I'm a little sad that the next book will our last adventure together.
My favourite Hasidic gunslinger, the Rider, is back. Sure the Rider is the only Hasidic gunslinger I know, but that certainly doesn’t take make him any less awesome or any less dangerous. In Merkabah Rider: The Mensch With No Name (I’m going to call it TMWNN from here on) Edward M. Erdelac gives us the next four episodes in the Rider’s quest to hunt down his blasphemous, scheming mentor, Adon. We start to learn more about Adon, what he has been up to, what schemes he has hatched, and that the consequences of failing to stop him may be disastrous for all the planes of existence. The Hour of Incursion is coming.
The last of an ancient order of Jewish mystics capable of extraplanar travel, The Merkabah Rider roams a demon haunted American West in search of his renegade teacher. But as the trail grows fresher, shadows gather, and The Hour Of The Incursion draws near... Four novella episodes in one book. This ain't your grandpappy's old west.
"Reviewing books for FBR has given me the opportunity to read books that I normally wouldn't, and to be honest I never thought that I would be reading fantasy stories about a Jewish mystic chasing down his former mentor in the Wild West. While the "Weird Western" genre was somewhat popularised a number of years ago by Robert E. Howard, the genre has remained largely untapped, but with the incorporation of Jewish religion into Wild West culture, Ed Erdelac has created a story that is fresh, original, and fun to read." Fantasy Book Review