Waldrop's stories combine elements such as alternate history, American popular culture, the American South, old movies (and character actors), classical mythology, and rock 'n' roll music. His style is sometimes obscure or elliptical. The stories are often considered entertaining: Night of the Cooters is The War of the Worlds told from the perspective of a Texas sheriff (a homage to Slim Pickens); Heirs of the Perisphere involves robotic Disney characters waking up in the far future; Fin de Cyclé describes the Dreyfus affair from the perspective of bicycle enthusiasts.
Waldrop's work is frequently out of print and sometimes hard to find. Some of his books have been reprinted in omnibus editions.
Several of his stories have been nominated for awards; The Ugly Chickens -- about the dodo -- won a Nebula award for best novelette in 1980, and also a World Fantasy Award for Short Fiction in 1981. This is perhaps his best known work.
Though born in Mississippi, Waldrop spent most of his life in Texas. He moved to Washington state for several years, but has since returned to Austin. He is an avid fly fisherman. He is a member of the Turkey City Writer's Workshop, has attended the Rio Hondo Writing Workshop, and has taught at the Clarion Workshop. In 2004 he started writing movie reviews with Lawrence Person for Locus Online
He is a frequent attendee of ArmadilloCon, the local science-fiction convention in Austin. He was the Toastmaster in the very first ArmadilloCon (1979) and again at ArmadilloCon 29 in 2007. He was Guest of Honor at ArmadilloCon 5 (1983) and will be Toastmaster at FenCon V in October 2008.