Thursday, October 23, 2008

Guys Read the Classics

Today, the Thin Man reviews a book stylistically similar to his own Calamity's Child and one of the Thin Man's favorite books of all time.

Ivory by Mike Resnick
For those unfamiliar with Resnick’s significant body of work, you owe it to yourself to become so. He is one of (if not the) most decorated science fiction author of our time, especially in the short form, and these are honors rightly deserved. Resnick, in his own words, tells fables. The tenor of his style harkens back to the larger-than-life folklore of the American west while his familiarity with Africa injects a stern masculine mysticism into his themes. Though technically in a different genre, Resnick writes westerns—strong men, tough tasks, unforgiving settings, and the conquest of a new frontier. The frontier may be that of deep space instead of southwestern desert but Resnick’s name on the cover promises skilled writing, solid plots, intriguing characters, and a healthy dose of action and he consistently delivers.
From such a literary giant, much is to be expected and, in Ivory, much is given. The novel is the story of the history of the tusks of the Kilimanjaro Elephant and the historian seeking them. From the nineteenth century into the far future, the elusive ivory travels the universe in a saga that ends where it began. The section on the Kilimanjaro Elephant, from the elephants point of view, is nothing short of classic.
Ivory stands head and shoulders above Resnick’s already impressive works and is a deeply stirring and rewarding read.

Related Reading:
Mike Resnick, any and all
The Jungle Book (I and II) by Rudyard Kipling
Call of the Wild by Jack London
The Lensman Series by E. E. “Doc” Smith
Calamity's Child by M. Keaton
Six-gun Planet by John Jakes
Their Master’s War by Mick Faren
In Legend Born by Laura Resnick

(This review original written for and published in Kilimanjaro magazine, reprinted with permission.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Calamity's Child Christmas Contest

Have a Calamitous Christmas indeed! Yes, it seems rather early to talk of the holidays, but here we are and we're holding our first contest for the new book. That's right. As hard as it is to believe, the Thin Man is actually going to give something away!

What, you may ask, is the contest for? Nothing less than a complete Calamity's Child Christmas Collection: a copy of the novel Calamity's Child signed by both the author and the cover artist, a Calamity's Child bookstore promotional poster, and a lovely blue Calamity's Child t-shirt. We'll also throw in a bookmark and a bag of Catnip! (No catnip. No catnip? Are you sure? No catnip. I'm keeping the Catnip! Merry Christmas to me!)

Is that all? That depends on you. Tell your friends, relatives, neighbors, and strangers on the street and, if there are enough entries, we'll add a second and third prize as well. It's all up to you.

"Golly, cat, what do I have to do to get in on all this Calamitous goodness?" Hold on to your hats, 'cause I'm gonna tell you. You have to guess the soundtrack for the book! What music did the Thin Man listen to as he wrote? What are the key musical numbers for the main characters? For fight scenes? For specific chapters or moods? You tell me. And the person who comes the closest to the Thin Man's actual play list will find themselves the recipient of a big ol' box of Frontier Fun. You can be as specific or as general as you want and, if you're really nice, I'll drop hints here along the way. Email your list along with your snail-mail address (try to put Calamity's Child in the header so the spam filter doesn't eat it). I'll snip off the personal information and paste the list here in the comments. Worried about somebody stealing your ideas? Don't! Think of it as sharing suggestions for good music with other interested readers. Contest ends December 1, 2008, and the winner will be announced sometime that week (provided I don't crash the internet connection or something else weird like that).*

"But, I don't even know the characters?" Fortunately for you, the first four chapters are available free online over at Ray Gun Revival. "Well, if you're going to give hints, why shouldn't I wait until the last minute to enter?" Because you might forget and you can always amend your list at any time before the contest deadline. Just send over an email with your changes on it. What could be simpler?

But wait, there's more! Want to give Calamity's Child as a gift for your favorite active duty military service man or woman? Are you one yourself and feel like giving yourself a gift? Well, as you may already know, any copies of the book ordered directly from the author come signed—but from now until Christmas, either of the Thin Man's books (Calamity's Child or Speakers and Kings) that you order for active duty military (APO/FPO addresses) is only $18—including shipping. Sending as a gift or ordering for yourself, it doesn't matter, just 18 tiny slips of US currency. Or try this on for size: both for $30! Interested? Don't wait because shipping can be slow. Send an email and order today.

Let's recap:
--Email your entry (with the words Calamity's Child in the subject line) along with your address to be entered for the Cacophonous Calamitous Calamity's Child Christmas Contest.
--If there are enough entries, additional prizes may be announced.
--December 1, 2008, contest ends and I ship the winner a Catastrophic Cacophonous Calamitous Calamity's Child Christmas Contest Collection (a.k.a. box of stuff).
--Books for active duty military for Christmas only $18 including shipping (US and APO/FPO only) or two for $30.

Can one cat contrive to communicate more confusion for Christmas? Not with a clear conscience. Enter the clash for the Catastrophic Cacophonous Calamitous Calamity's Child Christmas Contest Collection of Things! (Things? What do you mean 'things,' cat? Sorry, boss, I think I broke the sea-key.)

Enter the Kontest now!

*Legal Minutia:
Okay, this contest is for fun. Void where prohibited. Standard restrictions apply. Email any questions if you need more details. You bring in lawyers and all you're going to get is a bag of cat poop for Christmas. Seriously, the management reserves the right to change the rules, invalidate entries, or even shut down the contest if the privilege is abused. I can't imagine why there would be a problem, but the world is full of strange people.

In case of a tie or barring a clear-cut victory, the winner will be selected at random. Entries will be scored as follows: Correct album, performer, or song to the proper character, chapter, or scene type--one point each. Not each category is relevant to every other category. Author, cat, author's family, and other people who already heard all the banging, thumping noises from the office as the book was written are not eligible.