There’s a new review of my Raffalon story “The Inn of the Seven Blessings,” from the 2014 cross-genre antho, ROGUES, at the Nerds of a Feather, Flock Together blog. And I like it a lot.
The reviewer, who may be famous in fandom (the blog came in 12th in the Hugo runnings this year) identifies herself only as Tia. And Tia really gets what I’m trying to do with what I’m writing. She says:
What I like most about this story is that it is full of classic fantasy tropes, but does not feel contrived or forced. . . Sure, I love when books successfully push the boundaries of the genre, challenge pre-conceived notions, and subvert tropes, but it is also refreshing to see that the foundations of the genre can still be done well and are still entertaining.
I couldn’t agree more. I have nothing against boundary pushers. They sometimes cause problems, but that’s part of life. Yet, without boundary pushers, we’d still be chipping flints and wondering which one of us the lions would pull out of the tree tonight.
I believe there’s plenty of room left in the old mansions to move the furniture around and come up with new arrangements that please and gratify. That’s what I feel like doing with my talents and abilities. I don’t expect it to make me rich and famous, but I really respond when someone comes by for a visit and says, “Hey, that’s a room I’d like to spend some time in.”
The indefatigable James Nicoll has reviewed Devil or Angel and Other Stories in his usual comprehensive way, with a summation and a pertinent comment on each story. And this general recommendation: “You generally cannot go wrong picking up Hughes’s books and this is no exception.”
He confirms my hope that knowledgeable readers will recognize these sixteen non-Archonate (except one) pieces as stories that might have appeared in Galaxy or Astounding fifty years ago.
And he delights me by saying one of my stories might have been penned by William Tenn or Fredric Brown.
I acknowledge an old debt to James because I believe that, as a winnowing first reader for the Science Fiction Book Club, he would have been the one to recommend my first Archonate novel, Fools Errant, to Andy Wheeler, the club’s editor. The novel and its sequel were reprinted as an SFBC omnibus, Gullible’s Travels and gave me to believe that I was well launched on an sf writer’s career.
I hear that tomorrow, in the US only, Barnes and Noble will be offering The Damned Busters in their Nook format tomorrow for $1.99. It will be part of a B&N promotion aimed to get people to buy the first of a series.
The book is the first volume of a trilogy called To Hell and Back, in which a high-functioning autistic actuary accidentally summons up a demon, causing Hell to go on strike. He ends up as a costumed crimefighter with a wise-cracking demon as his helper.
It’s funny, people say. It’s also my attempt to understand why the universe is so obviously a rough draft.
Thanks to my invaluable webpage manager and book designer, Bradley W. Schenck, the Archonate bookstore now offers samples of most of the titles available for sale.
In the fall, I’m going to put two more of my suspense novels up for sale: Downshift and Old Growth. They recount the adventures of Sid Rafferty, a freelance speechwriter living on Vancouver Island in the 1980s and 90s who gets drawn into mystery and murder. Any resemblances between Raff’s life and my own experiences as a Vancouver Island-based speechwriter are not coincidental.
If you can’t wait, both are available as ebooks and POD paperbacks from Five Rivers Press.