Monday, January 04, 2010

Thong the Barbarian Meets the Cycle Sluts of Saturn

Eighteen or twenty or so years ago, my collaborator Reaves and I went slightly mad and wrote a novella making fun of Doc Smith, H.P. Lovecraft, and Robert E. Howard, all at the same time.

We managed to con Dean Wesley Smith, the publisher at Pulphouse into buying it. Alas, the story became a magazine-killer -- Pulphouse, despite far and away being the best magazine in the field, came upon hard times and passed on. Cash-flow problems, and it took Dean years to make good the debuts, but he finally did.

So Reaves and I would amuse ourselves by taking the ms to science fiction conventions and reading sections of it aloud. Once, we alternated pages at an Orycon, and as you might imagine from the title, the tone of this tale is such that much merriment, and perhaps even a little pants-wetting amongst the audience came to pass as we did it.

Neither of us were able to keep a straight face as we read.

At that con, Don Alquist heard us, and determined that he wanted to publish the beast, which after engaging an artist -- Daniel Conan Young -- who managed to match our tone dead-on with his illustrations, he did. Publish it.

The book came out in a limited edition, in three forms: The dust-jacketed hardback, for $35, and two leather-bound versions, one in blue limited to 26 copies, the other in red, of which there were but ten. They cost more.

All of these are collectors' items today. If you can find somebody willing to part with one, it will be a spendy proposition, lemme tell you. It's so rare it's not even on ebay.

I once posted an example of the timeless prose contained between these covers, and I'll repost that here, to give you the flavor:

Our Hero is beset by tavern slackwits, who speak to a certain fecal odor about Thong in his ratty direwolf skin cloak while his assistant, Sandol, is off giving an offering to the Goddess

Thong's response to the tavern-scum, who have been identified as One-Eyed Dick, Bwuce, and Gap-Tooth:

"Methinks it is no more than the remnants of your most recent meal on your own upper lips that you smell," Thong said menacingly. There, that ought to do it.

"'He insults us!" One-eyed Dick ejaculated as he reached for his sword.

"'He does?" Bwuce asked questioningly. Despite his puzzlement, however, he too pulled his blade free.

"'You will die, bawbawian!'" said Gap-tooth tertiarily.

Now Thong did sigh.

By the time Sandol returned from his visit to the nightchamber, Thong was wiping the last of the blood from Asschopper upon Gap-tooth's cloak ...

I mention this only because it occurred to me that this would make a great title for the Kindle or Nook. I'm going to see if our publisher is interested ...


Bobbe said...

This...this...THIS from the man who says the next generation will doom the sci fi genre.

How, exactly, do "Cycle sluts" differ from "Slant-eyed suck maidens"?

I wanna see you dig your way out of this, oh wise one.

jks9199 said...

They're classier; they have bikes! Probably more tattoos, too!

Steve Perry said...

Satire, Kid. We knew what we were doing.

Mario said...

And yet... it's still better than "Eye of Argon"

Steve Perry said...

Actually, the "Eye of Argon" is by one of the worst writers ever -- or one of the best, depending on how you look at it. If he wrote it not knowing any better, he's world-class bad. If he did it on purpose, that's brilliant. Like a great singer deliberately going off-key, that's harder than it seems.

My vote is for world-class bad, but ...

Mario said...

The author, Jim Theis, was 16, and never wrote fiction again.

Mike Byers said...

But the artwork for Thong et al doesn't compare to the truly awful (far worse than the writing in my view) illustrations for The Eye of Argon.

Donald Ahlquist said...

You definitely have to take the story into the context of how it's written! I just loved that story and had to get it out to others who might not have had the money or the means to go to those conventions and hear Michael, Steve or both read it. (When everyone stopped laughing for a minute that is!) I am already checking out the Kindle option and it will be there soon, never fret!