THE COYOTE KINGS OF THE SPACE-AGE BACHELOR PAD

Minister Faust, Author . Ace $13.95 (544p) ISBN 978-0-345-46635-8

Black Canadian media personality Faust blends pop culture, Egyptology, SF and gaming in his clever and often amusing gonzo debut. Hamza and Yehat, slackers, roommates and soul brothers (aka the Coyote Kings), work respectively as a dishwasher and a video-store clerk, but Hamza also writes poetry and Ye invents things. When Hamza meets the beautiful, mysterious Sherem, even love can't blind him to her oddness. She, along with Hamza and Ye's old pals Kev and Heinz, is searching for a jar with inexplicable properties. The Coyote Kings find themselves on the side of the ancient House of the Jackal, charged with keeping the artifact safe, or at least out of the hands of Kev and Heinz. Hamza has a skill the bad guys want to literally eat his brain to get, and only he may have what it takes to find the artifact. The dense writing, the ponderings on the nature of reality and a complex plot that all comes together at the end (if thanks to long inserts that finally provide background and context) will remind some readers of Neal Stephenson. If Faust isn't yet Stephenson's equal as a stylist, he nonetheless represents a sharp-edged new voice in the genre. Agent, Marie Brown. (Aug. 3)

Forecast: Blurbs from Nalo Hopkinson, Tananarive Due, Sheree R. Thomas and Steven Barnes will alert African-American fans of SF.

Reviewed on: 06/14/2004
Release date: 08/01/2004
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