I’m a fan of Jeffrey Thomas’ Punktown stories. The ones I’ve read have been refreshingly original and fun. I just heard about this deal from Jeff’s blog: his Punktown novel Everybody Scream! is available for only 99 cents for a limited time.
Here is the book description:
Jeffrey Thomas first seduced readers to the world of Punktown through a short story collection of the same name, bending time and technology to create a futuristic world which felt more real than our own. Everybody Scream! continues the seduction with characters every bit as vibrant only this time each person’s story collides with the others in a dizzying thrill-ride of a novel.
It’s the final day of the season for the annual Punktown Fair and excitement is high. For the couple in charge, Del and Sophi Kahn, it’s a bittersweet day of transition. Little do they realize the trials they will face and how severely this one day will test their relationship. In fact, closing day seems to be a catalyst for many Punktown residents; drawing them in, stirring them up and letting them loose on each other.
This roller coaster tale builds to a peak of expectation then plummets, twisting and turning, a breathtaking juggernaut to the final chapters with plenty of screams and giggles along the way.
This was an easy instant-buy for me.
Jeffrey Thomas‘ short story collections include Punktown, Voices from Punktown, Nocturnal Emissions, and Unholy Dimensions, and such novels as Deadstock, Blue War, Monstrocity, and Letters from Hades. He has been a finalist for the Bram Stoker and John W. Campbell Awards, and several of his tales have been reprinted in the anthologies The Year’s Best Horror Stories and The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Visit his blog at: http://punktalk.punktowner.com.
Punktown: The Role-Playing Game
From the start, I saw my setting of Punktown as a creative playground for other people besides myself.
I first came up with the notion for this world while my father was driving me somewhere or other, back in 1980. I noticed a woman in another car, whose face was partly in shadow, making it appear as if her long hair were growing out of black eye sockets. This image became the inspiration for the tentacle-eyed “Tikkihotto” race that appears in numerous Punktown stories. But for whatever reason, this image sparked more than just one alien…no, my muse’s gears didn’t stop turning there. By the time we arrived home, I had developed the idea of writing about a future world into which I could introduce all manner of strange beings, and bizarrely distorted reflections of our own here-and-now. SF as satire, social commentary, but with an unapologetic nod to the tropes of pulp fiction.
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REVIEW SUMMARY: I seriously can’t get enough of Punktown.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A collection of short stories set in the fascinatingly dark and gritty city of Punktown.
PROS: Atmospheric stories; interesting characters and situations; many stories pack a punch.
CONS: Some story endings were confusing.
BOTTOM LINE: A very good group of stories and a great introduction to the bizarreness that is Punktown.
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I fell in love with Punktown, Jeffrey Thomas’ bizarre-but-enticing world, when I first read his short story “In His Sights“. I was so smitten, as a matter of fact, that I bumped up his next Punktown novel (Deadstock) on my reading list. The sequel, Blue War, followed the year after. Punktown stayed with me long after those readings, as evidenced by me scanning the shelves at used bookstores whenever I visited for some of Thomas’ older, out-of-print Punktown titles.
This week, Jeffrey Thomas was kind enough to send along copies of his latest Punktown books: Health Agent and Voices From Punktown. One of the coolest things about the Punktown books is the weird, wonderful world and the characters that are drawn to it. Case in point: the Choom you see above, an awesome hand-drawn creation by the author himself. (Click it to see a bigger version.) This looks awesome. Thanks, Jeffrey!
REVIEW SUMMARY: Without Punktown, Blue War is just another good sf detective novel.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Shapeshifting detective Jeremy Stake is hired to identify a clone found in a rapidly-growing replica of Punktown located on the planet Sinon, where he fought in the Blue War.
PROS: A good mystery; clear writing; the story really comes together in the last third of the book.
CONS: The appeal of Punktown is all but gone; Thi Gonh’s character comes across as weak when we know she is stronger.
BOTTOM LINE: A good detective novel, but I want to see a return to Punktown.
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As promised, Solaris has made Deadstock by Jeffrey Thomas available online for free.
This is being done to promote the upcoming release of the book’s sequel, Blue War. (Solaris also offers as a free read the first chapter of Blue War.)
Deadstock was one of my best reads last year. The setting setting (the “crime-infested future city” of Punktown) was really appealing makes you want more. Check it out. How can you beat free?
A trio of Thomas Tidbits for ya’…Earlier this year, I read Deadstock by Jeffrey Thomas, a book whose setting (the “crime-infested future city” of Punktown) makes you want more. In March of 2008, Solaris will be making Deadstock available as a free download just in time for the release of the sequel, Blue War.
Fantasy Book Critic interviews Jeffrey Thomas:
Anything can happen in Punktown. Behind every window of every apartment there is someone plotting a murder or mourning a loved one, beginning a romance or contemplating a crime. So many different alien races coexist there with the Earth colonists who established that vast city, and their cultural interactions are a fascinating topic for me. Punktown is ultimately a distorted mirror reflection of our own world, today, and how can one tire of that? I don’t want to be constrained to only my Punktown setting, but if I was forced by some ironclad (and lucrative) contract, I could still deal with it easily. I can set any type of story within Punktown’s borders.
Jeffrey Thomas was also interviewed by SciFi Chick:
My experiences in Vietnam inspired me greatly through the writing of Blue War, as will be very apparent to its readers. The similarities to Vietnam of the novel’s setting are not a lazy device I’m trying to sneak past the reader, but something I chose very deliberately to do for thematic reasons. And you know, in the end I just want to share my great enthusiasm for that country. I want to shake your arm and say, “Hey, I saw this place that’s so different from here — let me tell you about it!” It’s that impulse that makes me a writer in the first place.