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Transformed: A Primer on Minister Faust

Friday, July 26th, 2019 | Posted by ZZ Claybourne

The Coyote Kings Book One-small The Coyote Kings Book One -back-small

The Coyote Kings, Book One: Space-Age Bachelor Pad (Narmer’s Palette, February 2013)

In a career that has seen the author tackle fan boy culture (both the good and the bad of it), superhero deconstruction, immigration & enculturation, and gritty space opera that fixes what George Lucas tried to do with the Wars prequels, The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad (since re-released as The Coyote Kings, Book 1: Space-age Bachelor Pad, as the author is currently working on the hugely-anticipated book 2) began author Minister Faust’s cult journey, and he’s blazed new indie trails ever since. Are you a fan of smart and subversive? Faust is one of the best in the business. One line into Kings and I was hooked.

In advance, shut up. I know epilogues go at the end. My point here, which should have been obvious in my opinion, is that I am telling you some of the end of this story so as to get you to comprehend the mindset under which I am currently operating and during which I am escaping.

Here’s a writer who manages to pack more imagination and mega-wattage of writing into a single page than most writers get out of an entire series, turning every book he writes into a full-body experience. Also? Humor. Faust is funny as hell. Even in what I consider to be his masterpiece, The Alchemists of Kush, a book that can shatter and rebuild you if you let it, he’s fully aware that the broken and confused laugh on the darkest of days. Maybe especially then.

[Click the images for Faust-sized versions.]

The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad-small The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad-bac-small

The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad (Del Rey, August 2004) Cover by Ashley Wood

As for Coyote Kings, I first read this marvelous surprise in 2004 after the title and cover jumped out at me in a Barnes & Noble: a wild drawing of two young black men, one of whom was throwing up the Vulcan salute, beneath a brilliantly poetic title the sci-fi section of B&N hadn’t seen since Harlan Ellison dropped Deathbird Stories on ‘em. I’ve revisited the tale since. It’s one of the funniest sci-fi adventures ever to take me on a date worthy of the museum-running scene in Jean-Luc Godard’s Bande à Part (Band of Outsiders), full of meta moments and extreme geek awareness, including pages that are nothing but character stats at key moments.

The basic premise of Coyote Kings: A duo of mega geeks get entangled in an ancient power-struggle of good and evil; one of them falls in love with what might be a goddess. The other builds fully-functional mecha suits. Thing is, Faust knows you’ve seen this story a million times and would really like to see it tweaked. My friends, boy does he tweak, playing with prose, tropes, genre-bending, and reader expectations. Having this much fun with inventive wordplay and warp-speed imagination is like giving Dr. Seuss a subscription to Asimov’s Science Fiction.

Shrinking the Heroes-small The Alchemists of Kush-small E-Force Minister Faust-small

Start with Coyote Kings. Move to Shrinking the Heroes (formerly From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain). Graduate to the War & Mir series. Masters thesis? The Alchemists of Kush. He also has two short story collections: A Bad Bad Beat Was Brewing and Journey to Mecha (collected into a single volume, E-Force).

If you’re looking for an author who respects your intelligence and sense of “Hell yes!”… Minister Faust awaits. Make that deal to read his works. No tricks, no disappointment, just infinitely imaginative transformation.


Zig Zag Claybourne wishes he’d grown up with the powers of Gary Mitchell or Charlie X, but without the Kirk confrontations (sci fi points docked for anyone not getting said references). He spent many hours in front of The Twilight Zone and considers himself a better person for it. You can find his wordy bits scattered throughout the web, but if you really want to get to know him the door’s always open at www.writeonrighton.com.

4 Comments »

  1. Cover #2 ( which I’ve seen before) is the only one that should ever been seen by human eyes. Ever.

    Comment by Barsoomia - July 29, 2019 6:01 pm

  2. Barsoomia, agreed! The original Coyote Kings cover with the clear Trek reference and the wild-yet-cool art was pretty much unheard of when the book came out, and as such is iconic in the hearts of Faust fans. A couple of young black guys on the cover of a trippy sci fi romp? On a Barnes & Noble shelf at that?! I snatched that book up so quickly I’m sure I left singe marks on the books next to it.

    Comment by zzclaybourne - July 29, 2019 10:01 pm

  3. Boy, I have some reading to catch up on! I can deal with any of the covers, and even appreciate (maybe not enjoy) the punning revised title Shrinking the Heroes.

    As long as it upsets not Mr. ZZC and gets my face blanked out.

    Comment by Eugene R. - July 29, 2019 11:10 pm

  4. Eugene, No face-blanking! You’ll need all your faculties for full Faust enjoyment. :)

    Comment by zzclaybourne - July 31, 2019 9:13 pm


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