Books by Mike Resnick

Released: April 16, 2019

"Brisk, toothsome, diverting, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny: a yarn that eventually dispels some of the enveloping weirdness while leaving more questions than answers."
A mad jaunt through unwaveringly whimsical worlds: first of a new fantasy trilogy from multiple award winner Resnick (The Castle in Cassiopeia, 2017, etc.). Read full book review >
CAT ON A COLD TIN ROOF by Mike Resnick
Released: Aug. 5, 2014

"Veteran Resnick provides smiles instead of laughs, vague bewilderment instead of mystery, and very limited doses of mostly offstage action. The results are guaranteed to keep your blood pressure well under control."
Cincinnati private eye Eli Paxton (The Trojan Colt, 2013, etc.) and his West Highland white terrier, Marlowe, get hired to find a cat worth a lot more than your cat. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 10, 2013

"Delightful—a potential blockbuster lacking only a hearty plot to match the highly impressive personalities and setting."
Another of Resnick's Weird West fantasy yarns (The Buntline Special, 2010, etc.) starring consumptive dentist/sharpshooter Doc Holliday and an eye-popping selection of other historical characters. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 6, 2012

"A top-notch, edge-of-the-seat thriller in which there are no villains, only mysteries."
This first collaboration from McDevitt (Firebird, 2011, etc.) and Resnick (The Doctor and the Kid, 2011, etc.), developed from a 2010 story by McDevitt (spoiler alert: don't read the story first), takes the form of a conspiracy involving the moon landings. And no, Stanley Kubrick didn't fake them. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 1, 2010

"At times overly talky, but a clever and refreshing do-over that leaves the door ajar for sequels."
Alternate history cum steampunk Western, with Resnick (Starship: Flagship, 2009, etc.) developing the most famous of all the legends of the Old Wild West. Read full book review >
THE OUTPOST by Mike Resnick
Released: May 1, 2001

"Amusing and witty, with an agreeably ironic edge: best taken in small doses."
A conglomeration of tall tales, set in Resnick's distinctive, satirical far-future universe (A Hunger in the Soul, 1998, etc.). Thomas Aloysius "Tomahawk" Hawke owns The Outpost, a bar on planet Henry II, though Reggie the robot bartender silently does most of the work. The Outpost's clientele—assorted heroes, villains, gamblers, braggarts, monomaniacs, weird aliens, and beings even stranger—gather to exchange whoppers; meanwhile, war draws ever closer, as the navy of the Monarchy ("they call it the Commonwealth, but out here we know what it is") is systematically blown to bits by alien invaders. Among the characters and exploits: Catastrophe Baker woos and wins a Dragon Queen, only to discover she's a little too hot to handle; alien Indians by the name of Sitting Horse and Crazy Bull; blind, deaf, mute supergenius Einstein communicates only via computer; Bet-a-World O'Grady's has a climactic showdown with High-Stakes Eddie; Faraway Jones's goes on a bizarre quest to find his beloved, Penelope—he's never met her, but he'll know her when he sees her; liberator ***Lance Sterling*** encounters Alexander the Greater; how Hurricane Smith comes to marry a giant shapeshifting bug named Langtry Lily; and . . . you get the idea. Finally, the Cyborg de Milo arrives and shames the company into joining the war against the aliens. Throughout, Willie the Bard records everything in his voluminous notebook. Read full book review >
A HUNGER IN THE SOUL by Mike Resnick
Released: May 1, 1998

More African commentary from Resnick (Kirinyaga, p. 88, etc.), this one inspired by New York Herald journalist H. M. Stanley's expedition to locate the Scottish explorer/missionary Dr. David Livingstone. Twenty years previously, genius researcher Dr. Michael Drake found a cure for the ybonia plague before disappearing on planet Bushveld. Now a mutated form of ybonia is ravaging the galaxy, so ambitious video journalist Robert Markham organizes a safari to find the missing doctor. Markham tempts one-legged safari expert and narrator Enoch Stone away from his dull museum job, and also signs up hunters, skinners, a mechanic, a medic, and 50 native Orange-Eye porters. The arrogant, abrasive Markham treats the Orange-Eyes with contempt and will allow nothing—not even a dying expedition member—to distract him. Further problems are posed by a tribe of hostile Orange-Eyes (Markham orders a slaughter) and a village of hitherto unknown sentient humanoids (Markham forces them at gunpoint to do his bidding). Finally, only Markham, Stone, and a cameraman survive to meet Drake. The doctor has found a cure for the new plague but refuses to hand it over to the ruthless Markham. So, Markham kills Drake, grabs the cure, and returns to civilization in triumph. With finesse, discernment, and splashes of vitriol, Resnick continues to expose colonialism and its vicious attitudes. Read full book review >
KIRINYAGA by Mike Resnick
Released: March 1, 1998

Another African saga from Resnick (A Miracle of Rare Design, 1994, etc.) comprising nine linked stores (all have appeared before; several have won major awards) about Kirinyaga, the spiritual homeland of Kenya's Kikuyu people. In the 22nd century, the Eutopian Council grants the Kikuyu people a terraformed planet to be their new homeland (old Kenya is citified and Europeanized) where they can live according to their ancient customs and practices. Though the paramount chief is Koinnage, the ultimate authority on Kirinyaga is the witch doctor Koriba, healer, arbitrator, teacher, priest, and repository of the tribe's wisdom. By Kikuyu custom, the old and infirm are put outside for the hyenas, and infanticide is both common and necessary; Maintenance, which controls the planets's orbit and climate, objects but has no power to intervene. But other threats to Koriba's utopia arise, and at first his wisdom and cunning prevail: He is able to make his rulings with dissent. Slowly, however, despite Koriba's best efforts, modern ideas and technology begin to corrupt his nascent utopia. At last even Koriba's apprentice, Ndemi, abandons Kirinyaga, while the people reject the Kikuyu god, Ngai, whose spirit embodies the mountain of Kirinyaga. Readers will be constrained to ask: Is this a genuine utopia tragically destroyed, or the impossible dream of a mulish old man who rejects even the possibility of change? It's thought- provoking, unquestionably, and Resnick's yarn-spinning is top- notch. But problems remain, such as the traditional status of Kikuyu women, whose lot is unremitting toil, enforced ignorance, and genital mutilation. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 1, 1994

Xavier William Lennox, daredevil writer and scholar, is fascinated by alien peoples and cultures. On the planet Medina, he attempts to learn the religious secrets of the native Fireflies, only to be captured, horribly mutilated, and left for dead. Lennox, however, bears the Fireflies no ill will, and when Nora Wallace of the Department of Alien Affairs offers him an opportunity to return to Medina in a body surgically altered to function as that of a Firefly, he accepts with alacrity. In return, he must persuade the Fireflies to open up their planet to human mining corporations. His mission duly accomplished, Lennox returns to the human Republic still wearing his Firefly body. When Wallace offers him another job, to rescue four humans marooned on the planet Artismo, he jumps at the chance to be surgically transformed into a native Hawkhorn. Again he triumphs. But with each succeeding mission and transformation—on Tamerlaine as a native Wheeler; on Monticello IV as a Singer—he becomes less and less human, until finally he designs himself a composite body and abandons humanity altogether. Another low-key, thoughtful, absorbing entry from Resnick (Inferno, 1993, etc.). Read full book review >
INFERNO by Mike Resnick
Released: Dec. 1, 1993

Third of Resnick's science-fictionalized African commentaries, following Paradise (about Zimbabwe) and Purgatory (Kenya). This time he examines the agonies of Uganda under the unspeakable Idi Amin and subsequent dictators. Planet Faligor has a splendid climate, rich soil, and an abundance of minerals; its inhabitants are nicknamed ``jasons'' for their golden fleeces by the first humans to arrive on the planet. Faligor is ripe for rapid development, and so—at the insistence of the planet's leading citizen, Disanko of the Enkoti tribe— development proceeds apace. Elections must be held, though the electorate is uneducated and unsophisticated, and Disank's son Bobby carelessly loses to a dangerously totalitarian rival—who in turn is quickly deposed by a brutal soldier, Gama Labu; the latter institutes a reign of terror against aliens and a program of genocide against tribal-rival jasons. The Republic, an association of worlds in space, can't intervene, since Faligor isn't a member. Meanwhile, the horrors continue, under one dictator after another; finally, an honest schoolteacher—backed by an army of children, and advised by longtime human resident Arthur Cartright—prevails and reconstruction can begin. Potentially the most terrible and fascinating of all Resnick's African tales, but the upshot is too much omniscient commentary, too little character development and involvement. A pity. Read full book review >
PURGATORY by Mike Resnick
Released: March 1, 1993

Not so distant: a second science-fictionalized account of Europeans in Africa—Paradise (1989) mirrored the colonial history of Kenya—this time focusing on Zimbabwe. Rich, beautiful planet Karimon is home to a technologically backward race of snakelike humanoids. At first, King Jalanopi of the dominant Tulabete tribe has high hopes of outwitting the humans who arrive on Karimon intent on exploiting its mineral wealth and potentially fertile farmlands; but, though intelligent, experienced, and capable, Jalanopi has little concept of the overwhelming resources that the humans, members of a huge space- empire Republic, can draw upon. Sure enough, Jalanopi soon loses control of his land and his future. Thereafter, though Resnick's details are fresh and charming, events follow a sadly familiar pattern: brutal exploitation by a private corporation; a hopeless ``snake'' revolt; further human immigration and repression of the snakes; a terrorist snake uprising, now with backing from the Republic, whose government condemns the actions of the private corporation and demands full democratic rights for the billions- strong snake majority; capitulation by the human minority followed- -despite warnings—by swift decolonization, thence an equally rapid collapse into bankruptcy. Another splendidly woven tapestry, the one drawback being its perhaps inevitable similarity to Paradise. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 1992

Twenty-eight variations, 1977-92, mostly shorter rather than longer, from the author of the splendid Paradise (1989). The best of the bunch: a couple of Resnick's intriguing ``Kirinyaga'' yarns about a Kenya-like planet set up to re-create traditional African lifestyles; and a poignant if rather thin Merlin variant. Elsewhere: the title piece, a rather routine irony on prejudice; a so-so yarn about memory erasure; a couple of fairly nondescript what-ifs centered on Teddy Roosevelt; interplanetary dickering; dogs, peeping Toms, immortality, souls, robots, and horses. Also, in a comic vein: Robin Hood's Jewish mother, fairies, computer simulations, pink elephants, hunting, football, interactive absurdism, and God. Lightweight entertainment, rather disappointing after Resnick's superior novels. Read full book review >
THE RED TAPE WAR by Jack L. Chalker
Released: April 24, 1991

Just what the sf literary establishment has been waiting for: a round-robin novel wherein the author of one particular chapter endeavors to confound the author due up next with an insoluble cliffhanger. Apparently the original intention was a parody of bureaucracies grinding into diplomatic inaction, but that soon got lost amid a welter of invading aliens, reduplicated characters, love-lorn computers, southern belles, and what-all. Just to get you started, 67th-century Earth diplomat Millard Fillmore Pierce is intercepted by an invading alien fleet whose reptilian leader is also called Millard Fillmore Pierce and is also from (an other-dimensional) Earth. Meanwhile, a teeny-weeny alien invader creeps up on the pair of them; the newcomer is also guessed it...and hails from yet another parallel dimension. Thereafter, things grow more absurd and confused, but not, alas, either funny or provocative. Silly idea, predictable outcome. Read full book review >