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.
Amusing and witty, with an agreeably ironic edge: best taken in small doses.