Monthly Archives: December 2015

Biker, by Mike Baron

Biker current

BIKER

I wrote Biker five years ago. I had been wrestling with novels all my life and stacked up an impressive pile of shit. Every would-be writer has a million words of shit clogging up his system, so it behooves him to get it out as soon as possible. To get to the good stuff. There are exceptions. I hate them.

I wrote Biker and Airship 27 published it. There were numerous typos, glitches and blank pages, but nothing could kill that story. I’m particularly fond of this Amazon review posted last month. I do not know Jerry Smith, but I am grateful for the review.

Writer Mike Baron is one of finest comic book writers the field has ever produced, creating Nexus, the Badger, the Butcher and many other memorable characters (and if you look hard enough, you can catch up with the Badger in his Biker cameo). Here he turns in an action packed novel about a conflicted man trying to do the right thing, but having to break a lot of clavicles to do it. Josh Pratt may be a Godly man, but he’s still tough as nails and will do what the situation requires. If I had one criticism of Biker, it is that Pratt needs to break a few more heads. He does diffuse a few situations by bravado alone before they get out of hand. Baron is such a great hand-to-hand combat writer I would have loved to have read a few more brawling fistfights. Still, a superb read with a fun plot, great pacing and some white-knuckle action. How many other books will you read this month where the protagonist faces off against a mountain lion with a pocketknife? I loved it!

If I had the opportunity, I would go back and make it better. Well I have the opportunity. Comicmix, who brought you Grimjack among other things, will publish a Biker graphic novel in about sixteen months. Why so long? The script is 100 pages and most good artists take at least a day to pencil one page. Before that appears, Comicmix will publish a thirteen page stand-alone story by the great ChrisX, to whet readers’ appetites.

I have written three more Josh Pratt novels. I will publish them soon, most likely through Liberty Island Press. Liberty Island is a libertarian outfit, and while I’m no libertarian, I admire their guts. Because my regular publisher took one look at the first page of the last Josh Pratt novel and said:

This chapter is edgy and entertaining, and you’re just asking for trouble. I love the in-jokes and I like the writing, the snappy dialog. You always have good, edgy stuff. Depending on where you go with it, this might be too hot for a publisher to handle, though, unless they want to use it for publicity and intentionally rile up controversy. We just had to bounce around one from Tracy Hickman and Dan Willis, the Dragons of the Confederacy, where they wanted to put a giant Confederate flag on the cover, right after the church shooting. I said no. They said “but think about all the publicity we’ll get if it causes a big stink!” I still said no thanks (and that was in the middle of the Hugo Awards crap, so I was already being called a neo-Nazi homophobic racist just because I was on the ballot). Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write it, but it’ll probably cause you a lot of grief.

I’m thinking of posting the chapter here.

The Silence of the Scams

THE SILENCE OF THE SCAMS

For twelve years I drove a ’99 Maxima. On the way back from the high country it started making awful noises and the power cut out. It had over 120,000 miles on it. I took it to my mechanic. “Looks bad,” he said. “I don’t know what’s wrong with it. I’d have to tear the engine down.”

It was time. Using money I made defrauding widows and orphans I purchased a ’14 Maxima with 32,000 miles on it. The dealership tried to sell me a supplemental service contract. “Let me think about that,” I said.

Two weeks passed. Then the notices began. I threw some of them out but I have eight rightchere at my elbow and I’m sure there will be more today. The notices said, “REQUEST FOR ACTION—IMPORTANT VEHICLE INFORMATION ENCLOSED.” And, “FINAL ATTEMPT TO NOTIFY, RE: 2014 NISSAN MAXIMA.” And, “REQUEST FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION—TIME SENSITIVE MATERIAL ENCLOSED.” And, “IMMEDIATE RESPONSE TO THIS NOTICE REQUESTED.” And, “VEHICLE ALERT NOTICE—PLEASE RESPOND WITHIN 3 BUSINESS DAYS.” I got three of those. And, “IMMEDIATE RESPONSE TO THIS NOTICE IS REQUIRED.” And, “THIS IS ABSOLUTELY YOUR LAST CHANCE—RESPOND OR DIE.” And, “THE END IS NIGH, REPENT NOW.”

Okay. I made the last two up. But you get the idea. Oddly enough, none of these desperate appeals came from a legitimate business. Only one, EWS, has a return address. The rest just seemed to be anonymous threats to get my money. I have received at least twelve. I expect more. This time they will be my FINAL, FINAL NOTICES.