More featuring humor

The Pan of Hamgee, starving outlaw, bumps into Big Merv; the meanest, scariest gangster in the City and without thinking what he is doing, steals his wallet. When Big Merv realises what has happened our hero's future looks short. Will he talk his way out of it or will he be 'recycled' into a stanchion of the Outer Ring Road extension.

U certificate. 4,000 words.
Written in British English.

This comedic sci fi quick read is a short story prequel to the K'Barthan Series.

It is a short story in the sense that it is not long rather than that the plot fits with any particular preconceived 'short story' format. Or to put it another way there is no twist in this tale.

It takes place in a contemporary setting, in a parallel universe - as does the whole series. This light piece of witty comedy fiction tells us how two of the characters meet. This story sits in the of British tradition of humour and satire.

There is also an excerpt from Few Are Chosen, the first book in the K'Barthan series, over and above the word count quoted here (which is for the actual story only).

INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR

Q – So, tell us about the K’Barthan Series. What made you write it? What makes it special?

A – There's a saying, somewhere, that if the book you want to read hasn't been written, you must write it. If you want the honest answer I wrote it for me.

As a reader, I have always loved British satire and humor or humour. I love funny; funny epic fantasy series like the Discworld novels and comedic sci fi like Douglas Adams totally floats my boat. But I also like a gripping tale that zips along quickly in the time honoured tradition of unputdownable fiction. And of course, I like genre fiction mashups; Douglas Adams meets StarTrek and James Bond - and a dash of romance (but no squelchy bits). Therefore, my cunning gambit was fantasy that was also science fiction and would surprise me. I wanted a fast paced story and gripping tale but comedy in the tradition of all the great funny British authors.

The K'Barthan series is about teamwork; team action in science fiction - or fantasy. Our heros and heroines work together to bring down the indomitable forces of evil (bit of an untrendy epic fantasy trope there but I like it). You won't find standard mythic creatures in my sci fi - I couldn't face the deluge of emails I'd inevitably get from those who knew more about them than I do, telling me I'd got them wrong. However, you will find all sorts of quirky characters and interesting alien species. From six feet Swamp Things with antennae to cute furry creatures like the Blurpons, with their fluffy ears, big button eyes and penchant for extreme violence.

Q – Should the K’Barthan Series be read in order?

A – The character development – and some of the technology – will make the most sense if it is. That said, the short series prequel can be read any time. The books go in this order:

- Unlucky Dip, K'Barthan Series: Prequel
- Few Are Chosen, K'Barthan Series: Part 1
- The Wrong Stuff, K'Barthan Series: Part 2
- One Man: No Plan, K'Barthan Series: Part 3
- Looking For Trouble, K'Barthan Series: Part 4

Q – What will readers enjoy most about The K'Barthan Series?

A – Hopefully, the same things as I do:

Q – What is your favourite kind of Book? Would The K'Barthan Series fit on the list?

A – Oh yes. I wrote it entirely for me. If anyone else likes it, that’s gravy. I love British humour, especially satire and parody in sci fi and fantasy: people like Pratchett and Adams. There’s so much texture and depth in their books. I think if you're funny you can be harder hitting and setting it all in a parallel reality helps.

Q – Do you have a target reader?

A – Not really. I wrote it with my nephew in mind - he was a teenager at the time - but it's more a mind set and an approach to life that I'm reaching out to. To give you an idea; the oldest fan of the series I know of is in his 90s and the youngest is 10.

Q – Thanks for giving our readers a look inside The K'Barthan Series.

A –  Thank you!

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Artemis Fowl series comes a hilarious and high-octane adult novel about a vodka-drinking, Flashdance-loving dragon who lives an isolated life in the bayous of Louisiana—and the raucous adventures that ensue when he crosses paths with a fifteen-year-old troublemaker on the run from a crooked sheriff.

In the days of yore, he flew the skies and scorched angry mobs—now he hides from swamp tour boats and rises only with the greatest reluctance from his Laz-Z-Boy recliner. Laying low in the bayou, this once-magnificent fire breather has been reduced to lighting Marlboros with nose sparks, swilling Absolut in a Flashdance T-shirt, and binging Netflix in a fishing shack. For centuries, he struck fear in hearts far and wide as Wyvern, Lord Highfire of the Highfire Eyrie—now he goes by Vern. However...he has survived, unlike the rest. He is the last of his kind, the last dragon. Still, no amount of vodka can drown the loneliness in his molten core. Vern’s glory days are long gone. Or are they?

A canny Cajun swamp rat, young Everett “Squib” Moreau does what he can to survive, trying not to break the heart of his saintly single mother. He’s finally decided to work for a shady smuggler—but on his first night, he witnesses his boss murdered by a crooked constable.

Regence Hooke is not just a dirty cop, he’s a despicable human being—who happens to want Squib’s momma in the worst way. When Hooke goes after his hidden witness with a grenade launcher, Squib finds himself airlifted from certain death by…a dragon?

The swamp can make strange bedfellows, and rather than be fried alive so the dragon can keep his secret, Squib strikes a deal with the scaly apex predator. He can act as his go-between (aka familiar)—fetch his vodka, keep him company, etc.—in exchange for protection from Hooke. Soon the three of them are careening headlong toward a combustible confrontation. There’s about to be a fiery reckoning, in which either dragons finally go extinct—or Vern’s glory days are back.

A triumphant return to the genre-bending fantasy that Eoin Colfer is so well known for, Highfire is an effortlessly clever and relentlessly funny tour-de-force of comedy and action.

 

 

A Spot of Trouble

An innocent piece of Mundane Snail Mail has provoked the dreaded Demon Jupiter to hurl his Red Spot at the magical land of Xanth. As the dire Dot draws closer, the unwelcome ordeal of saving the enchanted realm falls to Umlaut, an unlikely lad with an unknown past and an uncertain future. With a handful of colorful companions at his side, Umlaut must unravel a high-stakes intergalactic puzzle, uncover the secret of his mysterious past, and learn to understand the urgings of his own heart.

It might have been the merest chance that brought Umlaut to Castle Zombie that morning and launched him on a harrowing adventure. But in the magical land of Xanth, things are seldom left to chance, and adventures lurk around every corner.

An unassuming young man with a uncanny knack for attracting lovely young ladies and an uncommon talent for emulating anyone he wished, Umlaut was forced to flee a flock of overly friendly females by disguising himself as a Zombie girl. In his haste to find a hiding place, he found himself face-to-face with a dreadful dragon and feared he would soon meet his end. But in Xanth, things are seldom exactly as they seem, and he soon discovered that the dragon was really a sinuous female sea serpent named Sesame, with a gift similar to his own, who had become accidentally entrapped in the Castle's dungeon.

When the two happen upon a packet of mail from Earth delivered by mischance to the Zombie King, they inadvertently set in motion a sinister scheme that could spell the end of Xanth. A letter they forward to the Demon Jupiter unexpectedly enrages him, causing him to send his own Red Spot hurtling toward Xanth. Soon everything is up in a heaval, for no one knows how to avert this interplanetary peril. Even the Good Magician Humfrey is baffled, for some strange force has obscured the future. In desperation, he instructs Umlaut and Sesame to deliver the remaining letters to their far-flung recipients, in the faint hope that this may somehow stop the Spot.

As they set out on their appointed rounds, Umlaut and Sesame are soon joined by two feline friends, Jenny Elf's companion, Sammy Cat, and a lovely, prescient creature named Claire Voyant who can sometimes see the future. Beguiled and bedeviled by the delicious Demoness Metria, who uses her shapely assets to distract him from his goal, Umlaut leads his allies on an unforgettable odyssey to the farthest reaches of the enchanted realm, from the submicroscopic Nth Moon of Ida, and the home of all dreams and nightmares, to the unmagical land of Euphoria, where he meets a sweet and sprightly young girl named Surprise who captures his heart. But before Umlaut can complete his quest and return to his beloved, he must unravel the unfathomable puzzle of his own existence, which is somehow inextricably entwined with the fate of Xanth.

A satisfyingly suspenseful tale filled with mystery, magic, and merriment, Up in a Heaval is exciting and entertaining fantasy adventure from the pen of a master storyteller.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

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