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The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad [Paperback]

Minister Faust
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 3 2004
Hamza and Yehat are The Coyote Kings–best friends, one a disgruntled dishwasher and the other a video store clerk, but each brilliant in his own right. Yehat builds prototypes of space-age inventions in his spare time, while Hamza, a former English honors student who was kicked out of the university, writes lush, lyrical poems when he’s not blocked–which, these days, is nearly always.

When the gorgeous, mysterious Sherem shows up in E-Town decked out in desert finery, Hamza’s creative spark is ignited. Who is this sophisticated woman that speaks arcane African tongues, quotes from obscure comics and Star Wars movies, yet seems somehow too ethereal for the world Hamza inhabits? And what is the lost artifact that she and a cast of coiffed collectors and criminal cultists so desperately seek? As Hamza falls blindly in love with Sherem, little does he know that he and Yehat play the biggest part of all in the recovery of the ancient relic–and in the future of all living beings. . . .

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From Amazon

What do Edmonton, D&D, cannibalism, Star Wars, comic books, ancient African mythology, black culture, drugs, organic food, magic, and television shows have in common? They all play important roles in The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad, a zany, stylish, and fun novel that blasts the boredom and drabness out of CanLit like a sneak photon torpedo salvo. Coyote Kings, the debut by Edmonton writer, teacher, and radio host Minister Faust, has a large cast of characters but mainly follows two roommates--Hamza, a former graduate student who's been reduced to working as a dishwasher, and Yehat, a video store clerk who invents insane gadgets in his spare time. They're stuck in a rut of self-pity and going nowhere real slow when a mysterious woman shows up and seduces Hamza by quoting his favourite comics and sci-fi films. (The only problem: she may not be human.) Before long, the three are caught up in a quest for a magic artifact, but they're not the only ones. Arrayed against them is a wide assortment of characters--including an old romantic rival of Hamza's, drug dealers who peddle a mystical high, and a former CFL player with aspirations of immortality--all with their own plans for the artifact. The action takes the cast through the streets of Edmonton and to Drumheller, where an ancient, startling secret is revealed.

The originality of the plot of Coyote Kings is only half the appeal of the book. It's also strong on characterization--the story is told entirely in first person, from the perspectives of all the major players involved--and culturally hip without being pretentious. For instance, the characters are introduced with D&D-style character sheets listing their vital stats--Hamza's alignment is "SF (general), ST (original series), SW, Marvel, Alan Moore +79." You can't help but appreciate style like this, even if you're not a geek. But if you are a geek, it doesn't get any better than Coyote Kings. --Peter Darbyshire

From Publishers Weekly

Black Canadian media personality Faust blends pop culture, Egyptology, SF and gaming in his clever and often amusing gonzo debut. Hamza and Yehat, slackers, roommates and soul brothers (aka the Coyote Kings), work respectively as a dishwasher and a video-store clerk, but Hamza also writes poetry and Ye invents things. When Hamza meets the beautiful, mysterious Sherem, even love can't blind him to her oddness. She, along with Hamza and Ye's old pals Kev and Heinz, is searching for a jar with inexplicable properties. The Coyote Kings find themselves on the side of the ancient House of the Jackal, charged with keeping the artifact safe, or at least out of the hands of Kev and Heinz. Hamza has a skill the bad guys want to literally eat his brain to get, and only he may have what it takes to find the artifact. The dense writing, the ponderings on the nature of reality and a complex plot that all comes together at the end (if thanks to long inserts that finally provide background and context) will remind some readers of Neal Stephenson. If Faust isn't yet Stephenson's equal as a stylist, he nonetheless represents a sharp-edged new voice in the genre.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read by an Author to Watch Nov. 18 2008
Format:Paperback
Coyote Kings is a well-written, intriguing and thoughtful book. Set in modern day Canada, it is magical in its characterization. I believe that I know our two heroes; they are so well drawn as to live off the page and be encountered anywhere. They are well versed media geeks, and the references to Trek, B5, Dungeons and Dragons, etc., was the atmosphere that my life is drenched in, yet someone not knowledgable about those items will still be able to catch the hip-yet-geeky personality that fills the book.The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad
The story involves an ancient religion, an eons-long quest, magical beings and the human emotions of fear, jealousy, and sadness.
I will be looking forward to seeing the next book by this writer.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Story May 5 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"Coyote Kings" was an inventive and original read, with really distinctive character voices and solid, believable world design.

Mythology and pop culture blends almost seamlessly. If you enjoy novels like Gaiman's "American Gods", definitely give "Coyote Kings" a try!
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Format:Paperback
The first time I picked up Coyote Kings, I didn't know what to think of it. Up until this point I'd read a lot of novels from the traditional science-fiction and fantasy genres, yet this book was anything but ... and it is incredibly refreshing for it.

If anything, I would call this book -- aside from a quirky, comic, eloquent and very interesting bit of weird fiction -- a very clear specimen of "Geek Literature." There are so many geek popular culture references to Star Wars, Star Trek, Babylon 5, comics and many other fantasy and science fiction media that they in themselves say something about the vibrant spirit of this work. What really caught my eye -- or "made it for me" as a "geek reader" : as a long time lover of role-playing games, fantasy adventure, and science-fiction interests is the fact that each character in this story has his or her own Dungeons and Dragons style character sheet. Indeed, the very first quote that starts off this entire story itself is one from Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars.

The characters themselves are very human and have very human motivations and "geek interests." The former University and English BA student Hamza, the inventor Yehat, the enigmatic warrior Sherem and even the villains of the story all have unique personalities and parallels to geek literature. It really helps that many of the popular cultural references and literary ones are also traits in their primary character sheets.

Another element I really liked about Coyote Kings is how Minister Faust incorporates Black, African and Egyptian culture, and music, and even some aspects of Islam into the background of these characters.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  38 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not quite unreadable, with flashes of brilliance March 9 2008
By Torah Cottrill - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There are so (comparatively) few science fiction books written by black authors, and the title is so good, that I really wanted to like this book. And for the first 200 pages, I did. Faust is wildly inventive, and has a real gift for creating unique characters and letting you hear their voices. But his editor did him a huge disservice by not insisting Faust trim 150 or 200 pages out of "Coyote Kings." The hook of writing at least one chapter from the POV of every major and minor character was taken much too far (some characters, like Frosty and the Mugatu and Heinz Meaney, are more interesting in the third person), trying to tie the Rachel character back into the end didn't make any sense, the mystic backstory bogged down in pretentiously arcane poetry and superfluous detail, and entire chapters written in the verbal-tic-ridden voices of two of the characters --- Alpha Cat and Digaestus Caesar --- are incredibly frustrating to read, barely comprehensible. I wanted to put it down, but I didn't. Look at the characters' names! For that alone, and for the snap-crackle-pop dialogue between roommates and brother Coyote Kings Hamza and Yehat, this book is saved from my give-away pile.

"Coyote Kings" is tremendously flawed, but also has more than a few moments of brilliance. When I finally got to the end and read the acknowledgments, where Faust mentions the "Coyote Kings" screenplay workshop and video shoot, and then read in his author's biography that he's a prolific broadcaster, the puzzle of this book started to make sense to me. The book reads like it was meant to be spoken; the pages of dialogue that are almost impossible to read would make sense to hear. The incessant shifting of POV is a real detriment in a book, but would make for very interesting video. Essentially, "Coyote Kings" would make an amazing movie or radio play. But as a book, almost all of its appeal is lost in translation.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Canadian Geek Homiez Grok Multiversal Jimpification Jan. 26 2006
By doomsdayer520 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I was not aware that Edmonton, Alberta features a vibrant black and immigrant community (my own poorly-traveled ignorance), and that's the setting for this riotous fantastical pop-cultural novel. Minster Faust gives us a fast-moving, brainmelting story populated by a wide variety of multicultural geeks and goons in E-Town. The events rotate around two excellent main characters, Hamza and Yehat, a moody writer and a brainy engineer respectively, who are down-and-out working dead-end jobs and reveling in a realm of comics, movies, sci-fi nerd TV, role-playing games, and all other forms of geekitude. The brokenhearted Hamza soon falls stoopid in love with the beautiful and mysterious Sherem, who claims to be an archeologist just returning from an expedition to Egypt where she learned about ancient languages and old African kingdoms, hence blowing poor Hamza's mind with exotic trivia. It turns out that Sherem wishes to recruit Hamza and train him, a la Obi Wan and Luke, to fight a millennia-old archeo-narcotic cannibalistic conspiracy. Faust's construction of this eviltacular nogoodnikery gets a little bit out of hand, and some dark passages in the build-up to the story's climax don't mix too well with the lovable humor of the rest of the novel. However, rest assured that Faust is a master of bodacious language, with a lot of heart and hipness and laughs, and his characters are uniformly fascinating. This especially applies to Sherem's true nature and the deep, complex friendship between Hamza and Yehat as the self-styled Coyote Kings. This has gotta be the most creative and offbeat debut novel to come along in a while. [~doomsdayer520~]
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Cheezy Story Brought Alive with Style Feb. 19 2005
By A. Ross - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This irrepressible sci-fi debut from Canadian hipster and multi-media personality Faust is awash in enthusiasm and style, but suffers from narrative excess typical of the genre. The first hundred pages are dedicated to establishing the book's hero Hamza, and his best-friend and roommate Yehat. They are a pair of twentysomething slackers living in Edmonton, where they are drifting in limbo between their brilliant intellects and lack of prospects. A dishwasher at a yuppie restaurant, Hamza had been a brilliant writer whose downfall commenced with an academic scandal and unspecified romantic shipwreck that has left him emotionally crippled and unable to write. Yehat is a typical snooty video-store clerk who is unable to work as an engineer because he can't abide working with people who aren't as smart as him, which is basically everyone. But lest anyone get the wrong idea, they are a positive, up-tempo, creative duo who run a sort of ad-hoc pay-what-you-can summer camp for neighborhood kids. They are the "Coyote Kings."

The plot more or less starts rolling when Hamza meets, and is smitten by Sherem, a mysterious woman who has apparently been studying archeology for the last ten years and has just returned to Edmonton. It just so happens she likes all the right comic books, can quote Star Wars, is a pop culture twin of Hamza's, and just happens to be stunningly beautiful. Meanwhile, we are also shown how Hamza and Yehat's former childhood friends (and D&D gaming buddies) now operate an upscale imported furnishings boutique (Modeous Zokolo, ha ha ha), and are both chic and wealthy. Behind the scenes, it seems the Meaneys are somehow involved with an exceedingly potent drug called "Creme". The third group to enter the story is the gang that controls the creme trade in "E-Town", a comic-bookish set of flunkies called "The Fanboys" whose boss is Dulles Allen (ha ha again) a brutal and shrewd ex-CFL player turned club owner.

Once all the players are in place, it is revealed that the Meaneys and Allen are in a race to acquire an ancient artifact called a zodiascope, which, when used in conjunction with creme, will somehow enable the owner/user to control the world. At this point, the book starts descending into a disappointing mess of hocus-pocus involving ancient Egyptian mythology, and save-the-world tropes lifted from the most banal fantasy/sci-fi. Here, the D&D influence is regrettably in evidence, as some Norse stuff is mixed in, and Hamza and Yehat even end up in a tomb crawl. Faust spends so much time busting inside jokes for geeks and gamers, that when he tries to turn the plot in a serious direction, it doesn't work. The book unfolds in brief chapters written from the first-person perspective of various characters, many of whom have distinctive voices (Hamza's rat-a-tat freeflowing thoughts, Yehat's orderly lists and tangential asides, one of the Meaneys' superciliousness, Alpha-Cat's Caribbean patois, and so forth).

There are elements to like, such as the constant riffing on geek pop culture, or Faust's truly remarkable wordplay. In terms of style, the inventive prose has a lot to offer, and it comes as no surprise that he's a champion slam poet. The relationship between Hamza and Yehat is very nicely handled, as Faust captures all the ups and downs of a close friendship with precision, and isn't afraid to show the love between the two young men. The constant namechecking of Afropop legends is pretty cool, and it's does give a neat portrait of multicultural Edmonton. However, the overall sloppiness of the story and shaggy-dog plot makes it less than essential reading. It's also disappointing that for all the book's posturing about treating "sisters" with respect and all, love-interest Sherem is such a geek's fantasy (Star Wars quoter plus hot bod!). It kind of comes across a a dis -- if you're a girl with geek interests you have to be hot too, otherwise there's no room for you in our story! Anyway, if you've got the time and patience to wade through 500+ pages, you'll probably find something to like amidst all the chaos.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars clever, fun, somewhat dissappointing ending Sept. 7 2004
By D. McAlester - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
i picked this book up for no other reason than the opening sentence starts out "first off shut up." how can you not like a book that tells you to shut up on the very first page (not to mention that first page is the epilogue).

the characters are extremely refreshing for a science fiction novel, and knowing the target audience all the in-jokes and tip of the hat references to geekdom will leave you laughing out loud, while your uninitiated friends will just shake their heads silently at your new found depths of nerdiness. i was also pleasantly surprised by the characters unabashed affection for each other, it came over as very genuine and a trait severely lacking in science fiction.

the author employs a first person narrative that switches from character to character. in an interesting change of pace he doesn't hold your hand through this change and make it immediately obvious who's speaking, as you begin to get comfortable with characters you start to recognize the "voice". though at times you have to go back and re-read the first couple of pages of each chapter as it can take a while to cotton on to which character is talking. it isn't always successful, but the only time this character switch fails totally is when alpha-cat takes over and the author chooses to write phonetically the character's jamaican accent. it is frustrating to read and knocks you completely out of the narrative as you focus on comprehending the words and not the story. fortunately other than a couple of small chapters, alpha cat's dialog is limited to a few sprinkled throughout the book.

my only other complaint is the last act which had two major problems. there is essentially a rehash of the fight between the two main protagonists (yehat and hamza), with the same conclusion. it was redundant and out of character considering how the initial fight concluded. i also found the ambiguous ending, was too ambiguous without enough information to really come to a conclusion. there were also some pretty loose ends that were never tied up. i suppose that those could be set-ups for a sequel, which the author does hint at, but doesn't seem to have enough set-up to really make me desperate to read the further adventures of hamza and yehat.

still the characters, the very easy to read, cheeky prose, the interesting little details on african culture more than make up for the few small complaints.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A joy! Feb. 12 2006
By Robert J. Sawyer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Every closet geek and every secret Trekker should read this book, but so should everyone who enjoys a stylistic tour de force. The characters are unforgettable, the slang infectious (I'll be calling chumps "jimps" for the rest of my life), and the whole thing is just incredibly charming. People say _I'm_ blatantly Canadian, but Minister Faust takes Canuck SF to a whole new level. E-town, here I come!
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