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. 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 favorite 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 Canadian Football League 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.
Source: Peter Darbyshire, Amazon.com.