In a book that reads more like an anthology than a novel, Mike Resnick tells the kind of tall tales in which history isn't necessarily written by the winners. It's written instead by the best human, alien, and mutant storytellers this side of the Galactic Core, with a little embellishment from Willie the Bard.
At the edge of an enormous black hole on the planet Henry II, one of the Eight Henrys, rests the Outpost tavern, owned by Tomahawk. It's so far out that only heroes, villains, and adventurers "three times as big as life and twice as wide" can manage to find it. But once they do they've earned bragging rights to tell their story.
It's the kind of place where characters like Catastrophe Baker, Bet-A-World O'Grady, Cyborg de Milo, and Hurricane Smith come to hang around, swap tales, and wait for the approaching alien invasion to get close enough to bother with. However, once the aliens decimate the Navy and start to take over the Henrys, the adventurers reluctantly set off to save the universe one tall tale at a time.
Hugo and Nebula award-winner Resnick spins the stories into a novel that examines the way legend and history are created, and the philosophy that you shouldn't let the facts stand in the way of a good yarn. Fans of tall tales will love the vivid characterizations and the way Resnick shows how each character's real adventure is embellished into an even better story. --Kathie Huddleston
From Publishers Weekly
Hugo and Nebula award winner Resnick's (A Hunger in the Soul) tales are often surprising, and this novel comprised of individual narratives is no exception. The characters at the Outpost a gathering place at the outer edge of the galaxy where adventurous souls can come to drink and brag are galaxy-renowned "heroes and bandits, artists and athletes, ministers, geniuses, prostitutes, bounty hunters, gamblers, even aliens." What begins as a fun round of tale-swapping turns more serious and thoughtful as the book progresses through its three parts: "legend," "truth" and "history." Throughout the opening a war has been approaching the Outpost, and by the second segment the "heroes" are forced to fight. Resnick then changes the tone. The complexity the characters gain when their actions are described by an impartial narrator in the "truth" section elevates the book from simple entertainment. Some act with honor, some back down from everything they stand for, some show their dedication to humanity while others flee. When they reconvene and record their exploits for posterity, they reveal even more of their true natures in the ways they want history to remember themselves and others. This lightly philosophical read is a good introduction to a solid author. (May 16)his stories, "Hunting the Snark" and "Hot House Flowers."
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