Cover image for The Coyote Kings of the space-age bachelor pad
The Coyote Kings of the space-age bachelor pad
Minister Faust.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Del Rey/Ballantine Books, [2004]

Physical Description:
531 pages ; 21 cm
Format :


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FICTION Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Science Fiction/Fantasy

On Order



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. . . .

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

This begins with the epilogue, so be prepared for an odd, occasionally nonlinear trip, in which the great revelation--magic is real--comes on the first page. Hamza is a dishwasher with--almost--an impressive graduate degree. Yehat, his roommate, is a brilliant inventor slumming it as a video-store clerk. Together they are the Coyote Kings. Then they meet Sheremnefar, whom Hamza falls for hook, line, and sinker. That just begins a bizarre train of events in which Hamza and Yehat's former friends, the Meaneys, are revealed to be part of a criminal conspiracy to take over the world by use of a mysterious, ancient artifact called the zodiascope. The Meaneys have been using a drug called Creme (in the process, becoming allied with a particularly nasty bunch of slightly supernatural drug dealers) to achieve the state of altered consciousness necessary to use the zodiascope. It turns out that the zodiascope is no sweat for Hamza, but the forces of darkness--the Meaney brothers and the drug dealers--don't want him getting the prize it can deliver, known as the Jar. Interwoven narratives and fascinating characters with strong voices (though their patois is occasionally challenging) make for a fantastic contemporary adventure. --Regina Schroeder Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

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. Agent, Marie Brown. (Aug. 3) Forecast: Blurbs from Nalo Hopkinson, Tananarive Due, Sheree R. Thomas and Steven Barnes will alert African-American fans of SF. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Hamza Senesert and Yehat Gerbles, two young bachelors living in a world shaped by their shared interests in sf and superheroes, mosey through life until they meet a woman named Sheremnefer, who plunges them into a quest for an ancient Egyptian artifact. On their surrealistic roller-coaster ride, they experience unlikely coincidences and encounter mysterious characters and real, heart-stopping danger. Faust's first novel mixes African American sensibilities with cutting-edge sf as the fast-talking heroes confront a world suddenly gone awry. Reminiscent of the work of such breakthrough sf authors as Samuel Delaney, Nalo Hopkinson, and Neal Stephenson, this one-of-a-kind story is highly recommended. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter 1 I Wash Dishes for Scumbags You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. -B. Kenobi, failed tour guide Cue theme music: "Fe Fe Naa Efe" by Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Badass Nigerian horns and Afrobeat drumming funk-James Brown's Jurassic DNA blasted balls first into the future. That's my song, damnit, and I pity the fool who forgets it. It's Wednesday night again, which it always is after Wednesday afternoon, which it always is after Wednesday morning. Wenzzday. This is what my life has become as I stand in front of this stinking sink in the colostomy zone of the Brightest-Lil-Preppy-Joint-in-Town", called ShabbadabbaDoo's. Can you believe that name? Temple of freaking jerks. Here's a haiku for you: ShabbadabbaDoo's: Frolicking fashion fascists Wealthy swines dining Yes, while mentally composing happy poems just to keep my soul from falling into the deep fryer, I get both to scrape AND wash the crud off of the shingles they slide in front of a bunch of rich kids' maws night after succulent night in this Tex-Mex-Cali-cocktail cesspit, before, during, and after they drain pitcher after pitcher of Can't Believe It's Not Urine! Why pick on Wednesday? Wednesday is the day that says it all. See, in Norse mythology that'd've been Woden's Day, or Odin's Day. Odin was the supreme god, kind of like Zeus but with one eye and icicles hanging off his ass (the eye wasn't hanging off his ass-I mean he had only one eye, which you knew what I meant anyway). And what day gets named after him? The middle of the freaking week. As in, week's not young enough for freshness and vitality, and week's not old enough for the hopeful release of the weekend. I work Mondays to Fridays here at Castle Scumulus, way down in the kitchen, the lower intestine, if you will, scraping and swearing and stacking and dreaming of leaving for Star Fleet Academy, and the day that gets me worst is always Wednesday. Mondays I can actually take, which is because of an aggressive policy of Weekendventurism that gives me some holdover. Tuesdays I'm okay cuz if I work during the day I might catch a flick on account of it being cheapskate night. Thursday is practically Friday and Friday is Friday. But W- Don't make me say the name again. There's this one zitsack here, a freaking blond puffball who looks like a sissy-sized Ken doll with really, really, really tiny teeth (I swear, they look like someone glued rows of white corn niblets into a denture), who for some bizarre reason unknown to me doesn't like me. The little bastard. Anyway, every time this busboy-DID I MENTION HE'S A BUSBOY?-drops off stuff for us to wash, if he sees me at the sinks, he always arranges to take a big pot or frying pan from one of the cooks and slams it in my sink to splash me sudsy, so my goatee looks like an ice-cream bar hanging off my chin. I warned him that if he wanted his gonads to remain in their handy travel pouch, he'd better back off, but every night he keeps coming back with more kitchen meteors. Now this busboy aspect is significant because the pecking order here is vicious. Out on the deck you got all the hostesses and managers and waitstaff who're mid-twenties, usually blond, and therefore White. The cooks are usually cooking-college Whites, with the prep cooks uneducated Whites or Browns. The dishwashers are all Brown. Most of these poor freaks don't speak much English and none of them has an education. Except me. Honors BA in English literature. Well. Okay. Actually I'm missing one course. Actually I'm not likely to get that course. Actually I'll never be allowed back to do that course. I don't wanna talk about it. So I'm here in this freaking swinetopia taking orders from a bunch of spray-ons in rayon. Sometimes I try to liven it up a bit here in the dish pit, put on some music the boys'll like. I've brought CDs by the great oud player Hamza El Din, my namesake and fellow Nubian (although he's Egyptian and my dad's Sudanese), and of course Fela Anikulapo Kuti, king of Afrobeat. Sometimes I've slammed in some Nusrat remixes by Bally Sagoo and Massive Attack, or some Apache Indian or Hot Hindi Hits for my boys, here- You know . . . two weeks ago I brought in Public Enemy's latest album, Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age. Angry, super bad, and a Brother's best pain relief in this freaking joint. So it's late night, I'm playing the music and washing pots, when the damn head cook comes in off his break-it's like one in the freaking morning and he's basically done anyway-and he tears my disc out of his box and in his ear-splittingest Australian accent yells at us (actually at me), "Keep yoh fakkin ands off moi radio!" And to tell you the truth that mess is still burning up my guts. (The sink-swamp in front of me is now completely aswim with filth, and I figure I'm gonna cut my hand against a sunken X-Wing if I don't drain it.) I'm a grown man. And this Outbacks tool who probably hasn't read a book since the warden sent him a hygiene manual in solitary yells at me not to touch his stereo like I was infecting it or something. Bad enough having to do this crummy job in the first place. Bad enough having to put up with the Zitsack. But getting sworn at? If my dad knew I was letting scumwads treat me like this, he would cry. I mean he would actually cry. The sink's empty now-I got it washed out again, blasting it free of crud with the water jet. And now while I'm filling it up with scalding hot, the steam is billowing out of the depths like a spell from beyond time, a formula of hiding to keep me from going completely nuts in this stenchorium. I'm wearing a Walkman-style belt jobby but without headphones. . . . My madman roommate, Yehat, who I'll be seeing in a couple of hours after I get off work-he's a genius with gadgets and whatnot-anyway, he rigged this baby up for me. An antidote to Captain Kangaroo's tirades and musical censorship. Got super-slim speakers sewn right onto my belt so I can play music for me and my South Asian dishwash posse. I put in a Vangelis score, Opera Sauvage. It's for quiet times, melancholy, you know? And with the steam swirling around me and blanking out Dante's Ristorante, and Vangelis's lonesome strains chiming like death's bells . . . . . . I'm suddenly on the cliff. I don't know how long ago it was that I saw the cliff for the first time. I guess it was way back maybe even before high school, before Yehat and me met. Might've even been the first time I heard this Vangelis piece, "Irlande," as in Ireland. Hm. Never thought of that before. Ireland: the Angry Country. Anyway, house was empty, which it basically always was by then, and me at all of fourteen years old listening to this gaunt, rib cage echo piece in the basement and probably, being the melodramatic kid I was, maybe even thinking about how lonely I felt and my eyes welling up with water. Poor little boy. And suddenly I see myself on the side of a cliff, in a little carved-out portion, with the angry sea way below all cold and clutching, and me way too high up to climb to the top and walk to safety. No trees, not even the cries of seagulls. And then . . . in this vision . . . I realize I'm not alone. She's with me. I don't know who she is, but her skin is like fired bronze, dark and glowing, and her hair is midnight and curly and wet-heavy, like soft, black chain mail draping round her shoulders. We're holding on to each other, and, I suddenly realize, we're both naked. But it's not sexual. I don't know what it is, in the vision. . . . Maybe it's . . . survival. With the swirling ocean mists cutting off the world and killing the skies, we're clutching each other for sweet life, like if we let go, the seas and rocks below will shred us apart like the teeth of some grim leviathan from those cold, cold waters. I don't know her name. I can't even say for sure I see her face. But for more than a decade, whenever I see fog or overcast, or maybe just a wall of steam, I'm back on that cliff. And the feeling it carries with it is of a loneliness and yet a sense of, well, completion, so intense it's like a mouthful of fresh blackberries, bitter and gritty-seeded and intensely, intensely there. Ah, hell's bells, now you're thinking I'm pretentious and flowery and navel-gazing. Guess you want me to apologize. Get used to it. In two interminable hours I'm off. Until tomorrow. Until the next day. Until the next Wednesday. Maybe when we walk home Ye can pull me outta these Wednesday freaking mist gray blues. I swear, I'm starting to feel so freaking trapped by the wrong stuff in my life and the right stuff being out of my life . . . so pinned down and pissed on and pissed off and pining for something, anything to tear me outta here. . . . I'm so damn desperate I sometimes feel like I should just find the cliff in my dreams and jump the hell off it. CHARACTER DATA: Yehat Bartholomew Gerbles REAL NAME: Ulysses Hatori Bartholomew Gerbles. STRENGTH: Unshatterable self-esteem. WEAKNESS: Mule-ass stubbornness +22. TECHNOLOGICAL INTELLIGENCE: +99 A-Team/MacGyver. DOESN'T-GIVE-A-SHIT POINTS: +25. COME-ONS, FREQUENCY/RANGE/SUCCESS: +32/unlimited/+1. SOCIAL APPROPRIATENESS: -1. AFRO: Close-clipped. EYES: Four. ARMOR TYPE: R-Mer, class-10 Gundamoid somatic unit. SMIRK: Pronounced. MECHANICAL, INVENT/IMPROVE: +89. VENGEANCE: Unchartable. ENCUMBRANCE: Spotswood Persimmon Gerbles, brother. BLADDER/COLON CARRYING CAPACITY: Superior drought/superior famine. TRIVIA DEXTERITY: Scientific +379, mote in neighbor's eye +100. GENRE ALIGNMENT: Hard SF text (Clarke/Asimov +122), PKD +79. AKA: Scotty, Tony Stark, Supreme Love Doctor, the Coyote King. SLOGAN: "One day I will rule them all. I will be MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE." Kingdom of the Jimps I'll be clear. The customer enters at 1:13 a.m. to get a video. So far it's by the book. I'm in the first third of The Right Stuff, where LBJ is talking with Wernher von Braun, rocketry genius and formerly my hero (until Hamza spoiled that for me by informing me Braun was an unreconstructed Nazi in league with myriad other Reichists on the Kennedy assassination [sidebar: the Kennedys were 1930s liquor drug barons, but the point stands]). (Second sidebar: The Right Stuff is still, nevertheless, my twelfth favorite film [it was the eleventh, but as I upgraded into the architecture of adulthood, I reconsidered Silent Running], even if written by that Tom Wolfe [synthesis of Intellivision pusher George Plimpton and hockey cultist Don Cherry] bastard, self-satisfied "Radical Chic/Mau-Mau" cutie pie guff and so forth [I was really pleased when Bonfire of the Vanities bombed at the box office, with the added bonus that that smirky-jerk Bruce Willis also got smeared by its failure]). I digress. In this scene, LBJ is trying to get his post-Sputnik (it should be pronounced "spootnik," BTW) cabinet cabal to rally around the flag and beat "the COMm'nists" in the space race. Braun explains that the US should send up a pod, but LBJ hears "pot" due to Braun's screen-German shtick, followed by a verbal slapstick romp that lasts well over a minute. Braun presses on, declaring that NASA should send up a chimp, which LBJ hears as "jimp," demanding, like Foghorn Leghorn (only missing the "what's a, I SAY, what's a-"), "What the HELL's a JIMP?" Now, at exactly this moment, buddy comes into the store, White, mid-forties, startling resemblance to a prairie dog (somewhat, but not substantially, larger). I am about to be annoyed. He's a #5. Allow me to explain. Having endured interminable night shifts at Super Video 82 for thirty-seven months, I can assure you with empirical clarity that I have classified five subspecies of the life-form called Customer: 1.the loving 2.the lusting 3.the lonely 4.the librarians 5.the losers Note: Subtype #5 usually covers the previous four, but they do vary. Subtype #1, the loving, probably means couples looking for chick flicks. It's always painful for me to see a guy so obviously and obliviously whipped that he should, in fact, be bottled and labeled "Lite Dressing." (Addendum: In general, no video-seeking male except a true movie buff is happy without at least one prolonged experience with SCERBS: spies, cars, explosions, robots, breasts, or sports. But I'll give you, any guy looking for chick flicks with his girlfriend is still giving her the groceries, so at least our gender has that victory.) Subtype #2, the lusting, is fairly clear. Sometimes this includes couples, but it's usually single men looking really ashamed and when you give them their change they avoid your eyes and you avoid their palms. Category #3 is huge, likely subsuming #2, but these jimps are pathetic in a paleolithically painful way. These demicretins like to watch movies about lonely people or dying people or doomed romances and the like. (This practice strikes me as paralleling that of a man dying of starvation who rents documentaries on the Ethiopian famine while whistling "Food, Glorious Food," but in fairness, these customers aren't me.) Subtype #4, the librarians, are film freaks such as myself who genuinely want to see everything worth seeing-"Watch all that is watchable," to paraphrase V'Ger of the vastly underrated Star Trek: The Motion Picture (aside from the flat, featureless Ilia-Decker romance and the fact that the series' supporting cast gets almost no lines, the Kirk-Spock stuff is touching, funny, and fresh, without camp, and the SF is some of the screen's best ever, as screen SF goes. I still get misty when Ilia says that "carbon units are not true life-forms," and then later when V'Ger explodes in earth orbit from the Ilia-Decker cosmic orgasm). Subtype #5, the losers, brings us to the jimp in question. Tragic, weird loners who don't know what they want . . . these guys, they say they want your help, but actually they don't want your help-they just want somebody, anybody, to talk to, or at, forever. Which, sadly, is usually me. These jimps, presumably lost on their way to or from the thirteenth circle of hell with just enough film trivia and mistaken information to make a team full of Young Life Christian teenagers seek out Dr. Kevorkian, are the worst part of my Super Video 82 splendid isolation. So that brings us back to the initial moment of this story, the big bang, if you will, of cosmic jimpdom at the moment the jimp emerges from the celestial darkness into the brightness of the Videopolis. Once again: I'm watching The Right Stuff while filling out an application for a local business needing a network jockey. John Shannon, my overlord and paymaster, bumbles towards me in all his glorious, towering baldness and orders, "Yehat!" Excerpted from The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad by Minister Faust All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.