Think about it. How many times have you seen a duck waddling around on its tiny little legs with those oversized feet, quacking left and right, looking all self-important like “check this out, I can get out of the water, ain’t I cool?” Can anyone possibly keep a straight face when watching that?
Of course not.
Now take the duck, make him man-sized and man-shaped, and put him in jeans and a Hawaiian shirt. But keep the feet. See? Even funnier!
Then toss in a few weird aliens, a stoic Man in Black, the coolest roadside diner in the galaxy, the deadliest prawn in existence, the flower that altered history, and a bunch of other strange stuff, and send him on a ridiculous and often-derailed quest to save the universe. Freakin’ hysterical!
That’s why I wrote about a duck.
“But, Aaron,” I hear you say, “why write something funny at all? You’ve done Star Trek, Stargate: Atlantis, WarCraft, Warhammer—you’re not exactly known for funny. Okay, sure, you did two Eureka novels, those were kind of amusing, but that’s as much the show as you. And your first two original novels, The Birth of the Dread Remora and Indefinite Renewal—well, one’s space-opera, lots of cheesy action but not really har-har funny, and the other’s an occult thriller, all dark and creepy. What’s with the humor all of a sudden?”
Honestly? I just wanted to do something funny. I wanted to do something silly. I wanted to do something that made people laugh—no, actually, I wanted to do something that made people gasp for breath and spew Barq’s all over their neighbors and fall out of their chairs.
Because I like stuff like that.
I do. I love Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I love Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. I love the old Ron Goulart books, and Harry Harrison’s Stainless Steel Rat series.
I wanted to write something like that.
And I figured the best way to write something funny is to start out with something funny.
Something like a duck.
Full disclosure—I actually came up with DuckBob years ago. Not his story, though. Just his face. Bill. Whatever. I don’t remember why I created it, exactly. I’m sure it was in response to something my co-worker and I were talking about—it was just the two of us in the cramped back room, going over manuscripts, and we would talk and joke and tell stories while working—but I can’t remember the details any more. All I know is that I concocted this image and it tickled my funny bone enough—and irked/amused my co-worker enough—that I had to build it. And apply it as his desktop image when he wasn’t looking.
But the picture wasn’t enough. Or, rather, it was just the start. It got me to thinking. It insisted that an image that strange, that silly, had to have a story behind it. And that story could be encapsulated in a single, succinct phrase: DuckBob Surfs the Ion Storm!
I know this is accurate because I wrote it down immediately, lest I forget. I even expanded the thought into a second line: A fun-filled story of a man-duck’s quest for the perfect galactic wave.
The image itself—that of, obviously, a duck-headed man riding a surfboard—has long since vanished into whatever etheric graveyard swallows such pixilated creations. But the sentences, the concept, lived on. It buzzed around my head like a lost little bee, searching for a home—or for the right moment to sting. And, finally, it found it.
Which is why you get to read a novel about a duck-headed man out to save the universe.
Make sure you have a towel handy, to mop up. Root beer can be murder to get out of the carpet.
The book will be available in a few weeks and soon you can download a preview chapter to see the silliness for yourself.