When Russ had the idea for our new Crazy 8 Press anthology, of course I was in. Who wouldn’t want to write a science fiction story about Love, Murder & Mayhem? The only problem was, I had to figure out what exactly I was going to write!
The most obvious answer was to do a straight-up noir, a dark, moody murder mystery with a heavy romantic element. But I knew plenty of others would have that genre covered. I also thought about writing a more modern mystery, more action-adventure with a touch of thriller, but again I knew there would be several of those. “What can I offer this anthology that nobody else can?” I wondered. And the reply was: DuckBob!
That made perfect sense. DuckBob Spinowitz is, after all, my favorite character to write (three novels, two short stories, and counting). He’s a ton of fun, and he is pretty much Mayhem personified, so I had that angle covered already. Plus DuckBob is very happily involved with the brilliant and lovely Mary, which took care of the Love aspect.
The only problem, then, was that pesky third leg of the tripod: Murder.
Which actually was a bit of an issue, because while DuckBob can get dangerously PG-13 at times in terms of sexual suggestion (Whoa Nelly—I know, right? It’s enough to make you blush!) he tends to be very PG in regards to violence (he is definitely a lover, not a fighter). He doesn’t mind bopping somebody on the head, or firing a ray gun in the air to get the crowd to quiet down. But he’s rarely set out to seriously hurt anyone. Murder? That’s out.
So I had to really think about that. How was I going to tell a DuckBob story that involved some sort of murder while staying true to the lighthearted, wacky fun that is his trademark?
My first thought was to go all “roleplay” on him—have him and Mary dressing up and playing “Detective” and “Femme Fatale,” complete with “murder victim.” That way I could have my cake and eat it, too—tell a moody noir murder mystery, DuckBob-style. But when I sat down to write the story it turned out DuckBob had other ideas, as he usually does. I’ve learned to trust his storytelling instincts (and his eye for good, cheap food), so I let him run with it. I’m very happy with the result. I hope you are too.
Aaron Rosenberg is a Crazy 8 Press founding member and author of the best-selling DuckBob SF comedy series, the Dread Remora space-opera series, and, with David Niall Wilson, the O.C.L.T. occult thriller series. His tie-in work contains novels for Star Trek, Warhammer, World of WarCraft, Stargate: Atlantis, Shadowrun, Exalted, and Eureka. He has written short stories (such as the Sidewise-nominated “Let No Man Put Asunder”), children’s books (including the award-winning Bandslam: The Junior Novel and the #1 best-selling 42: The Jackie Robinson Story), educational books, and roleplaying games (including the Origins Award-winning Gamemastering Secrets). He is a founding member of Crazy 8 Press. You can follow him online at gryphonrose.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/gryphonrose, and on Twitter @gryphonrose.