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INSIDE PAGE ART SAMPLES
“The Essense of Evil concludes the saga of the Essence Phials when May and Duke try to cash them in for the reward and find that the Essence Corporation has used them in a kind of insurance scam/public relations bonaza. The writing of this one was tough. I had spent so much time with May and Duke that halfway through the book, I had gotten sick and tired of their antics. Then I realized I could have a bomb go off on the Angel’s Luck and the story would be over. So I called my editor and talked to her about it, then took a three week break and worked on some other projects. When I came back to Essence, I was refreshed and finished the book without any more homicidal impulses.”
“For those of you who like space opera with a very dry wit, Faust has come up with a series that should tickle your fancy.”
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“I didn’t realize until long after this had been published that this scene was actually written about the death of my father.”
Excerpted from The Essence of Evil by Joe Clifford Faust
Copyright (c) 1990 by Joe Clifford Faust
A short figure hobbled their way. “Indeed, this is a most joyous moment,” it said. “I shall treasure it.”
May sank to his knees, took the Ambassador’s hand in his two, and shook it. “I’m so glad to see you,” he said. “And I’ve got to thank you for helping us out! We couldn’t have done it without you!”
“I should thank you,” misterbob purred. “You are the ones who risked The Life to make this possible.”
“But you’re the one who turned it around!” May said. “You made the scent of burning flesh that stopped the officers on the road! That was brilliant, misterbob!”
The Arcolian’s head cocked and it studied the merchant at an angle. “Indeed, jamesohjames, what are you talking about?”
“misterbob’s been with us,” Duke said.
Vonn stepped into the conversation, visibly trembling at the sight of the Arcolian. “Where’s Winters?” he asked.
“He’s not with you?” asked Roz.
May shook his head.
“Last we saw him,” Duke said, “he was in the–” His gaze drifted off to the column of smoke rising from behind the trees.
“No!” Vonn shouted. “NO!” He turned and ran towards the line of trees, oblivious to the shouts of the others trying to stop him. A high pitched rattle reached his ears and he began to slow, thinking he recognized it, but it wasn’t quite right.
Then Roz screamed.
Vonn spun on his heels.
The Arcolian was shivering and hopping in tight circles, thrashing its arm wildly at things that weren’t there.
Then Vonn recognized what he was hearing.
ated the Arcolian. “bigguy, bigguy, bigguy–“
The mercenary looked down at his own trembling hand. It was covered with gooseflesh. In the name of the Fifth Region, he thought, that damned thing is human!
Duke tried to close on the Arcolian but was kept back by the swings of the arm.
“misterbob,” he said. “We’ve got to go! Winters would want us to get out of here! If we don’t–“
The Arcolian slowly stopped thrashing. “I understand,” it said. “It would be a waste of The Life.”
“Yes,” Duke said, eyes filling with tears. misterbob reached out and touched one as it trickled down the Tetran’s face.
“It must be nice,” it said, “to have a physical manifestation of grief.” It stepped back and turned to the others, sp
eaking in a faltering voice. “I don’t have tears. I must express what I feel. I apologize for my violence.”
“No need,” said Roz.
“We do the same thing, sometimes,” said Peter Chiba.
“I understand it now, the importance of The Life in the individual Sapient A-forms. How foolish of us to see only the importance of the race! Oh, this grief you feel! It is sweet, is it not? The sense of loss burning, yet it makes you feel so–“
“Alive?” May choked.
“I am standing here by virtue of bigguy in the van, yet I would give that up, all of that, to have him standing here with us!” misterbob raised its head to the sky and wailed. “Sweet grief! Sweet, burning grief!”
Vonn got as close to the Arcolian as he dared. “Ambassador,” he said. “misterbob. Duke is right. We must–” He looked out at the woods. “We must go.”
“Of course,” sighed misterbob. “We must. I shall never forget.”
“None of us will,” said May. “None of us will.”
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