Sunday, February 26, 2012

Zaftan Miscreants Reviews

Here are two reviews from Goodreads members who have read and reviewed my latest novel.

Johnny wrote:
Zaftan Miscreants, the second book in the trilogy, is a highly addictive and hilariously funny science fiction story by author Hank Quense. Unlike any sci-fi book out there Quense alternates viewpoints between the Zaftans and the Gundies with many a good laughs in between. The story line is catchy, original, satirical, and will have you hooked from the start. The Zaftans are treacherous alien race from planet Zaftan 31B who explore space conquering other alien species and exploiting there natural resources. On the other the hand, there are the Gundies from Gundarland, a mixed race of dwarfs, humans, half-pints, and their droids. In the book, these two enemies clash in an epic space battle filled with action, political satire, and romance. This book kept me entertained and from start to finish and would make a very good animated film. I recommend this book to anyone who wants a good sci-fi fantasy read. 

Yvensong wrote:
I really enjoyed this romp through space with Sam, Slash 9, Klatze, and Gongeblazn.
Starting with Sam, she was interesting and appealing, making her one of the more likeable droids I've had the pleasure to follow in a novel. Slash 9, a ship's computer was entertaining, as he tried to woo Sam and win her -- what would a droid have that's comparable to a human heart?
Klatze, a Zaftan bent on showing her species that ability is an important trait, has to deal with others who continue the old ways of deceit and violence -- and has to confront the old ways directly with Gongeblazn, her superior.
The story is well-paced and broken up in such a way to make it a very quick and easy read.
I did not read book one in the series, but didn't feel as though I was missing anything. The world, the characters and the story are well-developed and intriguing.
I look forward to reading more of Hank Quense's novels about the Zaftans and Gunderlanders.

Interested in reading it yourself?  Follow this link to find a list of Zaftan Miscreants sellers, both print and ebook versions.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Free ebooks

I have two free ebooks available.  Did you get your copies yet?

One ebook is called Humorous Yarns and Other Stuff and it's been downloaded over 2500 times since September 2010.  It contains samples of my stories and novels.

The scene is called The Strange Worlds of Hank Quense.  It provides a humorous backdrop for the two worlds I have created for my characters to romp around in.  Gundarland is a country populated with humans, dwarfs, elves and other fantasy creatures.  Zaftan 31B is the home world of my vicious, foul-smelling aliens.  It's been downloaded over 400 times since it became available last February.

Here's a review:  Elizabeth Miller on Dec. 21, 2011 : star star star star
Hystically companion to Hank Quense's rather odd and funny novels.

Either (or both) are a good way to sample my stories and find out if you'll like my books.

You can both of these free ebooks at:

Friday, February 17, 2012

So, a Priest, a Rabbi And a Flubberian Grub Worm Walk Into a Bar…: Humour in Science Fiction

My co-author, Ira Nayman, is my guest blogger today.  He has a post about the absence of humor in scifi stories.  I happen to agree with everything Ira says here.

Ira Nayman:
I was talking to another writer once about how hard it is to get editors interested in works that combine science fiction and humour. He told me that an editor had once told him that: “Since The Hitchihiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was published, there really isn’t any point to writing humorous science fiction.”
I wish I had been drinking at the time I heard this. My spit take would have rivalled Niagara Falls.

To my way of thinking, this is like saying, “Since Star Wars was released, there really isn’t any point to making films about wars in space.” It seems silly, since new artists can bring new perceptions to genres that had seemed spent, yet this is the industry reality that people who write comic science fiction have to contend with.
But, I get ahead of myself. To begin, I should make it clear that I am not talking about works where humor is used as comic relief for what are primarily science fiction adventure stories (as it often was in Star Trek or Dr. Who). This is obviously acceptable and widespread in the genre. I am talking about works where humor and science fiction are equal partners in the unfolding of the narrative (think: Men in Black or, yes, Hitchhiker). These are actually quite rare. Don’t believe me? Everything in life (well, everything important in life), can be explained by a Venn Diagram. Here is one that illustrates my point:

Okay, now that we’ve defined our subject, let’s get back to the main argument: I have heard that humour generally, and comic science fiction specifically, is a hard sell because people’s senses of humour are different. What makes some people laugh uproariously will leave other people unmoved, or, worse, offended. Fair point. However, this principle does not apply just to humour. Many Star Wars fans detest Star Trek (and vice versa). Many who like both cannot abide 2001: A Space Odyssey. Science fiction fans are diverse and enjoy a wide variety of flavours of the genre; I see no reason why humour cannot be one of them.

If anything, the massive success of Hitchhiker should have proven that there is an audience for comic science fiction. Any other work with such a large and devoted following would have had a slew of imitators. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of a cultural industries model. (I could use the example of mediocre vampire stories in the wake of the success of Stephenie Meyers’ Twilight books and movies, but you’re probably already way ahead of me there.) And, there have been books that smacked of Adams’ influence – Mitis Green’s The Ardly Effect comes to mind. The fact that none of them have achieved the success of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy does not mean that comic science fiction is a literary dead end. 
To my way of thinking, there were two factors that led to the success of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The first, most obvious one is that Douglas Adams was a hellaciously good writer at the top of his game when the radio series began. The other, less recognized factor was that, although there were certainly precedents for it, Hitchhiker was a highly original work in its time. Some writers may be able to approximate Adams’ voice, but they will never be able to equal his success because, by trying to be like him, they ensure that they will never match his originality. 
In short, the next big comic science fiction phenomenon will not be the next Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
As publishing consolidates into every larger entities, the industry as a whole has become more conservative, and, while every publisher wants new takes on old themes, they don’t really want works that break serious new ground. Too much originality entails risk, and mature, conservative industries are highly risk-averse. Most major publishers would prefer not to risk offending readers, which means avoiding all but the blandest comic science fiction. Again, I find this argument bogus: any work of art can be offensive to somebody. I, for instance, am in an almost constant state of high dudgeon over rah rah, gung ho military science fiction. (I guess I’m not a big enough demographic for publishers of it to care if it offends me or not.)
I’m not going to argue that every book of humorous science fiction will be a gem; there are bound to be some lousy ones. Just as there are lousy books of straight science fiction. (Sturgeon’s Law is in full force.) In the end, though, the whole “humorous science fiction cannot work” thing becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Since major publishers stay away from it, those who write it have to get it published by smaller presses. But the smaller presses don’t have the promotional resources of the major presses, so those books don’t reach a major audience. This reinforces the belief that such books aren’t worth publishing.
It seems a shame. Laughter is a marvellous human trait that makes us feel good (by releasing endorphins in the brain, natural painkillers that only the most obdurate anti-drug zealots could possibly object to…). Science fiction readers deserve to have a little fun injected into their literary diet.
 Ira Nayman has two collections of Alternate Reality News Service (ARNS) stories in print; a third  is available in ebook format from Smashwords. All of the material in all three books is available on his Web site, Les Pages aux Folles (, as well as new material every week. He has written a separate series of short stories featuring Antonio Van der Whall, object psychologist (four have been sold; several others are awaiting decision), as well as a novel and two novellas featuring the Transdimensional Authority. He writes a lot.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A review of Lunatics by Dave Barry & Alan Zweibel

A review of Lunatics by Dave Barry & Alan Zweibel

This is the funniest book I have read in years. It is the story of two middle-aged Jewish men living in New Jersey. Phillip and Jeffrey meet at a kids' soccer game and instantly hate each other.  Several hours later, they separately drive across the George Washington Bridge and both get involved in an incident that the NYPD interprets as an attempted terrorist attack to blow up the bridge.  The two escape and slink around northern Manhattan while their photos are broadcast non-stop on TV.  They are captured by a real terrorist cell whose leader is terribly angry because Phillip and Jeffery didn't give him a curtesy call to tip him off about the attack.  He plans to teach them some respect using the Bronx Zoo and a pair of large brown bears.
Phillip and Jeffery manage to escape from Manhattan, despite all the roadblocks and travel to Cuba, Somalia, Yemen, China and the Republican National Convention.  At the convention Donald Trump and Sarah Palin make guest appearances.

If you like humor, read this book.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

FNN Report: Dem Super-PAC funds Santorum and Gingrich

Faux News Network has an exclusive report that a Democratic Super-PAC is secretly sending funds to both the Santorum and Gingrich campaigns.
Our political reporter Stacy Conundrum met with Mr. Bigmoney(an alias).
To protect his identify, he showed up wearing a paper sack over his head and surgical gloves on his hand so he wouldn't leave behind any fingerprints.  He also disguised his voice with an electronic device.
Stacy Conundrum:  Why is a Democratic PAC giving money to Republican candidates?
Bigmoney:  It's quite simple.  President Obama will beat any of the major candidates that are trying for the nomination.  But beating Romney will take mo money than beating Santorum and Gingrich.  Therefore, if Santorum or Gingrich get the nomination, we can use the money not spent on the presidential campaign on Congressional races.  So, thanks to our wonderful Supreme Court, we can raise all the money we want and spend it any way we want, including throwing money to Republican candidates when it is our strategic interests.
SC:  So all this bizarre behavior comes from the Supreme Court's decision that corporations are people and they have freedom of speech rights?
BM:  That's right, Stacy.  Those idiots on the court bench had no idea what they were about to unleash and I think they still don't know what is going on.  What a great country we live in, don't you agree?
SC: I have to think about that before I answer.  We'll have more on this at a later date including Mr. Bigmoney's indentitiy

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

FNN Exclusive Report: University president challenges Obama over tuition hikes.

Faux News Network political reporter Stacy Connundrum filed this report.

Ziggy Zwiebach, President of the New Jersey's University of Hoboken and Weehawken, today denigrated President Obama's plan to restrict aid to colleges and universities that don't limit tuition hikes.
Zwiebach told FNN that "Obama obviously has no clue how expensive running a university is these days.  Decreasing the Federal aid will have a devastating affect on higher education and will limit our ability to fund the most important aspects of university life."
Zwiebach went on to talk about the tough choices ahead of college executives if the Obama plan becomes law.  "At UHW we wild be forced to close entire areas of study such as our Mathematics and Physics Departments.  Also, our research project into the origins of the Big Foot legends would be in jeopardy.  These programs would have to be sacrificed in order to maintain full funding for our football program.  I'm sure President Obama has no idea how expensive a competitive program is.  Scholarships, coaches, equipment, under-the-table payouts to the athletes, all these cost a ton of money.  That's why tuition keeps climbing; every year the athletes demand more and more expensive fringe benefits."
Zwiebach concluded the interview by tell FNN that he has contacted the president of the NCAA and urged him to launch an extensive lobbying and advertising campaigns to block Obama's insidious attack on the American Way.
FNN will, of course, provide additional reports as information becomes available on this breaking news story.