9 Tales of Henghis Hapthorn

Rated 3.50/5 based on 2 reviews
Here are nine tales of Henghis Hapthorn, foremost freelance discriminator of Old Earth in the planet's penultimate age. Included are the six stories that ran in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (and were previously collected in The Gist Hunter and Other Stories), leading up to the events that began the first Hapthorn novel, Majestrum, plus three more. More

Available ebook formats: epub

About Matthew Hughes

The name I answer to is Matt Hughes. I write science fiction, fantasy and suspense fiction. To keep the genres separate, I now use my full name, Matthew Hughes, for sff, and the shorter form for the crime stuff. I also write media tie-ins as Hugh Matthews.

I’ve won the Crime Writers of Canada’s Arthur Ellis Award, and have been shortlisted for the Aurora, Nebula, Philip K. Dick, A.E. Van Vogt, Endeavour, and Derringer Awards.

I was born sixty-four years ago in Liverpool, England, but my family moved to Canada when I was five. I’ve made my living as a writer all of my adult life, first as a journalist, then as a staff speechwriter to the Canadian Ministers of Justice and Environment, and — from 1979 until a few years back– as a freelance corporate and political speechwriter in British Columbia.

I’m a university drop-out from a working poor background. Before getting into newspapers, I worked in a factory that made school desks, drove a grocery delivery truck, was night janitor in a GM dealership, and did a short stint as an orderly in a private mental hospital. As a teenager, I served a year as a volunteer with the Company of Young Canadians (something like VISTA in the US).

I’ve been married to a very patient woman since the late 1960s, and I have three grown sons. In late 2007, I took up a secondary occupation — that of an unpaid housesitter — so that I can afford to keep on writing fiction yet still eat every day.

These days, any snail-mail address of mine must be considered temporary; but you can send me an e-mail via the address on my web page: www.matthewhughes.org. I’m always interested to hear from people who’ve read my work.

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Charles Ott reviewed on on Sep. 11, 2013

You'll like this book better if you ignore the references to Jack Vance and The Dying Earth -- these stories don't have any important connection to that book and the style is only slightly reminiscent of Vance. But on their own, these are cheerful fantasy stories, very lightweight but fun if you're in the mood for that. Heghis Hapthorn is a far-future private eye, solving unusual crimes in an age that is sliding from rationality into magic. The problem with this set-up, of course, is that you can't outguess the detective because the solutions to these mysteries involve more fantasy elements which the author must introduce. (I also have to mention that the answer to the first mystery is memorably icky.) Overall, this book is good light reading for fantasy fans.
(review of free book)
Kevin A. Lyons reviewed on on Aug. 19, 2013

These stories are set in the very distant future. Earth has colonized thousands of worlds, but most of these stories are set on "Old Earth." The protagonist, Henghis Hapthorn, is described as a "freelance discriminator" -- basically, a private investigator. He will not knowingly provide services that could result in criminal activity, but he's a bit flexible on that detail. He's on reasonably good terms with the police -- called the Bureau of Scrutiny -- but not exactly friendly terms.

Hapthorn is assisted by his integrator -- an artificial intelligence that combines the functions of personal computer, cell phone, digital assistant, etc. Integrators are made to order and nearly all citizens have one, assembled to order with customized blends of intelligence, curiosity, etc. By definition, they don't change or evolve -- but the stories suggest that they can. Hapthorn also has a "colleague" who inhabits a universe of different dimensions, that he calls a "demon."

Finally, Hapthorn is living in the "penultimate age" of humanity. The universe is poised to shift from a rational universe of logic and science to a universe based on the principles of magic.

The writing is reminiscent of Jack Vance in both style and setting, but it seems very natural -- not forced.

Basically, I really enjoyed these stories.
(reviewed 5 days after purchase)
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