So, Armadillocon has came and went, and everybody else in the whole of creation has posted their thoughts and comments about the convention except me. Par for the course, I'd say. I've got a larger wrap-up coming, but I'd like to focus for the moment on Friday night's "Gorilla of the Gasbags" story challenge panel. As I mentioned last week, Joe Lansdale threw out a challenge a year ago to write a story centered around the cover of an exceptionally rare issue of Zeppelin Stories. We had one year to write them, and present the finished product at the panel in question.Quite a few folks turned out with stories, myself included. "Prince Koindrindra Lives" is a direct sequel to my story "Prince Koindrindra Escapes," which appeared in Cross Plain Universe back in 2006. Except, since I'm not a particularly fast writer, and I'd only completed the first draft of my Chicken Ranch book the week before, I didn't get mine completed. Specifically, I wrote about 11 pages of what will probably be a 30-page tale once all is said and done. Everybody else finished theirs. Or at least claimed to. I'm not going to accuse anyone of bending the truth a bit, but those folks who hung me out to dry know who they are.
Koindrindra had barely taken two steps toward the keep when the giant doors exploded open, propellering through the courtyard to embed themselves in the Palas wall. The very force knocked Koindrindra back. He stared at the keep, not believing his eyes. Through the smoke-filled doorway, backlit by a hundred work lights, rumbled a massive... something. Mounted on a twenty-foot armored tank chassis, a sectioned cylindrical torso rose with a black Iron Cross emblazoned across the chest. One either side of the armored cylinder extended two jointed, hydraulic arms. One ended in a vice-like clamp, the other in a still-smoking gun barrel. Mounted atop the torso, more than thirty feet high, sat what could only be described as a head, ape-like in design. The mad Fritz could not win against Koindrindra on the field of battle, so they'd build a mechanical abomination to do it for them. Panzer Affe!Amazingly, every single story fragment read came off as solid, quality literature. Don Webb actually recited his from memory, as he'd forgotten his manuscript. Amazing. This really needs to be anthology, as the stories ranged widely in tone and theme. I'd certainly buy it.