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Weekly Challenge freebie #3: Marvin the Magnificent!


Continuing with my weekly challenge: I’ll be posting a free story every Wednesday for the next year…if I can! This is story #3, ideally out of 52.

Did you like last week’s story? You can find its new home, with retailer links (currently only Amazon but I’m going to be changing that–feel free to express a loud opinion on the subject if you have one) here. Seems to be settling in nicely.

Things took a funny turn this week. This is a story, all right, just as planned. But it may turn into more than that. A series of stories, a serial novel, a something that goes on past the end of this first entry. I have roughly 8.7 bajillion ideas for fun ways to take this. So…if you enjoy it, let me know.

Oh wait, I’m still typing! I should stop.


Marvin the Magnificent!

When I was a kid I used to read Robert Asprin’s stuff. I was a big fan of Skeeve (well, and Gleep). More recently I’ve enjoyed Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden books. Oh, and then there’s Archie Goodwin from Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe books and stories. What’s the point of all this? Well, they got jumbled up in my head. And a character fell out.

Meet Marvin. He’s a good kid. He means well, anyway, and that’s something. Definitely out there trying to help people. Things don’t always go his way…

Readers familiar with “Shiver on the Sky” may recognize a setting or a character here and there. It’s all in fun.

[REDACTED 8/28/2014]

I’m making all my stories Amazon-only for a while. Their “Kindle Unlimited” deal is very nice for short fiction. I hate to leave people out if they prefer buying stuff at non-Amazon sites, but…(1) nearly all sales and downloads, for me, have always come from Amazon, (2) while I’ve had issues with Amazon, they’ve been very responsive in dealing with them, (3) I can’t say that for any other online distributor (well, Smashwords is actually pretty nice), and (4) this may boost visibility at Amazon…kind of the core of my business. If you really really hate the idea, please let me know.

Published inWeekly Challenge


  1. David, that you even thought to set a goal of a story-a-week for an entire year is awesome! (I’m tickled to consistently upload one blog post a week.) Clapping & Cheering for you.

  2. Shelley Bricker

    Marvin The Magnificent was a fun ride. Making it into a series? My vote is Yes. I enjoy when writers tease you at the beginning of the story and when a good writer makes it worth the wait. The “bare” bones truth – your’s was worth the wait. I have the alarm set on my calendar for next Wednesday 🙂

    • David

      Cool! So that’s all the votes I needed. Marvin’s fun for me. Anyway, this week’s story isn’t going to be about Marvin, and I don’t know about next week’s either (haven’t written it yet), but he’ll come by and join us again.

  3. William Ockham

    I enjoyed this story. Marvin Crypto and Owen Tremaine would make an oddly effective team. It’s funny, though. I’ve been to Corpus Christi and it always seemed fairly banal to me.

    • David

      Thanks! I think Marvin’s world is a little less dark than Owen’s, with (probably) more magical stuff floating around. But it’s fun to play with ’em this way.

      About Corpus…I get that a lot, though I think downtown is a fun place to wander at 3am. There are characters in action.

      People also tell me the Texas Gulf Coast in general is boring. I say: get out on the water. I mean, sure, you can find more dramatic scenery elsewhere. It’s just that the water is warm. And accessible, for miles & miles. Fun stuff happens, if you’re out there. {8’>

  4. Rebecca

    Magnificent! More please.

    • David


      I thought I’d finish up the next Marvin story today. But I ended up writing something else instead. Maybe Marvin will return next week?

  5. David Wolf

    Hi, David–I’m so glad I found this, having already read #2 in the series. This is an excellent beginning, and the neat fact that Marvin has been ordered to write explains his digressions and insecurities as a “reporter” of past events. It all hangs together very nicely, and I really like the character (& voice) with all his quirks. His situation is fun, too, and appeals to the kid in me who still fondly remembers the sci-fi I read that was directed to a younger audience. Books like Needle, by Hal Clement, which reaches back a lo-o-o-oong way. And the original movie, Invaders from Mars, which was told from a kid’s point of view. This is the one in which people were turned into hosts for parasites that clung to the backs of their necks and took over their brains. (It opened with a kid waking up, looking out his bedroom window and seeing a meteorite (or something) come down just over the horizon. And there was a more recent remake.) The fact that Marvin is 18 is good, so adults readers can relate; and his immaturity invites younger readers. I am sure you have a winner of a series or novel in this.

    • David

      Thanks again! I hope there’s more in it, ’cause I want to write more. That movie (Invaders from Mars) sounds an awful lot like Heinlein’s The Puppet Masters. Was it deliberate? I remember reading a book by David Gerrold in which he said his “tribbles” on Star Trek were probably inspired by Heinlein’s Martian flat cats, but he simply hadn’t realized what he was doing at the time. I always wonder whether my stuff has little Easter eggs like that in it that I didn’t notice.

      Incidentally, have you been receiving my email? I got some messages from you and replied to ’em but haven’t heard back since. Your email provider gives my server a warning about reverse DNS (which is weird ’cause my server is actually in compliance with that requirement) but seems to accept messages. You have the oddest email setup I’ve ever heard of. {8’>

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