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Buffalogistics (Tales of the Amazing Conroy #3) by Lawrence M. Schoen
Cover Artist: Rachel Mayo
Review by Colleen Cahill
SRM Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780977663996
Date: Undefined 2008

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Good things do come in small packages and this is certainly true for Lawrence M. Schoen's Tales of the Amazing Conroy, where there are several good things in this package. Not only do you get the "Amazing Convoy, Hypnotist Extraordinaire" (a very likeable con man and rogue), but there are the charming buffalo dogs, alien creatures about the size of a lap dog that resemble buffaloes, but with a lot more personality. In Buffalogistics, we get two Conroy stories, ones that show us not only Conroy's clever side, but also some of his generous heart.

A great opening line can suck you in and "Never play cards with a telepath" from "The Matter at Hand", first of the stories in Buffalogisitics, certainly did that for me. After my "well, duh" moment, I just had to find out what was going on and yes, Conroy had gotten himself in a very high stakes game with a mind reader. While negotiating a business contract, he agrees to decide the deal through a round of Matter, a card game with no rules, so it is impossible to cheat. As ever, Conroy has a plan on how to cope with his telepathic opponent and brings in his full-blooded Comanche friend Left-John Mocker, who is also "one of only seven ranked human players" in the game. Our hypnotist has several tricks up his sleeve and this is one wild game, with lots of action and surprises. I won't tell you the ending, but let us say not all the plans go off as expected and Conroy definitely has to use some ingenuity to save the day.

The second story, "Requiem", has more of a bittersweet quality to it and we get a lot of background on Conroy: how he began his career as a stage hypnotist and rogue. The tale opens with a wealthy Conroy explaining that he still does his stage act because of immortality, but not for Conroy himself. What unfolds is a tale of a young college sophomore stranded on an alien mausoleum world. Robbed and desperate for money, Conroy finds he does have one marketable skill, hypnosis. His stage show becomes popular and, more importantly, Conroy learns that "some alien races could not be readily hypnotized", but some can and this is were the trouble begins. Using a local embalming scandal in the act gets our hero charged with committing blasphemy and one alien is ready to haul Conroy off to be killed. A solution arises of a philosophical bent, one that eventually has Conroy "keeping faith with a telepathic criminal member of an alien race."

There is great humor, unexpected plot twists and a good deal of heart in both these Conroy stories. Just reading these two have made me long for more, especially those with the Buffalo dogs, which I admit are not at the center of either of these tales, but there is enough to know they are wonderful characters in themselves. The good news is there are two other chapbooks of stories of the Amazing Conroy and Schoen is working on a buffalo dog novel. Definitely worth the price, I recommend getting Buffalogistics and enjoy a bit of science fiction fun.

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