Billibub Baddings and the Case of the Singing Sword

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Overview

Book Description: It is The Era of Prohibition, where crime runs rampant in the streets and a city divided into territories serves as the ultimate prize. Somewhere in this Underworld of Chicago, an enchanted weapon holds the key to ending The Gangland Wars. In the wake of The St. Valentine?s Day Massacre, only one is man enough to stand up against Al Capone...a four-foot-one dwarf named Billibub Baddings.

From the imagination of award-nominated author Tee Morris, co-author of ...

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Overview

Book Description: It is The Era of Prohibition, where crime runs rampant in the streets and a city divided into territories serves as the ultimate prize. Somewhere in this Underworld of Chicago, an enchanted weapon holds the key to ending The Gangland Wars. In the wake of The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, only one is man enough to stand up against Al Capone...a four-foot-one dwarf named Billibub Baddings.

From the imagination of award-nominated author Tee Morris, co-author of MOREVI: The Chronicles of Rafe & Askana and contributing author to The Complete Guide to Writing Fantasy, comes "The Lord of the Rings, written by Mickey Spillane," a spoof of both the Fantasy and Mystery genres featuring a tough-talking, axe-wielding private eye facing the toughest case in his short career - The Case of the Singing Sword.

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Editorial Reviews

Joe Murphy
BILLIBUB BADDINGS AND THE CASE OF THE SINGING SWORD may throw the reader for a loop at first if he doesn't know what to expect. Tee thoroughly lampoons both the fantasy and hard-boiled detective genres while still paying close attention to good storytelling, and thus delivers an engaging and satisfying, if somewhat whimsical and unusual, story for the reader.

Many genre authors like to mix the genres together to create a new flavor to their stories. This is the first time I've seen fantasy and mystery blended quite in this fashion. It makes for fantastic dialogue and laugh-out-loud funny narrative.
The Dragon Page

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781896944180
  • Publisher: Dragon Moon Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2004
  • Pages: 308
  • Product dimensions: 5.55 (w) x 8.54 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Tee Morris has been working as a freelance graphic artist, web designer and video editor with his own business, Imagine That! Studios, since 1993. He has been working with Adobe Premiere since version 4.2.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One--Trouble is a Princess in High Heels

Chicago, 1929. There are a thousand stories in the naked city. And when you're a dwarf at four-foot-one, they all look that much taller.

The name's Billibub Baddings. I'm a private eye. I know you're probably scratching your noggin right now, wondering how the hell did a dwarf of the Highlands of Gryfennos get to be a detective walking the asphalt jungles of the Windy City? It's an easy story to tell, but not one I enjoy telling again and again ... and again. I won't lie to you--being a four-foot-one detective in a world of six-foot thugs, creeps, and low-lifes is tough, but I manage. Just as I manage, every time, to tell the tale of how I ended up in this crazy, mixed-up world called Chicago.

Let me take you back in time, and then to the left a nudge, to the world of Acryonis. With valleys and groves greener than Hyde Park in springtime, it wasn't a bad place to hang your axe and shield at the end of a day. Where there wasn't green, there were mountainous arctic regions, rolling moors, and clear, vast lake districts. Yeah, Acryonis had it all. It could've been paradise if the noisy neighbors upstairs--Black Orcs from the North, who weren't that happy with being cold all the time--hadn't gone stirring up trouble.

The Great War of the Races began as a series of more-than-occasional village burnings along the borders of Stone Guardian Valley and the Shri-Mela Plains, and then grew hair over time ... and as it was orcs who started this mess, this war grew hair in places that you wouldn't think to look for hair. This Great War (and to this day, I still don't know why they call it that, as there was nothing greatabout it), which started back before my great-grandfather's day, now started to pick up steam in mine. It fell upon me to uphold the great estate of Baddings--to carve out a name for myself, my future offspring, and my ancestors on the Holy Tablets of Yearnese.

Yeah, big deal. My family name and a nickel might get me a cup of java or a taste of foam from a freshly tapped keg. The "great estate of Baddings" I was charged to uphold consisted of a couple of rickety chairs, a wobbly table, and a thatch roof that leaked on rainy days. Since I really didn't have much to lose, I figured I would find my fortune in the heat of battle ... thirst for glory, rattling sabers and all that.

Unlike my ancestors, I did all right for myself. Managed to make Captain of my unit. We dwarves were the best in the Allied Races, our sterling reputation with infiltration and search-and-destroy missions preceding us to the point that other races were willing to pay or barter only the finest goods for our services. We never disappointed. The 25th Dwarf Warriors Company went so far as to adopt the motto, "Don't let 'em know you're comin', but let 'em know when you're leavin.'" At least, that's a rough translation in Chicago's native tongue.

It was this particular talent of getting in unannounced and leaving with a bang (and a boom, for good measure) that got the "Stormin' Scrappies" noticed by The Council of Light. It appeared that the Black Orcs, who had fought this Great War for decades only to find themselves on the losing side, were cooking up this cockamamie scheme of taking over Acryonis by calling on the Darkness of Ish'tyis: an all-supreme evil that could make the most crooked politician look straighter than a flagpole.

I know I should be pissed beyond reason at the arrogance the orcs displayed in dabbling in dark magic, but it's more of a pity I feel. Truth be told, orcs ain't the brightest bulbs on the moviehouse marquee. They had their eyes on the prize, but hadn't considered how they would control this Darkness once it was unleashed. Instead, they kept their plan to the basics: collect the ancient talismans of Acryonis and open the Portal of Kraketia, unleashing the Eternal Night of Ish'tyis in the process.

You think these names are hard to read? Try living there.

Anyway, our counterplan was to get this crossbreed blacksmith, Sirus Hawthorne, up to Death Mountain's summit so he could drive his handcrafted toothpick into the heart of the Black Orc Barbarians' top dog. Along with Sirus and his tagalong cleric came me and my boys, leading a team of representatives from every race in the Allied Forces.

We were trying to sneak in undetected, but humans are a loud and clumsy bunch. But even with the Black Orcs closing in on us, we managed to reach the Central Chamber, where the Talisman Ritual had already begun. Sirus took on the Black Orcs' Big Cheese while we fended off his thugs. I broke free of the melee and got over to the Portal of Kraketia, and from the sounds coming out of there as it opened, I had to think fast. Otherwise, a bunch of grumpy orcs would have been the least of our troubles.

I figured the best way to separate the talismans would be to toss them into the Portal, condemning them to Oblivion in the process. As I threw the last talisman into the portal and watched the rip in front of me slowly close in on itself, it looked like the plan was working.

The only problem was that I didn't know how close "too close" to the portal was. As the rip became smaller, I found myself getting closer to the gaping chasm without necessarily wanting to get closer. Ahead, I could see slips of dark-blue mist quickly disappearing into a black void darker than goblin's blood; the void was growing larger, but only because I kept sliding forward towards this closing maw. No doubt about it: It looked like I was to be a final dessert for this portal's nine-course dinner.

The kind of fear I was feeling at that moment can motivate you--no matter how desperate that last act may appear--to make a final stand in order to live to see another day. To that end, I turned around and shot out a hand for this cute elf in our party, just out of arm's reach. She was a pretty little creation with finely-honed muscles, the end result of disciplined training and a few too many tours of duty in that friggin' war. There was just a touch of the wild child left in her, what with the V-cut shirts and leather armor that worked like a barmaid's bodice to push her tiny breasts up and together, giving this hardened Elvish warrior enough cleavage for a dwarf to enjoy. I looked deep into her brilliant green peepers--a pair of emeralds set in a hard, intense face framed by long, thick locks of silky fire billowing in the strong currents that pulled me ever closer to Oblivion.

Yeah, she was a cutie. Always had a soft spot for the redheads. Still do.

I remember feeling her fingertips just brushing mine ... and with that, everything I knew and accepted as my world slipped away like dirty bathwater taking its time running down a slow drain. But at least I knew that pretty little thing and the rest of Acryonis would be all right. I had done my part to uphold the all-important Baddings name. I had sacrificed my life for the tranquility of my kinsmen, and of the kinsmen I would never know.

I remember the chamber disappearing from me in a blur. I remember falling. I remember seeing all kinds of stars, like on a winter night where you can see the edge of the universe and just a yard past it. I remember the wind growing louder the longer I fell.

Then everything stopped ... and I mean stopped. I was surrounded by that silence you hear (and to an extent, feel) after you've been thrown against the nearest wall in the middle of a tavern brawl.

So, I guessed I was done. This was it. The big sleep, and it felt like being thrown against a wall in the middle of a barfight. Damn, this was going to be one hell of an eternity!

Now, here's the funny thing about Oblivion: Everyone knows what it is, but no one knows where it is. You can consult those All-Mighty Oracles, and they will describe the same thing I've just gotten through telling you about. The stars. The wind. Flashes of light. Okay, they might skip the "being thrown against the tavern wall" analogy, as the average Oracle doesn't drink, smoke, or enjoy a good woman. (If that's the price for clairvoyance, let me forever wallow in the bliss of ignorance!)

Ask the Oracles what happens after the silence, and suddenly the planets are out of alignment, or the cards are refusing to yield their knowledge. If ever an Oracle answered with a simple "Gee, I don't know ... " it would probably trigger some bizarre spell and make their heads explode or something. No, instead of 'fessing up that they're about as enlightened as the darkest part of a goblin's butt, they spew this bizarre rhetoric that makes Irving Berlin lyrics sound like Shakespeare. "The Winds of the Future are brewing into a storm I cannot see through ... " is always an old standby of theirs.

Oblivion, as I discovered, is not the part you see, but the part where you end up. Makes sense, right? And since no one has ever come back from Oblivion, no one--not even the wizard with the biggest hat of the nine realms--knows where Oblivion is.

But now I'm here to tell you exactly where Oblivion is and where it ends. The portals of Oblivion, at least the ones I fell through, end at the Chicago Public Library on 78 East Washington Street in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2012

    A fun and interesting spin on the fantasy and detective genres.

    Fans of both the detective and fantasy genres are likely to have fun with this novel, as it's a delightful send-up to both. Tee Morris writes with a biting sense of humor, and spins an interesting mystery with deep personal significance to the protagonist while including the expected cast of characters for a noir tale: the sly and gritty detective, the plucky secretary, the femme fatale (x2), the shady mob connection, the mob boss, and so on. Baddings is a delightful narrator, as his experiences as war veteran and accidental emigre to 1928 Chicago from a High Fantasy realm provide him with a rather unconventional point of view and and some unexpected skills to set him apart from the average gumshoe, including a rather extensive education. The story is engaging and the mystery interesting, with strong notes of irreverent humor running throughout to keep Baddings from taking himself and his surroundings too seriously. If you have a taste for detective novels, urban fantasy, or traditional fantasy (in any combination), I strongly urge you to purchase this book.

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  • Posted April 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A mystery solving fantasy dwarf in Chicago 1929

    Billibub Baddings is an ax yielding dwarf of Gryfennos who finds himself accidentally dropped into a library of the human world...of Chicago after falling into a portal. He teaches himself the language and catches up on current events. Along with the reading in the library to get to know the world he is now in, he enjoyed the fiction stories of Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes. Then trying to figure out what work to do, he figured with his military skills as a dwarf and what he loved he would be a private investigator. He's been here for a few years and doing okay in the business. But this month is a slow month, thinking on making the call to an old associate to make a few extra bucks as dressing up as a munchkin from the Wizard of Oz. But as he was readying himself to make the humiliating call, a tall woman from the prominent family in Chicago walks through the door with a case ~ wondering why her boyfriend is now deceased from a hit by whom they suspect, Al Capone.

    I enjoyed this book as it was a new blend for me. Our setting here is the late 1920's in Chicago during the mobster era of the big names; Al "Scarface" Capone and George "Bugs" Moran. With a mystery detective take on the story. But the best part was the blend of the fantasy world Billibub comes from. Not only does Tee create a great feel for the late 1920's with the accents and particular words popular then, but he creates a whole fantasy realm through Billibub's metaphors and similes to his home world from his memories.

    I was really surprised how great these two worlds blended together. These are two places I would never have thought to blend. I have to say as I don't get to visit Billibub's world much as he is living in Chicago, but I would liked what pieces I did get of it and wished I could see more of it. But, Billibub has created himself here in Chicago in a great way. And all the short jokes, he takes with stride (most of the time).

    I enjoyed the mystery/detective side of the story as well as it ends up being blended with the fantasy world as well. Very nice take on this. I have to say I enjoyed the piece on his ax and weapons. This did bring a smile to my face the first time it was really approached in the story with the visitors in his office. I know there is one other book with Billibub, and I'm curious to see if Tee comes out with more.

    This is a book to read if you enjoy the 1920's or 1930's feel, mystery/detective storyline, with a grace of fantasy through the book and mystery itself.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2004

    Tolkien meets Marlowe

    Philip Marlowe and J. R. R. Tolkien have had a love child and his name is Tee Morris. I literally could not put this hysterical book down. Imagine a dwarf from a Tolkienesque/Dungeons and Dragons type world is transported to Chicago in the 1920s, complete with prohibition, flappers and Al Capone! A nonstop fun ride, this book hits the ground running and never looks back until you reach the last page. Morris makes the roaring 20s come to life through the eyes of the 4 foot one inch detective from another dimension. He seconds in blending the genres of noir and fantasy into a seamless package that does not fail to satisfy. Well worth the cover price.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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