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Tales of the Tai-Pan Universe

Tai-Pan Issue #41
Tai-Pan Issue #41
Covers: Front cover by Sky Rigdon, back cover by Susan Woolard
Stories: "Monkey in the Middle" written by Mark Allen Davis and illustrated by Chas P.A. Melville, "Dance with the Devil" written by Gene Breshears and illustrated by C.D. Woodbury, "A Little Respect" written by Mark Allen Davis and illustrated by Bill Koonts.
Information: "Girls Night Out: A Challenge Capitulated." Also, the announcement of two contests in honor of the the impending 20th anniversary of the project.
Price: $6.00 US
First printing: May, 2006
Scirocco's review: I-Ching is often ignored, except by Neko and Jonesy, until he loses his most prized possession! Then he's the "Monkey in the Middle" of an incredible, harrowing adventure that roams over every part of the ship and involves many members of the crew as he tries to locate his special treasure. Thrill with I-Ching as he dares the wrath of Nasty Quick and her needles, steals The Bestest Toy from Best Toys Person in hopes of replacing his missing treasure, investigates the myriad delights of The Wonderful Paper Room, and is attacked by both Wet Fish and Dark Purple Patches. It's more than an average monkey could handle, but I-Ching is equal to any disaster! Chas P.A. Melville's comic illustrations mesh perfectly with hilarious prose by Mark Allen Davis.

Faust is surrounded by amateurs at all times, but usually bears them in silence. It's harder to do so when murder and revenge are the evening's subjects for discussion, so it's a good thing he learned a long time ago how to "Dance with the Devil". This story by Gene Breshears takes place during and around the events of "One Last Dance" from issue #33. Satin comes to terms with the Brigadier, but amateurs are amateurs are amateurs... and while Satin is a competent navigator, she's not very skilled at crime. It always seems to be up to Faust to pick up the slack. C.D. Woodbury provides a lot of high-contrast illustrations that characterize Faust's mean, dark exterior.

A rare Mark Allen Davis double-header issue! "A Little Respect" details the transparent manipulations of one Rik Traverse, mongoose computer officer of the Iktome, to exact his revenge. Transparent manipulations would be all well and good, as we're come to expect little better from Rik over the years, except that he targets Captain Roberts as the one to be manipulated. Some people never learn, but Rik had better learn, or else he might be the one catching a bullet instead of his intended prey. Bill Koonts has a good eye for facial expressions, and the characters he illustrates run the gamut from delighted interest to the glazed stare of death....

Best illustration: The Tai-Pan girls, in a rented flying saucer, running from Jawas (or maybe they're members of Megacosmic Church. This one is my favorite partly because it's awesomely interesting, but also because Corey DuPlessis is grabbing J.T.'s butt as she hangs on for dear life!
$ 6.00
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Tai-Pan Issue #42
Tai-Pan Issue #42
Covers: Front cover by Jennifer Anderson, back cover by Susan Woolard
Stories: "Bob's Greezamus Carol" written by C.D. Woodbury and illustrated by Chas P.A. Melville; "Wassailing the Lady" written by Gene Breshears and illustrated by Sheryl Schopfer; "Time Well Spent" written by Keith Alan Johnson and illustrated by Annette Pschirrer.
Information:
First printing: December, 2006
Scirroco's review: Ghosts in a variety of shapes, sizes, and professional backgrounds haunt the pages of this issue in stories by C.D. Woodbury, Gene Breshears, and Keith Alan Johnson. Each year Gene writes a Christmas ghost story and challenges others to do the same. The results are read (or in the case of C.D.'s offering, performed with music) at Tai-Pan's annual holiday party in December.

"Bob's Greezamus Carol" is the story that has (and probably will continue to have) the most often misspelled title of any story in our universe. Bob Fulton is a diligent engineer with little free time for celebration and little inclination, either. His crew of friends contrive a means to turn his notions of holidays upside down with appearances by Te Teko, Satin, MacQuarrie, and a tall, unwelcome stranger with a hidden face and a metal hand. It was a real treat to hear C.D. play his guitar and sing between scenes at the party. We really should look into recording it. Chas P.A. Melville provides his always-humorous illustrations to this new classic.

A prominent businessman (businesshare?) is murdered on stage in front of an entire audience of witnesses, but when no one saw the same thing as anyone else, it falls to Velvet Kigeri to tease apart the tangled threads of truth buried in the confusing stories of those involved. Velvet has had help from strange quarters before, but never from beyond the grave until "Wassailing the Lady" by Gene Breshears. And like all mysteries, there's always a clue in the title.

Keith Alan Johnson treats us to a posthumous visit by one of Tai-Pan's original crew, but most people in modern, enlightened society don't believe in real ghosts (which is ironic, being that Tai-Pan has been haunted for quite some time)... until they see one for themselves. Kiakiru, Cory, Isis, MacQuarrie, and eventually everyone aboard receives a visit from their long-dead crewmate, but what do his strange, broken messages portend? Even when the mystery seems solved, some tantalizing loose ends remain to be considered, and time spent in their contemplation would certainly be "Time Well Spent".

Best illustration: Paul Patrynskerov and Kathi on the table of contents by Vanessa Pridgen is my favorite for the prize in this issue, but Chuck's title page for "Bob's Greezamus Carol" and Annette's picture of Isis dancing with Kiakiru come in at a very close second. It's always so hard to choose!
$ 6.00
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Tai-Pan Issue #43
Tai-Pan Issue #43
Covers: Front cover by Jennifer Anderson, back cover by Susan Woolard
Stories: "Putting the Universe Back Together" written by Chas P.A. Melville and illustrated by Susan Woolard and Annette Pschirrer; "Black Jack Was His Name" written by Mark Allen Davis and illustrated by Vanessa Pridgen; "Hachi Does Not Exist" written by Chas P.A. Melville and illustrated by C.D. Woodbury.
Information: "Practice Phrases for the Traveler in Cobb Space" by Edd Vick
Price: $6.00
First printing: August, 2007
review:
$ 6.00
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Tai-Pan Issue #44
Tai-Pan Issue #44
Covers: Front cover by Tom Milliorn, back cover by Charles P.A. Melville
Stories: "The Needler" written by Mark Allen Davis and illustrated by Vanessa Pridgen; "Child's Play" written by Robert Mitchell and illustrated by Daren Bost; "Psychic Chicken" written by Mark Allen Davis and illustrated by James Brandt; and "Fuzzy Ghost" written by Mark Allen Davis and illustrated by Gary Fletcher.
Information: A Tai-Pan Haiku by Edd Vick and Kristin Fontaine; A Tai-Pan Universe Art Gallery.
First printing: January, 2008
review:
$ 6.00
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Tai-Pan Issue #45
Tai-Pan Issue #45
Covers: Front cover by Charles P.A. Melville
Stories: "Dance Into the Fire" written by Gene Breshears and illustrated by Annette Pschirrer, "The Grizzly is King" written by Mark Allen Davis and illustrated by Vanessa Pridgen, and "Less Than Words Can Say" written by Kristin Fontaine and illustrated by Gary Fletcher.
Information: A Tai-Pan Universe Art Gallery.
First printing: September, 2008
review:
$ 8.00
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Tai-Pan Issue #46
Tai-Pan Issue #46
Covers: Front cover by Vanessa Pridgen
Stories: "Restoring the Lady" written by Mark Allen Davis and illustrated by Chas PA Melville, and "The Safety Weasel Must Die!" written by Chas PA Melville and illustrated by Edd Vick.
Information:
First printing: May, 2009
review:
$ 8.00
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Tai-Pan Issue #47
Tai-Pan Issue #47
Covers: Front cover by Chuck Melvile
Stories: "The Great Chip Capter (Director's Cut)" written by Gene Breshears and illustrated by Chas PA Melville, "Väinämöinen and Luuranko’s Daughter: A Hautikivi Fable" written by Mark Allen Davis and illustrated by C.D. Woodbury, "…Because Thorns Have Roses" written by Bill Koonts and illustrated by Kristin Fontaine, and "Understudy" written by Kristin Fontaine and illustrated by Jeffrey Young.
Information:
First printing: November, 2010
review:
$ 8.00
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Tai-Pan Issue #48
Tai-Pan Issue #48
Covers: Front cover by C.D. Woodbury
Stories: "Beginner’s Luck," written by Gary Fletcher, with illustrations by Susan Woolard and Annette Pschirrer; "Getting it Right," written by Mark Allen Davis, and illustrated by Andrew Laverdiere; and "The Shadow of Azrael," written by Gene Breshears, with illustrations by Chuck Melville.
Information:
First printing: August, 2011
review:
$ 8.00
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Tai-Pan Issue #49
Tai-Pan Issue #49
Covers: Front cover by Bill Koonts
Stories: "The Narrow Road to the Deep North," written by Jared Robertson, with illustrations by C.D. Woodbury; “Floodgate Royale” written by Mark Allen Davis and illustrated by Edd Vick; “A Heir Raising Tale” written by Gene Breshears and illustrated by Kristin Fontaine; “Touring the Lady” written by Kristin Fontaine; and “A Safety Weasel Christmas” written by Gene Breshears and illustrated by James L. Brandt.
Information: "The Quantum Lady is Coming to Your System" a brochure about the largest cruise ship in known space; "From the Readers" letter column; Character Updates: Adri, Agent Four, Elijah North, Zafnir, Captain Kaleb, Mr. Fix-it, Kaori, Leticia Rush, Tori Bocking, and Jordan LaMonica.
First printing: December, 2011
review:
$ 8.00
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Tai-Pan Issue #50
Tai-Pan Issue #50
Covers: Front cover by C.D. Woodbury
Stories: "E = m c (pizza)" by Chas P.A. Melville with illustrations by James L. Brandt; "Take Three" by Gene Breshears with illustrations by Barb Cummings; "Martyr" by Mark Allen Davis with illustrations by Vanessa Pridgen; "Skeeter" by Chas P.A. Melville with illustrations by Gary Fletcher; "The Man with the Golden Clipboard" by Mark Allen Davis with illustrations by Jeffrey Young. And "Iktome Beach Party," a story in illustrations by Andrew Laverdiere.
Information: Two mini portrait galleries.
First printing: September, 2012
review:
$ 8.00
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Reviews courtesy of Mark "Miko" Allen Davis, Chuck Melville, C.D. Woodbury, and Jared "Scirocco" Robertson.