The final Repairman Jack novel came out today! Anyone else a fan?

(The new Pratchett (and allegedly the second-to-last Discworld) also came out today too)

F. Paul Wilson started two intertwining story cycles about 40 years ago. The first cycle was 6 books starting with The Keep and ending in the utterly freakin’ magnificent Nightworld.

The second volume of that cycle was The Tomb (later changed back to the author’s original title Rakoshi since there was no y’know…tomb…in the book) which introduced a character known as Repairman Jack. A sort of mix between '70s “men’s adventure” characters (like The Punisher from Marvel Comics, or The Executioner, etc) and Batman, Jack is a (fiercely libertarian*) “fix-it” man. Someone blackmailing you? Call Repairman Jack. Your kid getting roughed up by drug dealers? Call Repairman Jack. He fixes things.

Anyway, between the second novel in the “Adversary Cycle” where he was introduced and the final one, the character grew and changed tremendously. Wilson’s second “story cycle” was the evolution of Repairman Jack from mundane (if funny and creative) fixit man to someone who could deal with Lovecraftian horrors from Beyond The Stars. The ~15 Repairman Jack novels (one per year) have been about that evolution of character.

Today the last one comes out. The events of this one (The Dark At The End) apparently lead straight into Nightworld and, after the apocalyptic finale of Nightworld**, there’s really no room for anything else (plus Wilson has said he’s never going to write a novel set afterwards.

Anyway, I love this series and while I understand why Wilson’s ending it (and every novel since the second or third has point blank said that the series will end between book 15 and 20), I’m gonna miss it.

Anyone else a fan and want to talk about it?
*Non-political but in practice. (Wilson’s a huge libertarian, but while it informs some of his characters, it (mostly) doesn’t intrude into the plot.)

**BIG Spoiler here. If you ever intend to read this stuff, do NOT read this box. Really. Don’t. You won’t ruin the story but you’ll spoil a huge chunk of fun.

A total, world-wide incursion of Lovecraftian horrors. Probably 40-60% of the population of the world wiped out from diamond-toothed chew-wasps, jelly-blobs (floating jellyfish that suck blood), etc. And who knows how many others will die from the collapse of the infrastructure and people losing all their sanity points. :wink: This isn’t one of those subtle incursions that people can poo-poo away.

Any novel after this would be a “Let’s rebuild society” book. [/spoiler]

I’m a few books behind, I have Ground Zero sitting on my shelf at home. Maybe it’s time to catch up.

I’ve enjoyed the books, enough to buy them all, but I still think the Tomb is the best of them. As a stand alone novel, it’s a great rocking adventure. The Keep -> Nightworld line is another very good set of books, however I think The Keep is still a great standalone novel and Nightworld is great Lovecraft-style end of the world story.

I didn’t want to, but I broke down and got it for the Kindle. I have other things to read first and I still went with it. I thought there was supposed to be another book or two, but I guess not. I guess I’ll have to savor it then huh?

He’s going to write three more prequels bridging the gap between the Young Repairman Jack stuff and Rakoshi/The Tomb, but to me, those don’t count. This last one is the final novel before Nightworld takes place and I can’t wait to see what he does with it.

I’ve read most of the Repairman Jack books, but besides not really ever being able to stand Gia, they all started to blur and become less & less interesting after about the first 3 or 4 - the last one I remember very clearly was “All the Rage”.

Jack in the original “Nightworld” was still very much the Jack I loved from “The Tomb”, but I am a lot less interested in the character he has become and wonder if I will like the reboot better. The first used all the characters and plots from the early books to very good effect, but they’ve all fallen by the wayside and I fear the action will suffer. The resolution was so much the joint efforts of all the non-Repairman Jack characters as well. The older books are hard to find (except for “The Keep”). I can’t recall when I last saw a copy of “The Touch”, and that one was at least as important as “The Tomb” to “Nightworld’s” resolution.

Actually, I am much more interested in the pre-Tomb RJ novels at this point. I liked the rougher, rawer Jack.

Gia has (finally) morphed into an interesting character. She was annoying as hell for the first 1/3d of the series, but once she finally accepted Jack, she becomes kinda cool.

What you might like about the later Jack novels is that Wilson’s earlier hyper-Libertarianism (“I’ll live like, totally OFF THE GRID, man!”) has run up against the fact that Wilson is a realist first: since 9/11, it’s become harder and harder to live off the grid. He can’t get plane tickets. He can’t buy big-ticket items because people look funny at you (and may call the feds) if you try to buy a new car with a big wad o’ cash. There are cameras in all the stores nowdays and there are cameras on many street corners. The “I’m just an average guy who nobody recognizes” thing just isn’t working and Jack’s starting to have to face that what worked as a pre-9/11 20-year old, doesn’t work so much for a post-9/11 guy pushing 40.

It’s really great stuff.

Gia has been out of the books quite a lot. I honestly don’t remember if she was really in the last two or not. Then again the books are starting to run together.

Wilson has kept up with the times, I noticed while reading today that Jack had to keep his hat low so that the cameras couldn’t see much of him.

I really liked a lot of his older works too, Virgin, The Tery, and those works. The really nice thing is that they were really cheap too, $3 for the Kindle and when I asked on his web page he said that he makes around $2 for each one that’s bought.

Ok, so if one were going to read these books, would you recommending the whole Adversary cycle first or should we digress into the Jack series and try to work the first cycle in as we go?

Depends if you like The Tomb and/or if you’re more into adventure or horror.

If The Tomb/Rakoshi doesn’t totally hook you or if you like horror more than adventure, skip the Repairman Jack stuff. If Tomb/Rakoshi does or you like adventure (with horror overtones) then read 'em in the following order (which isn’t quite right, but it’s better than trying to piece stuff together)

The Keep
The Tomb/Rakoshi
The Touch
–All the other Repairman Jack novels (except the flashback ones)–

You have to read the series in this order if you’re reading the RJ novels because Reprisal is critical to about 2/3ds of the Jack series. The Jack series won’t make sense without Reborn/Reprisal; the events in Reborn/Reprisal are critical to the RJ stuff, beyond the first one.

However, I don’t think this is a very good way of reading it. The published order (except Nightworld) is just a better read

If you’re just reading the Adversary cycle, the published order (and my preferred reading order) is

The Keep
The Tomb/Rakoshi
The Touch

(and you can cram all the other RJ novels in after Reprisal but before Nightworld. Just keep in mind that Reborn takes place like 20-30 years earlier than The Tomb & The Touch (and all the other RJ novels) and Reprisal takes place shortly before most of the RJ novels)

I think a lot of the sly black humor that slips into the series is about how
Jack envisions himself as an off the grid loner but he really isn’t very good at it…loved ones just keep popping out of the woodwork and into his life with alarming frequency…and being a loved one of Repairman Jack is usually hazardous to your health.

And I love P Frank Winslow. Another big fan here, thanks for the heads-up.

I’ve been reading since the first edition of The Tomb. If you start now, be aware that the author has released heavily edited/revised editions of a few of the earliest books to account for the time that has passed in the years since he started writing. He also had to account for the fact that Repairman Jack wasn’t originally meant to be part of the Nightworld cycle until he was well into it. The new versions more seamlessly incorporate Jack into the current world.

In fact, a heavily edited Nightworld is due to be published in spring of 2012 that will become the official closing book of the series.

I met FPW last year during a book tour for his last book. He seemed like a good guy and is very active on his message board.

Wait, WHAT?

Snuff. Pratchett has Alzheimer’s and is (apparently) having trouble writing. His last two books prior to this show a serious change and I’ve read that Pratchett wants to write at least one more after this: Raising Taxes (to complete the Moist series)

I guess I said that badly–I don’t know it’s his second to last, I do know that he’s slowing down and that (along with Snuff) are the only two I’ve heard him talking about–he used to have 4 or 5 books in the “to be written” queue.

I read Enemy of the State a while back and it seemed sort of messy and forced at times. even the politics, which as a libertarian I thought I’d enjoy, seemed a bit forced and, I dunno, preachy. It was a book I wanted to like, but like a lot of non-Heinlein libertarian scifi writers it was as if the story was secondary to the message.

So, how does the writing in the Repairman Jack series compare to Enemy of the State?



F. Paul Wilson is doing a book signing Friday night, I’m going to do my best to go into town.

Back some time in the 80s I read The Keep and loved it. I still have the paperback around somewhere. Right after I read The Tomb but for some reason just couldn’t get into it like I did with previous book.

I haven’t read any of his other books in the series. I did look a few years ago and most or some seemed to be out of print.

Maybe I’ll give it another try.

Gilded, I think the writing is a bit better, though a lot of the stories are starting to run together, especially these last couple. I can never remember who is who any more. A lot of the earlier Jack books could be read in pretty much any order.

Cumberdale, I believe that most, if not all, of the Jack books are in print right now. Actually a good amount of his books are back in print. I’ve read a lot of them over the last couple of years, though I haven’t gotten to Nightworld yet and I guess I’ll wait for it to come out.

I’m almost 1/2 way through the book and I’m not sure how much I’m liking it. I just hope it ends well. I’ll also have to go back and see if I’m missing any of the books or not, I don’t want to miss any of the story.

I met him at a signing in Raleigh last year and really enjoyed it. He’s a good speaker and was very approachable and generous with his time. He stayed for quite a while signing books and such. I believe the last guy in line had about 20 different books/editions for FPW to sign.

I’ve almost finished The Dark At The End and have enjoyed it so far. I can’t wait for the revised Nightworld.

I just started on Tombstone, I’m very early into it but already I’m digging it a lot. I don’t remember much about An Enemy of the State, but my gut reaction as to why I’m liking Tombstone so much more is that it has a sense of humor that was lacking in State.

Anyway, thanks for this thread!

Maybe I missed something but I really liked the early Repairman Jack where there was little to no mention of anything supernatural. As the mystical became more and more a part of the storyline, I was less and less interested and at some point just stopped reading.