order of oddfish cover

The Order of Oddfish


The Odd-Fish Art of Max Pitchkites


Whaaat! The website’s been totally redesigned! I’m very pleased with how it came out. Thanks to Bentley Holmes-Gull for his design chops and technical savvy. I highly recommend him. He did a spectacular job!

There’s lots of new stuff! (Not too much, mind you. I know you’re busy.) For instance, here’s information about having me visit your school, library, or bookstore for an author event.

But I’m most excited about the new gallery of Order of Odd-Fish fan art! Today I want to feature one artist in particular.


In the summer of 2009 I discovered, via Twitter, some cool cut-paper art from The Order of Odd-Fish. The artist’s name is Max Pitchkites, and I was so impressed by what he’d done that I asked for more!

chapter2_Korsakov_and_Sefino_by_supacrazy chapter3_Cavendish__s_head_by_supacrazy

This ranks among some of the most brilliant art that’s come out of Odd-Fish. Max is now doing cut-paper scenes for each chapter of the book. So far Max has finished 13 of the 28 chapters (1-3, 5, 8, and 21-28).

Please, please, check out this gallery of Max’s cut-paper Odd-Fish art I’ve set up. It includes all the chapters he’s completed so far, along with commentary from him and me.

But I can’t resist including all the images in this post, as long as I have your attention. (In the interests of brevity, I’ll restrain myself from commenting on the images, but you can read all my ecstatic praise, and Max’s commentary, in the gallery.) Above, we’ve already seen the fish vomiting the lodge into Eldritch City, the ruby palace, Jo meeting Korsakov and Sefino, Mr. Cavendish’s head gone amok at the Dust Creek Cafe, and Ken Kiang. Below, we have even more great cut-paper art, such as Jo decoding her father’s message, and blacking out in the Dome of Doom:

chapter_21 chapter_25

And Ken Kiang’s musical:

Jo venturing into the Eldritch City asylum to confront the Belgian Prankster, and the Wormbeards lodge:

chapter_24 chapter_22

The riot outside the Odd-Fish lodge:


The All-Devouring Mother rampaging through Eldritch City, gobbling everything she sees:

And the final feast at the Odd-Fish lodge:


Again, I recommend checking out the gallery to see the complete collection, with larger-sized images, along with praise from me and commentary from Max.

Thanks, Max, for some unforgettable Odd-Fish art. I can’t wait to see how you will top yourself next!

The Original Dome of Doom

Aztec Dome of Doom - Kantian vs Valkyries

To the left, a renegade Kantian. To the right, two bloodthirsty Valkyries. And me? I’m smeared in blue food coloring and dressed as Huitzilochoptli, the Hummingbird-on-the-Left, flanked by Quetzalcoatl the Plumed Serpent and Tezcatlapoca, the Smoking Mirror. And this is the Dome of Doom.

Heather and I used to throw costumed fighting parties. Guests had to come dressed up as a kind of fighter. A gladiator, say. Or a lion. A computer virus. A bumblebee. A 1930s boxer. Some guests chose to dress as a more abstract kind of pugilist—a lover-not-a-fighter, or a crabby old man, or Edward Scissorhands. And some chose to be a whimsical kind of fighter: a mean athlete, a leprechaun, or a deadly bacterium.

We gods made the fighters get in a ring and fight-dance at each other as the crowd screamed. We chose the winner by best costume, best dancing, and best “FINISH HIM!” move. That contestant went on to the next round.

We took the ultimate victor, put him on an altar, and tore out his heart (evil meat picked up from the butcher’s that afternoon; it would inevitably get smeared all over the floor and stink up the house for days).

The first time we did the Dome of Doom, the winner was Anand Subramanian as Social Security Man. His “FINISH HIM!” move was to fall down and wet himself.

Aztec Dome of Doom - old man vs pumpkinhead

Huitzilochoptli demands tribute; then, the sacrifice itself:

Aztec Dome of Doom - masked bird-god Aztec Dome of Doom - sacrifice

The first time we did the Dome of Doom it was an Aztec theme. This was the invitation:

Aztec Dome of Doom - Invitation picture Aztec Dome of Doom - Invitation text

The second Dome of Doom was Japanese-themed. The gods this time were Jimmu Tenno, the first emperor of Japan (that would be me); Amaterasu, the sun goddess (Heather); and Amatersau’s brother Susano, the storm god (Chris, Heather’s brother).

Here’s a Chicago Bears Fan fighting the Simpsons’ Itchy and Scratchy. You can also see Muhammad Ali, myself as Jimmu (in white and red) and Chris as Susano (black and gold with the beard) and Alice as a shrine maiden.

Japanese Dome of Doom - Itchy and Scratchy vs Bears Fan

A Japanese fighting party should properly have a murderous Totoro, but we got the next best thing: Philip Montoro dressed as No-Face from Spirited Away. He really got into character: for the first few hours of the party, Philip didn’t talk to anyone, but just creepily hung around the edges of conversations, occasionally trying to give people gold nuggets and murmuring “uh… uh… uh.”

Japanese Dome of Doom - gauchos vs lover not fighter

The bumblebee vs. the gladiator. For those of my readers who know Japanese, I hasten to say I made those banners before I seriously studied Japanese. I was just copying random kanji from the liner notes of a CD.

Japanese Dome of Doom - gladiator vs bee

The invitation to the Japanese Dome of Doom.

Japanese Dome of Doom - Invitation picture Japanese Dome of Doom - Invitation text

The final Dome of Doom was Egyptian themed. Why do I always smear myself with food coloring?

Egyptian Dome of Doom - banner background

The winner of the Japanese Dome of Doom was Jonathan Messinger as Richard Grimmons (an undead Richard Simmons). His spastic aerobics-from-beyond-the-grave won him a place among the judges for the Egyptian Dome. I was Osiris; Jonathan was Set; Heather was Isis. Here they judge a battle between . . . I give up. A rogue chef and a NASCAR Martian? (UPDATE: Philip tells me it’s Brak from Space Ghost.)

Egyptian Dome of Doom - colorful fight

What was with the cooking implements?

Egyptian Dome of Doom - Spatula

The winner of the Egyptian Dome of Doom was Steve Sostak, who played the Jennifer Beals character from Flashdance. Just like her, he stripped off the welding gear and brought the moves. He was a maniac, maniac, I know.

Egyptian Dome of Doom - Flashdance

The invitation for the Egyptian Dome of Doom.

Egyptian Dome of Doom - Invitation Picture Egyptian Dome of Doom - Invitation Text

The last Dome of Doom was in 2004. But the idea of a theatrical, costumed, ritual-driven duel/spectacle stuck in my head, and made its way into The Order of Odd-Fish.

Aztec Dome of Doom - winner scarves
Aztec Dome of Doom - dome Japanese Dome of Doom - fight

The pictures don’t capture the half of it. I miss smearing myself with food coloring, calling myself a god, and making my friends fight.

Japanese Dome of Doom - mean athlete
Japanese Dome of Doom - Amaterasu and Jimmu Japanese Dome of Doom - Susano and Shrine Maiden
Aztec Dome of Doom - ride of the valkyries

A sneak peek at The Magnificent Moots


Last week the Parlor reading series kindly hosted me reading from my work-in-progress, The Magnificent Moots. (The audio is online; see the bottom of this post for details.)

The Magnificent Moots is a science-fiction comedy that’s like a combination of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, Douglas Adams’ The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and the movie The Royal Tennenbaums. With a generous dollop of the 1970s television special Battle of the Network Stars thrown in for good measure.

(Check out this amazing clip from Battle of the Network Stars, which culminates in a footrace between Robert Conrad and Gabe Kaplan—you know, the teacher on Welcome Back, Kotter. The cigarettes! The track suits! The insane political incorrectness! And the come-from-behind Cinderella moment at the end! It’s priceless!)

Anyway, I’m about midway through writing Moots. The story follows the adventures of the brother and sister of the Moot family when they are invited to compete in an interplanetary Olypmics. This story is woven together with legends about various historical Moots from bygone eras.

The most exciting thing, to me, is that Paul Hornschemeier is on board with illustrating it! I’ve sung Paul’s praises before; he did the brilliant cover for the upcoming paperback version of The Order of Odd-Fish.

The illustration at the top of this post is of King Cornelius Moot, whom I mention in the prologue. Here’s another one of King Cornelius. I can’t wait to see what else Paul comes up with!


So at the Parlor, I read the prologue and the first chapter of The Magnificent Moots. Then there was a question-and-answer period. Most of it is captured on audio, and you can listen to it here. It’s a rough draft, and much too long. But if you’re interested in what a work-in-progress sounds like, here it is!

Due to technical difficulties, only the prologue is available for listening, because chapter one didn’t record well. So some of the questions in the Q&A might not make much sense.

Thanks to the Parlor reading series for inviting me, the Green Lantern Gallery for hosting us, Terri Griffith for recording, Joanna MacKenzie and Caroline Picard for organizing it, and thanks to everyone who came and asked questions! I had a great time.