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cowpunk contemporary fantasy and two-fisted meta-fiction
About __|__ Reviews__|__Excerpt__|__ A Rangergirl Yarn

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My first novel, The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl, appeared in December 2005 from Bantam Spectra. This website is the home of All Things Rangergirl!

Click hereabouts to see what the novel is all about.

In short: the novel is about a comic book artist named Marzi, and the strange and dangerous things that happen to her and her friends.

As a special treat for readers of this website, I'm releasing a never-before-published story set in the world of Marzi's comic, The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl, called "Bluebeard and the White Buffalo: A Rangergirl Yarn". It's about Rangergirl, fearless Western lawperson, and her old friend, the sort-of-immortal and probably-formerly-evil Gilles de Rais, and a prophecy that's coming true, whether they like it or not.

Want to order the book? Links along the left there to a variety of online bookstores.

If you want a little taste, you can read an excerpt from chapter one, "Skull Cracker."

If you want to know more about me, I've got a bio. Many mysteries explicated there.

I also keep an online journal, updated often.


Rangergirl won the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award in the Best Modern Fantasy category, and also won the Joshua Norton Award for "extraordinary invention and creativity unhindered by the constraints of paltry reason." It was a finalist for the Mythopoeic Award.


So what's it all about?

Here's how the publisher describes the book:

In this debut novel, acclaimed short-story author Tim Pratt delivers an exciting heroine with a hidden talent – and a secret duty. Witty and suspenseful, here is a contemporary love song to the West that was won and the myths that shape us….

As night manager of Santa Cruz’s quirkiest coffeehouse, Marzi McCarty makes a mean espresso, but her first love is making comics. Her claim to fame: The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl, a cowpunk neo-western yarn. Striding through an urban frontier peopled by Marzi’s wild imagination, Rangergirl doles out her own brand of justice. But lately Marzi’s imagination seems to be altering her reality. She’s seeing the world through Rangergirl’s eyes – literally – complete with her deadly nemesis, the Outlaw.

It all started when Marzi opened a hidden door in the coffeehouse storage room. There, hidden behind the world she knows, she saw the face of something strange… and dangerous. And she unwittingly became its guard. But some primal darkness must have escaped, because Marzi hasn’t been the same since. And neither have her customers, who are acting downright apocalyptic.

Now it’s up to Marzi to stop this supervillainous force that’s swaggered its way into her world. For Marzi, it’s the showdown of her life. For Rangergirl, it’s just another day....

When people ask me what the book is about, I usually say something like "It's about Westerns, comic books, coffee shops, the folly of anthropomorphizing the natural world, friendship, loyalty, the responsibility of the artist in society, gunslingers, madness, and love." Sometimes I vary the nouns.



Here's what some other people say about the book:

What absolute delight this book is.... Pratt's novel doesn't read like the debut it is. He writes with the assured prose of a seasoned pro, creating one of the more likable casts of characters it's been my pleasure to encounter. But what really has my admiration is his ability to balance perfectly the various elements of lightheartedness and melodrama, and make it all unfold in a manner that's seamlessly believable.... The heart of his book turns around loyalty and friendship, but Pratt also serves up a fascinating study into ideas of the creative impulse: where it comes from and how it affects not only our art, but also our lives. (Click this link to read the full review.)

-- Charles de Lint, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction

Claude Lalumičre picked Rangergirl as the best first novel of 2005:

Tim Pratt's debut novel, The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl, is a rollicking, sexy fantasy superhero adventure cum soap opera — a great genre-blending, genrebending pleasure. Fast-paced and fun, his story of a young cartoonist who gets embroiled in a supernatural entity's plans to invade our world is both engrossing and moving.

-- Claude Lalumičre, Locus Online

Easily the most impressive debut novel I've read in a very long time! It is also one of the best novels I've ever read, period. (Click this link to read the full review.)

-- Cat Eldridge, Green Man Review

Narnia meets Blazing Saddles in this debut fantasy novel featuring a fetching cast of desperadoes.

--Keddy Ann Outlaw, Library Journal

4 1/2 GOLD (out of a possible 5 stars -- 4 1/2 gold is "phenomenal")

In this genre-bending debut novel, Pratt has written a fantastical Western that is full of love and affection for westerns, for Santa Cruz, and for the damaged souls who populate the world.

Marzi McCarty, night manager of Genius Loci, the oddest coffee shop in Santa Cruz, may spend her nights slinging espresso, but her days are spent crafting her comic book, The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl.

Soon Marzi realizes that Rangergirl's reality is bleeding into hers and, in order to defeat Rangergirl's nemesis, the Outlaw, she's going to have face her fractured past and her fears. Accompanied by her best friend, Lindsay, and her possible love interest Jonathan, Marzi faces down the Outlaw, a primal god with a distinctly apocalyptic bent.

Marzi is an incredibly sympathetic heroine whose struggles become the reader's, and her world becomes as real as ours. A stunning accomplishment, this book will appeal to many readers. Bits and pieces of many fantastic genres represented here, fused into a coherent whole that is something completely new and wonderful.

--Natalie A. Luhrs,
Romantic Times Book Club Magazine

Starred review:

Marzi works at Genius Loci, a coffee shop in Santa Cruz, California, whose claim to fame is the murals in it, painted by Garamond Ray, who disappeared after the 1989 earthquake. Marzi also writes a neo-western comic called The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl, in which the heroine battles otherworldly versions of the villains of westerns. When one of the shop’s regulars shows up claiming to worship the god of the earthquake, and moments later a quake rocks the place, and Marzi sees an oddly dressed figure running off – well, then, things are clearly becoming strange. Life begins to imitate art too closely for comfort: a woman made of mud, part of a story in Marzi’s comic, is wandering the streets trying to achieve her own mysterious goals, and the villain of the same piece – a primal force from the otherworld behind the locked door in the Desert Room of Genius Loci – turns out to want to destroy California. With Lindsay, a friend from art school, and Jonathan, who lives in Genius Loci’s attic apartment while he is studying the murals for his thesis, Marzi travels beyond the possible into a grand and magical western, indeed.

–Regina Schroeder, Booklist

"Tim Pratt's The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl is a two-fisted meta-fiction of old west mythos and modern day – sharp writing, cool characters, fascinating ideas, and the courage to have fun. Readers of comics and classics and both will enjoy this novel."

–Jeffrey Ford, author of The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque

"Rangergirl is a fine blend of imaginative and engaging – a tale well-told."

–Cory Doctorow, co-editor of Boing Boing and author of Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town

Imagination, love, art and Santa Cruz would seem like an odd combination for a Western. In his debut novel, author Tim Pratt brings these elements together effortlessly. (Click this link to read the full review.)

–Robin Dahlberg, Tahoe Daily Tribune

Quirky and fun, a weird Western that fans of Joe Lansdale and Nancy Collins should enjoy. ( Click this link to read the full review.)

--Mark Graham, Rocky Mountain News

"One of the most refreshingly original contemporary fantasies out there right now. Wish I'd had a chance to work on it!"

–Colleen Lindsay, Asst. Director of Publicity for Ballantine Books

More to come!

Contact Tim Pratt