“The Ultra Thin Man” by Patrick Swenson


“The Ultra Thin Man” is a noir detective novel set in a future world; political intrigue, murder, aliens and some really captivating characters make this a page turner.

Patrick Swenson is a teacher, writer, editor, and publisher of the Fairwood Press, a small press publishing house, which he founded in 2000. The Ultra Thin Man is his first published novel. He has been published in short form in the Like Water for Quarks, and magazines such as MZB’s Fantasy Magazine, Figment, and others.

I know Patrick as the organizer of the Rainforest Writer’s Retreat, which I have attended each of the last few years.

  1. First chapters, and especially first lines, are the hook that gets an agent or editor going. We’ve heard about the importance of them over and over. How does Patrick’s first line hook you? His first chapter? Did you read what you could of the second chapter?
  2. In genre fiction, the world is often as important a character as the actual people in the story. What do you think of the world-building that happens in this chapter as Patrick sets the scene? How would you have done it differently?
  3. No matter how catchy a first line is, or how quickly an author gets your interest and pulls you into the next chapters, if the characters are not appealing the reader will quickly lose interest. Two of the characters in this chapter are seen only in hologram video playback; of the other two, one is mostly a technique to play the video, and the other is the narrator. What can you tell from this first person POV chapter about the character? Do you have enough information to become interested in him as a character?

Hope you enjoyed the chapter. Comments/Questions/Editorials are, as always, welcome.


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