The Widowmaker (Widowmaker #1) ★★★★☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Widowmaker
Series: Widowmaker #1
Author: Mike Resnick
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 198
Words: 67K


Jefferson Nighthawk, also known as the Widowmaker, is in deepfreeze for an incurable disease. Unfortunately, that is expensive and even the Widowmaker runs out of money now and then. So to procure more money to keep him on ice until a cure is found, a clone is made and sent on an assignment. Which he fulfills and then dies because he makes bad choices about a woman.

Every time I re-read a book, it feels like I am marching out into an old minefield. With a blindfold on while carrying a 25lb cane that I smash into the ground at every step. That feeling of “will THIS step be the one where I explode and my guts go flying for 200 yards in every direction” is not very pleasant. On the flip side, if I do make it safely to the other side, the palpable relief coupled with the enjoyment of a familiar trek pretty much trebles the enjoyment.

In some ways this was a very frustrating read. Jeff Nighthawk, the young clone, is just so young that you know what is going to happen because he wants what he wants despite everyone telling him otherwise. If he’d been a normal person, he would have had a broken heart and learned from his past. Being a galaxy famous bounty hunter, well, all it takes is one mistake to kill him.

I really liked the idea of cloning the Widowmaker and using him. It makes for some interesting dynamics and philosophical rabbit trails but without getting all deep and serious and depressing. It was also fun to be back in Resnick’s Far Future History. Santiago took place during the Democracy (I think) and this takes place much later in what is called the Oligarchy. But the idea that there is always a frontier, a place to go if you’re a free individual is one that Resnick keeps alive in his stories.

The Idea of the Widowmaker is also one that resonates with me. Not necessarily the stone cold killer, but the idea of being the apex of your profession. I like reading about individuals who have striven to be the best and ARE the best. None of this schmopey dopey “ohhh, we’re all just the same” crap. No, we damned well are NOT the same and if you think otherwise, then you are insane and contributing to the general insanity of the world. I cannot be an astronaut no matter how much I might want to be. Nor can I be a professional basketball player. But I can work with only 1 person for 9hrs a day and not need communal group hugs or “attaboys” every other minute and I don’t need to discuss Movie/TV Show X over the water cooler. And you’d be surprised how many people can’t take the solitude. They think they can, but they can’t. So all that rant aside, I like reading about people who excel at what they do. It is inspiring.

There are 3 more Widowmaker books in this series and since I enjoyed this re-read as much as I did, I am fully looking forward to the rest of the series.


39 thoughts on “The Widowmaker (Widowmaker #1) ★★★★☆

  1. I know what you mean about re-reading and wondering if it will still match up to the 1st time enjoyment. I’ve been re-reading quite a bit of late but so far everything is just as good as I remembered. The couple of new ones I’ve read though have been total disapointments and I DNF’d both, a rare event for me.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “Because I’m Bookstoogeman!”

      Ha! It’s because I read so much. And have been for decades now. At some point 1 old favorite re-read that holds up is worth 10 of the new pointless and filthy and disgusting and downright stupid drivel that seems to pour out of authors fingers today. Not that I’m bitter mind you. But you follow someone who reads only arcs and you’ll see soon enough, new is 99% crap and my days of wading through it are over.


      1. I agree that being on the front line of new stuff takes a lot out of you. You have to wade through a lot more crap. On the other hand, there are so many classics out there I haven’t read I don’t find I have much time for re-reading.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I get enjoyment from a good story, whether new or re-read. That’s my main goal. And besides, after a certain number of years, even if I remember certain parts or flashes, it comes across as a new read 😀

          yeah, you spend your time watching crappy shakespeare interpretation. I can tell good entertainment is high on the list 😉


  2. The clone part made me think back too the capsuleers from the Eve book i read a few years ago. They were a race of pilots that had clones waiting for a data burst to be delivered if the capsuleer’s other body passed away. Pretty cool idee. The were also good at their jobs, being pilots of one man fighter crafts

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve heard that idea before, not sure where though. I remember the idea because the point of the story I read was that they weren’t going to let the data burst through and so the clone was really going to die.
      Of course, I can’t for the life of me remember what story it was 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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