The Man Who Loved Kites
Now back in print and available from your local bookstore and online!
“This is the story of Huan Po, the poet who invented kites, and of Li Zheng, the sorceress who died because they were beautiful. It also concerns General Liu Hsin who learned that war and beauty can never share the same house.”
So begins The Man Who Loved Kites, a reweaving of myth and legend into a bittersweet origin story spun from faith, greed, love, and magic in Medieval China.
“This is a love story; a love lost, found, and lost again. My love of kites goes back before this story was first published, and the history of kites – the continuity of kites to this day – all are contained in this delightful work of fantasy. Only someone intimately familiar with kite flying will appreciate the fine detail of this story; anyone who appreciates fine writing will love this story, ultimately a story of unfailing love.” – George Maurer, member of the American Kite Association (AKA) since 1971
“Speculation on the origins of the first kite becomes almost irrelevant in this beautifully written love story created from the thoughtful imagination of talented author Dean Whitlock. The Man Who Loved Kites will grip your heart from the first words, whether you love kites or not, and is a must in every kite bag.” – Ruth Hackman, member of the AKA and Kite Trade Association International (KTAI) – a woman who still loves kites!
I wrote The Man Who Loved Kites soon after seeing a big stunt kite carving the air over Rye Beach on the New Hampshire shore. I was immediately bitten by the kiting bug and soon had my own stunt kite, along with a couple of single-line stunters (based on Indian and Japanese fighter kites), and a collection of colorful sky-painting kites. (My brother-in-law Tom and I once had 14 different kites in the air at the same time.)
I delved into the design and history of kites, and discovered that there were ancient legends but no hard facts about the who, when, where, why, or how – except that it happened in China a long, long time ago. There were a couple of names, however, and some intriguing details . . .
Before I knew it, I had my own kite origin story to offer: The Man Who Loved Kites. It was published in the December 1991 issue of F&SF and received some very nice comments (as did the lovely cover illustration by Bryan Leister).
Two decades later, plus a few years, the story resurfaced in two surprising ways. First, it was republished in the new Italian affiliate of F&SF, with a lovely black-and-white interior illustration by Maurizio Manzieri. He contacted me, and we become mutual fans.
Then a big fan of both kiting and fantasy named George Maurer rediscovered his old copy and posted the opening lines on his Facebook page. They inspired Ruth Hackman, a long-time kiter and owner of the Aerial Stunt Kites store in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, to search me out. I was able to send her a copy of the story, and she liked it so much she asked me if she could sell it in her kite store.
I said sure . . . except that it wasn’t available in print. That seemed like such a minor difficulty to Ruth that she easily convinced me to put it back in print on my own.
So here it is, my first independently published book, from my own small and brand-new publishing house, Boatman Press. It’s a slender book – the story is a novelette, after all – but the cover by Maurizio is gorgeous, and the tale hasn’t paled at all over the years. That’s an advantage of fantasy fables: they’re timeless. And this one has all of the classic elements: love, war, magic, and even leading-edge technology (for its time).
I hope you enjoy it as much as Ruth, George, Maurizio, and I have, whether it’s the romance, action, fable, or kites that tug on your heart.
P.S.: I’m a staunch supporter of independent bookstores. They are an author’s best friend. Please shop at your local bookstore whenever you can. They can order The Man Who Loved Kites for you if they don’t have it in stock. If you’d like a signed copy, contact me directly. Thanks!
That said, you can also buy the chapbook on Amazon, of course, and the story is included in my e-book collection, Iridescence and other stories. (And when you’ve read it, please consider posting a review. Many more thanks!)