Friday, October 15, 2021

Liner Notes for A Higher Authority

The liner notes for my story A Higher Authority


In Star Trek whenever a superior officer turns up it’s bad news. They order people to do things they don’t want to at best; at worst they have terrible agendas of their own. I averted that in the first volume of the Deep Patrol; Captain Angela Tiger is competent, smart and backs Gunn even when he does something that is not her style.

But we’re back with that idea with Captain Krull. Imagine joining the Deep Patrol and thinking the organisation chart is the important thing! I mean someone has to do the logistics work. Still.

Of course Gunn and his team can run rings around a bureaucracy. When you train people to deal with strange governments and cultures, to be able to navigate unknown societies, dealing with your own boss is your normal work on easy mode. A cultural contact expert is going to be able to make their own organisation sit up and beg. Except, one assumes, that their leaders will have been through the same training and experiences. Maybe I should write that story one day, everyone wants to read my space opera bureaucratic skirmish.

Betrayal and plots in Novapolis; I’ve tried to make it a techno-cyberpunk-renaissance world, and part of that is inviting people over for a nice dinner and then just murdering them. In fact that’s something that happens in a lot of history but they had a higher standard of nicer time than most periods and so the murder comes as an especially odd counterpoint.

Quintillius is dead I’m afraid. People are dying. This has always been a possibility in the Deep Patrol stories, where death is not that serious. Quintillius will have been backed up somewhere and a resurrection and rehabilitation unit will be notified. But now we don’t have him, and Gunn won’t have him. This is probably a bigger problem than whatever’s coming down the line from higher command.

Anyway, big problems all around. Flyers have weirdly vanished into the dimensional gate from Silence, Prosperine has defected to the Shattered Realm and now someone is using gravitational energy to manipulate the gate in Novapolis. Worse still, it seems one of the Guardians is behind it.

It’s almost like I’m building towards a climax.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

I Read Books: 9tail Fox

9tail Fox

Bobby Zha is a detective sergeant in the Chinatown division of the San Francisco police. He’s good with the homeless and children. While poking into a case of a young girl shooting a burglar he is betrayed, shot, sees a nine-tailed fox and dies.

He wakes up as Robert Vanberg in New York, who has been in a coma since he was 7 years old. He talks his way out of the clinic and discovers that there is a shattering amount of money held in trust for him. He heads to San Francisco where he knows the criminal and police landscape, and now has a lot of money to fake his way into being an investigator into his own death.

With the money he’s an arsehole and he keeps sleeping with women he encounters and some of them aren’t happy with how this plays out. At first this seems to be a reaction to dying and coming back, but as he investigates into his life and death it becomes clear that he was always bad, a bit corrupt, cheating on his wife (who in turn cheated on him), failing to turn up for family events, lying to his boss and so on.

People have been trying to learn how to shift bodies and Bobby Zha is not the first to go down this route.

Read This: A weird murder mystery
Don’t Read This: It’s a grim and gritty story with every new revelation opening worse versions of the characters

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

I Read Stories: Game by Ellie Broughton

by Ellie Broughton in Wild Hunt

The narrator is fascinated by a woman from her interesting Instagram food-centred stories and meets her and they hit it off. She’s from a rich family in Suffolk, and she started off working in their butchers but now she makes vegan charcuterie. She doesn’t miss most meat but wild, organic muscle mass, as found on game, maybe that's a loss.

There’s a few warning signs. She wrote about Brexit, characterising the gangs of fruit pickers near her home in Southwold as a chain-gang. A friend notes that a former boyfriend of hers just vanished. And despite this they go to visit her.

This won’t, quite, end the way we think it might.

Read this: A creepy story about class and city and country and meat
Don’t Read This: If you want a clear expression of villainy