I created a database for dead bodies and added the first one. — Annabel Scheme
The ever marvellous Helen recently handed me a corker of a short novel, Annabel Scheme. Nominally a detective story, it’s really a steeplechase through an alt-future San Franscisco. Plus demons, quantum computing and the internet. It’s played straight-up, not satirically, but with a lightness of tone and a fluency of detail that recalls early Douglas Adams.
Sloan’s name for throwaway details that enrich a world is gold coins, and it’s a good one. Annabel Scheme is packed with the things. There are just one or two moments where this tips slightly over the line to cutesiness, but mostly the tone is bang on. Seeing the gold coins along the way is one of the delights of the book, so much so that I’d rather not cite them here; it’s better to just discover them.
The book was funded by a kickstarter project, which is an interesting data point. It’s not why you should read it though. You should read it because it kicks arse.
AE, the Canadian Science Fiction Review, is a larval stage SF magazine being launched through Kickstarter. I have the lucky, internet-mediated acquaintance of two-thirds of the staff. They are by turns witty, elliptically brilliant, and elegant vivisectionists of consensus reality. They also do words. Big words, small words, words jammed together into sentences, all varieties. Don’t believe me, go check their site out. Words all over the place, but none out of place.
The editorial team have embraced the web and Creative Commons, which is both appealling and the only approach that makes a damn bit of twenty first century sense, and they ultimately leave the final copyright choices up the the submitting authors. They are also planning to pay a decent rate – the SFWA rate, specifically. Their inspiration is, to paraphrase them slightly, more the many headed hydra of the Canadian cosmopolity than “Mounties In Space”.
Given the track record of these people’s superbity-ness, the very least I could do would be to point the rusty, lone search engine robot that reads this blog their way via the link above. So I’ve gone a tiny step further than that and pledged some money as well. Given the way Kickstarter works, this will come back to me in the form of delicious, perfect bound science fiction. Or if they don’t find enough backers this time, it will just come back to me, and the world will be a less speculative place. Which would be a shame. Because if there’s one policy this blog can follow, through thick and thin, it is being pro-awesome.
I really want to read a Mounties In Space story now. But stylish. Like Mountiepunk.