We live in an absurd universe. And once you throw in stuff like time travel, fiction can get even sillier than real life. But how can you write speculative fiction that lives up to our ridiculous world, without being dumb?
Paperwork was what sent the criminals to jail. Knowing this didn’t make the task any less annoying. Kay Woods was on the third day in a row of paperwork and the headache had fully settled in behind her eyes.
Two dozen witnesses all said different things about a gun which had been brandished and then fired into the ceiling at a club night. One person was still in hospital after a ricochet from the concrete roof of the basement establishment had punctured their lung. Some of the witnesses knew who had fired the shots, but were covering for them. Others were certain who it was and had tailored their statements to put the person they felt was guilty in the right spot. Still more were too scared to say what they had really seen. Even the few who were probably telling the truth gave contradicting statements, the weaknesses of human memory compounded by doses of booze, vitamins or herbs.
Kay was trying to build a case for the facts which could be relied upon. Statements corroborated by other witnesses were given more weight. Outliers went into two piles- obvious and probable. It was most likely a hopeless task, and the case was getting old anyway, but an uncommon quiet period meant she could go back and use some of the techniques Irwin had described to her. He could be annoying, obtuse about his past and far more proactive than he should be, but he was good at analysis and a fount of esoteric weaponry knowledge. Maybe she should take advantage of that enthusiasm and call him up for some help. Preferably as a charity case, she didn’t want to know what he earned per hour for official work.
The Detective Inspector was there before Kay’s desk. She didn’t know how he could sneak up like that. It was a small office, she should have seen him move in her peripheral vision. In fact, the last she’d noticed he had taken a phone call and left the office grunting and saying “Yes.”
“How well do you know Robert Irwin?”
“Did I say his name three times?” The Detective Inspector raised his eyebrows and cocked his head slightly, the ‘serious now’ look. “I was his babysit…. er liaison on that multiple in Trafford. We met up for beers a few times after. He’s been showing me some analysis tricks.”
“Do you trust him?”
The honest answer would have been nuanced. To tell her the truth about his life before he moved to Manchester? No. To keep from charging into a situation that could be dangerous? Again no. To not be running another agenda beyond whichever investigation he was helping with? Actually, probably yes. But with the safety of others, up to and including her own life? Definitely yes.
“I guess.” Kay managed.
“That will have to do. We’re working for him, or his old bosses, for a change. You should meet him on Albert Square aysap whilst Jim and I try to get some uniformed backup.” The Gun Crime Tracking department was small. DC James Knott was the junior member, currently counting bullets and taking down serial numbers on a gym bag full of trouble which had been recovered the previous night in Levenshulme. Kay nodded dumbly, waiting for the bombshell. This was the sort of conversation that usually ended with a bombshell. “You’ll need this.” The Detective Inspector had laid a holstered handgun on the desk. That was another thing about the DI, he had a magician’s ability to distract you from whatever was in his hands until he wanted you to see it. “Get your discreet vest on, you don’t want to draw too much attention.”
Note Ooops. I accidentally scheduled this for tomorrow. Solved that now.
In this activity you’ll be asked a series of 17 questions about God and religion. In each case, apart from Question 1, you need to answer True or False. The aim of the activity is not to judge whether these answers are correct or not. Our battleground is that of rational consistency. This means to get across without taking any hits, you’ll need to answer in a way which is rationally consistent. What this means is you need to avoid choosing answers which contradict each other. If you answer in a way which is rationally consistent but which has strange or unpalatable implications, you’ll be forced to bite a bullet.
I got the second highest award available, having to bite two bullets for inconsistencies. I might not have had to take those if the questions had been phrased differently, so I’m claiming a partial language waiver on them.
I’ve actually put out this call before, but circumstances kept me from following up the one reply I got.
If you’re following Point of Contact you’ll have noticed that updates can be sporadic and the quality of art variable. Whilst I’m quite proud of Standing on India other pages make me wince. I’ll keep sitting down and doing pages when I can, but I’m going to need help, and better artists, for some of my other projects.
The project I want to get started on has the working title of Post. It’s an action oriented horror tale which turns some of the premises of zombie/plague stories on their heads. A teaserish description-
The virus release looked like an anticlimax. Few people got ill, almost no-one died. It was so well planned, for so little effect. The world went back to normal quickly. But then a few of the people who had been exposed began to change. Some subtly, some less so, but they all became something beyond human. And they spread the virus further. Only a tiny fraction of everyone exposed would be affected, but they would change the face of humanity for ever.
If they could escape the authorities intent on controlling and conscripting them and the mobs that wanted to kill them.
I see a multi stranded story following some of the people infected at the first release, members of the crazy cult who engineered it, Police and politicians trying to cope with it and members of the vigilante mobs which spring up. I see it as the equivalent of a 15, or maybe 18, rated film with violence, strong language and nudity (male and female, I strive to be equal opportunity). There shall be shootouts, bug hunts, angry stone throwing crowds, sexy genetically enhanced men and women and an abandoned Soviet era science city. I’d like to talk format and character design with an artist or artists with an eye to producing a 22-36 page first issue to introduce the story and pitch to publishers/ serialise online/ sell direct (whichever one seems most likely to work). Drop me a line in the comments or at spinneyhead at gmail dot com. Preferably do both, my spam filter’s quite strict and I might miss you otherwise.