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[sticky post] Hmm

It occurs to me that if I'm hivering and havering over whether something should be posted in The Little Dog Laughed, I can just post it here instead. Et voila. So this will probably be a mishmash of links and stuff I've picked up here and there. Also, possibly, rants.


Query and First 250 Words for Buried

Adult Science Fiction
120,000 words


Mike and Sam must save the world from a time loop, but they only want to save each other--and that's what's causing the loop.

After his boyfriend Sam is killed in a car crash, soldier-turned-copper Mike Scott buries himself in investigating a modern body that's been dug up at an undisturbed sixteenth-century site. But his investigation leads him back to Sam's death, and the existence of a time machine Sam 'forgot' to tell him about. The attraction the machine held for TV historian Sam is obvious. But Mike's more used to burying the past than revisiting it.

Once Mike finds the machine, however, it offers more adventure than he's had since quitting the army: A trip to Tudor England. A way to save Sam. Mike will gladly give his life for Sam's, but, after a few trips round the loop, he realises they've been there, done that. By using the machine to change the past, he and Sam have trapped everyone in a time loop that endlessly repeats.

The time machine can't be resisted and it can't be destroyed. Unless Mike can find a solution in his own past, the only way out is for one of them to die. And stay dead.

Buried is a Science Fiction novel complete at 120,000 words.

Buried: First 250 words

The day my mother sat us boys down and told us Dad had gone to live with a new family, I thought it was one of those things adults say when they don't want to deal with the truth. Not 'Your dad's dead' but 'Your dad's gone to live with a new family where he can have lots of room to run about'.

It was exactly like that when Sam died.


I was sitting at my desk in CID moving some bits of paper about. Nobody in the office to overhear. I pulled out my phone and hit the speed dial.

Not that I wasn't a little annoyed Sam hadn't rung me. Not this morning. Not the night before. Not since he'd slammed out of the house and gone to stay with his mother.

His visit to his mother being what we'd argued about.

Someone other than Sam answered the phone. I knew that the moment they drew in their breath to speak.

"Who's this?" I said. "I want Sam Ferrier."

"This is Police Constable Sheila Warren. Who am I speaking to, please?"

"My name's Mike Scott. I want to speak to Sam."

Stacking papers on my desk so I didn't have to think about why a PC was answering his phone.

"Are you a relative of Mr Ferrier's?"

Jesus, I'd never expected to be on the receiving end of a death message. "Look, has something happened? What's happened to him?"

"I'm sorry, but I can't release any details until the family have been informed."
Published in 1979, Octavia Butler's Kindred is one of her few stand-alone novels. Narrated in the first person, it tells the story of Dana Franklin, a black woman from 1976 who is repeatedly transported to the South of the USA in the nineteenth century, usually without, but once with, her white husband Kevin.

Dana's knowledge of the history of slavery in the USA, which includes her own family's history, enables her to adapt to being dragged through time to rescue her ancestors, Rufus Weylin and Alice Jackson, from injury, illness and death. Rufus is the son of a slaveowner, and Alice a free black woman who is later enslaved. One of Dana's rescues of Rufus is saving him from the wrath of Isaac, Alice's husband, who has caught the young white man attempting to rape Alice. Once Isaac is caught, mutilated, and sold away, Rufus is able to take Alice to his bed with impunity.

Kindred doesn't shy away from the ugliness of slavery, yet throughout it didn't feel as if Dana was nearly as frightened as she ought to be. It's as if something is lacking at the heart of the story. Butler does a much better job in Dawn of communicating the character's fears, helplessness and distress. Perhaps Dana's confidence is the result of detachment, an inability to believe that this world could kill her without a thought, yet that doesn't come across, either. So although this is a well-told and thoughtful story, it lacks the visceral responses of a modern, free woman with rights who suddenly becomes a possession, a piece of property, something to be punished, mutilated, even killed, at will.

What is handled well is the relationship between Dana and Rufus, particularly. She tries to counterbalance the influences of his society and family, to make him see that raping Alice is wrong, tht selling slaves away from their families is wrong. Yet she's never able to overcome his own sense of rightness, of his place in a society in which nothing he does to slaves can be wrong--unless it's teaching them to read and write, or tolerating their own choices of sexual partners. He doesn't see himself as cruel or unreasonable; this is just how things are. And eventually he comes to believe that his rights over black people extend even to Dana, despite her having frequently warned him that alienating her will lead to his death.

The ambivalence of many of the relationships in this book are reminiscent of those in Marlon James' The Book of Night Women, and reflect how adaptive human behaviour is, especially when that human is a woman trying to protect herself, and perhaps her children. Dana herself adopts the behaviours and mannerisms of a slave, and it takes Alice to call her on it, to remind her of who she used to be.

By the end of the book, both Alice and Dana have freed themselves in the only ways open to them, their methods perhaps reflecting the gap of over a hundred years between their attitudes and beliefs.

A strong book, well worth reading, and one that carries utter conviction in its characters and its events.

Query for Buried

After his boyfriend Sam is killed, soldier-turned-copper Mike Scott uncovers the existence of a time machine Sam 'forgot' to tell him about. The attraction the machine held for tv historian Sam is obvious. But Mike's more used to burying the past than revisiting it.
If he can find the machine, it offers a way to get Sam back, or to get back to Sam. But his hopes are dashed when he learns he's been through all this before. By using the machine to save each other's lives, he and Sam have trapped the world in a time loop that endlessly repeats.

Time travel has its benefits, however, if you're prepared to take the risk of dying after one too many trips. Mike visits Tudor England, leaving with a second time machine to worry about. He also gets to advise a Sam how to help a Mike, even if it is advice that'll just perpetuate the loop.

For the only way out is for one of them to die, and stay dead.

Buried is a Science Fiction novel complete at 120,000 words.

The Bird Bath