Sunday, November 30, 2008

"Catherine Drewe," a New Story by Paul Cornell

I just finished reading “Catherine Drewe,” a new short story by novelist, television writer, and comic book author Paul Cornell that appears online and in Fast Forward 2 (October 2008), an anthology edited by Lou Anders and published by Pyr.

A thin work whose atmosphere is a blend of alternate
history and steampunk, "Catherine Drewe" follows British military officer Major Jonathan Hamilton on a clandestine mission to a partially terraformed Mars dominated by the Russians. Hamilton’s goal: to assassinate a woman named Catherine Drewe.

SF critic Rich Horton praised the story, writing of the anthology Fast Forward 2: "Another politically charged piece may be the best story here -- the opener, Paul Cornell's ‘Catherine Drewe.’"

In reviewing the story for Strange Horizons magazine, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro called it “wildly inventive” with “the plot propelled not so much by a single McGuffin as by a combustible gas of intelligent deceptions and counter-deceptions."

Another reader was less impressed, labeling “Catherine Drewe” a

While I don’t think the story was sleepy, I had difficulty following the plot and was disappointed with the ending. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find books and a library embedded in the storyline.

Catherine Drewe” is the first story in Paul Cornell’s new series featuring Major Jonathan Hamilton of the British Empire's 4th Dragoon Regiment. A second story, “One of Our Bastards is Missing” will be published in the forthcoming The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Volume 3 (2009). To learn more about the series, read Paul Cornell’s LiveJournal.

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