The Shootout Solution by Michael R. Underwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is SF. Well, actually, it's Western, but since I don't want to bother making a shelf for that and it really is SF without being Westworld, I'll leave it as SF.
Except. It's also a writing manual, giving us all the insides of How To Write A Story as the means to live while being inside one. Or three. Or eighteen stories. Or however many Tau-Heinleinesque The Number of the Beast alternate universes there are when genres spin into umbrella universes that split even further into sub-genres that split into yet more subgenres...
And the whole point is that the GENRES ARE MIXING AND BREAKING DOWN... oh my god... the universe is breeching!
Damn cool concept, and I think I'm gonna like this even more than Geekomancy, because it's not only tapping into nostalgia, but it's also going to tap into archetypes in a BIG way in order to Get Things Done. Hell, it's written in such a way that even the ultra-conscious way that the story is written gets sublimated into the characters who consider the fine points of storytelling just so they can manipulate a whole worldview inside the genre. And then, underneath that, or above it, I can't really decide where that layer belongs, we've got Leah transforming from Reluctant Hero, to Kid, to Sidekick, back to Reluctant Hero in her own tale that is, in itself, a metafiction of all these alternate realities.
And is it easy to follow, unlike my review's narrative? Hell yes. It's all story, tongue-in-cheek pure adventure.
It's good all by itself.
The only thing that could make it better is an ongoing series of novellas doing the same thing and enlarging the concept...
But Oh, Wait! It is!
I'm tickled pink. :) And thanks to Tor, I recently got Episode 2 as an ARC. Guess what I'm going to do in 2 minutes?
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