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Chapter 2: Stitched Up

Prologue: We know where you live, we know where your dog goes to school

Chapter 1: Grand Theft Auto

En garde!

You are standing in the nave of a seventeenth century Church, its intricately carved stone surfaces dimly illuminated by candles. Your right foot is forward, knee slightly bent, and you can feel the gentle curve of the worn flagstone beneath the toes of the hand-stitched leather slipper you're wearing. Your right arm is raised, and your hand extended as if you are pointing a gun diagonally across your chest, muzzle wavering towards the roof of the west wing: with your left hand, you support your right, just as if you're holding a heavy pistol. Heavy pistol about sums it up — the longsword may be made of steel and over a metre long, but it weighs no more than a Colt Python, and it's balanced so that it feels like an extension of your fingertips.

You are facing a man who is about to try to kill you. He's wearing a black kevlar-reinforced motorcycle jacket with lead weights velcro'd to it, plus jeans, DMs, and a protective helmet with a cluster of camera lenses studding its blank-faced shell. Like you, he's holding a longsword of fifteenth century design, its steel crossguards shielding his hands: which are, in turn, raised, like a baseball striker poised ready for the ball. But you don't see the biker jacket or DMs because like your opponent you're also wearing a full facial shield with head-up display, and it's editing him into a full suit of Milanese plate, the mediaeval equivalent of a main battle tank.

"Let's try that again," you offer.

Continue reading ...

12 Comments

1:

I wonder what the odds are of Amazon delivering my copy before the whole book is posted here...

Anyway, typo? "NU will hit up their insurer", weren't they Nationwide a minute ago, not Norwich Union?

2:

You'll have a long wait for the whole book, if you're looking for it here. (You get one more chapter, tomorrow, and that's the lot -- for now.)

Again, as noted earlier: these extracts came out of the original submitted MS, not the final copy-edited and proofread lump of dead tree.

3:

A phrase from a later chapter exceeds my knowledge of UK idiom: “dropping his pants on your desk��?. In context, the meaning is quite clear, but I’m curious about the visual that goes with it— someone dropping a pair of smelly drawers onto your desktop? someone obnoxiously sitting on your desk? (I presume it’s not the US idiom, which would be someone standing on your desk and lowering his trousers.)

4:

UK: Pants = what you wear under your trousers.

In other words, it means "taking a shit on your desk".

5:

Because you may not be overweight but let's face it, dear, people mistake you for a librarian.

You shall suffer for that, Stross. I'm voting someone else in as the Eschaton.

6:

The book's doing very well in the US, too.

Maybe I can now convince the publishers that books with UK settings and/or lead characters are not necessarily market poison.

7:

Um, "baseball striker"? What's that supposed to be?

And, Steve@6, hasn't J.K. Rowling kinda settled that issue? If Ian Fleming didn't settle it a few decades earlier? I mean, I do understand a *little* about publishers, but still, the facts seem pretty definite here.

8:

David @ 7: Actually, aren't the US versions "localised"? I only read the first one (not my thing apparently) but I remember accounts of people ordering through amazon.ca to get the "real thing".

Charlie @ 4: As a US expat living in shitty-old-London (soon to return to the High Peak thank goodness) the "pants" thing has been by far the hardest. I've finally broken it. BUt now when I go to the US I say "trousers" and people think I'm weird. Of course, Brits also say "underpants" and I ask "what are they under"? Also, what the hell is "nesh"?

9:

v.good, shame you're not going to post it all, just have to wait I suppose, not nearly enough good sci-fi authors, it's a long wait between books. I thought Accelerando was a masterpiece, like a gonzo Stephenson, but wasn't that keen on the Demon books. Only got half way through Atrocity Archives, which put me off buying the Jennifer Morgue. I think you should collect and publish all those old posts on the Exi list as a book of essays.

10:

#7
The batter. (They were, in the 19th century, called strikers, but you have to have read something on the history of the game.)

11:

Hurrah! for authors who understand that longswords are not heavy. It's just a pity you seem to be the only one :-(

JDC @ 8: "Nesh" is a good old* Northern word describing the sort of person who flees from a good scrap, uses central heating and generally lacks good old Northern toughness. It's particularly associated with a lack of cold resistance, I believe.
*(Appears in Malory, if I remember correctly!)

12:

"If the other driver has a doctor's note, pull their BMA records and see if they're legit — I'll bet you a bottle of Chardonnay there's a reprimand on file because doctors who're willing to diagnose fictional ailments for cash rarely stop at one. "

GMC rather than BMA, actually.

But I agree.

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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on October 5, 2007 3:50 PM.

Chapter 1: Grand Theft Automatic was the previous entry in this blog.

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