Meanwhile, in an Alternate Present

by wjw on November 15, 2014

91VHIo+xXxLWhile I was abroad I had a story published and didn’t know it.  My story “Road Kill” is now available in the the latest Wild Cards collection, Lowball, edited by George RR Martin and Melinda Snodgrass.

Pretty nifty cover, ne?

If you’re unfamiliar with the Wild Cards universe, I’d suggest that you not start with this one, but with Wild Cards, the first volume, now available from Tor.  It also has a story by me, “Witness,” which was nominated for a Nebula Award, so you won’t be missing out on any of that WJW goodness.

“Road Kill” is written from the point of view of a new character, Gordon the Ghoul, the World’s Strangest Forensic Pathologist, someone who has a somewhat unusual relationship with the dead animals found alongside the nation’s highways.  And is also designing a moon rocket in his spare time.

I created Gordon over twenty years ago, but this is the first story I’ve written about him.  (Others have written about him, but not me.)  Otto Gordon, M.D., was created not for a story but for a roleplaying game run by Victor Milán, a game in which we all played G-men in pursuit of serial killers.  Vic’s game was more or less explicitly set in Thomas Harris’s Silence of the Lambs universe, in which FBI agent actually chase serial killers instead of merely profiling them— which is the same alternative universe of almost every movie and TV show about serial killers.

We had more fun than any of those guys, but I digress.

(That game also featured Richart Oort, a character created by Melinda Snodgrass and subsequently used by her in her Edge of Reason books.)

Anyway, Gordon turned out to be a wildly popular character, which I realized late in that year when Gordon got more Christmas presents than Walter did.  (Most of them were pretty macabre, and might have better served as Halloween presents.)

Vic later asked, and was granted, permission to use Gordon in one of his novels.  I figured I’d never use the guy myself, but now here he is in the Wild Cards universe, in which he is probably one of the least strange denizens.  He first appeared in a scene in Fort Freak written by Kevin Andrew Murphy, but now I finally get to do my own take on my own character.

Have fun!

kpacheneg November 15, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Hello Mr. Williams,

I’m partways through the final book of the Praxis trilogy and I’m enjoying your work greatly. This is the first “military SF” deal I could go through with. Usually these things are just so. Damn. Boring. With their stand-ins of contemporary crude army grunts and rightist wish-fulfillment Galtian superman officers saving the day as part of a thinly-veiled US conflict in space.

Your multicultural influences and living, breathing characters set this one quite apart. Wiki informs me there’s one more short story I’ve got to track down, so I wanted to ask if there’s chance you revisited this particular milieu.


wjw November 16, 2014 at 6:31 am

There’s every chance of a new novella coming along, though I don’t think there will be any more novels for some time, at least until I can get a reversion from the original publisher.

The story you mention is “Investments,” which is a short novel. It’s available as an ebook, just follow the links from my Ebook Store page.

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