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John Meaney - Study in ShadowStudy in Shadow is a Novelette by John Meaney, written for and published by the Birmingham Science Fiction Group, for the occasion of Novacon 41, where John was Guest of Honour.

The story is a quick, fun, and engrossing read, playing out in two separate threads, which are set in different times but connected through family ties.
One side plays in the late 19th and early 20th century, following both a young Arthur Conan Doyle and a mysterious (shadowy, to mirror the title of the story) acquaintance of his; and Emma Carson, an early adopter of Jujitsu and Bartitsu and bodyguard to Mrs Pankhurst (and thus part of the suffragette movement which resorted to violence).
The other side plays in the future (2030s), following Irene Cheryl Holmes as she goes to University, and then goes on to conduct ground-breaking research bringing together astrophysics (Shadowlight) and molecular brain research into telepathy. That she's an active MMA fighter is par for the course, both in terms of symmetry of the story as well as for this being a John Meaney story...

The whole arrangement is fun, with lots of partially hidden threads and hints running through the story and sometimes connecting otherwise disparate parts (don't dig into those too closely, though, I found them to be misleading and misaligned when I had a closer look – or did I miss something crucial?). There is loads of name dropping - see the last name of the future protagonist; one scene with AC Doyle plays out in Peyton's Emporium on Sherlock Street; and so on.

Recommended reading if you can get your hands on one of the 300 printed copies (no idea if this will become available online at some point), but when you do I'd suggest you enjoy it as it comes, don't overthink, it's not made for it!

More John Meaney

Title: Study in Shadow
Author: John Meaney
Reviewer: Markus
Reviewer URL:
Publisher:  Birmingham Science Fiction Group
Publication Date: Nov 2011
Review Date: 111122
Pages: 41
Format: Chapbook
Topic: SF
Topic: Fictionalised History


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