For Indigo Shuttlecock - Sheriff of the Western Fold, a backwater district of cliched mysteries and old science fiction stories - the fact that her charges have lost their conflict isn't a good thing. It's a problem.
Fresh out of the Academy, Indigo thought being given the Western Fold to protect was a punishment, a humiliating first posting with no chance of promotion.
But when her stories start to succumb to a strange sickening that leaves them devoid of antagonism and interest, can Indigo uncover the secret rot haunting the past of the Western Fold?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I loved this short story. It was clearly written by a writer who really loves stories, all stories, regardless of genre, literary merit or popularity, and to whom book burning (or equivalent nastiness) is an anathema. Indigo Shuttlecock is the sheriff responsible for the Western Fold section of the Storybook stream. She notices that some of her protegees are sickening, some dying, and needs to find out why. The stories, for their part, are oblivious to the danger. Their characters are in blissful harmony, which was anything but normal: “It was as if all the antagonism, all the tension which was needed to keep a story thrumming away had been drained”. Indigo is unable, at first, to make her superior take her seriously. “High Sheriff Grok was a huge fat story, with thick wads of excess characterisation around his jowls and a pair of ugly similes that hung like ammo belts around his chest”. Grok just wants to quarantine the Western Fold until the ‘illness’ dies away. Indigo knows it is more than an ‘illness’, and decides to go it alone, to prove she is right, and to save the stories of the Fold. This is a real treat for anyone who loves stories, and the English language (other languages are available). There are so many lovely phrases, such as “spoken like a true cliché”. The diving into stories and interacting with the characters reminds me a bit of the Thursday Next books of Jasper Fforde. This story is short, and perfectly formed – ideal for a lazy afternoon. I received this copy from author in exchange for an honest review