The new episode of Shadow Unit
goes live sometime Sunday night. It's a novel (yes, you heard that right)--a science fiction horror police procedural novel--by me and coffeeem
Yeah. You actually did hear that right. The World-Fantasy-Award-nominated writer Emma Bull, author of such absolutely legendary novels as The War for the Oaks
and Bone Dance
notable for having been one of three or four writers who invented an entire subgenre of contemporary fantasy
back in the 1980s), and the Hugo- and Sturgeon-Award winning writer Elizabeth Bear (that's me!) have written a novel together. And we're giving it away for free on the Internet Sunday night.
It's called The Unicorn Evils
. I think it's pretty good.
It's the latest chapter in a thing we have variously referred to as a virtual television show, an interactive semi-real-time hyperfiction evnvironment, and fanfic for a TV show that doesn't exist.
What it is when we're not failing at marketing is a serial shared-world narrative optimized for the internet. Imagine Wild Cards if you could talk to the characters as events play out, and occasionally influence the course of events. The setting is somewhere between Millennium
, The X-Files
, and Criminal Minds
, with touches of The Man from UNCLE
. Which is to say it's about a group of unrealistically sexy, ubercompetent FBI agents attempting to protect the innocent from the worst monsters imaginable, with hints of evil conspiracy.
Unless that's not what's going on at all.
Over the past three years, we have generated well over a million words
of donation-model online serial novel. It's all still there, and it's all still free. There's a wiki, and on that wiki the fans have generated a "Suggested reading order page."
Because there is a lot of content in a variety of places and it can take a little while to get the hang of it.
I'm telling you this for two reasons. One, because now is a great time to start reading what I think is one of the coolest projects I have ever been involved with.
Let me say this outright. I love Shadow Unit.
I want people to read it and love it as much as I do, and come hang out in the thriving fan community
, and tell all their friends how much they love it because it's just that freaking cool. I am, more or less, doing this for free.
That's how much I love and believe in this thing.
And the other is because starting with this season, we're changing the format a bit.
Well, it's no secret to anybody that I am overscheduled lass. And I am not alone--the majority of my Shadow Unit
co-conspirators* are also behind the gun of, well, getting food on the table and the wolf from the door.
To put it frankly, we're all overscheduled as sin.
So we're revamping our program schedule. We've been providing free online narrative just about every single Sunday (with the exception of four months or so, during which there is still intermittent content). The free and the Sunday are not going to change, but the "every single" part has become oppressive, so we're dropping back to something more like every other
Sunday, with the big chunks of narrative happening every two months instead of every month..
This will help all of us, especially those of us with (multiple
) books due this year.The new schedule can be viewed here, on the Shadow Unit BBS
We're all still committed to the project, and we're determined to get through the plot arc. This just means finishing in 2013 instead of 2012. (Well, actually, it means finishing, instead of dying of overwork.)
Yeah, well, we knew it was a big project when we laid down on it.
(but shhh, he's a secret still)