Wednesday, 27 July 2011

"Coterie" by Elkie Riches

Coterie draws us into a rural scene we think we are familiar with, but then expands its horizons to something quite extraordinary. From a fox’s eye view of the hunt, we are drawn into a surreal multiverse where the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics is harnessed to a traditional aristocratic pursuit.

Along the way, we are led to consider some interesting questions. What is suitable employment for a cerebrally augmented fox? And, most importantly; if ever-branching realities can be bridged, then how do ethics and justice apply to the way we relate to our other selves?

In the multiverse, of course, there are infinite answers to these questions, and the colourful characters of Coterie make the mistake of assuming that Tradition is a constant in which the rules never vary.

Elkie Riches’ short story is a finely crafted comedy of manners and paradox. The “New Wave” of science fiction is an obvious reference point in a tale that blends Chaucer and Hugh Everett III. Coterie would not be at all out of place in a copy of Michael Moorcock’s classic journal New Worlds, and will be very much appreciated by anyone with a taste for this genre.

Coterie is available for Kindle