Monday, January 31, 2022

The Really Big Ka-Boom: A Spade/Paladin Conundrum, by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

WMG Publishing, December 2015

Another Spade and Paladin short story, this time not actually at a science fiction convention.

Spade encounters Paladin, purely by chance, in a mall on Black Friday, a place they'd never be on that date ordinarily. They each have their reasons, though we don't learn Paladin's. Spade suggests she come to Chinese Food Con on Christmas, to which she replies, "I'm working." She repeats this a couple more times, and Spade takes this as a no.

It's useful to remember that these two are virtual icons of science fiction fans' social awkwardness. Thus we are not surprised when, having arrived a couple of days early in Portland, where Chinese Food Con will be held, Spade gets a phone call from Paladin, who is annoyed not to find him at the hotel she expected him to be staying in. He tells her where he's staying, and she arrives, of course with Casper, the 13yo girl whose guardians they are, in tow. Once settled in, they go out for hot turkey sandwiches, at a place near a motor lodge that was once, briefly, the home of an ignominiously unsuccessful science fiction convention. While they're waiting for their meals, the motor lodge, directly across the street from where they're waiting to eat, blows up.

In the aftermath, it's Paladin and Casper's attention to details, and Spade's ability to dig into the financial details of organizations he has any contacts in at all, become critical to figuring out what's really happened.

It's another fun Spade and Paladin mystery.

I bought this short story.

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