Today you can read a new Gus story: Le lundi de la matraque (Nightstick Monday), now at Strange Horizons. There is also a podcast of it, read by Anaea Lay, and a fantastic cover illustration by Matthew Filipkowski:
If you don’t already know Gus Hillyard, she is a recurring character in my work. She’s semi-immortal and hungry for violence. She walks the tightrope of her own nature, trying to do good with all the wrong tools. It drives her to drink, and wreck things a lot.
This story, like most of the stories Gus appears in, is about choosing ideals over people, choosing people over ideals, and paying a price either way. It’s about an era of Canadian history that a lot of us don’t learn much about: when I started the research I was surprised at how much violence I didn’t learn about in history class.
Many people who lived through that history are still around. And like most history, it isn’t past: it’s still unfolding around us, or beneath us, or through us. I wrote this story well before the recent US election and the wave of massive protests that followed; I was thinking of the setting as an era of revolution that has since ended, but already my understanding has changed, and I have begun to think of the last hundred years as an era of revolution that still goes on.
To honour the spirit of resistance, the paycheque for this story has been donated to the ACLU, as part of the #FictionFightsBack initiative.
If you like Gus, here are some other places she appears:
Who in Mortal Chains, one of my earliest published stories, which takes place a couple of years before “Le lundi de la matraque”
Spells of Blood and Kin, my first novel, in which Gus is not the protagonist but steals a scene here and there