Sunday, September 11, 2011

Spanner Interlude 9: Three Cases of the Civet

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner
Interlude 9: Three Cases of the Civet

The Civet has always been published under the house byline “Wesley Dent” since the first novel in the series was published. The first eighteen books in the series were written by Keenan Sasser (with the uncredited help of his wife Ada Paulette Wintergreen) in part to get a series of dreams out of his head so they won’t drive him nuts. Then the Conservative Revolution happened, putting the original series out of print and leaving five complete novels on his hard drive with little hope of publication. The first series was driven by the tropes Rule Of Cool, Rule Of Sexy, and Screw The Rules, I’m Beautiful. The seventeen anonymous authors of the second series do not care. The second series is a Franchise Zombie written entirely by Executive Meddling.

Keenan based many of the characters in the first series on people he knew. In these excerpts, their in-story names will be replaced by their real names the way Keenan originally dreamed them. Most importantly:
  • Dorinda Wilde is Kira Thomas (deceased?).
  • Rebecca Street is Amanda Currie.
  • John Grant is James Sparks.
  • Isolde Terhune is Jennifer Blair.
  • Rochelle Wilde is Elle Shears.
  • Reina Sterling is Leila Shelley.
  • Melinda Wilde (deceased) is Shira Thomas.
These are condensed versions and summaries of major plot points in each novel.

From The Civet Strikes!, first novel in the first series:
The year is 2014. After the death of Walter J. Wells, intrepid reporter Amanda Currie and her new lover, teenage pop idol Kira Thomas, who is also the mysterious cat burglar known as the Civet, find themselves pursued by a relentless cop named Jim Sparks. For Sparks it’s partly personal: he and Amanda were once passionate lovers until the Consortium takeover and the murder of Shira Thomas, which Kira blames on him. His father, Police Corporation chairman Brendan Sparks, was a very close friend of Wells. He wants revenge, and he orders his son to get it for him.

When Jim finally catches them, Kira blackmails him into taking part in a heist she’s planning — at his own father’s mansion. He brings them directly to his father. Chairman Sparks decides to summarily execute all three of them, in front of his elite strike cops, on live video broadcast to the world. The executioner aims at them — and shoots the Chairman! He is Chairman Sparks’ old enemy, Will Becket. As the guards chase him, Kira leads Amanda and Jim to the Chairman’s treasure room, where he stores the loot Sparks and his cronies stole from executed prisoners of war. Their target is the most expensive treasure in his collection: an emerald appraised at over a billion dollars. When the guards catch up with them, Jim shoots the emerald, and it shatters — it turns out to be a fake. Kira quietly steals the real object of their caper, a microchip.

The underground media exult over this embarrassment to the Consortium, and Amanda makes the Civet a folk hero. The Consortium, naturally, vows revenge. And they have the perfect weapons: Will’s psychopathic nephew and mortal enemy Frank Becket, and his even scarier girlfriend, Leila Shelley...
From The Flight of the Tangram, eighteenth in the first series:
(Kira, Jennifer, Elle, Amanda, and Tansie steal the Tangram.)
The year is 2084. The Corporations have evolved far beyond their human and even posthuman origins, into planet-eating entities, the most dangerous of which is a being of pure destruction that was once a human named Leila Shelley. Their Consortium decides now is the time to fulfill the Law of Social Darwinism by exterminating the humans, nonhumans, and posthumans of the Pan-Solar Alliance. The Robot War has begun.

Kira Thomas, a former Alliance leader from midcentury, summons the people closest to her: scientist cousin Jennifer Blair, technomancer niece Eleanor Shears, reporter wife Amanda Currie, and their gynoid companion Tansie. The petrified current political structure of the Alliance, dominated by military-industrial interests, is ideally suited to a Consortium takeover, so they decide the Alliance must be overthrown. However, the majority of Terrans have grown complacent in their near-immortality. Only a severe shock can convince the Terrans that their self-preservation is in danger. Kira and her crew will provide it.

They sneak on board the newly Alliance space battleship Tangram. Kira deliberately gets herself arrested for trespassing. Once ship security is distracted, Jennifer and Elle sneak Tansie into the control room. Tansie wipes the ship’s intelligence, uploads her own AI mind into the computer, and takes over the ship. To get the Alliance crew off the ship, she triggers a false self-destruct emergency. The new crew take their place on the bridge, declare themselves to be the legendary pirates of the Wrecking Krewe, and fly off to confront the Consortium...
From The New Civet, first in the second series:
Frank Becket and Leila Shelley’s daughter Nanette goes back in time to stop the original Civet and bring order back to the Consortium. She steals Kira’s secret identity, steals Jim from Amanda, brainwashes the villains into heroes with the latest gee-whiz gadgets, and saves the day.
Which is canon and which is discontinuity? Only you can make the call.

on to the next...

Back to Chapter 16 index...
Back to Chaos Angel Spanner table of contents...

Copyright © 2011 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons License

[Revision 1, 9/11/11: All new material.]
[Revision 2, 9/29/11: HTML errors corrected (and these were big ones) and missing TV Tropes “Rule of Sexy” and “Franchise Zombie” links added.]

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