and why
Takes some explaining. Below you will see the latest review of a series of favorable reviews of THE PEOPLE'S POLICE published less than a year after the Tor hardcover, and I should have been able to tell you that the trade paperback will be out in early summer 2018. But right now I can't. Tor refused to publish a trade paperback at all because, I was told, the hard cover sales didn't warrant it even after a string of very favorable reviews. This because their self-fulfilling distribution goal was very small and their advertising and pr budget was zilch. This was because THE PEOPLE'S POLICE was an "orphan" novel, the last novel that David Hartwell edited and was going to champion through the machinery before his tragic death. No one else at Tor therefore cared about this book.
But I certainly did. Without going into the details, I got Tor to revert all rights to me, so that all they have now is the right to sell what hardcovers they have as remainders or otherwise, meaning it would make it difficult to find a trade paperback publisher even with all the reviews until those hardcovers disappeared as well as their overpriced ebook edition which was taken down and replaced by me with a special temporary low price of $3.99 on Amazon for a month.
That being over, here it is for $8.00, a fair price for an ebook by my lights, about half of what Amazon is selling the remaining Tor hardcover for, and about $4.00 less than Tor had been charging for the same thing. And this will remain on sale until/if I secure a publisher for the trade paperback which would want to publish their own ebook.
I do like money, but while this may be a publisher's prime directive, it isn't mine. I will do everything I can to keep THE PEOPLE'S POLICE alive.
by Peter Heck
Spinrad is in top form with this near-future novel set in a New Orleans that has felt the brunt of global warming and sea level rise without abandoning the “good times roll” spirit that defines the Crescent City.
We see the story through three characters. J.B. Lafitte is a wheeler-dealer who has a finger in almost every sleazy deal that goes on in the city. Luke Martin came from gang territory out on the half-drowned fringes of the city; when he figured out that the cops are the ultimate street gang, he joined up. And then there’s MaryLou Boudreau, a.k.a. Mama Legba, who made the transition from street performer to TV stardom as the Voodoo Queen of Louisiana.
The story’s key conflict arises from super-deflation—to the point that prices of most consumer goods are ridiculously low. Great as this sounds, it has two unfortunate consequences. Most people’s salaries have been adjusted downward, so they’re getting equivalent purchasing power to what their old salary would have bought. But some things have not been adjusted—specifically, mortgages. Luke figures this out when he’s assigned to foreclose on a house—his own. Outraged by the request, he goes to the police union, which backs him, declaring it will no longer serve foreclosure notices on its members.
But by putting himself forward, even on a selfish motive, Luke has made himself a symbol of the fight against the ultra-rich who are the beneficiaries of the super-deflation crisis. This fight is bound to grow beyond the comparatively privileged ranks of the police force.
Even wheeler-dealer J.B. Lafitte discovers that the proceeds of gambling and prostitution aren’t sufficient to pay the mortgages on his properties—and he’s got connections that reach far into Louisiana political circles.
Meanwhile, MaryLou has been taking her role as a voodoo queen seriously enough to actually do some research into it—and connects with some real believers who let her take part in one of their ceremonies. Out of nowhere, she finds herself being taken over by Erzuli, one of the loas or ruling spirits of the voodoo pantheon. Erzuli has her own ambitions, and she’s decided MaryLou is a convenient vehicle to get her where she wants to go.
Luke and MaryLou have unwittingly put themselves on paths that will shake up the whole power structure of New Orleans and Louisiana. Those paths inevitably intersect, as both become more powerful and the stakes grow higher. The foreclosure crisis continues, and Luke’s stake in it continues to grow, particularly when it becomes a statewide issue in a gubernatorial election. And of course, J.B.’s maneuvers—not all of which come out exactly as planned—have a good deal to do with the outcome.
This is vintage Spinrad, with over-the-top characters, underhanded politics, sex and drugs, and plenty of juicy New Orleans local color, all presented in typical high-energy style. Totally recommended.
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