Monday, November 26, 2018

"Alice Payne Arrives"

Kate Heartfield is the author of the historical fantasy novel Armed in Her Fashion and two time-travel novellas from Publishing, beginning with Alice Payne Arrives. She has also published several dozen short stories and an interactive novel for Choice of Games. A former journalist, she lives in Ottawa.

Heartfield applied the Page 69 Test to Alice Payne Arrives and reported the following:
From page 69:
"Look!" Alice cries out, and points to the floor, where three drops of liquid have fallen. "Is it rain? I believe it is. If it's taken our mouse, it's given us rain. I can smell it. Is it some sort of window?"
Page 69 of Alice Payne Arrives is fairly representative of the whole novella, it turns out. It brings us to a cluttered scientist's study in England in 1788. It's the page where highwaywoman Alice and her scientist lover, Jane, start to figure out that a device they found creates portals in time and space. The reader already knows this, because the reader has also been following the storyline of Prudence, a time traveler from the 22nd century.

But the opening of a portal in Jane's 18th century study gives us a chance to see how Alice and Jane each respond to this revelation, and it reveals the differences between them. Those differences are among the reasons Alice and Jane are attracted to each other, but they will also test their relationship:
"But no device can bring a person from one place to another with no connexion in between," protests Jane.

"No device you've seen, but this mechanism is entirely new and mysterious to you. You've said so."

Alice stands and walks around the disc of shimmering air, looking at it from one side and the other.

Jane kneels and puts her finger to the damp spot on the floor, sniffs it.

Alice says, "I'll have to go through."

"Alice! Didn't you see what happened to my mouse?"
We never do meet that mouse (he's named Cicero) again, but perhaps one day I'll write his story. He's doing fine.
Visit Kate Heartfield's website.

--Marshal Zeringue