Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Spoiler Space: "What You Couldn't Leave Behind"

This is probably the story that travelled the shortest distance between the original idea and the final story. I actually remember the moment when I thought of the idea of a detective who only takes your case after you die, and it was a fairly short road to figure out that he wouldn't be investigating murders but the things in your life that led to your death. What was missing, though, was what would make it more than just another case for that detective, so the story lay fallow for awhile until I had the "tape echo" idea, which led to the Buddhist elements that give the story a bit more depth. (I mixed elements of both the Tibetan and Egyptian Books of the Dead together because, being a huge nerd, I thought it was funny. I still do.)

The original title of this story was "Kill Me Again," but James Maddox -- who bought this for the never-published anthology Concrete Overcoat -- rightly pointed out that it sounded like a generic horror movie, so we switched to the new title, which I don't like either but at least isn't egregiously bad. I hate coming up with titles.

Just one Canadian in-joke this time, the reference to Juno Beach, the beach that Canadian forces were responsible for on D-Day. They got further inland than any of the other landing forces.

Sources:

Pretty much all Wikipedia this time, mostly getting the details right on canopic jars and the four sons of Horus. I reread Chandler's The Big Sleep to get the tone right, though I limited myself to just a couple of Chandlerian similes.

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