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(Found) Trying again: Detective chases kidnapper in spaceship

northernexposure

Northern Exposure
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This was a story in a "best of" book in the 80's or early 90's and involved a detective pursuing a man who had "kidnapped" a woman and fled into space. The story incorporated both Victorian elements and deconstruction. In the end, the detective is in a spaceship sitting in a void in space watching simulacra winding down. Help, please!
 

Dave

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Moved your post to the 'Book Search' forum. Can't help you myself, though was the term "simulacra" actually used in the book? - only, if so, I could suggest Philip K Dick as he is fond of that word (though not 80's or 90's.)
 

northernexposure

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Thanks for the move. Nope, it's not Philip K. Dick - and I am not sure that "simulacra" was used. The end scene is the protagonist watch as these artificial characters start to fade out (I think).
 

northernexposure

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I have tried to remember more details about this story. A detective pursues a Moriarty-like kidnapper (except that later you find out that the woman who was kidnapped was cooperating with the evil criminal). The "proper" detective is confronted with loosened morals and groundlessness. The abyss in space that he is eventually marooned in becomes a metaphor for the postmodern world in which there is nothing certain. The computer-generated 3D simulacra that start to0 fade at the end of the story are without substance, presumably a representation of the protagonist's loss of substance.

I almost imagine that I wrote this in my mind, but I didn't. If you have any leads, please let me know.
 

Jekaarn

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I think I remeber there being a harry Harrison Stainless steel rat book with a similiar story line
 

northernexposure

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Thanks, Jekaarn, but as I remember The Stainless Steel Rat books, DiGriz always came out alive. In this book, we know that there is no hope at the end. He is lost in an abyss in space.
 

iansales

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The only steampunk-ish books from the late 1980s / early 1990s that involve space travel I can think of are Colin Greenland's Harm's Way and Stephen Baxter's Anti-Ice.
 

northernexposure

Northern Exposure
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I posted a request in 2007 for a story that I want to find again, and I'm trying once more:
This was a story in a "best of" book in the 80's or early 90's and involved a detective pursuing a man who had "kidnapped" a woman and fled into space. The story incorporated both Victorian elements and deconstruction. In the end, the detective is in a spaceship sitting in a void in space watching simulacra winding down. You find out later the woman who was kidnapped was cooperating with the evil criminal. The "proper" detective is confronted with loosened morals and groundlessness. The abyss in space that he is eventually marooned in becomes a metaphor for the postmodern world in which there is nothing certain. The computer-generated 3D simulacra that start to fade at the end of the story are without substance, presumably a representation of the protagonist's loss of substance. It is not a Philip K. Dick story and it is not steampunk.
Thanks--
 

northernexposure

Northern Exposure
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Messages
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Washington State USA
I posted a request in 2007 for a story that I want to find again, and I'm trying once more:
This was a story in a "best of" book in the 80's or early 90's and involved a detective pursuing a man who had "kidnapped" a woman and fled into space. The story incorporated both Victorian elements and deconstruction. In the end, the detective is in a spaceship sitting in a void in space watching simulacra winding down. You find out later the woman who was kidnapped was cooperating with the evil criminal. The "proper" detective is confronted with loosened morals and groundlessness. The abyss in space that he is eventually marooned in becomes a metaphor for the postmodern world in which there is nothing certain. The computer-generated 3D simulacra that start to fade at the end of the story are without substance, presumably a representation of the protagonist's loss of substance. It is not a Philip K. Dick story and it is not steampunk.
Thanks--
 

northernexposure

Northern Exposure
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
Messages
84
Location
Washington State USA
I posted a request in 2007 for a story that I want to find again, and I'm trying once more:
This was a story in a "best of" book in the 80's or early 90's and involved a detective pursuing a man who had "kidnapped" a woman and fled into space. The story incorporated both Victorian elements and deconstruction. In the end, the detective is in a spaceship sitting in a void in space watching simulacra winding down. You find out later the woman who was kidnapped was cooperating with the evil criminal. The "proper" detective is confronted with loosened morals and groundlessness. The abyss in space that he is eventually marooned in becomes a metaphor for the postmodern world in which there is nothing certain. The computer-generated 3D simulacra that start to fade at the end of the story are without substance, presumably a representation of the protagonist's loss of substance. It is not a Philip K. Dick story and it is not steampunk.
Thanks--
 

northernexposure

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Fifth Time - any sleuths out there?
I posted a request in 2007 for a story that I want to find again, and I'm trying once more:
This was a story in a "best of" book in the 80's or early 90's and involved a detective pursuing a man who had "kidnapped" a woman and fled into space. The story incorporated both Victorian elements and deconstruction. In the end, the detective is in a spaceship sitting in a void in space watching simulacra winding down. You find out later the woman who was kidnapped was cooperating with the evil criminal. The "proper" detective is confronted with loosened morals and groundlessness. The abyss in space that he is eventually marooned in becomes a metaphor for the postmodern world in which there is nothing certain. The computer-generated 3D simulacra that start to fade at the end of the story are without substance, presumably a representation of the protagonist's loss of substance. It is not a Philip K. Dick story and it is not steampunk.
Thanks--
 

northernexposure

Northern Exposure
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Nov 14, 2007
Messages
84
Location
Washington State USA
Hi--
Every couple of years I re-post this search. I still haven't found it.

I posted a request in 2007 for a story that I want to find again, and I'm trying once more:
This was a story in a "best of" book in the 80's or early 90's and involved a detective pursuing a man who had "kidnapped" a woman and fled into space. The story incorporated both Victorian elements and deconstruction. In the end, the detective is in a spaceship sitting in a void in space watching simulacra winding down. You find out during the chase that the woman who was kidnapped was cooperating with the evil criminal. The "proper" detective is confronted with loosened morals and groundlessness. The abyss in space that he is eventually marooned in becomes a metaphor for the postmodern world in which there is nothing certain. The computer-generated 3D simulacra that start to fade at the end of the story are without substance, presumably a representation of the protagonist's loss of substance. It is not a Philip K. Dick story and it is not steampunk.
Thanks--
 

otistdog

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Sep 21, 2005
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192
I've seen you post this before, and it would be great if this time you found it. It's clear that not many people recognize this story, so I'd say your best chance would be trying to first identify the collection in which you read it. So, with that in mind, some questions:

1) Was the book newly-published when you read it, or had it been out for a while. Did you read it in the 80s or 90s or just think that's when it was published?

2) Most collections have a theme, which might help to find it. Was there a particular theme to this collection that is reflected in this story?

3) Can you give any specific (or even half-remembered) examples of the "Victorian elements" and "deconstruction" that you mention?

4) What kind of spaceship was used to travel to space? How did it work, i.e. what was its motive force? Did it have any memorable features? Were the detective's and criminals ships the same or different?

5) What details can you provide on these "simulacra"? Were they physical objects, holograms, or something else? What was the theoretical technology basis for their existence? What other simulacra can you remember being noted?

6) Can you remember anything about any *other* story that might have been in the same collection as this one?

7) Can you remember anything at all about the title? Was it long or short? Did it use an unusual word that you remember (or, if not that word, perhaps its synonym)?

8) Can you remember anything at all about the author? A man's name or a woman's? Had you heard of this author before?

9) About the collection, was it thick or thin? Did it have a picture on the cover? Do you remember the colors of it? Did it have a preface for each story, or for each section, or anything like that?

10) What can you remember about the "evil criminal" character? What was his/her goal? Why was the woman cooperating? Why was the detective pursuing? Was it his job, or did he know the woman personally, or what?

11) Was there an abrupt shift in tone towards the end, i.e. was it a more "typical" story that took a sudden turn for the weird? Or was it steadily getting weirder throughout?

12) What, specifically, makes you think it was a "metaphor for the postmodern world in which there is nothing certain"? Is this explicitly laid out, or is it your own conclusion? If laid out, is there a word or phrase used in doing so that stands out? If your conclusion, what makes you conclude that?
 

northernexposure

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Thank you. Let's see, I should preface this by saying that it is not unusual for me to read something and then, even years later, realize that it has sparked something in terms of a project or paper I am working on. So in answer to several of your questions, I have to say, I don't know. I used to have a large SF collection, but before it was dispersed, I looked at all of my story collections. Even now, when I travel, I go to libraries and search through SF collections. So, regarding cover, theme,title, author, size of volume, I don't know.

The story starts with the detective, in a one person spaceship, pursuing the kidnapper. There is reference to a large abyss or void, in which it is possible to get lost. Approaching the kidnapper's ship, he communicates with the kidnapper and views him (presumably through some viewscreen), sexually groping the "kidnappee," who is obviously cooperating with, and enjoying the kidnapper. The detective's ship is somehow thrown into the abyss. The Victorian elements are in the description and stance of the detective, who is portrayed as quite proper. (I remember it having a Sherlock Holmes kind of feeling.) I have no idea if volume was devoted to a postmodernist theme, but clearly,the story was composed by someone who was readily addressing fall of the grand narrative. The simulacra are described, I recall, as dancing holograms (I believe they were small, on a table/or surface in front of the detective. The end of the story - I believe - involves the detective watching the simulacra dance and fade - as their energy dissipates - in the inescapable abyss.

The reason that I search for this is that I would like to write a paper on the abyss in Nietzsche, Levinas, and science fiction - contrasting Norman Spinrad's "Riding the Torch," this story, and Budrys' "Rogue Moon" and "Who?"

Sorry that I can't answer many of your queries, but thank you.
 

otistdog

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192
So it's primarily the Victorian attitude of the protagonist that constitutes the "Victorian elements," or were there other aspects of society and/or technology that would count? Was this abyss just a large empty area of space, or something special like a "dimensional rift" or the like? Does the story begin in media res with the detective in pursuit? If not, what are the circumstances in which the case is brought to his attention?

I'm throwing all these questions at you because sometimes it's the tiniest details that will stand out to another person. If nothing else, thinking about them might jog another detail or two loose, to help you remember on your own (in which case, please post back!).

In any case, good luck to you.
 

northernexposure

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I appreciate your prompts. The story, as I remember, starts with the detective already on the chase. I actually remember nothing specific about the society of the time; it was the portrayal of the villain as a Moriarty-type, contrasted with the strict morality of the detective that gave me the sense of a Victorian era. The void or abyss was somewhat unusual in that somehow he was forced into it and there was no clear way out. (I have searched through books that had such abysses, but have not yet hit pay dirt (e.g., M. John Harrison).
I will keep searching, and you can be sure that I will post if I find it.
 
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