Following the recent release of Frivolous Pursuits as the second book in the Hipposync Archives series, a reader recently asked if they had to read the first book, The 400Lb Gorilla, in order to enjoy the second. The answer was an emphatic, no. A serial is a story told in many installments with a story line weaving through the books and leading to a single point of conclusion, as with The Lord of The Rings for example, and it makes sense to read them in sequence. In a series, the same characters/world are self contained in a unique story. Terry Pratchett’s Discworld is a prime example of this overarching approach.
This is the premise for the Hipposync Archives series, too. Hipposync Enterprises is a fictitious company specializing in rare books, but which is really a front for the DOF, the Department of Fimmigration–as in fae immigration–monitoring the boundaries between the human world and the… others.
Rare books provide exactly the right esoteric atmosphere to attract all kinds of eccentric collectors, as well as providing a credible business model in order to deflect unwelcome interest. Just look at this auction listing for Isaac Newton’s book. Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica
NEWTON, Sir Isaac. Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica. Edited by Edmond Halley (1656-1743). London: Joseph Streater for the Royal Society [at the expense of Edmond Halley], to be sold by various booksellers, 1687.
Price Realized • $194,500 (Set Currency)
If one was able to sell just a couple of those a year, it wouldn’t be too bad. Better still if one could somehow get the author to sign the damned thing, even though he’s been dead for a few centuries. And at Hipposync, one quickly learns that anything is possible, and one doesn’t ask too many questions either, if one wants to stay sane….or in ‘one’ piece.
So the stories are a collection of the cases that end up in the basement files of the Hipposync office archives, transcribed by their scribe.
But the DOF’s headquarters are in New Thameswick, a city on the other side of the divide and very different from the cities we know, yet with a few recognisable similarities as Matt Danmor quickly realises in the 400Lb Gorilla, as his guide (a vulture on the witness protection program) explains:
Other, more colourful sights drew the eye once Matt and Rimsplitter started along the streets. Matt spotted a group of dwarves with painted faces and elaborately curled facial hair, out on what looked suspiciously like a stag do (judging by the balloons and the star-tipped wand the one in the middle was carrying). Although, come to think of it, this might be them on their way to the office in normal dwarven business dress. But, since one of them was singing, “I’m a pink pix-ee, you’re a blue pix-ee,” quite loudly and swaying all over the pavement as Matt and Rimsplitter passed, a stag do went back to the top of the list.
Further along, there were four tall, bespectacled beings Rimsplitter explained were Northern Wood Elves, which he qualified with “Bunch of stuck-up, short-sighted effin’ w-ers.” And once, when a large brown mountain blubbered along the opposite pavement, Rimsplitter muttered, “Troll, fat git. They’re into real estate.”
Hipposync, then, is the gateway to the various worlds of the archives. Be sure to drop by and, rest assured, it doesn’t matter which book you chose as your mode of transport.