Leah Tang’s comedy career is falling flat. During a particularly frustrating performance, she finds herself delivering a speech about the fact that as an Asian female all she ever wanted was to be part of the action in the Fantasy books she read, not a one off. When she is approached by a mysterious man after one of her performances, he offers her the gig of a lifetime. Leah is introduced to the Genrenauts, a group of adventurers that travel to genre-based planets and help right the tropes when they go wrong. If these stories aren’t fixed, they bleed into the real world, causing major catastrophes and shoot outs. Leah joins the team to help set right a crazy Western, but not before meeting a bizarre cast of characters to which she will be trusting her very life.
When I saw Michael Underwood’s name on The Shootout Solution: Genrenauts Episode 1, I immediately called dibs like an 8 year-old wanting to ride in the front seat of the car. His series, Geekomancy, is to date one of my favorite pieces of genre fiction. Underwood has a knack for including character types we haven’t yet experienced in mainstream Fiction. In The Shootout Solution, we meet an Asian comedienne and an Iranian Transwoman. Neither really make a big deal out of who they are and continue on with their missions. Yes, that’s right. We have a brief explanation of why a character won’t dress as a man, and then we just go on with the story as it is intended. Talk about a breath of fresh air! People are treated like people, plain and simple.
The story is entertaining as well, with the concept of the Genrenauts opening a whole new realm of stories for Underwood. Who wouldn’t want to check out Romance World, or check out the fast-healing abilities in Sci-Fi World? I’m excited to see where the stories will go from here.
The Shootout Solution: Genrenauts Episode 1 is available November 17, 2015 from Tor.