short comic strip, part of The Nine Lives Of Michal Piech
. One of the final parts, followed only by the sequel to Giedre
. Serialised in the monthly newsletter of the Basingstoke (UK) sci-fi club Genesis beginning spring 2011.
Like most of the saga it went through several rewrites and updates to reflect authorial maturity. It was originally written in 2000 as a challenge to the author to be able to write a single, self-contained and self-explanatory story, without hesitation, deviation or repetition
, or being turned into an infinite Soap Opera
like most of the rest of the stories prior to the series reboot of 2010. It worked.
Michal Piech has come to the eponymous Krovotkan capital to visit his uncle Zbigniew Piech, now Communist governor of Krovotka. The city is locked down and under military rule. Piech and his wife Zofia meet two children turned out of their homes after their parents are arrested. The little boy has something to show him which brings his own story full circle.
Based on a real-life occurrence on a visit to post-1998 bank crisis St Petersburg.
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Comic Strip Tropes
- Babies Ever After - in the 2000 draft, Zofia found out at the end of the story that she was pregnant. This seemed a bit of a non-sequitur in the 2010 version, however, and was left out, with the implication not that there was no second child for the Piechowie, but that it didn't happen then. When it does happen, the characters will be sure to let us know.
- Back for the Finale - originally, Seymour was supposed to have been Put on a Bus at the end of Going Home - or even at the end of what became Brother Wolf, and was mentioned in the 2010 short. However, he has a much larger role to play in the series now and therefore he doesn't necessarily end up simply BFTF.
- Bling of War - in the initial pages of the 2010 version, Zbych is pictured wearing his dress uniform, a throwback to his old Imperial days, including a dress sword. Drawings elsewhere show the communist uniform is much plainer.
- Retcon - the 2010 short was written before the earlier novels were planned and written in 2011, where Michal himself walked into the workhouse rather than being forced there by Simon Seymour. Luckily the cartoonist patched in an edit before the final page was published.
- Shout Out - both the 2000 version and the 2010 version were based around the Prague landscape, with a thinly-disguised Charles Bridge and Hradcany as the centrepiece of the action.
- Anti-Hero - Zbych. Stalinism comes quite naturally to him. But he's still portrayed sympathetically.
- Big Brother Is Watching - Zbych has an effective network of spies. The children. If you must know, the boy in the story was originally named Pavlik Morozov until it quite obviously brought out the wrong reaction in people who lived under communism. The boy is still called Pavlik.
- Crapsack World - Krovt (and probably Krovotka itself) is run as a military dictatorship under General...sorry, Governor Piech's personal rule. It is the local equivalent of Sunday in the story, but still, everything is shut and the kids and a handful of soldiers are the only ones outside other than Piech and his wife.
- Peoples Republic of Tyranny - the titular city, and by extension the entire Commonwealth.
- Reign of Terror - ongoing.