21

I'm looking for two short stories and I could have sworn they were called "Pamela's Profession" and "Pamela's Pursuit" but searching for these has come up with nothing. I've tried different women's names beginning with P, too, because my brain's not perfect.

The stories were about a woman who had the job of killing people for money, for rich people's entertainment - a sort of ha-ha practical joke. Those people would then be revived by future medical technology. She starts by shooting someone at a party.

There's a bit of a spoiler I remember, too:

She's being paid to "accidentally" shoot her victim in the head so he can't be revived. The second story is about her going on the run.

While I only remember these two stories, there may have been more. I would most likely have read them in the early 1990s and think they would have been written around then. I thought they were in a couple of editions of Interzone, but can't find a reference.

30

I believe you may be thinking of Kim Newman's The Original Doctor Shade and other Stories. It includes both a story named "Pamela's Pursuit" and one named "Patricia's Profession", and the Google Books excerpt that I can access from where it showed up in The Night Mayor seems to indicate that Pamela is indeed an assassin for hire in something called The Game. It's apparently set in the dreamscape of a criminal in a world of artificial realities, where people are routinely resurrected which would fit in with the idea of "reversible" assassinations.

Part of her strategy had been to feign, first indifference, then reluctance. It bought Pamela time to sharpen up. While Robin amassed filmy brochures and solicited testimonials from satisfied friends, she put up a deceptive resistance. She spent her lunch hours at the weapons library. Her reactions were fine, but her accuracy needed work. Once, she let a stranger pick her up on the range and sessioned with him. He had willingly paid the registration fee and looked devastated when she remaindered him with her first slug. She didn't need to finish him, she had brought him definitively down, but she had filled his heart all the same. She had always had a healthy interest in killing. Besides, he had been a feeler and she didn't like feelers.

After three years, Pamela and RObin could still hurt each other as deeply as they had when they first started going together. She had completely changed his face, eroding the fleshy pockets under his chin and cheekbones with her talons. With the aid of popular manuals, he had diligently mapped all the response centres of her body. He was persistent but not terribly inventive. Robin was always imagining he had new ideas but it was Pamela who was forever trying to expand the envelope of their marriage. She had been subtly manoeuvring him towards The Game for several months. As always, she needed to let him think it was his idea. But she had been the one to think of inviting the Raiths over and nudged them into enthusing. Ted Raith was a squidge and his wife could be above at her worst; they were Robin's associates. But they had experimented, she knew, with The Game. Robin had kept up a stream of excited question. She knew that, again, she had him.

....

In this world, the popular entertainment media consists of Dreams, the world seems to be run by an artificial intelligence known as Yggdrasil, and people can be “resurrected.”

This Google books excerpt indicates that "Patricia's Profession" (ISFDB link) and "Pamela's Pursuit" are indeed linked, although again, there's limited pages available to read. Here's a quote from Kim Newman in the forward for "Patricia's Profession":

"A sequel, 'Pamela's Pursuit', appeared in the anthology Arrows of Eros and I reserve the right to do 'Pandora's Predilection' in the future."

I found this by doing an ISFDB title search for stories that started with "Pamela" and then doing subsequent searches for Kim Newman and that title. I'm not certain how, or if, to change the ISFDB entry to indicate that "Patricia's Profession" shows up as a chapter in The Night Mayor.

  • This sounds promising - I have one of the books the first Newman story is in at home somewhere, I'll check it out tonight. – moopet Mar 14 '18 at 17:09
  • 1
    Would it be possible for you to add a summary of what you've found or what these stories are about? It helps for people who maybe can't access those links or won't be able to in the future due to link rot or information changing on those pages. – Pleiades Mar 14 '18 at 18:58
  • 5 years before Kurt Vonnegut's "God Bless You Dr. Kevorkian" as well, which is what I instantly thought of when I read the question. – RJ Cuthbertson Mar 14 '18 at 23:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.