One of those "tip of my tongue" things, but somewhere in the mid 1990s, I read a novel, probably a paperback, which had a scene that has stuck in my head where the protagonists are attempting to escape a pursuing enemy force in a car. The two things that stuck out to me were that a) one of the ways they were discouraging pursuit was that they had an automatic gun mounted into the back of the car, which they were firing out of the back window and b) one of the people in the car (who I think was not a trained fighter), had been given a bunch of grenades, and there was a line that went something like "she was shucking pins and tossing grenades like an ambitious cornhusker".

I remember that the technology was mildly futuristic (cybernetic enhancements, high-powered guns readily available on the streets, but no thermonuclear grenades or dark hole bombs that I recall), and that magic was a thing, although I don't remember it being used in the scene.

I think that in the scene before, they were in a room where someone was commenting on a painting in the room and its artistic merits. There might have been a quirk to it where parts of the painting used colors outside of the human range of visions (but visible to other races). In retrospect, I might be pulling that out of a Spelljammer novel where I remember a mind flayer captain was explaining a similar concept.

Given the timing (and that I know I read some of them back then), there's a decent chance this is a Shadowrun book.

  • Hi, you mentioned "urban fantasy" in the title. I see SF-related stuff in the question body, but I'm having a hard time relating it to urban fantasy. Do you recall anything about how magic was a thing? Also, do you recall what they were shooting at?
    – Spencer
    Commented May 4, 2021 at 15:18
  • This sounds like what "Why Johnny Can't Speed" would have been like, were it written two decades later. :)
    – DavidW
    Commented May 4, 2021 at 15:27
  • @Spencer: I don't exactly, because all I remember specifically at the moment is that one scene. Think it was kind of semi-ritual magic, involving people channeling power through material components and words. There might have been a case of someone using magic to hide their presence? And there might have been traditional fantasy races, but I don't know if I'm thinking that because I'm remembering bits from Shadowrun. And they were being pursued by another vehicle, which was shooting at them. I don't think it was law enforcement unless it was a corrupt branch.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented May 4, 2021 at 16:15

1 Answer 1


Found the book, Shadowrun Legends: Changeling by Christopher Kubasik.

Front cover of Changeling

OUT ON THE STREETS… By 2053, the return of magic to the world has filled the streets of Chicago with beings and creatures from mythology. For those in the politically dominant mega-corporations, the underworld, and everywhere in between, it is a time of chaos and wonder—and incredible opportunities ripe for the taking. For fifteen-year-old Peter Clarris, transformed by his Awakened genes from a human into a troll, the forces of magic are a curse to be broken with science. Torn from the comfortable biotech fast-track of his childhood, he becomes an pariah, shunned by friends and strangers alike. Now, living among the outcasts—the underclass of orks and trolls, the criminal societies of gangsters and shadowrunners—he grows up pursuing the elusive means of controlling his own genes, and ultimately his own destiny. But the Windy City’s shadows are dark and deep, and when Peter comes across a real chance to fulfill his dream of reversing the change that was forced upon him, it may cost more than he’s willing to pay—before he’s through, it may cost him his life…

Relevant excerpt from Chapter 24:

Peter maneuvered the weapon out the left window, hooked his fingernail on the trigger, and fired the machine gun at the Leyland-Rover van, which led the pack behind them. The minigun roared, spitting bullets as fast as the barrels could rotate. Peter quickly lost control of the weapon and let up on the trigger. Some of the bullets hit their target, but most sprayed harmlessly away as the gun jumped in his grip. The van swerved a bit, but stayed hard on their tail.

Explosions suddenly blossomed behind their car, one after another. Turning to look at Kathryn, Peter saw her pulling pins and dropping grenades with the speed of an old-fashioned corn-shucker looking for a bonus.

The painting was in the next chapter, and is A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat':

His gaze was drawn back first to Breena, who remained still and peaceful, and then to the painting in front of him.

He’d never seen it before, but he liked it. But he also didn’t like it.

What was it?

A couple walking together, dressed in old-fashioned clothing. A man sat on the grass smoking a pipe. A monkey on a leash. Many people, all enjoying a day in a park. Kind of. Their bodies were too stiff.

He realized the painting wasn’t made with strokes. Something else. Dots.

Found after Humble Bundle put out a nearly complete collection of Shadowrun fiction. A text search for "shuck" turned up the quote I remembered.

  • 1
    A Leyland-Rover van, now there's a way to date a story
    – Separatrix
    Commented Feb 2 at 8:49
  • @Separatrix: Heh, you wanted dated? youtube.com/watch?v=8GPGQoR6f6w
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Feb 2 at 14:50
  • 1
    It's amazing what they could do in the late 80s with a double digit budget and overnight access to an industrial estate!
    – Separatrix
    Commented Feb 2 at 14:59

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