I forgot to mention this the other day, but my Bookman Histories novelette, “Murder in the Cathedral” will be published in a future issue of Asimov’s magazine.
It tells the never-before-told story of what really happened when Orphan went to France half-way through The Bookman. And begins with Orphan, coming across the Channel by ship, making a new friend…
‘Your name?’ the officer said. Herb was next.
‘Herbert George Wells,’ Herb said.
‘And your profession, monsieur?’
‘I am a writer.’
‘Oh,’ the French officer said, and raised his eyebrows. ‘What do you write, monsieur?’
Herb Blushed. ‘Scientific romance, that sort of thing,’ he mumbled, and Orphan, watching him, almost laughed despite his nervousness. But the French officer’s face lit up at the words. ‘ Roman scientifique?’ he said. ‘But that is marvellous! C’est bon! You are going to la convention du monde?’
‘Yes,’ Herb said, pleased and surprised. ‘You know of it?’
‘Of course!’ The officer reached under his desk and returned with a rather used-looking book. ‘See?’
Orphan craned his neck. It was a copy of Victor Hugo’s classic (for even Orphan had read it as a child), La Créature de la Lagune Noire. ‘Here in France, we honour such writings,’ the officer said, and he rose, and shook Herb’s hand. ‘Welcome, Mr. Wells. Welcome to France!’