Friday, 18 May 2012

Shadow Unit: WTF?

For anyone who has found An Open Mind, without first being aware of Shadow Unit, a little explanation may be in order. An Open Mind is Shadow Unit fan fiction, but what's Shadow Unit, I hear you ask....

Imagine a world where Criminal Minds and the X Files, or Criminal Minds and Fringe co-exist, where down the corridor from the BAU is a unit the FBI prefer not to talk about, a unit charged with investigating crimes in which not just the law, but the rules of physics as we understand them have been broken. Welcome to the world of the Anomalous Crimes Task Force, better known to the team of agents assigned to it as the WTF.  The WTF team are the people whose job it is to hunt down the Gammas who commit these anomalous crimes, and ultimately to understand the Anomaly itself.

Shadow Unit is the creation of a team of speculative fiction authors led by Emma Bull and Elizabeth Bear, and exists on multiple levels; there are the Shadow Unit stories themselves, there is the metafiction within which Shadow Unit is a TV show produced by the WTF Network, there are the Live Journal blogs and the Tweets of the characters,in which the boundaries of fiction and real life blur as fans and characters cross paths, and there is the message board, where authors and fans, Deltas, interact. Take all that's good about Criminal Minds, the solid characterisation and intelligent writing that expects the audience to keep up, rather than be spoonfed, and cross it with a little bit of science fiction and a dash of horror, add characters we truly care about, characters who face being seriously hurt every time they confront a Gamma and authors' who openly state that our minds and emotions are there to be manipulated, and that's Shadow Unit.

The Shadow Unit stories are available through the Shadow Unit website, where we are currently in Season 4, while Seasons 1 through 3 are available as a series of E-books on Amazon. Shadow Unit is entirely reader funded, but the quality of writing, and the willingness to take risks, is as good as anything you will find in a dead-tree edition. Also to be found on the website are the Shadow Unit Wiki and the message board. So go on, take a peek into the Shadows....

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