Helen Angove began her working life as an electrical engineer on the south coast of England, took a brief detour as a pricing analyst for an electricity supply company (which was as much fun as it sounds) and then veered off in a different direction altogether by becoming a priest in the Church of England. Now, however, she is living with her husband and two children in Southern California, and is against all the dictates of common sense exploring the possibility of writing as a viable career choice. She has known Philip Purser-Hallard for longer than either of them might care to remember, and holds him responsible for inculcating in her a long-lasting love of science fiction. Her love of Jane Austen, on the other hand, she developed entirely on her own, and the blame for deciding to combine the two can be laid at the feet of no one else.As that biog implies, I've known Helen longer than any of the other contributors -- since our teens, in fact, so that as she says we influenced each other's tastes in reading rather early. Her writing is thoughtful and evocative and humane, and -- as she remains shockingly unpublished prior to now -- I'm delighted to be able to include a sample of it in Tales of the City.
Helen's story, 'Highbury', is a comedy of manners, albeit with a nasty twist. (I've actually thought for ages that the City of the Saved was a perfect setting for such a story, to the extent that my very first City proposal opened at a Jane Austen tea party with cyborgs and neanderthals in attendance.) Here's the first sentence:
A gentleman should be allowed to consider a library a place of refuge: a room where he can have the reasonable expectation of temporary retreat from the distractions of domestic life and the interruptions of the fairer sex.To read the rest of the story, order Tales of the City from Obverse Books.