Keyforge is a popular card game that not only features some unique mechanics, it’s got a rather interesting setting. The idea is that various forces from across reality are abducted and taken to a place called The Crucible, an artificial world where groups constantly challenge each other in order to win incredible power. From a games design perspective, this mean you can have Vikings fight little green men or pixies face off against super science space men. It’s also a pretty good setting for a novel, hence The Quibit Zirconium, A Wibble and Pplimiz Investigation.
Wibble is a shapeshifter, Pplimiz is an android. The former is excitable and curious, the latter is more concerned with manners and procedure than survival. Together they fight crime. Well sort of, they’re investigators cast in the classic style. Dames walk through their door with trouble written on their faces, it rains all the time, that sort of thing. In this story, trouble is an old friend, an elf who’s accused of double crossing some space aliens.
What’s nice about this setting is that the author sticks to their guns throughout and keeps the entire thing as a well-plotted and well paced thriller, full of the twists and turns that you’d expect to find in a good detective novel. The setting of the Crucible is not ignored, far from it. Where as most hard-boiled detective stories will tell you that the City has a thousand stories, Crucible is much more than that. It’s a weird world, a mix of whimsy and cynicism and The Quibit Zirconium, A Wibble and Pplimiz Investigation milks it for all it’s worth.
This is an odd title, and certainly not for everyone, but if you like weird detective fiction, seek it out.