The Tea Master and the Detective – Aliette de Bodard

Cover artist:  Maurizio Manzieri
Cover artist

That gaze again from Long Chau. The Shadow’s Child was used to respect or fear; to downcast eyes; to awkwardness, even, with people who weren’t used to dealing with a shipmind, especially one that wasn’t involved in passenger service.

The Universe of Xuya is filled with Vietnamese scholars and living mindships.

Long Chau needs to solve a problem, and she comes to the mindship The Shadow’s Child for help. They both have problems, but together they may be able to solve these as an aside to the problem Long Chau originally needed help for.

Besides being a space opera this beautiful novella is a pastiche of the Holmes/Watson pairing with Long Chau as Sherlock Holmes and The Shadow’s Child as Dr. Watson.

The Universe of Xuya is a fascinating construct. To a Westener like me, the idea of a universe dominated by Vietnamese makes for very interesting reading. I have no real knowledge of how the Vietnamese or Chinese cultures worked. Aliette de Bodard manages to bridge the gap of understanding and give at least a very interesting insight into Eastern societies of old. As usual her nearly poetical use of language makes her stories a delight.

Aliette de Bodard has written about 30 stories in her Universe of Xuya, where the Vietnamese and Chinese dominate and have created a society based on their old cultures from earth. The Tea Master and the Detective won the 2018 Nebula Award for best novella and is also nominated for the 2019 Hugo Award.

In September 2019 a collection of her short works (with lots of Universe of Xuya stories and Dominion of the Fallen stories included) will be published by Subterranean Press. Press the button below to read more.

 

Of Wars, and Memories, and Starlight will be published in September 2019 by Subterranean Press in a signed and numbered hardcover edition with a beautiful cover by Maurizio Manzieri:

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
  • The Shipmaker
  • The Jaguar House, in Shadow
  • Scattered Along the River of Heaven
  • Immersion
  • The Waiting Stars
  • Memorials
  • The Breath of War
  • The Days of the War, as Red as Blood, as Dark as Bile
  • The Dust Queen
  • Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight
  • A Salvaging of Ghosts
  • Pearl
  • Children of Thorns, Children of Water
  • Of Birthdays, and Fungus, and Kindness (original novella)
    • Story Notes    
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At the moment Aliette de Bodard is working on a new novel in the Universe of Xuya, which I am really looking forward to.

Press the button below to see another beautiful cover for a trade paperback edition of The Tea Master and the Detective .

Cover artist:  Dick Berger

Cover

 

Dominion of the Fallen

Cover artist:
 The House of Shattered Wings: Nekro
The House of Binding Thorns: Nekro
The House of Sundering Flames: Dick Berger
Cover artist

A Fallen. A young one, barely manifested in the world, lying in pain, somewhere close; somewhere vulnerable in a city where young Fallen were merchandise, creatures to be taken apart and killed before they became too powerfull and did the taking apart and the killing.

The fallen angels are the rulers of an alternate Paris. The Fallen are split up in factions, each belonging to a different house. The houses fought a devastating war with each other to gain ultimate power over Paris. 

Now the city is more or less ruined, the houses are weakened but still plot against each other – and at the slightest sign of weakness they pounce and try to eliminate the weak house.

Into these fights come other powers. Dragons living in the depths of the Seine and an exiled Annamite (Vietnamese) from the Imperial Court of Immortals.

Magic, power, arrogance – fear, poverty, desolation – love, kindness and compassion are all stirred in a big pot in the hope of getting a mixture that can satisfy and sustain the city and its inhabitants.

The pot is stirred by Aliette de Bodard. She is fantastic – that’s a fact.

Her mixture of Eastern and Western cultures gives the story an extra spice, that is fascinating for someone (that’s me) who does not have a real knowledge of old Vietnamese culture. 

This mix of cultures is carried out with a poetic use of language that makes every page a small wonder.

Already Aliette de Bodard has gotten 3 Nebula awards, 1 Locus award and 1 BSFA award for her shorter work and has been nominated for more Nebula and Hugo awards.

The first book in the Dominion of the Fallen trilogy won the BAFTA award for best novel in 2015.

These books should be read in the order they were published:

  1. The House of Shattered Wings.
  2. The House of Binding Thorns.
  3. The House of Sundering Flames.

Do yourself a favour and read these fantastic books.

The House of Sundering Flames was first published in a tradepaper edition by Gollancz (UK) with this cover:

 

As this is the first edition, this is the edition I have. I do not have the US edition, and the book has not been published in a hardcover edition.

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Wilder Girls – Rory Power

Cover artist: Akyut Aydoğdu
Cover artist

Across the roof deck Byatt lowers her gun, rests it on the railing. Road clear.

I keep mine up, just in case, keep the sight raised to my left eye. My other eye’s dead, gone dark in a flare-up. Lid fused shut, something growing underneath.

The Baxter School for Girls has been put under quarantine for eighteen months now – since the Tox hit.

Pupils and teachers die and the infection turns the bodies of the surviving girls strange and foreign. The girls are told to wait and stay alive until a cure can be found.

We follow the developing friendship and love between three teenage girls – Hetty, Byatt and Reese.

Of course things are not quite, what they seem – as we shall soon find out.

WILDER GIRLS shows how strong love and friendship can be between young adult girls and what difference it can make in horrendous situations.

It is Rory Power‘s first novel and it carries tremendous promise. How she writes about emotions, strength in adversity and willingness to act in nearly hopeless situations is done in such a beautiful and wise way, that it makes you love this book.

I had never heard of Rory Power. What made me look at the book, was the fantastic cover by Akut Aydoğdu – wow! I picked up the book, and the blurb by Jeff Vandermeer made me buy and read it immediately.

WILDER GIRLS is the best YA book I’ve read so far this year – and I cannot wait for Rory Power‘s next book.

The book is a YA (targeted for 14-17 years). Personally, I think it might give quite a few in that agegroup a nightmare or two – see the Trigger and Content Warnings that Rory Power has written on her homepage by pressing the button below.

Trigger and Content Warnings Below!

Graphic violence and body horror. Gore.

On the page character death, parental death, and animal death, though the animals are not pets.

Behavior and descriptive language akin to self harm, and references to such.

Food scarcity and starvation. Emesis.

A scene depicting chemical gassing.

Suicide and suicidal ideation.

Non-consensual medical treatment.

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Here is a nice piece of fanart to show you the three main characters.

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