ON A RED STATION, DRIFTING – Aliette de Bodard

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For generations Prosper Station has thrived under the guidance of its Honoured Ancestress: born of a human womb, the station’s artificial intelligence has offered guidance and protection to its human relatives.

But war has come to the Dai Viet Empire. Prosper’s brightest minds have been called away to defend the Emperor; and a flood of disorientated refugees strain the station’s resources. As deprivations cause the station’s ordinary life to unravel, uncovering old grudges and tearing apart the decimated family, Station Mistress Quyen and the Honoured Ancestress struggle to keep their relatives united and safe. What Quyen does not know is that the Honoured Ancestress herself is faltering, her mind eaten away by a disease that seems to have no cure; and that the future of the station itself might hang in the balance…

On a Red Station, Drifting is a novella that I’ve always been asking for–a longer work set in the same universe as “Immersion” and “Scattered Along the River of Heaven.”

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CHAOS TRYST – Shirin Dubbin

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Ariana Golde may be known for breaking and entering but she’s no thief, she’ s a returner. She retrieves stolen objects and gives them back to their rightful owners. Her latest job: retrieving a statue from the Medveds. But Ari is having an off night, and she’s caught red-handed by the three brothers, who don’t just get mad—they turn into bears.
Maksim Medved is outraged—the statue belongs to his parents. But Ari’s returner magick doesn’t lie: the heirloom has a new rightful owner. Ari is drawn to the surly, handsome Maks—maybe because he possesses the same chaos magick she does. But while Ariana enjoys a touch of chaos, Maks hates its destructive power.

When Ari and Maks team up to find her mystery client, their chaos magicks ignite even faster than their attraction. Can Maks learn to love a little chaos, or will the havoc they cause among the faebled creatures drive him away for good?

Does Carina ever publish anything good? No, of course not. It’s all dreck in there, isn’t it. Romance presses, there you go. At least this book doesn’t contain gross rapist logic presented as loving kindness from your one true love–we just get racial exotification instead!

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Sarah and Jennifer Diemer’s SAPPHO’S FABLES VOL. 1

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The Sappho’s Fables series takes well-known, beloved fairy tales and retells them from a lesbian perspective. Volume One contains the first three novellas in the series: SEVEN (Snow White), BRAIDED (Rapunzel) and CRUMBS (Hansel and Gretel), compiled together in an enchanting omnibus edition. 

I’ve previously reviewed and quite liked, despite its flaws, Sarah Diemer’s The Dark Wife, a lesbian retelling of the Persephone myth, so I was quite interested in trying out more of her (and her wife’s) writing. The novellas are available separately, but an omnibus is obviously more convenient and–well–cheaper, though I do think the individual novellas have much better covers.

Yes, it’s self-published. We can all deal. Sarah Diemer seems fairly successful at it, too.

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