the Little Red Reviewer

Posts Tagged ‘revolution

Revenant Gun, by Yoon Ha Lee (Machineries of Empire, #3)

published June 2018

Where I got it: purchased new

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One of the reasons I write reviews is to help myself process how a book makes me feel. I’m not super good at expressing myself verbally (or at all, actually), but somehow writing a book review helps me express myself and process my thoughts.  Somehow, with words, I am making a picture of the journey a book took me on. A picture of a journey, made of words? Magic!

 

Anyway.

 

I finished Revenant Gun nearly a week ago.  I’d been reading this book very slowly, savoring every page.  Like Ninefox Gambit and Raven Stratagem, Revenant Gun is fucking smart. I can’t tell if this trilogy is the decade’s smartest science fiction epic, a treatise on management and communication, step by step instructions for how to take down a government, or if all of those things are actually in a way the same thing.  Among other things,  The Machineries of Empire trilogy is the story of what happens when choice is removed, and then many generations later, it is given back. If you’ve never had something before, how do you know what you’re supposed to do with it? I’ve grossly oversimplified the plot, of course. Sort of like saying Star Wars is about a guy who goes on an adventure, meets his dad, and then decides to kill his dad’s boss because of a political disagreement. I skipped over all the good parts, didn’t I?

 

I finished reading Revenant Gun nearly a week ago. That day, and the next day, I was no shape to write a review. Nearly in tears, I’d emailed my best friend and tried to explain to her (hey, remember that e-mail I sent you? And I said I wasn’t going to tell you the name of the book I was talking about? Well, it’s this book!)  that a particular scene had taken place, and that I felt rather positive about that scene. That I’d liked that scene.  And then later in the book, I found out that what I thought was happening that scene wasn’t actually what was happening at all.  And now that I knew what was really going on, what kind of fucking monster was I for liking that scene??   You guys, this was beyond #Allthefeels.

 

After I was done crying (I still didn’t feel any better, I’d just cried myself out), I ordered a copy of Yoon Ha Lee’s short story collection.

 

But enough about me and my mushy feelings,  you want to know what this book is about, right?  I don’t know what’s better – the overarching theme and plot of the trilogy or that these books are so damn smart and perfectly written that maybe the overarching plot doesn’t matter.

 

I was hoping for another Cheris book, and while she does make an appearance in Revenant Gun, this final volume is Jedao’s time to shine.  He’s awake, has only himself in his mind, doesn’t seem to have an anchor, and he thinks he’s 17 years old. His body is 40 something years old, and the soldiers expect him to order them around. Makes sense, since he’s been hired to win a war.  The soldiers are also terrified of him, and he doesn’t know why. Jedao is functioning without an understanding of what happened between him and Khiaz. He’s functioning without any understanding of his place in history. Even worse, he’s the only person who had no idea who Cheris is.

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You like anthologies of all original fiction, yes?

You think Kickstarter is cool, Yes?

Oh, are you going to love this!

My most excellent friends at Apex Book Company, Jason Sizemore and Lesley Conner, have launched their Kickstarter for a new anthology of original fiction about resistance and revolution. Called “Do Not Go Quietly”, the anthology is already nearly 50% funded!

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This is an all or nothing deal, which means when the funding is reached, the anthology happens with a table of contents that includes Seanan McGuire, Catherynne M. Valente, Rebecca Roanhorse, Sheree Renee Thomas, A. Merc Rustad, Maurice Broaddus, Cassandra Khaw, Laird Barron, Karin Lowachee, Rich Larson, Fran Wilde, and more.  For those of you keeping count,  I’ve just listed authors who have won the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, World Fantasy, Prix Aurora, Mythopeoic, Andre Norton,  and Shirley Jackson awards, and I’ve not even gotten through the entire Table of Contents yet.

 

Click here to visit the Do Not Go Quietly Kickstarter page to learn more about the project and all the amazing authors who are involved so far. Even if you have no intention of supporting this project, click on the link anyways, just to watch the kick ass video.

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Lesley and Jason were kind enough to take me behind the scenes of this project, and if I’m really lucky, they’ll let me ask them another set of questions! What questions do you have?  Leave ’em in the comments, maybe you’ll see the answer posted later this month!

Not interested in kickstarter, but interested in some of the essays that are being published around this anthology? No problem, there is a Do Not Go Quietly Blog with everything you’re looking for, including information on voting.

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Andrea: What made you decide to create this anthology? I imagine it took a while to get this group of authors together, explain to them what you were doing. Had you already been working on this for a while before you started the Kickstarter?

Lesley: Jason and I have known that we wanted to edit another anthology together, but coming up with just the right theme took a while. After the last presidential election we saw a lot of people we care about feeling scared and unsure about the world around them. Things … have not gotten better since then. That’s where the initial inspiration for Do Not Go Quietly came from. We want to put together an anthology that will energize people, that will lift them up and encourage them to stand up for their rights and fight back against those trying to take them away.

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Coming up with the list of contributors who we would solicit stories from wasn’t as hard as you might think! Separately, Jason and I made lists of authors we felt would be a good fit – authors we know are not only amazing writers, but who we felt would have a unique voice and standpoint on the theme. Resistance, revolution. This isn’t a single-sided issue. There are a lot things going on not only here in the United States, but around the world. We aren’t looking to put together an anthology that only represents one issue or one viewpoint. Resistance is complex and nuanced, and we’re hoping that once the anthology is complete, it will be represent that complexity.

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So we started with two lists and then put them together so we had one GIGANTIC list of fantastic writers we would love to have on board. From there we had to narrow it down, try to put together a mix that was diverse in viewpoints and voice, but that would fit well together to become a cohesive whole. After that, we sent out invites, explaining the project. Not everyone we approached said yes, but I’m incredibly proud of the list of contributors we have onboard for the project.

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Andrea: What are some of the stretch goals in the kickstarter? I heard a rumor that there are . . . patches?

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Lesley: There are patches! But you don’t have to wait for the stretch goals to get one! We’re sending out “I Will Not Go Quietly” patches to every backer who backs at the $15 trade paperback level and above! I know, I’m awfully excited about patches, but I’m a Girl Scout leader! Patches go along with a lot of things that I do. So that was one of the very first things that I wanted to make sure we got when coming up with goodies to pack into the reward tiers.

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The Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts

Release Date: June 12th 2018

Where I got it: Received a review copy from the publisher (Thanks Tachyon!)

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How do you crew a ship whose mission will take hundreds or thousands of years? Let’s see, you could do a sleeper ship, a generation ship, for something a little more unusual you could go the route of Marina Lostetter’s Noumenon or David Brin’s Existence. Those options will surely cover you for a few hundred or maybe a thousand years.  But what if the ship’s mission is even longer than that? What if we’re talking more like a million or more years?

 

The mission of the Eriophora is building a gate system through the galaxy. As the gate system grows, the outbound growth of mankind will surely follow. Sunday and many of her crewmates are forever hopeful that something almost human will come out of the next gate they build.  They are forever hopeful that their ship will finally receive a radio message that it’s time to come home. It’s been sixty million years, and they are still waiting for that message. No wonder the crew forms a music appreciation club, it’s not like there is much of anything else to do.  Yes, you read that correctly, they’ve been hurtling through the galaxy, awake for only a few days out of every few hundred or thousand, for sixty million years.

 

The solution sounded so simple, once upon a time.  Raise a bunch of children to feel special, to feel chosen. Train them together, let them watch their AI grow and learn.  Raise them to know the ship is their home, and everything they do, they do for the future and the betterment of mankind, and that being awake for 3 days out of every few hundred years is a completely normal thing.  Trust the AI to keep them in line and convince them that it’s totally normal that in millions of years no one has invited them to come back home.

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illusion paula volskyIllusion by Paula Volsky

published in 1992

where I got it: paperback swap

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If Robin Hobb wrote a mash-up of Les Miserables, Downton Abbey, and Memoirs of a Geisha, she might end up with something like Paula Volsky’s Illusion. Magic meets a society in turmoil, in which a bloody revolution is followed by chaos, all told from the point of view of a incredibly sheltered young woman.

 

Raised in wealth and privilege in the outer provinces, Eliste vo Derrivalle knows she’s above the common people. Because of course she is, she’s Exalted. A class above the wealthy and prosperous, the Exalted have a natural magic, and naturally, all other people exist to serve the Exalted. It’s not Eliste’s fault she’s been raised to believe this. Not only is it the culture in which she was raised, it is the culture of the entire Kingdom.

 

Shortly after the opening chapters, Eliste and her maid travel to the capital, where she is to live with her aunt and learn the finer qualities of being a noble lady. She’s been chosen to be a lady in waiting (of sorts) to the Queen. Being a lady in waiting is more along the lines of servitude, and accepting gifts and favors usually requires something in return. Eliste is so damn naive and in denial of what’s happening around her, that it is nearly tragically comic.

 

While Eliste is enjoying champagne and leftover pastries for lunch with the other ladies, a revolution is brewing. The second half of the novel takes a very dark turn, with a revolutionary leader whose fervor for a new world is only matched by his paranoia, and magical mechanical creatures that no one can control.

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The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlien

published in 1966

where I got it: own a very well loved copy

why I read it: tanstaafl

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The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is my absolute favorite Heinlein. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read it. So this review will surely jump the shark into fangirl gushing eventually. Or at least into in-joke territory.  The quick version of this review is “go read this book”.

In this near future story, the Moon has become a penal colony – Earth’s dumping ground for it’s undesirebles. Referred to as Luna by it’s “guests”, it’s residents are known as Loonies. It’s been about a hundred years since prisoners were first sent up, and although all children born on Luna are born free, few of them can ever hope to return to Earth due to irreversible physiological changes that occur in humans that spend too much time in low gravity.  Luna is managed by the prison Authority, who have placed their Warden in charge of all Loonies. With a population of over three million, and most of them “free”, the population of Luna is still required to do business through Authority: sell their hydroponic crops, buy water and ice, buy air to breathe. Is only game in town.

As Manuel Garcia’s grandfather liked to say “Luna was only open prison in history. No bars, no guards, no rules – and no need for them”. The moon isn’t any place for bravado or machismo. You learn how to use your p-suit and live civilly with others or you have an accident.

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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