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Jun 12, 2023Liked by Bram Presser

Well, I've now read the second novella in this sequence and the early promise of the first has faded into nothing. This reads like the second quarter of a longer novel as we watch the monk and the robot walk from one place to another, seeing lovely places, meeting lovely people, and generally having a lovely time. "Never is heard a discouraging word", nor one in anger or argument. Totally tame, and flat.

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Oh no! I was so looking forward to it.

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Feb 28, 2023Liked by Bram Presser

Becky Chambers writes in that sub-genre of SF&F that has come to be known as "hopepunk" - a terrible word in my view - that is the literal opposite of the "grimdark" subgenre and aims to depict people in positive, life-affirming situations. That's fair enough, though I sometimes think she forgets that fiction is also a form of drama, which impies that something dramatic usually occurs. Her first novel, A LONG WAY TO A SMALL ANGRY PLANET (great title), mixed the two reasonably well, though I don't think she found the right subject matter until this novella. It's certainly the best of her work since that first novel. There was a second novella in this series published in 2022, another that I am yet to get to. And, I assume, more will follow.

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Thanks. I bought both books in the series (admittedly mostly because the design is absolutely gorgeous). I've now read three of her books and find her consistently enjoyable and thought-provoking. My favourite is probably TO BE TAUGHT IF FORTUNATE. Hadn't heard the hopepunk thing but it makes sense and, gotta say,in the current geopolitical context it's quite the refreshing approach! Interesting comment about the drama - I've found them engaging/compelling enough. It's not high stakes but it moves along well enough for my tastes.

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As they used to say, Your Mileage May Vary.

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