SEVEN OF INFINITIES, Aliette de Bodard‘s latest Xuya novella is officially published tomorrow! Published by Subterranean Press in a hardcover edition, and a North American eBook edition, here’s the synopsis…
Vân is a scholar from a poor background, eking out a living in the orbitals of the Scattered Pearls Belt as a tutor to a rich family, while hiding the illegal artificial mem-implant she manufactured as a student.
Sunless Woods is a mindship — and not just any mindship, but a notorious thief and a master of disguise. She’s come to the Belt to retire, but is drawn to Vân’s resolute integrity.
When a mysterious corpse is found in the quarters of Vân’s student, Vân and Sunless Woods find themselves following a trail of greed and murder that will lead them from teahouses and ascetic havens to the wreck of a mindship — and to the devastating secrets they’ve kept from each other.
Subterranean Press has published a number of Aliette’s Xuya stories, including the acclaimed THE TEA MASTER AND THE DETECTIVE, and some of the stories included in OF WARS, AND MEMORIES, AND STARLIGHT (both are published outside of North America by JABberwocky).
Here are just a few early reviews of SEVEN OF INFINITIES…
‘With this lush, immersive sci-fi tale, de Bodard… delves into a world as gritty as it is ethereal… [R]eaders will be swept away by the vivid prose, intrigue, and romance of this intricate tale. This fascinating, unusual story is sure to entrance.’ — Publishers Weekly
‘De Bodard’s work is marked by precision and delicacy of prose, by a concern with ethics and relationships, and by the presence of uncaring systems that violently resist critique from without — and even from within. SEVEN OF INFINITIES is deeply concerned with relationships and responsibilities: the relationship between an older friend and her youthful ‘little sisters’; the ties of loyalty between a crew of thieves with their own ethics; the bond between teacher and student — as central to the novella’s resolution as the relationship between lovers, in this case a quasi-familial, affectionate tie that goes a long way beyond duty… SEVEN OF INFINITIES is a novella concerned with forgiveness, deserved or not, about cages, self-made or otherwise. It concerns itself with growth, with grace, with ruthlessness and its costs and consequences. It’s a tightly written jewel of a story, intense and full of feeling, and I recommend it highly.’ — Locus
‘SEVEN OF INFINITIES is a mystery/romance situated in the same remote cluster of orbital habitats, the Scattered Pearls Belt, as THE TEA MASTER AND THE DETECTIVE… In SF terms, de Bodard’s Xuya Universe — a far future descended from an alternate past — is a pretty impressive imaginative construct by itself, but as she demonstrates with stories like this, it’s also a way of rethinking and sometimes reinventing familiar formulas, of defamiliarizing the familiar through the lens of different cultures and histories. But mostly, it’s a lot of fun.’ — Locus
‘A magnificent sf mystery, nuanced, intense, and romantic, with a complex, clever plot nested inside de Bodard’s rich, evocative, and vivid Xuya universe.’ — Kate Elliott