Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Notes on Novellas

I'm still totally in love with Tor's novellas, I would highly recommend to anyone feeling they don't have much time to read right now. They are small packages with complex ideas or full to the brim with fun. I've read three of them in recent months and here is a quick run down of my thoughts.


Beneath the Sugar Sky is the third book in the Wayward Children series, follows a group of Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children residents into Confection, a world where everything is made of sugar. Confection is a Nonsense world so don't expect too much logic. Rini is Sumi's daughter but Sumi died before she had Rini, and now Confection is at risk from the Queen of Cakes. The only way to right the world is to bring Sumi back.

Isn't it handy that the kids have experience of such things? Beneath the Sugar Sky is more of a direct sequel to Every Heart a Doorway than Down Among the Sticks and Bones was, bringing back old friends and new. The story is seen from Cora's a point of view, a keen swimmer who spent time in a water world. Despite her athletic ability, people from before thought she was fat and lazy. Her memories show her struggles but the present shows larger kids can have adventures too.

The second book is still my favourite but I await each new book in this series with much delight.

That makes no sense at all. That means it may well work. Go, my darlings, and bring your lost and shattered sister home.

Every time Molly bleeds, a new Molly grows from her blood. The Murders of Molly Southbourne is a horror novella, following Molly's childhood as she learns who she is and what she must do; kill herself repeatedly. Things are easier when she is little, she is taught to be careful and her parents take care of the disposal when accidents happen. But little girls grow up and start their periods. You think they're bad enough without having to worry about clones appearing and trying to kill you.

It's creepy and excellent. I look forward to reading more of Tade Thompson's work.

The rules are simple. If you see a girl who looks like you, run and fight. Don’t bleed. If you bleed, blot, burn, and bleach. If you find a hole, find your parents.

Binti needs little introduction and I am late to this trilogy. Binti is the first of her people to go to university and her family are not happy about it. She is Himba, with a gift for mathematics, she paints herself with the clay of her homeland. It grounds her, she is naked without it.

The spaceship taking the new students to Oomba University is attacked on route, by an alien race perpetually at war with the Khoush (representative of white humans). Binti is left alone, sure her lfie is about to end.

Packed into few pages are themes of discrimincation, colonialism, war and the importance of language. Familiar language is a comfort, not understanding someone does not mean they are less civilised. The Meduse have never been able to communicate to humans before, they think they are primitive killers, and vice versa.

I did want it to be longer and I am reassured by the presence of two other books that will hopefully flesh things out a bit. Maybe it's one of those trilogies best read in one go.

The people on the ship weren’t Himba, but I soon understood that they were still my people. I stood out as a Himba, but the commonalities shined brighter.

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