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3.5 

The Best of All Possible Worlds

By Karen Lord
The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord digital book - Fable

Publisher Description

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY BUZZFEED A stunning epic that is at once a new vision of science fiction and a deeply moving love story, from the award-winning author of Redemption in Indigo

“An engrossing picaresque quest, a love story, and a moving character study . . . [Karen] Lord is on a par with Ursula K. Le Guin.”The Guardian


A proud and reserved alien society finds its homeland destroyed in an unprovoked act of aggression, leaving the survivors no choice but to reach out to the indigenous humanoids of their adopted world, to whom they are distantly related. They wish to preserve their cherished way of life but discover that to protect their culture, they may have to change it forever.

Now a man and a woman from opposite sides of these clashing societies must work together to save this vanishing race—and end up uncovering ancient mysteries with far-reaching ramifications. As their mission hangs in the balance, these unlikely partners—one cool and cerebral, the other fiery and impulsive—may find in each other their own destinies . . . and a force that transcends all.

Includes two bonus short stories

“[A] fascinating and thoughtful science fiction novel that examines] adaptation, social change, and human relationships. I’ve not read anything quite like it, which makes it that rare beast: a true original.”—Kate Elliott, author of the Crown of Stars series and The Spiritwalker Trilogy
 
“Reads like smooth jazz comfort food, deceptively familiar and easy going down, but subtly subversive.”—Nalo Hopkinson, Los Angeles Review of Books
 
“If you want to see science fiction doing something new and fascinating . . . then you shouldn’t sleep on The Best of All Possible Worlds.”—io9

“Rewarding science fiction for emotional grown-ups.”—Mysterious Galaxy

“[A] marvelously formed universe.”—The A.V. Club

“A rewarding, touching and often funny exploration of the forms and functions of human culture.”SFX
 
The Best of All Possible Worlds . . . poses an interesting question: What parts of you do you fight to preserve when everything you know suddenly changes?”—Associated Press

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23 Reviews

3.5
“Great stuff, a thoughly enjoyable out of tragedy hope. A gentle and kind tale.”
“3.5 stars rounded down. The execution here was lacking for me, but it was still a worthwhile read. This feels like “cozy SF” published before that label really existed. There’s a found family of sorts that I think would satisfy Becky Chambers fans. There’s also a major romance component, which I did not expect until I looked at a review that mentions it. So this also reads as a SF romance but that genre is nowhere near as popular as fantasy romance. It doesn’t read as very genre romance, though. The couple is older, their behavior and difficulties not super dramatic, the spice minimal - thus the “cozy” label I give it. Personally I did enjoy that they never reacted to their conflicts like angsty teens, which is part of why I have trouble with genre romance. There were some thoughtful discussions here about the ethical thing to do and how to rebel effectively. But I would say it’s still pretty surface level, partly because of how much this book tries to cover. It’s episodic as this team of people visit various communities. It sort of worked, but it left a lot of story threads just hanging. So much was started that was interesting but there wasn’t time to explore it more. Not that I needed a *tidy* ending for everything, but multiple things felt like they weren’t done justice. I probably needed fewer communities visited - not one per chapter. The world, the setting, also felt on the vaguer side. If I enjoy a book enough, I can ignore that easier. But here it did start to bug me how unclear a lot of the workings of this world were. It shows it’s age a bit in that poly relationships, queerness are commented on as if they are new. But I’m glad the rep is positive here.”

About Karen Lord

Karen Lord has been a physics teacher, a diplomat, a part-time soldier, and an academic at various times and in various countries. She is now a writer and research consultant in Barbados. Her debut novel, Redemption in Indigo, won the Frank Collymore Literary Award, the William L. Crawford Award, and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature, and was nominated for the 2011 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.

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