Book Review: The Long Way To a Small Angry Planet

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet cover

As she woke in the pod, she remembered three things.

I LOVE THIS BOOK! I am tempted to just take it with me everywhere, cuddling it and reading it again and again and again (and again). It’s not just that the world is fantastically realised, with politics and history and alien cultures that seem natural, or the friendly writing style or the explanations of physics involving porridge. It’s not just the fact that the whole thing is dated in Galactic Commons standard, or that thought has really gone into the detail of the turns of phrase used by spacefarers; all of these things are present, and done beautifully and with skill. What really makes it, is the fact that it’s about people. Just people. We’re so used to the ‘in space, no-one can hear you scream’ sort of story that it’s easy to forget that in these worlds that have been imagined, spacefaring is normal. Lots of people do it, and it doesn’t always end up with a monster chasing everyone about until the only survivors are an understandably frazzled woman and a cat.

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet is basically a story about a multispecies crew who are stuck together for a long period of time due to a job. Inevitably, they get to know each other. They make friends. They make enemies. They learn each others secrets’ and try to keep their own. They have misunderstandings, and they usually try to overcome them and they get things wrong, get things right, and occasionally punch holes in the fabric of space. It is fantastic.

I am not mentioning the plot, because I am trying to avoid spoilers. I’m not even mentioning the characters, because then I will accidentally give spoilers. GO AND READ THIS BOOK – it will make you cry and restore your faith in people. I’m off to re-read it. Again.

The sequel to this book is out this month!!!!!

Bonus: terrible, scribbly fanart of some of the characters.

Scribbly fanart

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The Life and Times of Angel Evans by Meredith Debonnaire — The Book Smugglers

Look it’s here it’s here it’s here! Publication day! You can now read my short story for free by following the link! Of course, if you are able to buy the eBook it is much appreciated, however do go ahead and enjoy it in whatever format works for you. And if you like it, tell all your friends 🙂

The Life and Times of Angel Evans by Meredith DebonnairePublished 09/13/2016 | 16,757 Words Doctor Who meets Good Omens in this new short story from Book Smugglers Publishing. When Angel Evans was born into her world, the event was beset with a troubling number of prophecies. Her magical future was so portentous that all of…

via The Life and Times of Angel Evans by Meredith Debonnaire — The Book Smugglers

A Smugglerific Cover: The Life and Times of Angel Evans by Meredith Debonnaire — The Book Smugglers

It has arrived! Behold, the beautiful cover of The Life and Times of Angel Evans. Isn’t the art incredible? I know I love it. You can buy the ebook today, or wait until it’s available for free on the BookSmugglers website (which will be on the 13th Sept). I hope you enjoy this short story – in case you’re wondering it involves a) a heroine b) a friendly poltergeist c) some dead prophets d) MAGIC!

In which we reveal the cover for The Life and Times of Angel Evans by Meredith Debonnaire! Today we are thrilled to share with you the final cover for Book Smugglers Publishing’s Superhero season of short stories. Without further ado, BEHOLD! The smugglerific cover! About the Story Doctor Who meets Good Omens in this new…

via A Smugglerific Cover: The Life and Times of Angel Evans by Meredith Debonnaire — The Book Smugglers

Short review: Superior by Jessica Lack

All art belongs to the artist and the BookSmugglers

Hello! So this is one of the BookSmugglers superhero stories, but for some reason wordpress is not letting me share their original wordpress post as I have been doing with the others (which is sad)(also, anyone know why this might be?) so I’m just putting a link here to where you can read it for free on their blog. Obviously if you can afford the eBook, do buy it because supporting independent book publishers is good! And you will get a few extra things, like the author Q and A. Here it is: http://thebooksmugglers.com/2016/08/superior-jessica-lack.html

Now, this one I really want in hardcopy. Because, although I can and do read long stories on a screen it is a bit challenging and I really really want a copy that I can read again and again, maybe in the middle of the night, definitely on the bus and just about everywhere really.

This is a lovely story, with a good sense of humour and wonderful narration, that plays on all sorts of superhero tropes very effectively. The perspective is also great – superheroing from the intern’s point of view, including boring kidnappings, a worried mum and no small amount of danger and dullness. Sometimes, the danger and the dullness happen at the same time.

I’m finding it hard to review without spoiling it, so I’ll just say that this is a warm, very real feeling (despite all the superheroes) story that made me cry, laugh and smile. Definitely worth reading (I know I’m going to be re-reading it later), and a great addition to the YA QUILTBAG romance arena (arena is not the right word, is it? I can’t think of the right word. Canon?)

Note: I also got to meet the BookSmugglers last weekend! I think I managed to speak coherently… Photos to follow 🙂

 

14.06.2016 Orlando Pulse Poem

So I wrote this poem half-an-hour ago, and I didn’t know if I wanted to post it at all. I don’t usually put poetry on here, or really talk about much that isn’t books. However, I have also been feeling upset and sad and helpless and I wanted to do something (and the rainbow ribbons weren’t quite feeling like enough). I could do a lot of talking here, about sexuality and safe-spaces and how most of the time, public space isn’t a safe space if you’re anything other than straight and on and on and on and on. But I don’t want to, and I don’t have the energy. So here’s a poem. It’s meant in solidarity, from someone who lives on a different continent from the shootings. It may well be an awful poem, but I hope it will be read in the light that it’s meant. If anyone wants to put it elsewhere, please ask first.

Half-way round the world,
someone walked into a club armed to the teeth and the shock travelled –
beneath my clothes I’m trembling with grief that I don’t know how to express.
The rest of us watch,
open-mouthed,
as the news unfolds:
49 dead, 53 injured.
Do we become inured to this torrent of pain?
Do we become numb?
No.
There is a feeling here,
in the recess of my chest where my heart flutters like a bird –
I’ve never heard a gunshot for real.
I’m alive, and I can still feel.

Half-way round the world,
49 people went out on Saturday night and never came home.
49 people abruptly hurled into the unknown,
and we don’t yet know all their names.

And there’s all kinds of things we can blame:
we can blame god and guns and mental health,
we can blame the unfair distribution of wealth,
and the violence in computer games.
We can blame the internet
and we can hate hate hate until we’re sick to our guts,
suspecting everyone we know and driving ourselves nuts.
We can play that game.

Except that 49 people went out on Saturday night to have fun.
To dance and laugh until the sun rose –
they didn’t expect to have to run from a man wielding hate and a gun.
Who knows what he was thinking?
And the feeling pummels against my ribs like a beast from the deeps,
howling its wounds to the sky, demanding a why –
‘Why did those people die?
Why can’t we be safe?
Why do people fear who we love?
Why?’

Half-way round the world a man walks into a bar
and it is not a joke,
and in that moment he’s not a man;
he’s a red-hot poker trying to stoke up hatred,
trying to bind us with this yoke of blood
to a narrative that ends in nihilism on all sides
but we do not have to be captive to his story,
we can stand and say with pride:
That love is stronger.
That love lasts longer.
That between clouds and blue skies there are rainbows
and we know that he was only a man –
he does not represent a nation or a culture.
That we are not going to feed the vultures
who are already trying to exploit this tragedy
and use it to make us so angry that all we see are lies.
Love is stronger.

And if we hold each other up
then we can rise out of the darkness;
and if we hold each other up
then it becomes ‘us’ not ‘I’;
and if we hold each other up
then we’ve all got someplace safe to cry.
And maybe we will never understand the ‘why’
of people who hate us because of who we love,
but we can remember and rise above
and grieve and dare to believe that with every straining step and heave
we can build a world where nobody leaves on a Saturday night
to dance and strut their stuff
and finishes up on a Sunday morning
locked in the toilets, snuffed.

Love is stronger. Love lasts longer.
We’re not going to forget
but hate divides, sets us apart,
and love, real love, mends broken hearts.

©Meredith Debonnaire