Kelly Robson: Gods Monsters and the Lucky Peach

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Written Full review first posted on Fantasy Literature Gods Monsters and the Lucky Peach 2018 one of several exceptional novellas nominated for the 2018 Nebula award combines some intelligent and subtle world building in the aftermath of worldwide disasters the future version of project financing and lobbying with lamentable similarities to our current world and time travel to ancient Mesopotamia as research for an environmental remediation projectIn the 23rd century humanity is beginning to rebuild on the surface of the Earth after living underground for many years in hives and hells Life on the surface is limited to specific habitats and the need for expensive ecological restoration projects to make the habitats livable has led to funding consortiums with time consuming and headache inducing formal proposal reuirements In the excitement surrounding the discovery of time travel a decade or so ago nearly all the funding shifted away from ecological restoration to time travel projects Now Minh a cynical 83 year old ecologist with six prosthetic tentacle like legs has received a reuest for proposal RFP that combines both time travel and ecological restoration going back to 2024 BCE Mesopotamia to study the drainage of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers as a guide to future river remediation projectsMinh is determined to win the project the follow on work could be extremely lucrative She puts together a small team of three roping in her colleague Hamid a biologist who s obsessed with horses and reluctantly accepting her eager young administrative assistant Kiki as the third team member Fabian an abrasive tactical historian from TERN the research group that discovered time travel is their guide to the pastThe first half of Gods Monsters and the Lucky Peach focuses on the intricacies and subterfuges involved in grant writing and lobbying to win the project which may strike you as either dry and boring or reasonably interesting and richly ironic Personally I found it intriguing than tedious but whether you find it appealing may depend on your literary tastes There s enough charact. T first moved back up to the surface of the Earth from the underground hells to reclaim humanity's ancestral habitat She's spent her entire life restoring river ecosystems but lately the ind of long term restoration projects Minh works on have been.

Er building and world building to eep this section from getting monotonous though We get glimpses of the past disasters including the plagues that affected Minh s generation There are constant references to plague babies like Minh and Hamid who are physically smaller and frailer as opposed to the younger generation of fat babies like Kiki who are healthier and have much larger bodies like humans in our day Technology has taken the tenet of personal autonomy to entirely new levels with people managing their own physical health and bodies in unexpected and sometimes even alarming waysThe second half of the novella deals with the team s time travel adventures in the ancient past in a vessel they name the Lucky Peach after Minh s peach orchard hobby This trip is fascinating and imaginative with some unexpected twists The trip not surprisingly for the reader but certainly for the team turns out to be far complicated and dangerous than our researchers expected The short flash forward blurbs at the beginning of each chapter from the point of view of the ancient Mesopotamian ing Shulgi are a broad hint that things are going to go very wrong for our time traveling teamTime travel in this universe is not thought to affect the future TERN claims that when people travel to the past a separate timeline is spun off from ours and when the time travelers leave the timeline collapses But that s difficult to for Minh to swallow when people in the past suffer because of the team s actions The ancient Mesopotamians take a dim view of the stars watching them from the sky not to mention their monstrous looking to them but powerful visitors Are they gods or monsters Or do they have aspects of bothI found the ending of Gods Monsters and the Lucky Peach startlingly abrupt though I could make the case that it s actually a befitting conclusion Still I was relieved to find out that Kelly Robson is currently writing a seuel Time Trouble and the Lucky Peach It ll be great fun to see what happens next with these characters I received a free copy of this novella from the publisher for review Thank you. Stalled due to the invention of time travel When she gets the opportunity take a team to 2000 BC to survey the Tigris and Euphrates rivers she jumps at the chance to uncover the secrets of the shadowy think tank that controls time travel technology.

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SFF is very fond of plunging readers into a world without explanation and making you work out what s going on and generally this is preferable to the classic opening scene of people explaining their history and situation to each other As you now your father the ing That said I found this one too densely packed with unfamiliar concepts words etc I struggled to work out what was going on and there wasn t a driving action plotline to carry me through until I had a handle on things Good writing and a lot of great ideas and I really liked the way each chapter starts with an apparently incomprehensible snippet of someone else s story that starts to make sense as the timelines converge Also effortless diversity It didn t work for me in the end because there were an awful lot of concepts for the amount of story and I am a heavily story driven reader I d have liked space to breathe and a engagingpurposefulmotivated viewpoint character I didn t start to engage with the MC until very late on in the book But I m not a hard SF reader so YMMV I really loved the worlds within this scifi far future post climate catastrophe earth and the time travel back to Mesopotamia I liked learning through the eyes of a scientistproject manager However I m super spoiler adverse and one of the povs is very spoilery It s an interesting narrative techniue but I personally found it distracting so one less star for that I liked the ending but I do hope the author continues this as a seriesRead for the Worlds Beyond the Margins 2019 challenge Ecological conservators get a job to do a survey of the ancient world In their present the world is in cataclysm capitalism has choked off progress time travel has halted the future and privacy is measured in how many walls you get to say you own rather than any sort of solitude in your own mind In the world they re exploring their coming is signaled by three new stars in the skyCONTENT WARNING no actual spoilers just a list of topics view spoilerbody horror illness hide spoiler 4 stars I have such a soft spot for time travel tales and this one is so intelligently. Discover a shifting history of adventure as humanity clashes over whether to repair their ruined planet or luxuriate in a less tainted passIn 2267 Earth has just begun to recover from worldwide ecological disasters Minh is part of the generation tha.

Like you I'm a passionate reader I spent most of my teenage years either hanging out at the drugstore waiting for new issues of Asimov's Science Fiction magazine or when I was in the city lurking in the SF and Fantasy section of the bookstore This was pre Internet and since there were no bookstores in my town and the library was pretty bare good books the kind that made my heart sing w