The Tea Master and the Detective
Welcome to the Scattered Pearls Belt, a collection of ring habitats and orbitals ruled by exiled human scholars and powerful families, and held together by living mindships who carry people and freight between the stars. In this fluid society, human and mindship avatars mingle in corridors and in function rooms, and physical and virtual realities overlap, the appareance of environments easily modified and adapted to interlocutors or current mood.A transport ship discharged from military service after a traumatic injury, The Shadow's Child now ekes out a precarious living as a brewer of mind-altering drugs for the comfort of space-travellers. Meanwhile, abrasive and eccentric scholar Long Chau wants to find a corpse for a scientific study. When Long Chau walks into her office, The Shadow's Child expects an unpleasant but easy assignment. When the corpse turns out to have been murdered, Long Chau feels compelled to investigate, dragging The Shadow's Child with her. As they dig deep into the victim's past, The Shadow's Child realises that the investigation points to Long Chau's own murky past--and, ultimately, to the dark and unbearable void that lies between the stars...

The Tea Master and the Detective Details

TitleThe Tea Master and the Detective
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 31st, 2018
PublisherSubterranean Press
ISBN-139781596068643
Rating
GenreScience Fiction, Mystery, Novella, Fiction, Space, Space Opera

The Tea Master and the Detective Review

  • Carol.
    January 1, 1970
    In the age of fantasy books of ridiculous lengths--why, hello, Way of Kings--and series that may never be finished--ah-hem, George R.R. Martin and Patrick Rothfuss--I've rediscovered my love of novellas. de Bodard has written an intriguing, sure to be award-nominated novella about a mind-ship hired by a brilliant, drug-addicted woman who wants to retrieve a dead body for study. Naturally, it turns out that it was no mere space-accident that caused the untimely death. When the shipmind, The Shado In the age of fantasy books of ridiculous lengths--why, hello, Way of Kings--and series that may never be finished--ah-hem, George R.R. Martin and Patrick Rothfuss--I've rediscovered my love of novellas. de Bodard has written an intriguing, sure to be award-nominated novella about a mind-ship hired by a brilliant, drug-addicted woman who wants to retrieve a dead body for study. Naturally, it turns out that it was no mere space-accident that caused the untimely death. When the shipmind, The Shadow's Child, takes the job, she finds herself confronting her own past."But she'd lived through a war, an uprising and a famine, and she was done with diminishing herself to spare the feelings of others."I wasn't expecting a Sherlock style construction, but the parallels soon became clear. Of course, it might have helped that I have been very slowly working my way through the recent Cumberbatch incarnation of Sherlock. Like the Moffat and Gatiss version, this somehow manages to retain a feeling of whimsy in the midst of fear, suspicion, self-doubt, and a mildly sociopathic lead. When I finished, I thought, "well, that was fun," but fun is not the right word, not quite. 'Satisfying' might be better. It pays tribute to the Sherlock format but does something so very different that it feels very new.As always, I enjoy de Bodard's writing style. Complex and descriptive, well-suited to the challenge of the world and the story."A middle-aged woman, with loose, mottled skin hanging loose on rib cage and pelvic bone, her shape already compressed into improbably angles by the pressures of unreality around her--she'd had a shadow skin to survive the vacuum of normal space, but of course it wouldn't have survived the plunge into deep spaces: the long, dark tatters of it streamed from her corpse like hair, or threads tying her to an impossibly distant puppet-master."I was very intrigued by the setting, a pan-Asian future world in which people use mind-ships to travel through the deep reaches of space, but the world-building feels just this side of under-done. Though I eventually felt I had a working handle on the mind-ships, it wasn't early enough to make me feel like I understood all the subtext, or how A Shadow's Child could be so damaged. I'm motivated to track down some of her other works in this universe and learn more. I know she can be talented at world building; the Obsidian and Blood series (my review for the first), set in the pre-Colombian Aztec Empire, is immersive and fascinating.On re-reading, I think that characterization could be improved somewhat, to make this an outstanding. The Shadow's Child ends up sounding a little too neurotic, with an ever-present anxiety. Anxious about money, about going into deep space, about the reliability of Long Chau, she felt barely functional or sympathetic. If you would like a reader to believe a ship can have a personality, it best be a semi-functional one, believable for competently managing existence through unseen depths of space and multiple human generations. In this, there is perhaps the most deviation from the Sherlock structure, with a Watson that is more irritably challenging and less an admiring echo.The e-reader edition had some minor formatting issues that I would expect would be fixed, and a rare challenge in word choice or punctuation. More importantly, I'm not exactly sure if the science of the space stands up to reality (see streaming ribbons mentioned above), but I'm not one to be finicky about my space details. But I mention it for hard-core readers who might be.Review with links to Sherlock and de Bodard's pages on the universe: https://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2018/...Many thanks to Subterranean Press and NetGalley for an e-reader ARC.
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  • Dan Schwent
    January 1, 1970
    The Shadow's Child, the brain of a mindship, is shellshocked and brewing teas for safer space travel when a consulting detective shows up at her door...This was a Netgalley find and one of the few Netgalley finds that didn't immediately feel like a homnework assignment from a hated teacher.Set in an asteroid belt with a Vietnamese-influenced culture, The Tea Master and the Detective has its roots loosely planted in A Study In Scarlet. Long Chau hires The Shadow's Child to brew her tea and take h The Shadow's Child, the brain of a mindship, is shellshocked and brewing teas for safer space travel when a consulting detective shows up at her door...This was a Netgalley find and one of the few Netgalley finds that didn't immediately feel like a homnework assignment from a hated teacher.Set in an asteroid belt with a Vietnamese-influenced culture, The Tea Master and the Detective has its roots loosely planted in A Study In Scarlet. Long Chau hires The Shadow's Child to brew her tea and take her into the deep spaces to find a corpse in order to study its composition. (Sidebar - From what I gather, the deep spaces are like hyperspace, a medium to speed up space travel. Special teas are needed to keep travelers sane during their journeys.) The body isn't quite what they expect and the mystery unfolds.While the story shows its Sherlockian roots in places, that in no way diminishes the enjoyment. I really liked the asteroid belt settings, the deep spaces, hell, the worldbuilding in general. The worldbuilding is seamlessly done. I had a pretty good idea of the history of the world, the technology, and the culture, all without being beaten over the head with info dumps.Recasting Watson as a ship's organic mind with a traumatic past was a novel approach and in keeping with the rest of the setting. I can honestly say The Shadow's Child is the most well-rounded ship's computer I've ever read about. You don't see the Enterprise's computer having dinner with the computers of other ships! Honestly, Long Chau's deductions and attitude are Sherlockian but she has a lot more depth than I originally thought. I loved the interplay between Long Chau and The Shadow's Child right away. Before I was even finished, I was dreaming of future stories featuring the pair.Over the years, I've read a lot of detective stories based in other genres and most leave me yearning for gumshoes beating down doors or mannerly locked room mysteries. This one was the opposite of that. Five out of five stars.
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  • The Captain
    January 1, 1970
    Ahoy there me mateys! I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .The cover drew me in and three things convinced me to read this book:1) I previously read some of the author’s short stories and loved her writing style;2) It is a Subterranean Press book and they do great work; and3) One of the characters is a mindship . . .This mindship, named The Shadow’s Child, is not just any ship. It was previously a military ship who physica Ahoy there me mateys! I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .The cover drew me in and three things convinced me to read this book:1) I previously read some of the author’s short stories and loved her writing style;2) It is a Subterranean Press book and they do great work; and3) One of the characters is a mindship . . .This mindship, named The Shadow’s Child, is not just any ship. It was previously a military ship who physically survived an ambush and massacre but since retired from active duty and is suffering PTSD and struggling to make ends meet. One of the things the ship does to make money is brew special blends of tea. These teas are made to suit the drinker’s specific goals and body chemistry. One day a woman named Long Chau comes in and requests a serenity blend to focus her mind. The ship takes the needed money and finds itself not only involved in a crime investigation but also having to face deep space where the ship swore it would never enter again.Apparently this book is part of a series of books and stories set in the Universe of Xuya. I had never read anything set in Xuya before. I found the world-building and characterizations to be fascinating. I absolutely loved the neurotic, damaged The Shadow’s Child and the story told from the ship’s perspective. I didn’t really care much about the crime story itself but was more focused on how the ship was dealing with a situation it didn’t care for. Long Chau is a purposefully unlikeable character who is trying to do the right thing.Ultimately while I really enjoyed the story, I think I would like a longer work with more detailing of how the society functions and how the mindships work. But this character-driven piece was a good introduction to a new world that I hope to visit more often. Besides who doesn’t love mindships? Arrr!So lastly . . .Thank you Subterranean Press!Check out me other reviews at https://thecaptainsquartersblog.wordp...
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  • TheBookSmugglers
    January 1, 1970
    The Sherlock Holmes retelling I always wanted and now have
  • anna (readingpeaches)
    January 1, 1970
    a sherlock holmes retelling where holmes is a woman & watson is a spaceship????? MY DICK IS HARD
  • Isis
    January 1, 1970
    Vietnamese-flavored Sherlock Holmes IN SPACE, except that Sherlock's a woman and Watson's a spaceship. This novella should have been right up my alley, but I didn't care for the style or the slow pace, and the characters just didn't gel with me. Not my thing, but maybe it's yours.Also, damn it, one arrives at deductions by deducing, not by deducting.E-arc from NetGalley and Subterranean Press.
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  • Acqua
    January 1, 1970
    The Tea Master and the Detective is a sci-fi Sherlock Holmes retelling in which Holmes is a woman and Watson is a sentient spaceship.With a premise and a cover like these, I had to read this – and not only it lived up to my expectations, it surpassed them.The Tea Master and the Detective is a standalone novella set in Bodard’s Xuya universe; you do not need to have read the other short stories and novellas to read this one, but reading this made me want to. It was as beautiful as it was short an The Tea Master and the Detective is a sci-fi Sherlock Holmes retelling in which Holmes is a woman and Watson is a sentient spaceship.With a premise and a cover like these, I had to read this – and not only it lived up to my expectations, it surpassed them.The Tea Master and the Detective is a standalone novella set in Bodard’s Xuya universe; you do not need to have read the other short stories and novellas to read this one, but reading this made me want to. It was as beautiful as it was short and a great introduction to this universe; now I will certainly look more into it.The main characters of this book are the spaceship The Shadow’s Child, who is also the narrator, and Long Chau, a woman with a mysterious past and surprising deductive abilities. I loved both of them and their dynamic. Non-romantic relationships between humans and non-human (or: not exactly human anymore, in this case) sentient beings are one of my favorite things to read about. In this book there’s no romance at all, and it’s great to read about competent women in stories that have nothing to do with romance, women who are allowed to be cold and forthright without being portrayed as evil.The worldbuilding was really interesting, and this novella made me want to know more about it. This is a universe in which spaceships are sentient and can travel through deep spaces (which are terrifying), and tea is an art – The Shadow’s Child is hired by Long Chau also because she’s a tea master and can brew tea tailored to Long Chau’s needs (to drink someone else’s tea can be dangerous).There is a mystery element here, and it wasn’t too predictable, but that wasn’t why this book worked for me – the story of The Shadow’s Child finally confronting her fear after the traumatic event of a few years before and her conversations with Long Chau were the best part.
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to get an early copy of this one, and I started reading it at 3 a.m. on a night when I was sitting up with a sick child. It's a sign of just how wonderful this story is that I was totally gripped and in love with it to the point where I hated setting it down when I was finally able to head to bed myself! I picked it up again first thing the next morning and it really saved me on an exhausted day.I have read so many Sherlock Holmes retellings, but this one has genuinely become I was lucky enough to get an early copy of this one, and I started reading it at 3 a.m. on a night when I was sitting up with a sick child. It's a sign of just how wonderful this story is that I was totally gripped and in love with it to the point where I hated setting it down when I was finally able to head to bed myself! I picked it up again first thing the next morning and it really saved me on an exhausted day.I have read so many Sherlock Holmes retellings, but this one has genuinely become my very favorite. I love it so much!I love The Shadow's Child, her vulnerability and intelligence and sensitivity and courage. I love Long Chau and her perfect combination of genius with a moral core despite the abrasive exterior. I LOVE the way they work together! And all of the worldbuilding is just gorgeously done. The whole story is just wonderful, and I'd love to read more about their future adventures.
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  • Beth Cato
    January 1, 1970
    I received a galley from the publisher via NetGalley.De Bodard's Xuya Universe explores a fantastically-fresh space opera future based on Vietnamese culture. In this new novella, to be released from Subterranean Press, she smartly created a new take on Sherlock Holmes. This is not an easy feat, especially when one considers that Watson (the point of view for the story, as appropriate) is a battle-traumatized mindship with a multitude of bots, and Holmes is a drugged-out woman detective with a pe I received a galley from the publisher via NetGalley.De Bodard's Xuya Universe explores a fantastically-fresh space opera future based on Vietnamese culture. In this new novella, to be released from Subterranean Press, she smartly created a new take on Sherlock Holmes. This is not an easy feat, especially when one considers that Watson (the point of view for the story, as appropriate) is a battle-traumatized mindship with a multitude of bots, and Holmes is a drugged-out woman detective with a peculiar case to solve, loosely based on "A Study in Scarlet." The author intertwines her Xuya setting and Holmes with a deft hand. In the end, I didn't care how the case was resolved--I just wanted to enjoy how everything was woven together to reach that point! As this is a novella, it's quite a fast read. The story is the perfect length; enjoy it with a few cups of tea.
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  • Leseparatist
    January 1, 1970
    I received the ebook ARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a review.This is a Sherlock Holmes in space. Sherlock is a woman, and Watson is a spaceship (or, more precisely, the organic mind of one). When I first heard of this, I was quite interested to see the result, and I was right to be curious. The idea is fascinating, and it is mostly done justice. The worldbuilding in particular was engrossing and beautifully rendered; there are quite a few passages about the dee I received the ebook ARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a review.This is a Sherlock Holmes in space. Sherlock is a woman, and Watson is a spaceship (or, more precisely, the organic mind of one). When I first heard of this, I was quite interested to see the result, and I was right to be curious. The idea is fascinating, and it is mostly done justice. The worldbuilding in particular was engrossing and beautifully rendered; there are quite a few passages about the deep space that were both poetic and evocative. There was just something about the style that appealed to me, that I connected with on the level of language. In addition, I found the characters to be constructed with care and attention. This short novella offers glimpses into them, but these glimpses are enough to make one feel for the characters. In short: four stars on science fiction front, four stars on writing of characters. The only complaint I have is that this didn't really have a "working" mystery. I don't remember original Sherlock Holmes novels and stories well enough to compare, but here there's a lot about the world that the reader doesn't know (particularly one like me, who hasn't read any other Xuya novels) and not much by way of clues or misdirections. We don't know things and then we learn them; not much space for making guesses. (And the other minor mystery is pretty obvious.)But this may be simply an issue for me, or for a first part of a potential new series. Either way, I enjoyed a lot about the reading and would quite like to read more of Xuya at some point.
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  • Rachael (RedRchlReads)
    January 1, 1970
    I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.5 Stars!This is the first story I've read by Aliette de Bodard and I really enjoyed it! I was amazed at how much story was packed into this (just under) 100 page novella. This unique take on a Sherlockian story, where Watson is actually a spaceship - or rather, a shipmind - brings a different feel to a well known classic. The story was incredibly well fleshed out for its length and it left me I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.5 Stars!This is the first story I've read by Aliette de Bodard and I really enjoyed it! I was amazed at how much story was packed into this (just under) 100 page novella. This unique take on a Sherlockian story, where Watson is actually a spaceship - or rather, a shipmind - brings a different feel to a well known classic. The story was incredibly well fleshed out for its length and it left me both satisfied and wanting more - the perfect place for a reader to end up. The author manages to drop the reader right into the middle of a complex world, while providing enough details and backstory in such a way to keep us enthralled. Each of the characters has their own history, with their own problems and issues to overcome, and I really enjoyed following them along their journeys.I don't want to say too much more about this story, but I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in sci-fi, mysteries, or Sherlock inspired tales. I will definitely be reading more of this author's work!
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  • Coolcurry
    January 1, 1970
    Are you interested reading a gender-bent version of Sherlock Holmes? Where Watson is also a sentient spaceship? Then I suggest you get yourself a copy of The Tea Master and the Detective, a novella by Aliette de Bodard.The Shadow’s Child has lost most of her family and now has an aversion to deep space after a brief, traumatic stint as a military transport. She’s taken up a career as a tea master, creating careful, individually tailored brews to help others as they travel through space. Then she Are you interested reading a gender-bent version of Sherlock Holmes? Where Watson is also a sentient spaceship? Then I suggest you get yourself a copy of The Tea Master and the Detective, a novella by Aliette de Bodard.The Shadow’s Child has lost most of her family and now has an aversion to deep space after a brief, traumatic stint as a military transport. She’s taken up a career as a tea master, creating careful, individually tailored brews to help others as they travel through space. Then she receives an unusual client: Long Chau, an eccentric scholar and investigative detective seeking a brew to keep her mind sharp in the paralyzing effects of deep space. Long Chau wants to study the effects of deep space on human decomposition, but when The Shadow’s Child takes her out to test the brew and find a corpse, Long Chau insists they’ve a murder.The Tea Master and the Detective takes place in the Xuya universe, which is home to many pieces of de Bodard’s short fiction. I would particularly recommend the short story “Immersion,” the novelette “The Waiting Stars,” and the novella On a Red Station, Drifting. None of the stories are direct sequels to each other, and as far as I know, none of them share characters. What unites them is the setting: a Vietnamese inspired culture, sentient mind-ships tied to particular families, and the oddities of deep space. I love the world building of this universe. It feels expansive and vast, like it exists beyond the edges of the page.I really liked how The Tea Master and the Detective adapted Sherlock Holmes. For one, it’s really cool to see gender-bent versions of both iconic characters. But I also liked how The Shadow’s Child was characterized and how a mind ship was used as a protagonist. I don’t think I’ve ever thought of a space ship with PTSD before. Her character arc was probably the most compelling in the story. Long Chau is mostly an enigma, although we do get more glimpses into her inner life towards the end of the story.However, the story and characters didn’t have much of an impact on me. I didn’t find much interesting about the mystery, and I never became very attached to the characters. Although, I think I could become more attached to them if de Bodard wrote more stories about the pair (*fingers crossed!*).While it’s not my favorite Xuya story, I’d still be interested in reading more about The Shadow’s Child and Long Chau.I received an ARC in exchange for a free and honest review.Review originally posted on The Illustrated Page.
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  • erforscherin
    January 1, 1970
    This novella shouldn’t work... but somehow it does!The Tea Master and the Detective is a wonderfully strange reimagining of Sherlock Holmes — if Watson was a sentient, traumatized spaceship and Holmes was dependent on regular body chemistry modifications to achieve the ultimate mental razor’s edge.(Also notable, now that I think about it: Not only are Long Chau and The Shadow’s Child gender-flipped versions of Holmes and Watson, but I think that everyone with a speaking role in this novella is i This novella shouldn’t work... but somehow it does!The Tea Master and the Detective is a wonderfully strange reimagining of Sherlock Holmes — if Watson was a sentient, traumatized spaceship and Holmes was dependent on regular body chemistry modifications to achieve the ultimate mental razor’s edge.(Also notable, now that I think about it: Not only are Long Chau and The Shadow’s Child gender-flipped versions of Holmes and Watson, but I think that everyone with a speaking role in this novella is implied to be female. I didn’t even notice this while reading the first time, but that’s pretty amazing!)While the plot in the last third rushed along rather too quickly for my taste, I loved the whole journey there: the little snippets of universe worldbuilding scattered throughout, the easy interaction between the characters, and especially the very end, with its budding friendship and a promise of more to come. I do hope we see this pair again, and hopefully in a longer format.-----[Disclaimer: This eARC was provided free by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided by Subterranean Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest reviewLet me start by saying I am very sad that this story was only the length of a short novella. I could have read a whole book about these two characters.The Shadow’s Child is a mindship, which as far as I can tell is basically a sentient spaceship, that has been through some Shit. Unable to resume her old life, she spends her days making mind-altering teas. Then comes along abrasive, mysterious Long Chau to hire her f ARC provided by Subterranean Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest reviewLet me start by saying I am very sad that this story was only the length of a short novella. I could have read a whole book about these two characters.The Shadow’s Child is a mindship, which as far as I can tell is basically a sentient spaceship, that has been through some Shit. Unable to resume her old life, she spends her days making mind-altering teas. Then comes along abrasive, mysterious Long Chau to hire her for seemingly simple job that turns out to be much more.Basically, its Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson where Watson is a traumatized spaceship and Holmes a drug-infused Asian woman. And it gets better.I really enjoyed that in such a short story that you got a good feel for who the characters were, what drives them, what scares them. Even with minor characters like Bao, you got a bit of what her personality is like; she was a fully fleshed out character despite the fact that she only showed up on like 5 pages of the story. I also enjoyed that the other mindships have relationships with each other as wellThe author does a good job of dropping the reader into this complex world and giving just enough details that the reader understands without being confused.I would recommend this story to anyone who likes sci-fi and mysteries!
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  • Marzie
    January 1, 1970
    This novella is my first foray into the work of Aliette de Bodard, who I've followed a while on social media because of her love of pen and ink writing and drawing. This was a delightful entrée into her work.The Tea Master and the Detective is the story of the traumatized brain of a mindship, The Sparrow's Child, and Long Chau, an Asian woman with a shadowy past, and their investigation into the death of a young Vietnamese woman. As the story evolves, it becomes evident that female duo and their This novella is my first foray into the work of Aliette de Bodard, who I've followed a while on social media because of her love of pen and ink writing and drawing. This was a delightful entrée into her work.The Tea Master and the Detective is the story of the traumatized brain of a mindship, The Sparrow's Child, and Long Chau, an Asian woman with a shadowy past, and their investigation into the death of a young Vietnamese woman. As the story evolves, it becomes evident that female duo and their investigation of a murder is a clever take on Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. Long Chau is investigating the effects of deep spaces on corpses. The Sparrow's Child, recovering from a devastating deep space event that killed or severely injured her crew, spends her days as a tea master, brewing specialized blends of teas. Each of her blends is tailor-made for an individual. It is in her capacity as tea master that she meets Long Chau, who like Holmes, has... issues with substance use. Over the course of the novella, they each learn to truly see and trust one another, as they investigate the death of a young shipworker.De Bodard's beautiful writing style was a delight to read. I know she has written quite a few works set in the Xuya Universe. I would love to see more of these two characters, who were intriguing.I received a Digital Review Copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Koeur
    January 1, 1970
    https://koeur.wordpress.com/2018/01/0...Publisher:Subterranean PressPublishing Date: March 2018ISBN:9781596068643Genre: SciFiRating: 3.0/5Publishers Description: Welcome to the Scattered Pearls Belt, a collection of ring habitats and orbitals ruled by exiled human scholars and powerful families, and held together by living mindships who carry people and freight between the stars. In this fluid society, human and mindship avatars mingle in corridors and in function rooms, and physical and virtual https://koeur.wordpress.com/2018/01/0...Publisher:Subterranean PressPublishing Date: March 2018ISBN:9781596068643Genre: SciFiRating: 3.0/5Publishers Description: Welcome to the Scattered Pearls Belt, a collection of ring habitats and orbitals ruled by exiled human scholars and powerful families, and held together by living mindships who carry people and freight between the stars. In this fluid society, human and mindship avatars mingle in corridors and in function rooms, and physical and virtual realities overlap, the appareance of environments easily modified and adapted to interlocutors or current mood.Review: This gets a max rating for novellas based on their compressed and truncated nature. This is a talented writer that deserves the audience to come. Expand this universe, please.
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  • Jo (Mixed Book Bag)
    January 1, 1970
    A different take on Sherlock Holmes and Watson. The Shadow's Child is a midship who lost its entire crew in an attack in deep space leaving the ship damaged. The ship now makes a living brewing special mixtures to fit individual people. The ship plays the part of Watson and Long Chau a woman who is off to solve a mystery is a take on Holmes. I found the story to be interesting but as I read I kept thinking about the take on the ship. It reminded me of books by Anne McCaffrey like The Ship That S A different take on Sherlock Holmes and Watson. The Shadow's Child is a midship who lost its entire crew in an attack in deep space leaving the ship damaged. The ship now makes a living brewing special mixtures to fit individual people. The ship plays the part of Watson and Long Chau a woman who is off to solve a mystery is a take on Holmes. I found the story to be interesting but as I read I kept thinking about the take on the ship. It reminded me of books by Anne McCaffrey like The Ship That Sang and Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. There were elements of both in the story and I was distracted from the story as I mentally compared the ships in the other two stories.I received a free copy of the book in return for an honest review.
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  • Blase Ciabaton
    January 1, 1970
    I highly recommend this as an entertaining short read from a talented author. de Bodard gracefully weaves together some complex themes while simultaneously sharing an engaging story. She touches on topics like the future of AI, the merging of the virtual & real worlds, space travel and medicine. There's quite a lot packed into this little nugget in a very artful way.
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  • Ableabelian
    January 1, 1970
    This is such an elegant story. Gender bent Sherlock Holmes in space. And Watson is a shipmind.The audacity of ideas, of deep space, of a cyberpunk future infused with Vietnamese cilture, and all these stunning ideas and this incredible world is wrapped around fundamentally touching and human ideas.I loved it and want to read it again, tbh.
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  • FrauMiest
    January 1, 1970
    Wow!I really had high expectations on that one - and it was even better. Hope, there’s coming more.
  • Renay
    January 1, 1970
    This was WONDERFUL.
  • USOM
    January 1, 1970
    (Disclaimer: I received this free book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)I was, and still am, so fascinated by the relationship between The Shadow's Child and Long Chau. I know there's a whole mystery aspect to it, and that is intriguing as well, but I have been fascinated with the whole idea of sentient spaceships ever since I heard of The Ship That Could Sing (which may not actually be the title).So let's dive right into that aspect of the review - I (Disclaimer: I received this free book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)I was, and still am, so fascinated by the relationship between The Shadow's Child and Long Chau. I know there's a whole mystery aspect to it, and that is intriguing as well, but I have been fascinated with the whole idea of sentient spaceships ever since I heard of The Ship That Could Sing (which may not actually be the title).So let's dive right into that aspect of the review - I was really happy with The Shadow's Child. I am still not sure if I can really wrap my head around the concept - but it's not de Bodard's fault - my own limited human brain. But I keep coming back to this idea and so I keep challenging myself.That being said, I truly adored the characters of Long Chau and The Shadow's Child. They were enigmatic, but also empathetic.full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...
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  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    Mary Robinette Kowal described it best when she said: "The Tea Master is an astonishing Holmesian mystery, in which Holmes is a woman and Watson is a spaceship. It is everything I wanted it to be. Tea, space, and mysteries within mysteries."Aliette de Bodard's writing is always stellar and her Xuya Universe is fascinating. There's always a new aspect of it to be examined, new genres to be crossed over, and great new characters to discover. I heartily recommend this.
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  • Lauren loves llamas
    January 1, 1970
    This is part of a series of novellas and short stories set in the Xuya Universe, a Vietnamese-influenced science fiction series. It’s the first I’ve read, but certainly won’t be the last! It was wildly immersive, well-paced, and ever so much fun!“The world is chaotic and without sense. But in the smallest of spheres it’s sometimes possible to straighten things out; to make it seem as though everything means something.”What starts out as an eccentric woman asking a traumatized war vet for help re This is part of a series of novellas and short stories set in the Xuya Universe, a Vietnamese-influenced science fiction series. It’s the first I’ve read, but certainly won’t be the last! It was wildly immersive, well-paced, and ever so much fun!“The world is chaotic and without sense. But in the smallest of spheres it’s sometimes possible to straighten things out; to make it seem as though everything means something.”What starts out as an eccentric woman asking a traumatized war vet for help retrieving a corpse from deep space to study for a scientific paper turns into a murder investigation. Sound familiar? Why yes, it’s Sherlock in space! In this universe, traveling at faster than light speeds requires going into deep space, a weird and frightening area of unreality, something that only mindships – ships that are somehow fused with a human – can accomplish. Deep space isn’t particularly friendly to the ships, and even less so to humans, so specialized brews of tea can be customized to help a person cope, by making them braver or more calm or simply doping them up.“Long Chau was an expanding star, burning loud and bright, mesmerising in her relentlessness, and ultimately one that would swallow you whole.”The Shadow’s Child is one such mindship and tea-brewer, a war vet who’s barely scraping by selling customized brews for dock workers and other mundane customers. One such not-so-mundane customer is Long Chau, a scholar of sorts. She’s abrasive and blunt, but The Shadow’s Child accepts her commission because she can’t afford to be too picky. But things aren’t quite what they seem, with either the corpse they retrieve or Long Chau, and The Shadow’s Child has to navigate her need for justice – and to possibly save lives – with her traumatic past and jumbled feelings about her. Men, it seems, often get a pass on being harsh and socially tone deaf if they're talented, so it was fascinating to see the roles of both Sherlock and Watson filled by women.  A large portion of the story - besides the mystery of the dead woman they find - centers on whether The Shadow's Child can trust Long Chau, and whether her dislike of her stems from her not-so-stellar personality or a gut feeling that something more sinister is going on.I’ve read a few things by Ms. de Bodard before, and once again, I found myself immersed in her wordlbuilding and writing style. Rather than just pay homage to an Asian-influenced future (*cough* Firefly *cough*), this universe is more steeped in Vietnamese culture, from the names of the ships to cultural traditions. I was fascinated by the idea of mindships, though I didn’t quite understand exactly what they are, as The Shadow’s Child refers to being born and having living people as family. However it works, she reads as human, albeit a severely traumatized one, full of anxiety about money, her past, and whether she can trust Long Chau. Long Chau, for her part, is by turns frustrating and sympathetic, and I, for one, got a laugh out of watching The Shadow’s Child – a ship – trying to soothe the ruffled feathers of the witnesses they’re trying to question. For all her faults, though, it’s Long Chau and her sharp insight that finally forces The Shadow’s Child to deal with her past, and that, for me, was the best part of the novella.Overall, this was an amazingly fresh and immersive take on a Sherlock-type mystery, and I’m definitely hoping Ms. de Bodard will write more novellas starring this pair!I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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  • Kend
    January 1, 1970
    There's a lot to love about The Tea Master and the Detective, not least its central conceit: That crimes still happen in spacefaring societies, and that brilliant, obtuse, and even downright difficult detectives will still be around to recast the Sherlock narrative in delightfully unique, genderbent ways. True to Sherlock retellings, our Watson is our entry point into the story, and this is no passive sidekick waiting around for the detective to unveil a convoluted revelation--The Shadow's Child There's a lot to love about The Tea Master and the Detective, not least its central conceit: That crimes still happen in spacefaring societies, and that brilliant, obtuse, and even downright difficult detectives will still be around to recast the Sherlock narrative in delightfully unique, genderbent ways. True to Sherlock retellings, our Watson is our entry point into the story, and this is no passive sidekick waiting around for the detective to unveil a convoluted revelation--The Shadow's Child goes into the universe and does everything possible to do right by herself and others, despite past traumas and present doubts in the trustworthiness of her companions along the way.At its strongest moments, de Bodard's compact little novella reminds me of Ann Leckie's Ancillary Justice where a ship-based artificial intelligence struggles to come to terms with her place in a strange future textured with jade and porcelain, as well as Alastair Reynold's The Prefect (and its sequel, Elysium Fire ) with its post-surplus habitat alliance, the Glitter Band, and the bureaucracies in place to protect it. The Tea Master and the Detective hints at a similarly expansive universe without being bogged down in the details, and I'm tantalized by the idea of what may be revealed in future installments.That said, there are unevennesses to this novella which others have already commented upon, at length. The pacing seems to be the primary sticking point, with a desultory first half, set in digitally opulent environs (if only cramped space station compartments in reality) and obsessed with faded glamour and jewel-like bots which regulate human emotions and functions with needles and quite a few elegantly described drops of blood. (No one seems to be willing to comment upon the hazards so many little droplets might pose to a cramped space station's ducts and wiring.) The book takes a brief and jarring leap forward into a climax which doesn't quite feel earned before returning to the drawing-room reflections so typical of a Conan Doyle hat-tip. At ninety-six pages, de Bodard had room to develop a momentum which worked; that she didn't is unfortunate, but I have high hopes that there will be sequels to follow, with more space crimes to solve and more of this sophisticated universe to unfold.
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  • Morgan Al-Moor
    January 1, 1970
    Did you say Sherlock Holmes in space, but with a Vietnamese-influenced setting and with a lady in the lead? Oh, and with Dr. Watson being a sentient spaceship?Not sure what else would one need to check this book out!The story is set in the Scattered Pearls Belt, a space society for exiled scholars held together by living mindships. The protagonist is the grumpy, drug-using Long Chau, who wants a corpse for a scientific research. But when she inspects the body, she suspects foul play and decides Did you say Sherlock Holmes in space, but with a Vietnamese-influenced setting and with a lady in the lead? Oh, and with Dr. Watson being a sentient spaceship?Not sure what else would one need to check this book out!The story is set in the Scattered Pearls Belt, a space society for exiled scholars held together by living mindships. The protagonist is the grumpy, drug-using Long Chau, who wants a corpse for a scientific research. But when she inspects the body, she suspects foul play and decides to investigate, with the mindship The Shadow’s Child in tow.I’m a fan of Ms. de Bodard’s writing style, which I’m very familiar with from her many short stories. Rich prose, intricate descriptions, and deep understanding of the human nature are her trademarks. The story here has a lot of parallels with Holmes (that fans of the British detective will immediately relate to), while at the same time standing nicely as an original sci-fi mystery with a pretty unique setting.Both Long Chau and The Shadow’s Child are very interesting characters (oh yes, the mindship is a character, and a very well-written one). The complex relationship is excellently portrayed, and as the story progresses we get to know a lot about the traumatic past of the mindship and how it influences its current events. Long Chau is a great, three-dimensional character with a lot of layers to explore. One would notice from the start how intriguing the dialogue between both characters is, and by the end of the book I felt invested in their lives that I actually would love to see more of this duo’s adventures.The book is on the shorter side, which makes for a great afternoon read. The story demonstrates excellent skill at maintaining both a swift pace and great worldbuilding, which is something not many can achieve. No parts dragged nor felt abrupt.Verdict? A very novel take on Sherlock Holmes, and a definite five-star read.
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  • Lou Jacobs
    January 1, 1970
    MINI- MASTERPIECE! This is my first encounter with the fiction of Aliette de Bodard and was amazed that in 98 pages she was able to seamlessly blend the genres of alternate history SF with resolution of two mysteries. It is no surprise she is a multi award winning author. The setting is the Scattered Pearls belt where obviously the dominant culture is Eastern with their scholars and scientists able to attain the stars with all of the accoutrements of advance technology to accomplish their domina MINI- MASTERPIECE! This is my first encounter with the fiction of Aliette de Bodard and was amazed that in 98 pages she was able to seamlessly blend the genres of alternate history SF with resolution of two mysteries. It is no surprise she is a multi award winning author. The setting is the Scattered Pearls belt where obviously the dominant culture is Eastern with their scholars and scientists able to attain the stars with all of the accoutrements of advance technology to accomplish their dominance. Enter the two main unusual protagonists: the sentient Mindship, The Shadow's Child and the abrasive scholar-detective Long Chau. Both have "fallen from grace" from previous transgressions - and naturally effect their subsequent actions. The Shadow's Child is not actually an AI, since "she" was conceived in a human's womb and hasan extremely large array of emotions. Feeling disgraced from her past military events in Deep Space ,she is now resigned to an occasional passenger transport along with the provision of the mystical "tea" brew of drugs that will allow the human mind to tolerate the hazards of Deep Space travel. The abrasive Long Chau hires the avatar of The Shadow's Child to take her into Deep Space to recover "any" corpse which would allow her to complete her scholarly study on the deterioration effects of Deep Space on the human body. Recovering of the corpse leads to a resolution of two mysteries and formation of a complex partnership between the two. With an amazing economy of lyrical and poetic prose de Bodard spins an emotionally complicated tale that demands the reader to seek out more of her fiction. Thanks to Netgalley and Subterranean Press for providing an electronic uncorrected proof of the marvelous short novel in exchange for an honest review. # @SubPress
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  • Natalie aka Tannat
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsThis novella is being touted as being a story with a female Sherlock Holmes with a mindship (starship with bio-engineered human interface at its core) as her Watson. It's not quite that blatant, but the comparison is apt. Long Chau is an arrogant consulting detective who self medicates. The Shadow's Child is contracted to provide a service and helps her with her case.I loved how the novella forces the reader to get dumped in headfirst, and I thought the worldbuilding was well done. This 4.5 starsThis novella is being touted as being a story with a female Sherlock Holmes with a mindship (starship with bio-engineered human interface at its core) as her Watson. It's not quite that blatant, but the comparison is apt. Long Chau is an arrogant consulting detective who self medicates. The Shadow's Child is contracted to provide a service and helps her with her case.I loved how the novella forces the reader to get dumped in headfirst, and I thought the worldbuilding was well done. This story does take place in the Xuya universe with a futuristic Vietnamese Empire but reading the other stories in that universe isn't necessary. There was also humour and banter in the exchanges between the mindship and Long Chau and the other characters.The only downer (and what negated the need for me to dither about whether to give this five stars) is an error that I'm going to lay at the publisher's proofreaders' and editors' feet: the confusion of "to deduct" with "to deduce" when it comes to deductions by the detective.Long Chau shook her head. “I deducted based on available information. Not the same.”The Shadow’s Child said, stubbornly, “Tell me why.”“See if you can deduct it,” Long Chau said, as she headed inside. Her tone made it clear she didn’t expect The Shadow’s Child to manage that.Boo.Otherwise it was a great quick read, and I hope we get to see more adventures with Long Chau and The Shadow's Child.
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  • Alex Can Read
    January 1, 1970
    This review first appeared on my blog.This is my first foray into reading anything by Aliette de Bodard. The beautifully written novella made me curious to read more of her work!If Sherlock were an Asian woman in space, and Watson was a sentient spaceship, this would be the story of their first meeting and first case together. (Just days after I wrote this review, I found this quote on Aliette’s Goodreads profile: “my ‘Sherlock Holmes if Holmes were an eccentric scholar and Watson a grumpy disch This review first appeared on my blog.This is my first foray into reading anything by Aliette de Bodard. The beautifully written novella made me curious to read more of her work!If Sherlock were an Asian woman in space, and Watson was a sentient spaceship, this would be the story of their first meeting and first case together. (Just days after I wrote this review, I found this quote on Aliette’s Goodreads profile: “my ‘Sherlock Holmes if Holmes were an eccentric scholar and Watson a grumpy discharged war mindship’ book.” How funny is that?)Set in her Universe of Xuya, The Tea Master and the Detective, is similar in tone and flavor to Yoon Ha Lee’s Machineries of the Empire series. They’re very different stories, but fans of one may find lots to like in the other.I really enjoyed The Tea Master and the Detective. The story was interesting and kept pulling me along. I’m definitely interested in exploring more of this universe. I’d recommend The Tea Master and the Detective for a time when you can sit and read the whole thing at once or in one or two sessions. Trying to read it in broken chunks on my work breaks didn’t work well for me.I received an eARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Laurie
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this. WOW, talk about fabulous. Spaceships and detectives. A Sherlock Holmes style mystery. The "Dr Watson" character is a spaceship - which is an amazingly original idea and as a sci fi fan I simply loved it. Poor The Shadow's Child. Traumatised from war, she just wants to make enough money to pay her rent. She meets the strange and cold, Long Chau, who offers her money for a trip into deep space to collect a body for her experiments. Instead they find a mystery that must be so I really enjoyed this. WOW, talk about fabulous. Spaceships and detectives. A Sherlock Holmes style mystery. The "Dr Watson" character is a spaceship - which is an amazingly original idea and as a sci fi fan I simply loved it. Poor The Shadow's Child. Traumatised from war, she just wants to make enough money to pay her rent. She meets the strange and cold, Long Chau, who offers her money for a trip into deep space to collect a body for her experiments. Instead they find a mystery that must be solved in order to save a life.I am a massive fan of crime mysteries and sci fi. I love the way deep space is portrayed here. So mysterious and creeptastic. I really wanted to see this on a big screen. It is a new spin on space travel that I desperately want to see more of. The AI mindship The Shadow's Child's avatar to communicate is a unique character and story telling idea. And I want to read more of Long Chau's deductions.This is only a novella but I savored every word and boy I wanted more. I brought the limited edition hardcopy and it is simply beautiful. I do hope author Aliette de Bodard writes more adventures for Long Chau and The Shadow's Child. 
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