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review 2019-06-18 16:03
Elephants and Radium Girls oh my...
The Only Harmless Great Thing - Brooke Bolander

I knew about the Radium girls and this one riffs off that. I had also read about the elephant (Topsy) killed using electricity. Some sources describe the incident as part of the war of the currents (AC vs DC) but whatever else these are real things that happened. This takes those incidents and wraps them together with elephants having learned a type of sign language and the concept of Elephant stories and it becomes an interesting tale of complicated politics and strange bedfellows who are all being exploited. It does take the concept that in reality some lower-waged workers are treated no better by management than animals, and honestly I find it hard to disagree. It also asks if taking revenge really does improve some people's lives, the women all die horrible deaths, often waiting for monies owed and it's hard to see that en exploited elephant mightn't one day take revenge. Even into the future of the story things remain bleak.

It's a story that made me think and I'd be interested in more by this author, but I'd need something quite sunny afterwards.

Provided as part of the Hugo Award packet.

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review 2019-05-30 00:22
The Only Harmless Great Thing
The Only Harmless Great Thing - Brooke Bolander

I decided to pick this slender volume up because of its recent Nebula win for best novelette. This very much feels like a book centered around an idea more than a story, which isn't a bad thing but is worth noting. This is also a book that asks a lot of questions and posits some interesting answers.

 

What if the Radium Girls were replaced by elephants? What if those elephants could communicate with us and vice versa? What if elephants were also caretakers of stories, and generational knowledge that stretched back to the beginning of history, and could endure far into the future? What if we used those elephants as sign posts, warnings, in a distant future that may or may not have language?

 

This short book takes on a lot. Due to the length and ambition there are some things that just can't be focused on. There are multiple points of view and timelines, which means you never get to spend very long with any of them. Nonetheless you get the idea. And as I said earlier, the idea is the thing. This is a well crafted, tightly packed, little story. The only reason I don't rate it higher was because it wasn't quite to my taste.

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review 2019-05-22 06:06
Design
Shadows You Left - Jude Sierra,Taylor Brooke

Erik asks River to give him a tattoo.  They find they are both attracted and try to see where it goes.  This is hard for Erik since he is often moving around and has trouble with trust.

 

River does not want to get his hopes up.  He knows Erik is struggling to define himself.  River normally sticks to his routine, however, his longing for Erik puts him at a whole new level.

 

This book has so much in it.  These characters are seriously in need of one another.  The story can be dark at times.  I actually liked how they were together and found that if I made it past the grit, there was good heat and and friendship.  I give this a 3/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review by Netgalley and its publisher.

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review 2019-01-26 20:59
The Only Harmless Great Thing
The Only Harmless Great Thing - Brooke Bolander

The Tor.com Ebook of the Month club was recently brought to my attention (it was here on BL but I forgot by whom), and this was January's pick so I wanted to give it a try and went into it without any prior knowledge. Imaging my surprise when one of the narratives is from the POV of an elephant.

What unraveled was a wonderful short story, which was part alternate history where elephants have taken over the jobs after the unfortunate Radium girls start dying, part social commentary.

In the beginning I was afraid that three different narratives in one novella would prove to be too much, but in the end I thought it was just fine. Very interesting, I would definitely like to read more by Brooke Bolander.

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url 2019-01-17 20:31
This month's free ebook from publisher TOR
The Only Harmless Great Thing - Brooke Bolander

In order to download free, you do need to subscribe your email address.  They don't flood you with other marketing emails.  You do have to act lightning fast when you get the email because these stay available free almost no time.

 

This one I'd consider a novella or short story at only 96 pages.  Usually it's a full length novel, often the first of an ongoing series with an upcoming new release.

 

There's a bookclub on booklikes for these at http://booklikes.com/book-clubs/88/tor-monthly-free-ebook-science-fiction-and-fantasy   (TOR publishes mainly science fiction and fantasy genre books).  

Source: ebookclub.tor.com
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