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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 2019-01-26 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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review 2018-01-28 22:20
Review: The Only Harmless Great Things
The Only Harmless Great Thing - Brooke Bolander

Excellent title, yeah?

 

This is my first Anticipated Book for the year. Well, novella, but  whatever. Great prose, great visuals, ideas that I'll be turning over in my head for a while. Weird does not begin to cover it. My only complaint is that I'd like for it to have lasted a little longer.

 

Bolander's Big Idea post about writing this is also a terribly interesting read, but I'm glad it didn't hit my RSS feed until after I'd finished the story.

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