‘… an engrossing picaresque quest, a love story, and a moving character study of two very different people coming to understand themselves and empathise with others. In her depiction of plurality, diversification and gender, Lord is on a par with Ursula K Le Guin.’ —The Guardian (UK)
‘The Best of All Possible Worlds is a beautiful shape-shifter. It reads like smooth jazz comfort food, deceptively familiar and easy going down, but subtly subversive.’ —Los Angeles Review of Books
‘A vivid, detailed science fiction story with all the trappings of a quality romance, Lord’s sophomore novel is not to be missed.’ —RT Book Reviews
‘ Lord has crafted a rich, coherent, consistent universe filled with off-world colonies, alien races and the bureaucracies that exist to serve them. … a unique experience that’s equal parts Jane Austen and Ray Bradbury.’ —BookPage
‘Lord explores nuanced issues with a light and thoughtful touch … this is a rewarding, touching and often funny exploration of the forms and functions of human culture.’ —SFX
‘It’s refined, meditative and life-affirming, and its exploration of gender politics and ethnology confirms Lord as the natural heiress to Octavia Butler and Ursula Le Guin.’ — Financial Times
* * *
From the Random House site:
Karen Lord’s debut novel, the multiple-award-winning Redemption in Indigo, announced the appearance of a major new talent—a strong, brilliantly innovative voice fusing Caribbean storytelling traditions and speculative fiction with subversive wit and incisive intellect. Compared by critics to such heavyweights as Nalo Hopkinson, China Miéville, and Ursula K. Le Guin, Lord does indeed belong in such select company—yet, like them, she boldly blazes her own trail.
Now Lord returns with a second novel that exceeds the promise of her first. The Best of All Possible Worlds is a stunning science fiction epic that is also a beautifully wrought, deeply moving love story.
A proud and reserved alien society finds its homeland destroyed in an unprovoked act of aggression, and the survivors have no choice but to reach out to the indigenous humanoids of their adopted world, to whom they are distantly related. They wish to preserve their cherished way of life but come to discover that in order to preserve their culture, they may have to change it forever.
Now a man and a woman from these two clashing societies must work together to save this vanishing race—and end up uncovering ancient mysteries with far-reaching ramifications. As their mission hangs in the balance, this unlikely team—one cool and cerebral, the other fiery and impulsive—just may find in each other their own destinies . . . and a force that transcends all.
“This fascinating and thoughtful science fiction novel breaks out of the typical conflict-centered narrative paradigm to examine adaptation, social change, and human relationships. I’ve not read anything quite like it, which makes it that rare beast: a true original.”—Kate Elliott, author of the Crown of Stars series and the Spiritwalker Trilogy
Excerpts and extras:
- Prologue (Random House, English)
- First fifty pages (Literatura Fantástica RBA Libros, Spanish)
- ‘The Faerie Queen’ (io9)
- 50 pages comprising ‘Happy Families’, ‘Bacchanal’ and ‘Never Forget’ (partial) (Random House)
- ‘Astronomy Lesson’, a special short story in and about the universe of The Best of All Possible Worlds.
- ‘Lección de astronomía’, the Spanish translation of the above, courtesy of Literatura Fantástica RBA, and with the kind permission of Del Rey.
Interviews and guest posts:
- Guest post at RT Book Reviews: ‘On the Boundaries of Science Fiction and Romance’
- Interview with Shaun Duke and Paul Weimer at the Skiffy and Fanty podcast
- Guest post at Suvudu: ‘Dear Readers’
- Guest post at The Huffington Post: ‘Writer from an Other Culture’
- Interview with Miquel Codony Bodas for Literatura Fantástica RBA in Spanish and in English
- Interview with Jeremy L C Jones for Clarkesworld
- Interview with Gavin Grant for BookPage
- Eric Brown at the Guardian UK
- Nalo Hopkinson at the Los Angeles Review of Books
- Nisi Shawl at the Seattle Times
- David Langford at the Telegraph
- Tom Shippey at the Wall Street Journal
- James Lovegrove at the Financial Times
- Jennifer Kay for the Associated Press (with comments at The Huffington Post)
- Charlie Jane Anders at io9
- Gary K. Wolfe at Locus
- One of the top ten Amazon.com Editors’ Picks (Science Fiction and Fantasy) for February
- February Seal of Excellence (Editors’ pick for best book of the month) at RT Book Reviews
- One of February’s Top Picks at RT Book Reviews
- Nic Clarke at SFX
- Michael Burgin at BookPage
Awards and mentions:
- RT Awards 2013 winner for Science Fiction Novel and nominee for RT Book of the Year
- Nominated for Goodreads Best Science Fiction Books of 2013
- Winner of the 2009 Frank Collymore Literary Award