cover image Mimicking of Known Successes

Mimicking of Known Successes

Malka Older. Tordotcom, $19.99 (176p) ISBN 978-1-250-86050-7

Older (...and Other Disasters) packs a punch in this slim volume, delivering a romantic sci-fi mystery replete with ruminations on environmentalism and the importance of adapting to change. Life on Earth has ended and the survivors have fled to Jupiter, where they’ve been living on an elaborate railway system surrounding the planet for generations while dreaming of one day making Earth habitable once more and returning there. Classics scholar Pleiti has dedicated her life to studying the lost flora and fauna of pre-collapse Earth ecosystems. It’s a quiet life—until one of her colleagues throws himself off the rails in an apparent suicide. Investigating the case is Mossa, Pleiti’s ex-girlfriend, who storms back into her life with a request for help. Together, the two uncover a far deeper mystery with wide-ranging implications for the fate of Jupiter’s society and the future of Earth. Despite the post–climate collapse setting, Older keeps the tone largely upbeat throughout this charming Gaslamp romp, focusing more on characterization and the leads’ rekindling love than on the dystopian worldbuilding until the heavy-hitting philosophical questions raised in the final pages. Combining an old-timey aesthetic and a powerful message, this sapphic genre-bender is a treat. (Mar.)