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The Best of All Possible Worlds: A Novel Hardcover – February 12, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; First edition (February 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345534050
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345534057
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #657,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“An engrossing picaresque quest, a love story, and a moving character study . . . [Karen] Lord is on a par with Ursula K. Le Guin.”The Guardian
 
“[A] fascinating and thoughtful science fiction novel that examines] 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
 
“Reads like smooth jazz comfort food, deceptively familiar and easy going down, but subtly subversive . . . [puts] me in mind of Junot Díaz’s brilliant novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.”—Nalo Hopkinson, Los Angeles Review of Books
 
“If you want to see science fiction doing something new and fascinating . . . then you shouldn’t sleep on The Best of All Possible Worlds.”—io9
 
“Rewarding science fiction for emotional grown-ups.”—Mysterious Galaxy
 
“[A] marvelously formed universe.”—The A.V. Club

“A rewarding, touching and often funny exploration of the forms and functions of human culture.”SFX
 
The Best of All Possible Worlds . . . poses an interesting question: What parts of you do you fight to preserve when everything you know suddenly changes?”—Associated Press

About the Author

Karen Lord has been a physics teacher, a diplomat, a part-time soldier, and an academic at various times and in various countries. She is now a writer and research consultant in Barbados. Her debut novel, Redemption in Indigo, won the Frank Collymore Literary Award, the William L. Crawford Award, and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature, and was nominated for the 2011 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.

More About the Author

Karen Lord has been a physics teacher, a diplomat, a part-time soldier and an academic at various times and in various countries. She is now a writer and research consultant in Barbados. Her debut novel Redemption in Indigo won the 2008 Frank Collymore Literary Award, the 2011 William L. Crawford Award and the 2011 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature, and was nominated for the 2011 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
5 star
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See all 94 customer reviews
This book is a good read as a romance novel.
fiction_fridaynirvana_com
And these characters were pretty one-dimensional at the start of the book and most of them don't really change much.
a scientist
Great characters, great story and really well written.
Monica Sutter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Suzi Hough VINE VOICE on April 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In the distant - or perhaps not-so-distant - future, the human race has split off into four distinctive groups: Sadiri, Ntshune, Zhinu and Terrans. Each branch of humanity has developed certain characteristics. In a catastrophic act of destruction, the home world of the Sadiri is rendered inhabitable by another group - the only survivors are those who were off-world at the time. These scattered individuals band together and seek a new home, and a way to preserve their Sadiri culture. To assist them, they turn to the government of Cygnus Beta, who assigns a team of bio-technicians to locate suitable locations and populations to integrate with the Sadiri. One of the members of this team, Grace Delarua, throws herself into the project, eagerly learning as much as she can about the Sadira and their representative, Councilor Dllenahkh.

This is an extremely slow book. In the first chapter, we're told that a world has been destroyed - horrible, right? But from that point on, the story is nothing but paper-pushing bureaucracy and anthropological musings by our main narrator, Grace. The main body of the novel revolves around a group of travelers moving around Cygnus Beta, introducing Dllenahkh and a few of his fellow Sadiri to various people groups so that the Sadiri can determine if these individuals are close enough to their own culture that their women would make suitable wives for the surviving Sadiri men. It's incredibly episodic. The narrative often gets so bogged down in Grace's descriptions of diplomatic greetings or details of her research that it practically comes to a standstill. I lost count of how many times I nearly put down this book and walked away from it.

Grace is also a curious, rather odd narrator.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Adam B. Shaeffer on April 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Have you ever had such glowing things to say about a book that you struggled to find the right words? Yeah. That. That's where I am with Karen Lord's [insert word of glowing praise here] novel. So, rather than try to find the right adjectives, let me note what I most loved about this novel. There may be some spoilers in what follows, so proceed with caution.

* Lord obviously respects her readers' intelligence. She doesn't take the time to infodump or explain everything. This is a true first-person narrative in the sense that the narrator knows things and her imagined audience knows those things too, so why would she explain them? Lord expects her readers to put the pieces together into a coherent whole and I love that.

* I love that this is a very human story set against a remarkable backdrop. The focus is on two people and the story of how they slowly fall in love. Lord explores a unique universe full of sci-fi awesomeness, but that is all just background for the relationship forming between these two characters we come to love, admire, and root for. Brilliantly done.

* The Best of All Possible Worlds. Wow. When the mindships' capabilities are explored for the first time, the title takes on a whole new significance. I don't know if Lord was exploring in story the philosophy and theology behind Luis de Molina's attempts to reconcile God's sovereignty with human free will, but that is where my mind went. The title and the tragedy makes me suspect this was Lord's intention and when I made the connection, I had to set the book down and think.

* And yet, the novel was so very readable! We're introduced to lots of new terminology and yet Lord helps us to understand as she invites us to inhabit this imagined world.

* It was funny, fascinating, fun, and so very enjoyable.

When award season rolls around, if I could I would hand over all of the 2013 awards to Lord. This novel deserves them.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
The Best of All Possible Worlds takes place in a distant future, featuring varied species of humans separated by different planets and genetic developments that result in some differences in appearance and mental abilities. Many of these people are brought together by various tragedies to the planet known as Cygnus Beta. The story takes place shortly after the heinous destruction of Sadira, home to a stoic race of people who pride themselves on mental disciplines that have resulted in a level of telepathic communication and emotional control. These elements define the book as "science fiction," but in truth, this is a wonderful, quiet little love story. Not that this is merely a romance set in space. The science fiction aspect remains prominent, but it is the interpersonal relationships and sociological studies that are at the story's heart.

The story is mainly told by Grace Delarua, a 30-something Cygnus Beta native of mixed race, who works with a contingent of Sadiri people seeking to perpetuate their dwindling culture. The author explains that she was inspired by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed a large percentage of females and forced those remaining to relocate and adjust to their new surroundings. On Cygnus Beta, there are several taSadiri societies that the group must visit to determine genetic potential for Sadiri males. Having left Sadira long before, the taSadiri have developed in many different ways, from a society that patterns itself after fantasy lore, to an incestuous mess of classism and many more in between. The goal of Delarua's group is to maintain Sadiri disciplines and genetics as much as possible through suitable pairings, but as they progress, they find that this is not an easy task.
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