Group reading of Elizabeth Bear's NEW AMSTERDAM

Dead Air sez, "At the Science Fiction Message Board we're preparing for another of our semi-regular "Group Book Reads", which is due to start in just a few days now. For a little bit of fun, we're deviating from the harder SF this time for a bit of alternate history. We've decided to choose the 2008 Hugo Award-winning author Elizabeth Bear - and the book of hers we'll be perusing together is New Amsterdam, a series of linked stories: six novelettes and novellas about Detective Crown Investigator Abigail Irene Garrett and Don Sebastien de Ulloa, who are, respectively, a forensic sorcerer and an amateur detective in a turn of the century contrafactual history set (mostly) on the East Coast of North America. But let the publisher's blurb work its magic on you:"
Abigail Irene Garrett drinks too much. She makes scandalous liaisons with inappropriate men, and if in her youth she was a famous beauty, now she is both formidable--and notorious. She is a forensic sorceress, and a dedicated officer of a Crown that does not deserve her loyalty. She has nothing, but obligations.

Sebastien de Ulloa is the oldest creature he has ever known. He was no longer young at the Christian millennium, and that was nine hundred years ago. He has forgotten his birth-name, his birth-place, and even the year in which he was born, if he ever knew it. But he still remembers the woman who made him immortal. He has everything, but a reason to live.

In a world where the sun never set on the British Empire, where Holland finally ceded New Amsterdam to the English only during the Napoleonic wars, and where the expansion of the American colonies was halted by the war magic of the Iroquois, they are exiles in the new world--and its only hope for justice.

Summer 2009 Group Book Read: New Amsterdam by Elizabeth Bear (Thanks, Dead Air!)


  1. I can’t be the only one reading this description and thinking of Randall Garrett’s “Lord Darcy” series………..

  2. re #2: You’re not. The “Lord Darcy” stories were the first thing I thought of.

    re the review text: What’s with the, extraneous commas?

  3. I can’t be the only one reading the headline and thinking:

    “Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
    Why they changed it I can’t say
    People just like it better that way”

    And now I’ll have that song in my head all day.

  4. Did the Lord Darcy stories stay in print? I read them in the original copies of ANALOG, and not again since. They were truly a joy to read.

  5. Anonymous @5, I know Baen Books had an edition of Randall Garrett’s Lord Darcy stories in print a few years ago. It might still be.

  6. Notice how ‘turn of the century’ still means “early 1900s”? We’re in “turn of the century” America right now!

    This looks like it could be a fascinating book.

  7. Thanks a lot #4. Now I’ll have to subject myself to something like “Beer Run” to get that outa my head…

  8. I clicked all over the place but couldn’t find any details about the group read (what, when, where, how, etc.). Anyone find it?

  9. @11

    Indeed there was a television series entitle New Amsterdam. But it was not of relation to the works of Elizabeth Bear. It was about an immortal PI seaking his one true love in the city of New York.

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