Beneath the Sugar Sky: return to the world of "Every Heart a Doorway" for a quest through the land of Confection
Beneath the Sugar Sky is the third novella in Seanan McGuire's wonderful Wayward Children series, following from 2016's Every Heart a Doorway and 2017's Down Among the Sticks and Bones, chronicling the lives of the children who've accidentally returned from the magical kingdoms they adventured in, who haunt Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children praying that the door to their true homes will return and they can vanish into it forever.
One of Eleanor West's rules is "no quests" and of course, rules are made to be broken. When Cora -- who accidentally slipped back to earth after her years as a mermaid -- and Nadya -- a drowned girl who wants nothing more than to go to the deep underground waters where she was the queen of the turtles -- meet a girl who falls out of the sky wearing a dress made of cake, it sparks a quest of sacrifice, mythmaking, nonsense, the halls of the dead, and baking.
The girl who's fallen from the sky is Rini, and she is the daughter of Sumi, who was murdered in the first installment, Every Heart a Doorway. Because Rini's mother was murdered before she had a chance to be born, Rini is slowly disappearing, and Confection the nonsense world where Sumi was destined to defeat the ruthless Queen of Cakes, has once again fallen under her despotic rein.
This kicks off an epic, grisly, whimsical and dark quest in which Cora, Nadya, Rini and two of the boys from Ellie's school set off on a quest to dig up Sumi's skeleton; retrieve her ghost from the Halls of the Dead; and then return to Confection to see if they can recover the reanimated Sumi's nonsense, in order to bring her back to life -- before Rini disappears altogether.
As with the previous volumes, McGuire does outstanding work marshalling a diverse cast of characters -- Nadya was born without her right forearm; Cora is fat and has been bullied about it all her life; Kade is trans; Christopher is a racialized Mexican-American, and so on -- and while these characters' diverse distinctiveness is critical to the way they see themselves and live their lives, it is ever in service to the story, a fantastic example of how diversity and representation makes stories work better.
McGuire also continues to subvert and celebrate fairy tales, with the kind of critical affection that is able to, on the one hand, draw on their delights, and at the same time, show their weaknesses and exploit them to tell a story that is both familiar and challenging.
Beneath the Sugar Sky [Seanan McGuire/Tor.com]
How Ken Liu went from engineer to lawyer to SF writer to the foremost translator of Chinese sf into English
Ken Liu went from university to a software engineering job at Microsoft, then to some startups, then to Harvard Law, where he got a JD and went into practice as a litigation consultant on tech cases -- all the while, writing and selling sf stories.
92-year-old's memoir tells the forgotten story of a German official who sabotaged Nazi deportations and saved more Jews than Schindler
Hans Calmeyer was a left-wing German lawyer -- his law license was temporarily suspended when he was accused of being a Communist -- who was inducted into the German army under the Nazis, who put him in charge of an office that determined which Dutch people would be deported to Auschwitz during the Nazi occupation.
After producing the Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition, my buddy Tim Daly and I launched a record/publishing label, Ozma Records, to publish creative works at the intersection of science, art, music, and consciousness. Today through Monday, we’re having a special holiday sale on all of our releases! This is a rare opportunity to save […]
When the SNES launched back in the early 1990s, it changed gaming forever. One of the innovations was a gamepad with four action buttons — something that has remained a constant on controllers ever since. The 8BitDo SN30 Bluetooth Gamepad brings that iconic design up to date, with Bluetooth connectivity and support for multiple platforms. […]
After a long day at work, cooking a meal from scratch can seem like too much trouble. Unfortunately, the alternative is usually something unhealthy. Enter the Mellow Sous Vide Precision Cooker. This compact water bath uses cutting-edge technology to cook meat and veggies at the perfect temperature for exactly the right amount of time. It […]
In the course of any day, we encounter many different audio environments. If you are wearing earbuds, the ambient noise level can affect your listening experience. The HUB wireless earbuds adapt to different surroundings using smart noise-cancellation technology. They can either block out distractions or enhance conversations. They are normally priced at $250, but you […]