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Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  2,553 ratings  ·  521 reviews
Discover a shifting history of adventure as humanity clashes over whether to repair their ruined planet or luxuriate in a less tainted past.

In 2267, Earth has just begun to recover from worldwide ecological disasters. Minh is part of the generation that first moved back up to the surface of the Earth from the underground hells, to reclaim humanity's ancestral habitat. She'
Kindle Edition, 233 pages
Published March 13th 2018 by Tor.com
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
4+ stars. I have such a soft spot for time travel tales, and this one is so intelligently written! Full review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:

Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach (2018), one of several exceptional novellas nominated for the 2018 Nebula award, combines some intelligent and subtle world-building in the aftermath of worldwide disasters, the future version of project financing and lobbying (with lamentable similarities to our current world), and time travel to ancient Mesopotam
A very interesting novella about time-travel and ecology! I got this one on sale for Kindle as a vacation read, and I had no idea what I was getting into.

Earth has suffered massive ecological disasters and humans are slowly re-building the ecosystems necessary for the planet’s survival. An older generation of humans, the “plague babies” grew up during the worse of the cataclysms, and some, like our protagonist, Minh, chose to get artificial limbs installed in order to navigate their complicated
Allison Hurd
Ecological conservators get a job to do a survey of the ancient world. In their present, the world is in cataclysm, capitalism has choked off progress, time travel has halted the future, and "privacy" is measured in how many walls you get to say you own rather than any sort of solitude in your own mind. In the world they're exploring, their coming is signaled by three new stars in the sky.

CONTENT WARNING: (no actual spoilers, just a list of topics) (view spoiler)
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounded up

A very interesting novella. At the outset I felt like the worldbuilding was a bit of a combination of too much detail about some things and not enough about others. The characters, however, were quite wonderful right from the start.

About the halfway point things smoothed out for me, and once the time travel happened I loved the entire portion spent in the past. That ending though, what? I want some more please :)
So much goodness! There has been a sprinkling of pretty okay novellas coming out during 2018 but none have gone so far as to wow me beyond a few lovely characters or a clever premise or two.

Until now.

Now we have a wonderful premise full of fantastic worldbuilding and a dedication to all the cool little details that make a rich futuristic world. Add post-plague creative prosthetics, ecological disasters, time travel with the banks calling the shots, a global giving-up on the future for a stake in
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: zread-1-scifi
I really loved the worlds within this scifi: far future, post climate catastrophe earth and the time travel back to Mesopotamia. I liked learning through the eyes of a scientist/project manager. However, I'm super spoiler adverse and one of the povs is very spoilery. It's an interesting narrative technique, but I personally found it distracting, so one less star for that. I liked the ending but I do hope the author continues this as a series.

Read for the Worlds Beyond the Margins 2019 challenge
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. Great mix of elements in a future post-environmental destruction, with habitats, different generations of humans (that’s not a good description of the differences based on those born during plague years and those born much more healthy afterwards), projects to rebuild portions of the environment, and time travel. And a fabulous book cover. And an older female protagonist. And, a story that begins in a future Canada!
This is a story with a lot of interesting elements though I wouldn’t
Leo Robertson
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fascinating, imaginatively dense and highly compelling sci-fi novella about time-travelling ecological preservation projects? For sure!

Since Robson is evidently a devourer of sci-fi, this reads like a story for sci-fi devourers. The details come thick and fast at the beginning in simple enough language--habitats are "habs", "bioms" monitor health, "whispering" is like telepathy (right?), there are "bots" helping out around the peach orchard, the protagonist has six legs--to name a few! Yet the w
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
A novella that starts in the future with a small cast of environmental remediation specialists working in Calgary, Canada after a global ecological apocalypse, and then heads into the distant past for a time travel mission to ancient Mesopotamia.

Our main character is Minh, pictured in the amazing cover art, is a "plague baby", one of a generation of humans born into incredible hardship. In Minh's case she has no lower limbs and uses an octopus-like prosthesis. Her partner is another plague baby
K.J. Charles
SFF is very fond of plunging readers into a world without explanation and making you work out what's going on, and generally this is preferable to the classic opening scene of people explaining their history and situation to each other. ("As you know, your father, the king...") That said, I found this one too densely packed with unfamiliar concepts, words etc. I struggled to work out what was going on, and there wasn't a driving action plotline to carry me through until I had a handle on things. ...more
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: r2018, scifi, stars-3-5

Another rather good novella, this time featuring a future where Earth has suffered a devastating ecological disaster and humans are trying to re-built/re-generate the planet. The vision Robson gives us is intriguing, from the technology used to the different ‘classes’ of people.

The two narratives, juxtaposing the far past with the far future into recognisable worlds, work very well together, presenting such different societies, and yet when you come down to it, not that much. That was fasci
Peter Tillman
Abandoned at about 1/4 in. To my surprise, since the premise, while farfetched --you read the blurb, right? -- is better than many dystopias. OK, time travel is about as likely as flying by flapping your arms, but it has a long and honorable place in our genre. So, rather than write a review of a book I abandoned early, let me refer you to other 2-star reviews here: the book "takes forever to get going." The story "doesn't start until half way through." "Massive meh ... Color me unimpressed."
Sara Saif

This is the kind of science-fiction that makes you feel stupid. And confused. And sleepy. Mercifully, it was short.

"Minh drove into project management mode. She wanted to skim through TERN's project protocol information and then focus on further refining her work plan using whatever historical information she could get access to. But the project protocol docs were tedious, with hour upon hour of real-time content. Summarizing and scanning ahead were disabled. Worse, at the end of each doc they
Oleksandr Zholud
Apr 08, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a SF novella that was nominated for both Hugo and Nebula Awards in 2019.

The year is 2267 and Earth recuperates after the environmental calamities of the previous centuries. Our protagonist, Minh is septuagenarian with six octopus-like legs. She works on projects, which should allow living on the surface once again, specializing in freshwater management. Her projects were all the hype a few decades ago, but then the time travel was discovered, and where have been floods of grants, now a d
Matt Quann
This novella has garnered a lot of praise, but fell a bit flat for me. The world building is cool and I enjoyed the spin on time travel, but I couldn't get into the characters or their mission. Robson takes an in media res approach, which can work well, but I would have loved some more descriptive or expository passages. The world seems very interesting, but I wish I could have gotten a firmer grip on what was going on and how the world came to be as it was. Ah well, for $1 it's hard to complain ...more
Rachel (Kalanadi)
I loved this! Video review: https://youtu.be/FxroXhPmqzk

(Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a digital ARC.)
Definitely more of a 3.5.

The author plunges us deep in the middle of this post apocalyptic world and it took me a while to gather my bearings. And while it’ll probably take me a long while to ever get comfortable with all the scientific terminology associated with these kinds of sci-fi books, I was able to get the general idea and emotion behind it all. The dual timeline with the current and the ancient Mesopotamian civilization was a master stroke to make us feel invested in everyone’s lives, t
A fun romp. The idea of time traveling to the past for environmental remediation purpose is really unique (for me) and I enjoyed each minute of it till the end. The moments when the scientists were prepping for their proposal and pitch were just hilarious since RFPs and bidding are part of my work. Now, the ending could be stretched just a teeny wee bit but otherwise I am loving this cool novella. Might be in my Hugo noms this year, who knows.
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Review also posted over at my reading blog.
(It's still very new and 'under construction' in terms of the layout/content/links, so keep that in mind!)

Now, I don't have the best track record when it comes to novellas, short stories and short fiction. They inevitably leave me wanting more - and not always in a good way! Having said that: I really enjoyed Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach and mostly because it was so unlike anything else I've read this year. It has elements that I'm very familiar
Read as a Best Novella nominee for the 2019 Hugo Awards. I like the worldbuilding in this one -- a vision of a future with advanced technology but where our planet's been ravaged by climate change, and people have had to retreat underground to survive, but scientists are slowly trying to rehabilitate the surface... until the invention of time travel accidentally ruins climate recovery efforts, because the public are too fixated on touristing the past instead. Our main character is Minh, an aged ...more
Feb 07, 2020 rated it did not like it
This was so bad!!! Everything about it was failed in my opinion. The characters were not interesting. The story just focus on every aspects that aren't good or interesting and skip really fast what could have been fun. The third of the book is about how the characters are going to get the money for there «expedition» speaking to banker and selling their pitch... who would enjoy reading that. I had the impression of reading about negotiating my mortgage. There is so many loose ends and plot holes ...more
Apr 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
3 stars- I liked it.

Kelly Robson has created a unique world in Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach. The concept, prosthetic limbs help create mutants who travel back in time to an early river civilization, kept my interest throughout this novella. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed the world building in this story, I did not find myself too emotionally involved with the characters. With that being said, I think I will read future works by this author.

Recommended for fans of The Chronicles of St M
Jul 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned, 2018
A fascinating world and complex characters whose interactions with it are thoughtfully presented. However, I can't help thinking it's half a book and not all of it; the repercussions and some of the elements of the story never quite play out. I guess some of it is the thematic point of the story, but if that's so, I wish the build-up to the anti-climactic end had been more decisive.

Robson is very talented and this might just be a personal preference (and the comparison to Connie Willis's time tr
Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was very good!!
I'll write a longer review to explain why closer to release date!

A note:
- a character is asexual, with the word being used!
- but the way the text references it later on gives the wrong idea: being asexual does not mean not being interested in romance, asexuality and aromanticism aren't the same thing
I had such high hopes for this novella. In the beginning, it seemed like it would deliver on all the promises of Solar Punk: A compelling post-apocalyptic study in resilience, in what glitters amongst the scourges of plagues and environmental collapse. Foregrounding bold disabled, fat positive, queer, and BIPOC rep, I was excited by the cast and interested in their world of Hells and Banks.

Unfortunately, Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach failed to deliver on almost every count. World building
Beth Tabler
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach is not a simple story. There is nothing subtle and simple about a middle-aged scientist with prosthesis octopus-like legs, time travel, ecological restoration, and culture dynamics. Nor is there anything subtle about a world in recovery that has been racked by climate change, species die off, and plague. The world Minh lives in is one that is complicated and nursing its wounds and trying to move on. It sounds like it is a depressing story full of tropes, comin ...more
Antti Värtö
The surface of the Earth is almost destroyed and humanity lives underground. Few activists are trying to reclaim the surface, one habitat at time.

An ecological consulting firm gets an offer they can't refuse: a chance to travel back in time to ancient Mesopotamia and study the river when it was in it's prime, in order to gather unique data for the reclamation project.

This is very character-driven story and the main character was sufficiently many-dimensional in order for the story to work. But
Really interesting concepts of where we might wind up after ecological devastation of the planet and I liked the two story threads and how they met up. But, there was a lag in the middle and there might have been too many things going on to pull off in a novella. I would read more stories set in this world.
May 06, 2020 rated it liked it
This book did a lot of things well. It had characters with unique personalities and voices, it painted a future world greatly changed with just a few strokes and no info-dumping, and it showed how scientists think.

The time travel itself seemed almost anti-climactic. Minh and her team are so focused on their mission that they don't get a lot of time to marvel at being back in ancient Mesopotamia.

This book was a human tragedy that you could see coming, although the characters didn't. Kiki, desper
Nov 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I need to mull this one over. Intensely imaginative, but awfully frustrating..
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Like you, I'm a passionate reader. I spent most of my teenage years either hanging out at the drugstore waiting for new issues of Asimov's Science Fiction magazine, or when I was in the city, lurking in the SF and Fantasy section of the bookstore. This was pre-Internet and since there were no bookstores in my town and the library was pretty bare, good books -- the kind that made my heart sing -- w ...more

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  Kerine Wint is a software engineering graduate with more love for books than for computers. As an avid reader, writer, and fan of all things...
178 likes · 30 comments
“I want to do important work,” Kiki said, and the light that shone from those clear, bright eyes was too intense. Minh looked away. “That’s all any of us want. To not go to waste,” Kiki said.” 1 likes
“TERN says that when they time travel, a separate timeline is spun off from ours, and when the time travelers leave, the timeline collapses.” 0 likes
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