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Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  1,442 ratings  ·  295 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
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3.68  · 
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 ·  1,442 ratings  ·  295 reviews

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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
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 :)
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
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
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
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
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)
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
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, 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
Rachel (Kalanadi)
I loved this! Video review:

(Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a digital ARC.)
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
Lilyn G. | Sci-Fi & Scary

There's a lot to unpack in Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach and I would be lying if I said that I figured out everything with my first read through. Robson doesn't tell you everything, and I appreciate that. Instead, Robson gives you the bones of the story, and you're left to flesh out the rest of it on your own. And you can't just accept everything at face value, either. There's some information you'll only clue into if you google it (or you're good at grams to pounds conversation in your he

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
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
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
Jul 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, owned
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
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.
Antti Värtö
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I need to mull this one over. Intensely imaginative, but awfully frustrating..
In a post-environmental apocalypse society, a group of scientists travel back to Ancient Mesopotamia to inspect the Fertile Crescent and avoid the locals, but things go awry. The novella takes its time to set up the relationships between the scientists, their goals and the demands of a ever-changing society, so it may seen slow at first, but it really kicks you in the shins with that ending.

I was not expecting to be so invested in the inter-generational conflict in an ecological time travelling
Apr 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: queer-sff
There is some really cool stuff here, but the world-building didn't match the plot and the story felt incomplete to me. I really enjoyed learning about the world that the author started creating in the first half of the book, and it's clearly one she's spent a lot of time on. However, I also found this world-building frustrating because a lot of it is only minimally relevant to the plot and many things are mentioned in passing but never elaborated on or explained.

I did enjoy the way the book wa
This was a big personal treat. I've been choosing a lot of my reading lately by trying to see what has already been done in the realm of my target area for fiction: combining ecology and genre fiction. To some extent, my motivation derives from the enormous gulf between, to the stuff it seems like there ought to be, and how few books actually been able to find that really deliver on it. Thankfully, that seems to be changing. In this book in particular represents a huge step toward that potential ...more
Did your brain go totally Roald Dahl when you saw the title? Mine did. Anyway, this novella was sent to me by the publisher,, at no cost. It will be available for you to read from 13 March, 2018 (which is this year!). 

Somehow, don't ask me how, I managed not to read "The Waters of Versailles," Robson's highly regarded short story from... last year? The year before? I don't know how I managed not to read it, given everyone else was raving about it... I just didn't get to it. I'm going to
May 21, 2018 rated it liked it

There was a lot to like about this novel, and I appreciated all of it. The mishmash of the world in the future, the time travel theme and the larger-than-life characters shouldn't have worked, but it somehow did. For some reason, though, I admired rather than purely enjoyed the book - it didn't quite grab me by the throat in that delightful way that usually makes a novel special for me. In particular, I wan't fond of the (view spoiler)
“Shugli believed his falconers. It took a watcher to recognize another watcher. Against an unknown enemy, only one strategy would succeed: stealth.”

Better-than-average science fiction series opener, which admittedly is a pretty low bar. For all that the character development and storytelling is exceeds the norm. While the close of this story resolves nothing, it is a closing, rather the usual abrupt cut.

“Stay away from the me-me-me. Clients want you to talk about them.” I didn’t realize we neede
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
200 years in the future the world has become unlivable, most humans survive underground in hives or hells. Scientists are working to renew livable areas on the surface, albeit slowly, however since the discovery of time travel the banks don't care to invest in the science to make the surface livable in a long term future. A team of scientists however gain the opportunity to travel back in time for an ecological survey in Mesopotamia. They are there only briefly to collect as much data about the ...more
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SciFi and Fantasy...: "Gods, Monsters & the Lucky Peach" Buddy Read 64 68 Oct 04, 2018 04:04AM  

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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
“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
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