Drunk on All Your Strange New Words

Recorded Books. Jun. 2022. 9:46 hrs. ISBN 9781705062890. $19.99. SF
Listeners’ enjoyment of Robson’s (Hearts of Oak) latest will depend on their patience for the protagonist’s initial dullness and slightly snarky musings on society. A certain draggy feeling is to be expected, as Lydia is isolated, overworked, lacking in self-esteem, and her job duties translating the telepathic Logi language makes her (and all other humans) feel constantly drunk. When her boss, the Logi cultural attaché, is found murdered in their secure facility, however, the action begins to heat up. Listeners may be reminded of Emma Newman’s After Atlas, with its focus on mental health and an oppressive future society. There is also a dash of Arkady Martine’s A Memory Called Empire, as the ensuing murder investigation is complicated by aliens, diplomacy, and language. Delivered with a pleasant British accent, Amy Scanlon’s narration strikes the right note, conveying Lydia’s drunkenness with startling acuity. The increasing pace and complexity of the plot allow Scanlon to show off more voices and emotion, and the story becomes satisfyingly engrossing. The conclusion will please listeners who make it to the end and make them hope for more stories of the alien Logi.
VERDICT Recommend to Robson’s fans and anyone who delights in bizarre but thoughtful sci-fi.
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