Sapphic Space | SFF Mysteries

Readers of SF mysteries inflected with sapphic romance and political or corporate shenanigans may enjoy these two titles.

de Bodard, Aliette. Navigational Entanglements. Jul. 2024. 176p. ISBN 9781250324887. $20.99. SF

One of the monsters that roam the spaceways has escaped from that space beyond the stars. Viê·t Nhi is assigned to the investigatory mission, along with representatives from the other mercantile clans. But the mission’s leader is an incompetent jerk, the obviously flawed representatives already hate each other, and it’s clear to the observant but secretive loner Nhi that the mission is intended to fail. When it succeeds anyway, Nhi and her frenemy Ha·c Cúc manage to work together long enough to learn who is really responsible for a murder plot on a massive scale—and whether it will be worth the price they will both pay to even attempt to stop it. Fans of de Bodard’s Hugo Award–winning “Xuya Universe” series will find similarities in this standalone novel, and for those curious about Xuya and looking for a way in, this book includes many of the elements that make that series so compelling, but in a shorter, self-contained work. VERDICT Readers of SF mysteries inflected with sapphic romance and political or corporate shenanigans, such as Lady Eve’s Last Con by Rebecca Fraimow and Station Eternity by Mur Lafferty, will become entangled in the latest from de Bodard (Fireheart Tiger).

Fraimow, Rebecca. Lady Eve’s Last Con. Solaris. Jun. 2024. 368p. ISBN 9781837861590. pap. $16.99. SF

DEBUT In this interstellar SF story, con artist Ruth Johnson has invaded the swanky satellite New Monte to fleece one particular mark, Esteban Mendez-Yuki (the corporate scion who seduced her little sister and left her pregnant and crying), by trapping him into a marriage contract he’ll have to pay big money to get out of. But Ruth didn’t count on the high-level crooks who have their own beef with the Mendez-Yuki megacorp, and she absolutely didn’t plan on falling in love with her mark’s dangerous, gorgeous stepsister. It will be the con of a lifetime if Ruth can pull this game off—or it will be game over for them all. A high-flying sapphic romance riding on a high-speed hoverbike of a confidence caper among the spoiled rich, wrapped around a conflicted heroine who discovers that she has a heart after all and can’t keep up the game, in spite of the stakes. VERDICT Readers who have fallen hard for the recent run of SF caper mysteries, such as The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal, Floating Hotel by Grace Curtis, and You Sexy Thing by Cat Rambo, will find similar thrills in this debut.

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