This review was first published by Booklist on July 5, 2018.
Hurley’s collection revisits the world of the Bel Dame Apocrypha (beginning with God’s War, 2011) with five stories featuring intergalactic bounty hunter Nyxnissa so Dasheem (aka Nyx) and her crew on some of their dangerous jobs. The plots are taut, thrilling, gritty, violent, profane, magical—everything Hurley’s readers expect. New readers will not feel lost in this world—Hurley has created one of the most engrossing environments in modern sf—but fans will delight in learning how Nix meets Khos and the first time she hires Anneke. Though there is not much personal growth, all of the characters are well realized, even in the short story format, and each story covers familiar interpersonal conflicts and emotional highs and lows. These stories were previously published online, but fans of sf adventure stories with lots of political intrigue will welcome them in print.
I’ve written before about my misgivings regarding the ideal of neutrality in public libraries. I recently read an excellent post by Dr. Donna Lanclos titled, “Maybe We Shouldn’t Talk About Diversity Anymore.” There’s a quote in this piece which echoes the argument I’ve made about why neutrality is a problematic concept:
What about notions of ‘neutrality’ and ‘nice’ that talk about the importance of ‘all voices’ when we really should be protecting voices that historically have no platform. Let’s end false equivalencies, and recognize that people who have traditionally had power and influence (especially white men) don’t ever really lose their opportunity to participate just because we make sure that people and especially women of color get to take up space and have their say.”