The Tea Master and the Detective

The Tea Master and the Detective

by Aliette de Bodard

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Product Details

BN ID: 2940159024312
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Publication date: 03/31/2018
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 86,266
File size: 942 KB

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The Tea Master and the Detective 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous 13 days ago
Anonymous 8 months ago
I very much enjoyed this short story. A different take on intelligent ships with a human at the center and how that would affect its perceptions of the world.
CaptainsQuarters More than 1 year ago
Ahoy there me mateys! I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . . The cover drew me in and three things convinced me to read this book: 1) I previously read some of the author’s short stories and loved her writing style; 2) It is a Subterranean Press book and they do great work; and 3) One of the characters is a mindship . . . This mindship, named The Shadow’s Child, is not just any ship. It was previously a military ship who physically survived an ambush and massacre but since retired from active duty and is suffering PTSD and struggling to make ends meet. One of the things the ship does to make money is brew special blends of tea. These teas are made to suit the drinker’s specific goals and body chemistry. One day a woman named Long Chau comes in and requests a serenity blend to focus her mind. The ship takes the needed money and finds itself not only involved in a crime investigation but also having to face deep space where the ship swore it would never enter again. Apparently this book is part of a series of books and stories set in the Universe of Xuya. I had never read anything set in Xuya before. I found the world-building and characterizations to be fascinating. I absolutely loved the neurotic, damaged The Shadow’s Child and the story told from the ship’s perspective. I didn’t really care much about the crime story itself but was more focused on how the ship was dealing with a situation it didn’t care for. Long Chau is a purposefully unlikable character who is trying to do the right thing. Ultimately while I really enjoyed the story, I think I would like a longer work with more detailing of how the society functions and how the mindships work. But this character-driven piece was a good introduction to a new world that I hope to visit more often. Besides who doesn’t love mindships? Arrr!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A subtle re-imagining of the world's Greatest Detective. The personality, the drug-use, the compassion without sentimentality: all there, but placed in a far future and culture different enough to render them new. In just a few pages, history is teased and glimpses of a complex society given: religion, war, social classes, Mindships, a world Outside this one. Looking forward to sequels.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is well worth reading. I just hope there will be more stories of these characters to come!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Tea Master and the Detective is short, but perfect--an elegant balance of intriguing characters, action drawn from critical growth of those characters, and a glamorous invented universe.
ReadingLlama More than 1 year ago
This is part of a series of novellas and short stories set in the Xuya Universe, a Vietnamese-influenced science fiction series. It’s the first I’ve read, but certainly won’t be the last! It was wildly immersive, well-paced, and ever so much fun! “The world is chaotic and without sense. But in the smallest of spheres it’s sometimes possible to straighten things out; to make it seem as though everything means something.” What starts out as an eccentric woman asking a traumatized war vet for help retrieving a corpse from deep space to study for a scientific paper turns into a murder investigation. Sound familiar? Why yes, it’s Sherlock in space! In this universe, traveling at faster than light speeds requires going into deep space, a weird and frightening area of unreality, something that only mindships – ships that are somehow fused with a human – can accomplish. Deep space isn’t particularly friendly to the ships, and even less so to humans, so specialized brews of tea can be customized to help a person cope, by making them braver or more calm or simply doping them up. “Long Chau was an expanding star, burning loud and bright, mesmerising in her relentlessness, and ultimately one that would swallow you whole.” The Shadow’s Child is one such mindship and tea-brewer, a war vet who’s barely scraping by selling customized brews for dock workers and other mundane customers. One such not-so-mundane customer is Long Chau, a scholar of sorts. She’s abrasive and blunt, but The Shadow’s Child accepts her commission because she can’t afford to be too picky. But things aren’t quite what they seem, with either the corpse they retrieve or Long Chau, and The Shadow’s Child has to navigate her need for justice – and to possibly save lives – with her traumatic past and jumbled feelings about her. Men, it seems, often get a pass on being harsh and socially tone deaf if they're talented, so it was fascinating to see the roles of both Sherlock and Watson filled by women. A large portion of the story - besides the mystery of the dead woman they find - centers on whether The Shadow's Child can trust Long Chau, and whether her dislike of her stems from her not-so-stellar personality or a gut feeling that something more sinister is going on. I’ve read a few things by Ms. de Bodard before, and once again, I found myself immersed in her wordlbuilding and writing style. Rather than just pay homage to an Asian-influenced future (*cough* Firefly *cough*), this universe is more steeped in Vietnamese culture, from the names of the ships to cultural traditions. I was fascinated by the idea of mindships, though I didn’t quite understand exactly what they are, as The Shadow’s Child refers to being born and having living people as family. However it works, she reads as human, albeit a severely traumatized one, full of anxiety about money, her past, and whether she can trust Long Chau. Long Chau, for her part, is by turns frustrating and sympathetic, and I, for one, got a laugh out of watching The Shadow’s Child – a ship – trying to soothe the ruffled feathers of the witnesses they’re trying to question. For all her faults, though, it’s Long Chau and her sharp insight that finally forces The Shadow’s Child to deal with her past, and that, for me, was the best part of the novella. Overall, this was an amazingly fresh and immersive take on a Sherlock-type mystery, and I’m definitely hoping Ms. de Bodard will write more novellas starring this pair!