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Liz Williams and Alastair Reynolds – Lune and the Red EmpressLune and the Red Empress is a Novellette by Liz Williams and Alastair Reynolds, written exclusively for the Souvenir Book from Odyssey 2010, the 61st British National Science Fiction convention, where they both were Guests of Honour. No idea if this will become available anywhere outside the 1500 or so copies printed by the Odyssey 2010 Committee.

Lune is an orphan girl (ok, young woman) in the employ (indenture...) of Madame Bezile. The location is Paris, in Free France. A France which is dying a slow, painful freezing death. Humanity went to the stars, and Paris was the centre of a galaxy-spanning empire, for 5000 years. But all of this is over, the last of the great void crossing ships has crashed long ago, and all that's left are some badly understood remains of 'Old World' technologies, and myths told to children in rhymes, about how man flew through the air, and through space in great ships. It's a sad, cold, and rather feral and anarchistic world.
Lune is being sent to steal an Egg from a cathedral. These Eggs are old, ancient, too; they were filled with fire to keep the cold at bay and power machines, a gift from the humans of old. Or are they?

I enjoyed the setting, the thought of ice skating being the main way of moving across Paris is somewhat fun, as is the near-medieval world interspersed with old (nearly magic now) tech. The story is linear, and told exclusively from the view point of Lune; there are some minor logical and/or continuity gaps, none of which bothered me much.

Overall this felt much more like a Liz Williams story than an Alastair Reynolds one; especially one of the strands in The Poison Master definitely is a touch stone. Nevertheless, this is an entertaining morsel, and to my knowledge the first cooperation between these two artists (they have hinted at the possibility that they might work together some more) – get your hands on a copy. This might, of course, include finding someone who attended Odyssey 2010, or tracking down one of the Souvenir Books online. Enjoy!

More Liz Williams

More Alastair Reynolds

Title: Lune and the Red Empress
Author: Liz Williams
Author: Alastair Reynolds
Reviewer: Markus
Reviewer URL:
Publisher:  Odyssey 2010
Publication Date: April 2010
Review Date: 111121
Pages: 21
Format: Magazine, A4
Topic: SF
Topic: Post-High-Civ Fantasy


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