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Daughter of two Cuban political exiles, M.C.A. Hogarth was born a foreigner in the American melting pot and has had a fascination for the gaps in cultures and the bridges that span them ever since. She has been many things—-web database architect, product manager, technical writer and massage therapist—-but is currently a full-time parent, artist, writer and anthropologist to aliens, both human and otherwise.
Her fiction has variously been recommended for a Nebula, a finalist for the Spectrum, placed on the secondary Tiptree reading list and chosen for two best-of anthologies; her art has appeared in RPGs, magazines and on book covers.
on Sep. 12, 2011 :
Sometimes a villain is not villainous. What does one do when faced with a leader who has done things that are positive for a society but create moral ambiguity?
This story is a loose sequel to 'The Worth of a Shell' and tells the tale of what has gone on afterward. If you were a fan of the first novel (this reviewer was) then this story is essential reading, as it fleshes out further the world that Roika built and the consequences of that building.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on June 24, 2011 :
The only reason this is not five stars is because I have the urge to turn the author upside down and shake her until the rest of the book falls out.
I mean, this is a good short story/novella!
• It follows the structure of a story, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. It a societal sequel to _Worth of a Shell_ without requiring _Worth_ to understand what's going on. (Though grabbing one of the free Jokka stories first might be useful.)
• It has a *fabulous* narrator, Pathen, who is part policeman, part enforcer, and part accountant. And all... Hm. I won't say snarky. He's not snarky in the way that current urban fantasy/paranormal romance narrators are snarky. But he's not really happy in his job and he's got a lovely background grump on -- while at the same time caring for people. Who he's not entirely supposed to be caring for. Hence the grump!
• Parts of the plot are predictable to the reader, without quite feeling Pathen is stupid for not figuring it out sooner -- we don't go, "You idiot!" but instead giggle to ourselves in anticipation of Pathen's expression when he finds out. (It's a great expression.)
• It builds a world and lets us see what Roika has wrought (and geeeeeee, you think he's holding a *grudge*? against *two whole genders*?), making a Jokkad Empire. And the trains -- if they had trains, which they don't yet -- would *totally* run on time.
And, at the same time as it gives a perfectly good ending, it's also a case of "BUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT??"
So. Buy the story. First-off, it's good; every star is fairly-won! And secondly, if enough of us buy it, we can all get together and hold up little symbolic representations of the author, turn them upside down, and shake them till the rest of the nice, thick novel falls out.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on June 10, 2011 :
A fascinating glimpse into the changes Roika has brought to the Jokka -- from shell to coin, from wilderness to roads, from custom to the iron rule of law. It stops right when I _really_ want to know what happens next, alas, but I suspect that there will be more to read soon.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on May 31, 2011 :
A worthy follow-up to Worth of a Shell. I do so enjoy MCA Hogarth's Jokka stories, but I prefer the meatier ones, like this one.
(reviewed the day of purchase)