Last year, I read a debut author’s space opera that was hyped by many as the Next Big Thing. Comparisons to Dune were explicitly made. The text showed that the author clearly was writing in conversation with Dune, trying to catch that magic about a big broad space opera by focusing on the life and times of a protagonist destined to have an enormous impact on their universe. But for me, that novel fell down on a number of fronts and was an enormous disappointment.
This is not that book. This book steps into those shoes, attempting to capture that Dune magic, and walks miles in them. And for me, it succeeds where that other novel failed. This is A Memory Called Empire by debut novelist Arkady Martine. A Memory Called Empire is a dazzling space opera involving a Byzantine plot that immerses the reader in a fully realized world with a cast of interesting characters. [Read more…]