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    Excellent read

    This was an excellent read. I've enjoyed all the Xuya universe stories I've read and this one was no exception. The story most closely follows The Shadow's Child, a shipmind whose entire crew died in a war which also left the ship damaged and stranded until rescue eventually came. In this story we see the crew-less (and almost family-less) shipmind interacting with humans that aren't riding inside her and with other shipminds. It was an interesting and different take on how these sorts of sentient non-humans would fit into society. Turns out the answer is partly by acting human — they project avatars into human spaces — and the shipmind equivalents of human activities such as eating are really cool. The characters in The Tea Master and the Detective are modelled after gender-flipped Sherlock and Watson, with Long Chau, the former tutor, taking on the role of Sherlock and The Shadow's Child, a traumatised battle-scarred shipmind, playing the role of Watson. You don't have to be an avid Sherlock fan to enjoy it — I myself am relatively neutral on Sherlock and retellings. I haven't read any of the books, I've been enjoying Elementary, I liked House MD, I've seen a few movies and I've suffered through Moffat's BBC series. I, somewhat inevitably, found myself comparing the character interactions with Elementary, but I think that's partly because that's the rendition that brought the drug-addict aspect of Sherlock to my attention, which was also prominent in The Tea Master and the Detective. Or it could have been something to do with de Bodard mentioning in the afterword that Elementary is her favourite version of Sherlock. Whether or not you've read other Xuya books, I highly recommend The Tea Master and the Detective. You also don't have to have any strong feelings about the Sherlock cannon, although I gather strong pro-Sherlock feelings may enhance your enjoyment of what is already a very strong novella. If you haven't read any of de Bodard's science fiction before, this is an excellent place to start. If you have, this is an excellent book to continue with. I am definitely going to keep reading Xuya stories.
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    Otherwordly Sherlock

    A very nice novella, at times a bit too obviously based on Sherlock Holmes (less tribute and more copy). As the other things I've read from this author, a very enjoyable read with interesting and immersive worldbuilding. In this case I would've nearly liked some more detail. Overall a great hour or so spent reading on the train.

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