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Karen Lord

Karen Lord(1968- )
Karen Lord has been a physics teacher, a diplomat, a part-time soldier and an academic at various times and in various countries. She is now a writer and research consultant in Barbados. Her debut novel Redemption in Indigo won the 2008 Frank Collymore Literary Award, the 2011 William L. Crawford Award and the 2011 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature, and was nominated for the 2011 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.

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The Best of All Possible Worlds

Karen Lord’s debut novel, the multiple-award-winning Redemption in Indigo, announced the appearance of a major new talent—a strong, brilliantly innovative voice fusing Caribbean storytelling traditions and speculative fiction with subversive wit and incisive intellect. Compared by critics to such heavyweights as Nalo Hopkinson, China Miéville, and Ursula K. Le Guin, Lord does indeed belong in such select company—yet, like them, she boldly blazes her own trail. Now Lord returns with a second novel that exceeds the promise of her first. The Best of All Possible Worlds is a stunning science fiction epic that is also a beautifully wrought, deeply moving love story. A proud and reserved alien society finds its homeland destroyed in an unprovoked act of aggression, and the survivors have no choice but to reach out to the indigenous humanoids of their adopted world, to whom they are distantly related. They wish to preserve their cherished way of life but come to discover that in order to preserve their culture, they may have to change it forever. Now a man and a woman from these two clashing societies must work together to save this vanishing race—and end up uncovering ancient mysteries with far-reaching ramifications. As their mission hangs in the balance, this unlikely team—one cool and cerebral, the other fiery and impulsive—just may find in each other their own destinies . . . and a force that transcends all.

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The Best of All Possible Worlds: Great concept, not so great execution

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The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord

I have to confess that I spent at least the first third of Karen Lord’s The Best of All Possible Worlds mostly annoyed and disappointed by the writing. I found the writing flat, the world-building slim, and the character relationships implausible, simplistic, and melodramatic. But around halfway through, the book, despite its flaws, started to grow on me somewhat and by the halfway point I was mostly in, though I still had some major issues.

The setting is a far-future in a universe populated by different types of humans, including Terrans, Sadiri, and Zhinuvians, each with varying degrees and types of psionic powers, such as telepathy or emotional “broadcasting.” When the Sadiri home planet is destroyed, one group settles on Cygnus Beta and begins a search for “Cygnians with a high percentage of taSadiri genetic heritage.” The ma... Read More

The Galaxy Game: A worthy sequel to The Best of All Possible Worlds

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The Galaxy Game by Karen Lord

The Galaxy Game is Barbadian author Karen Lord’s third novel, following the critically acclaimed and award-winning Redemption in Indigo and last year’s well-received The Best of All Possible Worlds.

Something I want to get out of the way right from the start: while it’s not stated anywhere on the book’s cover, The Galaxy Game is the sequel to The Best of All Possible Worlds. I very much wish this had been made more clear from the onset, not for me (as I’ve read The Best of All Possible Worlds) but for any unsuspecting readers who haven’t. The book takes place in the same fictional universe, a few years after the conclusi... Read More

Redemption in Indigo: Clever and heartwarming retold folktale

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Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord

Redemption in Indigo (2010) by Karen Lord is a beautiful, sly, innovative book that is doing much more than it seems to be on the surface. The frame story is the folktale of Ansige the glutton. Lord’s retelling takes Paama, a skilled cook and Ansige’s estranged wife, as its protagonist. At the beginning of the book, she has left Ansige and returned to her own family to decide what she’ll do next. But after missing his wife’s constant attention to his endless appetite, Ansige comes looking for her. In typical folktale logic, he is humiliated three times, tricked by djombi (who are spirits or deities), before leaving Paama in peace.

But where the folktale ends, Lord’s novel really begins. Because after Ansige leaves, Paama is left... Read More