Tag Archives: Alternative History

Saffron Alley, by A. J. Demas

25 Feb
Cover for Saffron Alley, showing a man with short hair, wearing a Roman-ish short tunic, sword belt and holding a round shield aloft with his left arm, his right hand on the waist of a long-haired man wearing a long sleeveless tunic, who's holding a sword on his left hand, his right forearm over the first man's left shoulder as they face each other. The sun is behind the shield.

It has been a long time since I’ve been able to glom an author and enjoy it, and I must say, I’ve missed it.

And yet, I read the second and third books in the Sword Dance trilogy in one day, and now I’m torn between being grateful the author only has five books under this pseudonym/in this world, and bemoaning that there are only five books in this world. 1

In part it’s just because my reading has been shit for almost seven years, but I’ve also grown a lot more grumpy and a lot less forgiving of writing tics. Spacing out books by the same author benefits everyone here.

Readers, people. We suck.

Reader notes: there’s some graphic sex and just a bit of violence, mostly near the end. One of the leads is bisexual, the other is a eunuch (not by choice) and non-binary (entirely by choice); also an undercurrent of xenophobia.

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Sword Dance, by A. J. Demas

11 Feb
Cover for Sword Dance; drawing of two men, back to back. Man in the front wears a short-sleeve, mid-thigh Roman-like tunic, wields a sword on his right hand. Behind him, a man wearing a flaring, long-sleeved tunic and long black hair, whirls, holding a sword in each hand. Their heads are turning, looking at each other from the corners of their eyes. It's early morning.

This novel was my introduction to the writing of A. J. Demas, after a recommendation by K. J. Charles. It is the first book in the Sword Dance trilogy, and I now own all three titles.

Reader, beware: There is graphic sex and some violence on page, as well as some PTSD and references to past sexual abuse and torture. One of the protagonists is a eunuch (not by choice) and non-binary (very much by choice); the other is unapologetically bisexual.

Oh, and while it’s very much a romance, and a very sweet one at that, it is just the beginning; this book ends in hope, with a promise to meet again.

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“River of Teeth” by Sarah Gailey

19 Aug

Update: edited on May 24 2018 to change pronouns to those preferred by the author.

Last year I became aware of Sarah Gailey on twitter (see here and here). Though I haven’t shared them here, I have very much enjoyed their pieces on Tor.com (they wrote a whole series on The Women of Harry Potter, starting with Hermione, and then there’s “In Defense of Villaineses”, and “Do Better: Sexual Violence in SFF”).

Anyway, I finally snagged a copy of “River of Teeth,”  their debut novella, based on something that really almost happened. (Check out The Atavist piece that was the inspiration, or this Wired article for a summary.)

Beware: there’s violence, gore and death on the page. I wouldn’t say it’s lavishly described, but it’s graphic. Oh, and this is not a romance.

“River of Teeth” by Sarah Gailey

This is an alternative history set in the 1890s. In this timeline, H.R.23621 (aka, the Hippo Bill) actually passed, so that hippopotamuses were imported into the US to breed–for meat–in the marshy areas of the Gulf Coast. However, shit happens (doesn’t it always?) and what we have now a body of water where feral hippos roam, a blight on the country and a danger to both the environment and the populace.

Here, have a blurb:
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