The Captain’s Log – on a red station, drifting (Aliette de Bodard)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I was introduced to the Universe of Xuya in her novella the tea master and the detective.  I adored the sentient spaceship and avidly wanted more.  So I was super happy to get this story.  The biggest problem is that the majority of this series are short stories and not all are easily accessible (give us an omnibus please!).  The author’s excellent page discussing this world says that:

The premise of Xuya is that China discovered the Americas before the West, and that the exploration of this new continent prevented China from sinking inwards (not to mention being invaded by the Manchu, who later founded the ill-fated Qing dynasty, China’s last imperial dynasty). Xuya (旴 涯), a Chinese colony founded in the 15th Century in North America, plays a central role in the stories.

The site also gives a chronology, background, and links to the Xuya short stories available online.

This tells the stories of two women.  The Empire is at war and a magistrate, Lê Thi Linh, spoke against the Emperor.  She flees as a refugee to her ancestral station.  This station has a sentient Mind.  Lê Thi Quyen is the human administrator who helps maintain the station.  Familial ties bind the two women but neither likes the other.  It would be a bad relationship under normal situations but the Mind seems to be failing even though that should be impossible.  With the station about to self-destruct, the family dynamics aren’t helping.

This book had a tiny bit of a rough start for me because the tone was so different from what I was expecting.  The tea master was intimate in feel.  This one was like I was watching from afar.  Plus the narrative jumps back and forth between characters and it was slightly hard to adjust.  That said, those are minor issues and I still avidly wanted to know what was going on.

I didn’t really like either of the two women because they both are obstinate to the detriment of everyone.  They were still fun characters even if they are knuckleheads.  I adored the world building and politics.  There are other familial issues besides the antagonistic relationship of the two main characters.  I found the life of the family and their relationships to be fascinating.

The ending was absolutely stunning in how it tied everything together and packed an emotional punch.  This wasn’t quite a perfect read because of the start but damn did I enjoy it.  I can see why it was nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus in 2013.  Arrrr!

Goodreads has this to say about the novella:

To visit the author’s website go to:

Aliette de Bodard – Author

To buy the novel go to:

on a red station, drifting – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

the tea master and the detective (On the Horizon – Fantasy eArc)

in the vanisher’s palace (On the Horizon – Sci-Fi/Fantasy eArc)

9 thoughts on “The Captain’s Log – on a red station, drifting (Aliette de Bodard)

  1. I don’t know how many of them are in it, but I know there are some Xuya stories in de Bodard’s anthology Of Wars, Memories, and Starlight (from Subterranean Press). I own it, but haven’t read it yet, so I can’t say for sure.

    I haven’t read this particular Xuya story yet, but I have read some of them and enjoyed them! But yes, there are different tones in them. I think Tea Master might be my favorite so far, but it does have a more intimate feel than the others I’ve read.

    Liked by 1 person

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