Missives and commentaries from my ever-deepening obsession with a certain intricate novel series about colonialism, lesbians, money, cancer and boats.
A few qualms (on The Traitor Baru Cormorant)
The Traitor Baru Cormorant blew me away, though at the time, I found it hard to process a heavy, heavy ending.
Unmastered? (on The Monster Baru Cormorant)
The Baru sequel is astonishing in its breadth and strength of feeling. I loved it enough to write 10000 words about all the interesting threads.
The engine driven by the past (on The Tyrant Baru Cormorant, part 1)
‘How do you keep pulling this off, Seth?’ The third Baru Cormorant book got me writing a book’s worth of commentary. Let’s set the stage.
An odd flavour of history (on The Tyrant Baru Cormorant, part 2)
Tyrant opens in an epigraph, opening a tiny window into the ugly, messy history that inspired it. The history of just one small region of our planet is overwhelming. So why bother making up a fantasy one, which will always be smaller? Perhaps for the sake of defamiliarisation…
Anti-Wizardischte Aktion (on The Tyrant Baru Cormorant, part 3)
Last time round I doubted the cancer wizards. But I needn’t have worried: this book is doing something very interesting after all! What is the real power of a wizard? And what are the Cancrioth really like when we get to know them?
Mason dust in the wound (on The Tyrant Baru Cormorant, part 4)
Baru’s not had the best time in this series, and in this book she hits rock bottom. Tau calls her a ‘wound’ in trim, who is poisoning the web of social connections. Are they right? What is being ‘human’? And what happens to dear Baru when she finally connects with her dead-girlfriend tulpa on a lobotomy table?
The corpse-hollow (on The Tyrant Baru Cormorant, part 5)
Baru witnesses (another!) genocide on Kyprananoke. We take a look at the book’s treatment of it, its dark questions about agency, and Baru’s ecological angle on the horror of genocide.