Lis Carey Review: The Mimicking of Known Successes

  • The Mimicking of Known Successes (The Investigations of Mossa and Pleiti #1) by Malka Older (Tordotcom, March 2023) 

Review by Lis Carey. Holmesian mystery! Sapphic romance!

Earth is no longer habitable, or perhaps, not yet habitable again. The surviving remnants of humanity are living in colonies in orbit around Jupiter. Mossa is an investigator assigned to investigate a man’s disappearance at a rail station. She follows the limited evidence about him back to the university town of Valdegeld — where her former girlfriend, Pleiti, is a scholar working on the re-terraforming of Earth. Awkward as it will be, she needs to talk to Pleiti to get the information she needs to investigate anything in the cutthroat academic politics of Valdegeld.

It’s an awkward reunion indeed, but Pleiti is ready to help her.  

The academic politics are even more complicated and vicious than Mossa thought.

Rekindling her relationship with Pleiti is possibly even more complex and difficult.

The man’s disappearance is entangled in the academic conflict over the right way to terraform Earth. Mossa is a coolly analytical, very observant researcher. Pleiti is smart, capable, but with more emotion and connection to other people.

Together, they make a great team. Whether their relationship will rekindle, and be solid, remains open to question.

A satisfying mystery, in a genuinely sfnal setting.

This is a 2024 Hugo Awards Best Novella Finalist.

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3 thoughts on “Lis Carey Review: The Mimicking of Known Successes

  1. I enjoyed this story, although after reading its sequel, my degree of assurance is declining that Older will ever come up with a plausible explanation for the seeming contradiction of science in the depicted background of the colonies. I don’t think they can be in orbit. They’re in atmosphere. Objects fall when they exit the ring field. Where does the oxygen come from that is burned with the JovIan gas to provide heat?

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