Cover Image: The Mimicking of Known Successes

The Mimicking of Known Successes

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Member Reviews

I enjoyed Older’s Centenal Cycle, and so I was excited to get approved for this novella!

I did not know that I needed a Sherlock Holmes type mystery, but set in space and sapphic. But now that I have it in my life, I immediately need six sequels, an animated adaptation, and maybe a computer game.

This short novella tells the story of Mossa, an Investigator on Jupiter tasked with discovering why an academic would throw himself from a rail car platform. It’s also the story of her reuniting with a lost love who helps her investigate the mystery.

This was a freaking delight to read. We get an immediate sense of who these characters are, and their relationship with each other, past and present. The decision for Mossa’s chapters to be in third person, but Pleiti’s in first was a genius choice.

The world building of humans on Jupiter was just tantalizing enough to make me want an entire novel about it, without any of it getting info dumped. And we get bits and pieces of why humanity was forced to leave Earth.

The mystery itself was fascinating and kept me guessing until the end. And Pleiti gets her Watson moment where she’s able to put a crucial piece of information together.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan/Tor for this advance reader’s copy!

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This is a cute science fiction mystery with a sapphic romance that takes place on one of the moons of Jupiter. I love how the world-building has been woven in through the narration. While I felt slightly lost at the beginning, it was not in a disorienting way. By the end of the novel, I felt grounded in the world.

The book is written in a way that is reminiscent of the 1800 murder mysteries. On the one hand, I really enjoyed this type of novel. However, it also left me feeling a lack of diversity in the novel. It felt like nothing had changed since the colonial period. However, I know that is not the case because the world was queer accepting. It just did not show through in other areas of the novel.

Still a very enjoyable read, and I will check out more by this author.

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A very charming lesbian sherlock holmes story in space, where after a disappearance of a man presumed dead from one of the terraformed rail stations 'on' Jupiter, an investigator returns to her ex (the man's colleague at the university) for help. The story itself is a lovely and interesting take on a post-apocalyptic scenario, where the man's disappearance is deeply tied into the university's efforts to determine an ideal ecosystem to build to revitalize earth. The mystery has just enough twists and turns to always stay one step ahead of the reader, and the worldbuilding is great.

I liked the main characters, but I felt like I needed a little more to really understand what they were feeling and genuinely buy into the second chance romance. Even with a first person POV, I felt on the outside of that. But it didn't detract from my reading experience, just was a nice-to-have.

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Thank you to NetGalley for an e-ARC of this title.

Between this and the Locked Tomb series I'm beginning to wonder if Space Lesbians is even really my thing. This book desperately wants to be lesbian Sherlock Holmes in space but forgoes any world building or character development to achieve this aim.

It's fine.

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I really, really wanted to like this book. The concept is interesting and the voice was 100% true to academia! But it's a very unemotional book with low stakes until it's suddenly SUPER HIGH STAKES without much emotional involvement from me, or even for the characters. I also think I'm supposed to find the villain VERY TERRIBLE, YIKES, CAN YOU BELIEVE HE SAID THAT, but also... he made some good points? I kind of agreed with him? He's a very mustache-twirly villain but... yeah. I don't think he's all that wrong. I'm interested in this author, and while this book didn't connect with me, I'll definitely check out her other stuff.

(I got a free advanced reading copy from NetGalley in exchange for my obviously honest review.)

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Surprised by how charming this sci-fi mystery novella is-the population of Earth now lives on platforms on Jupiter because Earth is not habitable. Scientists and scholars are working to try and figure out the best foundational ecosystem they could create by raising animals in a zoo and studying books like Watership Down. When an Investigator is called to the fartherest platform to look into a suicide, she is suspicious and decides to dig further, ending up on the same platform as her Alma mater and reconnecting with her university girlfriend (who is now one of those aforementioned scholars). The investigation continues, including visiting the mauzooleum (get it?) consulting with scholars, and eating quite a few scones. Throw in another trip to the edge of nowhere and a second dead body.

🚃 With honest to goodness railway cars, gasses swirling in the atmosphere, college that feels like Oxford, and more, this book is both future looking and calling back to Victorian England. I agree with the reviewer who hoped this serves as the first in a series.

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I'm not sure the mystery was breadcrumbed thoroughly enough throughout the text, but I honestly didn't mind - I enjoyed the world, the atmosphere (heh), the Sherlockian game of it too much. Just delightful.

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DNF at 56%

I was intrigued and fascinated by the prologue of this book. It had smooth world building and cool details and I was excited to learn more.

And then it shifted from third person in the prologue to first person POV of a different character with no notice in chapter 1, and it was downhill from there.

Major problems:

The stilted, excessively stuffy and big word style of writing. I assume it’s because the character POV is an ivory tower academic, but it quickly grated on me. It also made me feel really distant from the story and characters.

The characters themselves were flat and cardboard to me. I never felt like they had true emotions, and I certainly did not buy into their romance (alleged past romance??) - if it hadn’t been insisted on constantly by the POV character, I would never have guessed it was a thing.

There were a lot of characters for a novella. Maybe this is my fault for zoning out, but I got lost trying to remember who was who and who lied and whatever. Kind of ruins the mystery when I’m drowning in misc characters.

I wish there’d been more time spent on developing the world - the sci fi part was really neat. There was a bit too much time spent on mentioning the gas and the fog and that got annoying. 

It shouldn’t have been such a struggle to read a novella. Giving up halfway through since it clearly was not improving.

Maybe it’ll work for other people, but for me I found it fell short on all counts.

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Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.

I love the mash up of Western and Sci Fi when it comes to this murder mystery. The world building was good, and the characters felt fleshed out, especially for this quick read. I'm curious to see what happens in the next book.

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This was an interesting read. Creative setting as humans settle on a gas giant after destroying the Earth. A space investigator (Mossa) and her ex-gf "Earth" professor (Pleiti) investigated a series of strange and suspicious events together as they may be kindling their relationship.
The concept and setting were fascinating. The book is written from Pleiti's POV. I'm looking forward to the second book in the series to see how Mossa and Pleiti proceed with their relationship.

Overall 3.5/5

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The Watson-esque scholar Pleiti definitely loves the Holmesian detective Mossa, in this queer academic cozy mystery-romance(?) set on a post-Earth-catastrophe resettlement around the planet Jupiter. I found this genre blend of cozy mystery, Conan Doyle whodunnit, and almost Ian M. Banks/Connie Willis style academic sci-fi delightful.

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Started slowly and never really picked up enough to make it interesting, at least for me. It could be because I didn't care about any of the characters.

This worked well. The riddle a piece of the secret meets up pleasantly eventually, enveloped by what appear to be irrelevant strands of story to assist with settling things. Additionally, the atmospheric details are exquisite. However, the character growth is odd. I'm unsure if the characters' lack of character development was intentional or a stylistic choice.

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If you like Holmesian British mysteries but gay and set in space, then be sure to check out this novella. Older's characters are complex and interesting and the 2SLGBTIA+ romantic tension is well-done and believable. The world building is extremely well done and provides an atmospheric sci-fi read. The mystery itself isn't really something the reader's meant to "solve" but the investigation is an engaging read. Additionally, the environmental commentary and ethical quandaries presented are thought provoking. I will say that the literary slant to the verbiage was a bit over the top at times and could pull my attention from the plot. Overall this is a charming and quick read that anyone interested in a cozy mystery or science fiction will enjoy. This is the first in the Mossa & Pleiti series and I look forward to reading more from these characters.

I received this eARC thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge, Tordotcom in exchange for an honest review. Publishing dates are subject to change.

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Humanity lives on platforms over the planet Giant after leaving a ruined Earth. One day, on the last station of one of the train lines, a man has a nice meal and then disappears over the railing. Malka Older’s The Mimicking of Known Successes (hard from Tordotcom) is the story of Investigator Mossa, working with an old friend and scholar Pleiti, look into other researchers that help keep Earth's life forms alive. Eventually there is a murder with a dead body that helps lead our Holmes and Watson to the high level of corruption. Fun.

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ex-girlfriends solving a murder mystery together…on Jupiter!

Mossa is a crime investigator on Jupiter’s ring system, while Pleiti is a scholar whose work revolves around learning how to perfect an ecosystem that would allow civilization to eventually return to Earth. When a scholar from Pleiti’s university disappears under mysterious circumstances, Mossa realizes she needs Pleiti’s help to dig deeper into some of the university extremists and prove that he didn’t simply jump from the rings into the stormy atmosphere.

The Mimicking of Known Successes was such a cozy story! Mossa was the serious, occasionally grumpy, married-to-her work type, while Pleiti was hopeful, mostly sunshine, and all together adorable. They balanced each other so well (even if Mossa occasionally frustrated me with her communication issues) and realized the things that drove them apart in the past could be repaired.

I really hope this series gets another installment because it was wonderful!

Thank you NetGalley and Tor for this arc!

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* Thanks to Macmillan-Tor/Forge and Netgalley for an advance copy for review purposes *

A space mystery with interesting character development and a unique setting - this was just my jam! A reserved investigator gets her old flame, an academic researcher, entangled in the investigation of a missing person case. The mystery itself is a little rushed, but I loved seeing the interactions between the main characters, jumping between awkwardness and ease and hinting to a complex past. The setting itself, a colony in Jupiter, sealed the deal for me. The ideas around setting up multiple settlements, and the transportation between them, in a gas planet were fascinating, and while this is a short novella, and there is not a lot of technical detail, it's a mesmerizing world.

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The Mimicking of Known Successes
by Malka Older

This was a really fun cozy, sci-fi mystery novel. The main draw of this book is the characters and setting - the setting is fun (though I little convoluted for a novella, I'd love to see another novel in this world). The relationship at towards the last third of the novella seems a bit rushed, and we are given so little detail of the characters' past relationship that it falls a little flat in terms of emotional impact. The ending overall felt a little rushed. Overall though, I greatly enjoyed this book!

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A compelling and utterly unique Sherlockian mystery. Loved the queer romance, compelling characters, and sci-fi setting.

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My enjoyment of The Mimicking of Known Successes stems from both the delightful - and scary - world, and the characters. While this might skew towards more character work than a straight up high octane mystery, I enjoyed this. Can you have a cozy space mystery? There's a sense of danger, which does build as the novella progresses, but the true intricate focus is the characters. How they open back up to each other and react to these loose screws and wrenches in their plans.

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One thing that really stood out was how it tackled some complex issues in a really approachable way. It's like Malka Older is saying, "Hey, let's talk about important stuff, but make it a good time!" There is a diverse bunch of characters, each with their own personalities and quirks, it makes it feel like you are meeting real people. I may have laughed and I may had shed a tear or 3.

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