"[A] cheeky lesbian stoner fantasy . . . This is gallows humor with a light touch."—The New York Times Book Review
A 2022 Nebula Award Nominee
A 2023 Aurora Award Nominee
A NPR Best of the Year pick
A Most Anticipated Pick for Autostraddle | LGBTQ Reads
Award-winning author Kelly Robson returns with High Times in the Low Parliament, a lighthearted romp through an 18th-century London featuring flirtatious scribes, irritable fairies, and the dangers of Parliament.
Lana Baker is Aldgate’s finest scribe, with a sharp pen and an even sharper wit. Gregarious, charming, and ever so eager to please, she agrees to deliver a message for another lovely scribe in exchange for kisses and ends up getting sent to Low Parliament by a temperamental fairy as a result.
As Lana transcribes the endless circular arguments of Parliament, the debates grow tenser and more desperate. Due to long-standing tradition, a hung vote will cause Parliament to flood and a return to endless war. Lana must rely on an unlikely pair of comrades—Bugbite, the curmudgeonly fairy, and Eloquentia, the bewitching human deputy—to save humanity (and maybe even woo one or two lucky ladies), come hell or high water.
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With this charming fantasy novella, Nebula Award winner Robson (Waters of Versailles) offers a satirical take on political gridlock. In a fascinating, all-female world, fairies have established a European Union–esque system of government called Low Parliament to keep humans from destroying each other and the planet. Flirtatious scribe Lana Baker is persuaded into writing and delivering a letter for fellow scribe, Cora, in exchange for a few kisses, and winds up being sent to Low Parliament in Cora's place. It's a dangerous assignment: there's a hung Parliament, and the fairies will drown everyone who works there if Parliament can't come "unhung" by the new moon. Lana quickly befriends the fairy in charge of the scribes, Bugbite, via magical yeast (which acts a bit like marijuana) and psychedelic mushrooms. While high, they encounter Eloquentia de la Barre, a dancer with whom Lana becomes infatuated, convinced she's the only person who can save Parliament. Lana is a charmingly breezy narrator, though her falling asleep during the penultimate parliamentary debate undercuts Robson's argument that parliamentary systems, however flawed, are worth preserving, and Eloquentia's climactic call for decision feels a little left-field. Still, Robson's fans will enjoy this easygoing perspective on a politically charged fairy tale world.
This book was a delight from beginning to end!