A Finalist for the 2017 Nebula Award for Best Novella
Sarah Gailey's wildfire debut River of Teeth is a rollicking alternate history adventure that Charlie Jane Anders calls "preposterously fun."
In the early 20th Century, the United States government concocted a plan to import hippopotamuses into the marshlands of Louisiana to be bred and slaughtered as an alternative meat source. This is true.
Other true things about hippos: they are savage, they are fast, and their jaws can snap a man in two.
This was a terrible plan.
Contained within this volume is an 1890s America that might have been: a bayou overrun by feral hippos and mercenary hippo wranglers from around the globe. It is the story of Winslow Houndstooth and his crew. It is the story of their fortunes. It is the story of his revenge.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Gailey's debut novella is as intricate as her scheming characters' plotting. In this alternate late 19th century, imported hippos have taken over the Harriet area ("not quite a lake and not quite a marsh") of the Mississippi River. Right now the area is used for riverboat gambling, but the government wants to open it as a trade route down to the Gulf of Mexico, so former hippo breeder Winslow Houndstooth is hired to herd the feral animals into the gulf. After assembling a team gathered from the highest echelons of western novel archetypes with some modern twists, including a genderless demolitions expert and a heavily pregnant assassin Houndstooth develops a plan that will satisfy the requirements of the job and allow him to take revenge on the people who burned down his ranch 10 years before. The tight pace, complex relationships, and twisting motivations of the characters keep the reader engaged, and the alternate history of American hippo farming is clearly illustrated without clumsy exposition. Fans of seedy westerns will greatly enjoy this tale of gold-tusked hippos and the miscreants who ride them.
Hippo Hoppers of the Southern Swamps!
This is a work of alternate history by Sarah Gailey, and the first novella in the River of Teeth Series. It should be noted that this was a finalist for both the Hugo and Nebula Awards.
The main difference in this alternative world, is that in 1857 the Hippo Act is passed. This results in hippopotami being imported into the United States in an attempt to solve the nationwide meat shortage.
The swampy areas of the southern United States become a breeding ground for riding hippos as well as meat hippos. Hoppers are hippo-riding cowboy-like characters. Into this interesting alternate world we find our story set in the swamps of Louisiana.
Ms. Gailey admits playing a little with some technological timelines. She also plays a little loosely with geographic areas as well as the characters cross impressive distances overnight. However, with a bit of suspension of disbelief, there is still a good story in this novella.
It’s sort of like a western, but with modern and diverse characters. The story is interesting , and you find yourself caring about these colorful and larger than life individuals. I’m in for the next novella at least…
A fun “caper”
A great story to spend an afternoon with
Boring political screed, give it a pass.