Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Microreview [book]: The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again by AC Wise

As fabulous as promised

AC Wise’s The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again opens its very first story with the line “Mars needs men!” However, what the stories in the book go on to show is that what everyone needs, instead, are the fabulous heroines of the title.

Over the course of nine interconnected stories, with intermittent breaks for cocktail recipes from Sapphire’s Little Black Book of Cocktails, Wise introduces the reader to a wide variety of women—from cis women to female-identified man to transitioning characters—with an equally wide variety of sexualities represented. If for this fact alone, the book feels like a wonderful breath of fresh air. That it also goes beyond this to be filled with humor, emotional depth, and engaging plots makes for a dynamic reading experience.

The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again best fits into the category of character-driven story cycle: the stories essentially fitting together by telling us about each of our heroines and how they ended up in a space where they were ready to find one another. The stories are filled with deeply speculative elements: from spaceships to the devil. Yet, they feel more about the interconnectedness of people, how families can be created among a disparate group of people, and what finding a sense of place/family/ community can really do for a person.

If there is a flaw, it is that sometimes Wise’s writing feels slightly too flat in some of the more action-filled moments. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it feels pragmatic, as it moves the action along quickly, but I would have liked a few more pauses in these moments. As they are, I often wanted to skip through the action scenes as they didn’t seem to tell me much or connect me to the other more resonant story parts.

However, finding flaws seems to be in the wrong spirit, as I truly enjoyed entering this world and spending time with these ultra-fabulous heroines. This book is 100% fun but it’s also emotionally resonant. This is not a small feat.

The Math

Baseline Assessment: 8/10

Bonuses: +1 for the inclusion of cocktail recipes between stories (that actually do solid world building and character development in the process)

Penalties: -1 for sometimes feeling bogged down in the action scenes

Nerd Coefficient: 8/10 “well worth your time and attention.”


POSTED BY: Chloe, speculative fiction fan in all forms, monster theorist, and Nerds of a Feather blogger since 2016.

Reference: Wise, A.C. The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again [Lethe Press, 2015].