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Drunk on All Your Strange New Words

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A locked room mystery in a near future world of politics and alien diplomacy. Lydia works as translator for the Logi cultural attaché to Earth. They work well together, even if the act of translating his thoughts into English makes her somewhat wobbly on her feet. She's not the agency's best translator, but what else is she going to do? She has no qualifications, and no dis A locked room mystery in a near future world of politics and alien diplomacy. Lydia works as translator for the Logi cultural attaché to Earth. They work well together, even if the act of translating his thoughts into English makes her somewhat wobbly on her feet. She's not the agency's best translator, but what else is she going to do? She has no qualifications, and no discernible talent in any other field. So when tragedy strikes, and Lydia finds herself at the center of an intergalactic incident, her future employment prospects look dire--that is, if she can keep herself out of jail! But Lydia soon discovers that help can appear from the most unexpected source...


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A locked room mystery in a near future world of politics and alien diplomacy. Lydia works as translator for the Logi cultural attaché to Earth. They work well together, even if the act of translating his thoughts into English makes her somewhat wobbly on her feet. She's not the agency's best translator, but what else is she going to do? She has no qualifications, and no dis A locked room mystery in a near future world of politics and alien diplomacy. Lydia works as translator for the Logi cultural attaché to Earth. They work well together, even if the act of translating his thoughts into English makes her somewhat wobbly on her feet. She's not the agency's best translator, but what else is she going to do? She has no qualifications, and no discernible talent in any other field. So when tragedy strikes, and Lydia finds herself at the center of an intergalactic incident, her future employment prospects look dire--that is, if she can keep herself out of jail! But Lydia soon discovers that help can appear from the most unexpected source...

30 review for Drunk on All Your Strange New Words

  1. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Walsh

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 2.5 to 3 Stars. I seldom read SciFi today, but when I was young, I went through a stage where that was about all I read. Two of my favourite books of 2021 were SciFi books. When I saw the intriguing premise for this book, I was anxious to read it. I was engaged at the beginning. The story is set mainly in New York City sometime in the future. Aliens, called Logis, have been entrenched there for some time. They have an embassy, and some humans have an innate ability to communicate with them once 2.5 to 3 Stars. I seldom read SciFi today, but when I was young, I went through a stage where that was about all I read. Two of my favourite books of 2021 were SciFi books. When I saw the intriguing premise for this book, I was anxious to read it. I was engaged at the beginning. The story is set mainly in New York City sometime in the future. Aliens, called Logis, have been entrenched there for some time. They have an embassy, and some humans have an innate ability to communicate with them once they undergo extensive and advanced training in a special school. Communication and translation involve unspoken vibes from the alien, which are translated into speech. An unfortunate side effect for the human translator is the build-up of chemicals in their body, leading to a state resembling drunkenness. Lydia has worked as a translator for Fritz for ten months. He is a Logi cultural attache. Her duties are mainly accompanying Fritz to operas, plays, and social gatherings to assist him in communicating with humans. This leads to the normally reserved and socially withdrawn Lydia experiencing periods of drunkenness, headaches, clumsiness, temper outbursts, and memory loss. She likes and admires Fritz. We are transported to a world of advanced technology and with names of devices and objects not explained to us until later or must be guessed from context. The story seems to be written for a person living in that future time period. One such device is government issues eyeglasses that connect the wearer to the internet and also records and takes videos of what they encounter. Lydia is exhausted from the effort involved in translating and visits her home in England for rest and recuperation. She takes pills to try to keep herself in a steady state. Shortly after her return, she finds Fritz's body. He has been shot to death. As the police believe she was the only one in the house at the time, she is the main suspect. At the time of his murder, Lydia was in a drunken sleep, lost her glasses which could prove her whereabouts, and has gaps in her memory. We have learned that the Logi claim to be able to communicate with others of their kind after their death, and this presence gradually fades out. Lydia is amazed that Fritz's voice still resonates in her head after his death. He implores her to solve his murder and, in doing so, save herself from prison. She has an enemy, Madison, a high-ranking Logi, who threatens her with imprisonment, loss of her career, and eviction from the building, now a crime scene. People access news and conspiracy theories on social media. These can be filtered due to levels of truth and believability. Wild conspiracy theories abound about Fritz's murder and Lydia's involvement. Prejudiced right-wing groups are against the Logi, insisting they are conspiring to destroy human culture and replace it with their own. In this turmoil. Lydia begins a long, convoluted, complicated search for Fritz's killer. She has some clues and people to interview given to her by Fritz after his death. A man she met at home on her visit to England arrived in New York just before the murder and was thrown into prison. Her investigation leads her to a number of people, including a professor who suggests an unstable ex-student may be part of a conspiracy. She was anti-Logi and worked on a virtual reality game that might reveal some truths. Lydia now believes she has some answers but is she being deceived? She teams up with her old nemesis, Madison, an alien, but finds she cannot communicate with her. Because Madison has diplomatic immunity, this enables Lydia to further her search unencumbered by threats of prison. They have adventurous car chases while driving an embassy vehicle, and when the truth comes out, they find themselves facing gunfire. This was said to be a short, humourous story, but I found it over-written, convoluted, and struggled with all its twists and complications. It seemed too long, there were too many characters introduced, and for me, it required a lot of concentration and became boring in places. I did like the characters of Lydia, Madison, and Fritz and the book's premise.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Emma Cathryne

    I've read plenty of first contact sci-fi epics in my time, but Eddie Robson has given me a great appreciation for the art of post-contact fiction: in which aliens have long since announced themselves and live among the denizens of Earth. Robson's Logi are a race of peaceful creatures who cannot communicate with words - only with telepathic signals. Certain humans have the capacity to pick up these signals and translate them, with one crucial cavert: it makes them drunk. Enter Lydia, a disillusio I've read plenty of first contact sci-fi epics in my time, but Eddie Robson has given me a great appreciation for the art of post-contact fiction: in which aliens have long since announced themselves and live among the denizens of Earth. Robson's Logi are a race of peaceful creatures who cannot communicate with words - only with telepathic signals. Certain humans have the capacity to pick up these signals and translate them, with one crucial cavert: it makes them drunk. Enter Lydia, a disillusioned translator who likes her boss but is growing tired of her demanding job and incessant drunken state. When a mysterious death occurs and the police prove incompetent, Lydia sets off on her own to get to the bottom of the mystery. This story did a great job of building a "near-future" version of the modern world: Lydia's New York City is highly believable with its self-driving cars, smart glasses, and immersive VR video games. I found the fictional experience of media to be especially fascinating: all news articles, tweets, posts, etc. are assigned a "truthfulness" rating by an AI, which people can then filter as desired. Robson does a great job of showing how even this purportedly objective system can be fallible, and in doing so arrives at a interesting critique of modern media bias. He also wove in the mystery aspects very well: I was genuinely surprised by the twists and thought they played well into the future he constructed. Also, this is just generally a great commentary on translation and cross-cultural exchange; both the crucial role of translators in society, and the power they hold to either elevate or hold hostages the voices of the communities they serve.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mona

    Review of Audiobook Only This review is for the audiobook, not the text. Usually when I listen to an audiobook, I read along in the text. However, although I applied for both the ebook and the audiobook on NetGalley, I was only approved for the audiobook. So please overlook any errors I make relating to the text, as I had no access to it. Audio Reader Very Good, Except for New York Accents Overall, Amy Scanlon was an excellent audio narrator. I sometimes found her voice mesmerizing. Her narration was Review of Audiobook Only This review is for the audiobook, not the text. Usually when I listen to an audiobook, I read along in the text. However, although I applied for both the ebook and the audiobook on NetGalley, I was only approved for the audiobook. So please overlook any errors I make relating to the text, as I had no access to it. Audio Reader Very Good, Except for New York Accents Overall, Amy Scanlon was an excellent audio narrator. I sometimes found her voice mesmerizing. Her narration was cool and smooth at times; more expressive at others. She voiced the characters very convincingly. She was a good fit for the material. My one complaint about her would be that, like many British audio readers, she doesn't get the regional variations in American accents very well. She used a generic American accent for all American characters. The story is set in New York. I'm a New Yorker, and she did not reproduce New York accents at all. Story I have mixed feelings about the story. I was captivated by the wonderful title. The story started out quite intriguing, but devolved as it went on. The denouement was disappointing. It's a science fiction murder mystery, set in near future NY City. NYC is surrounded by a sea wall, there are driverless cars and smart glasses, etc. The NYPD gets involved and lots of others. The main character, Lydia, is the translator for the for Fitz, the cultural attache on Earth from the planet Logir (I hope I spelled it correctly, but don't know, since I had no access to the text). Lydia is a British emigre from Halifax in Yorkshire. She was trained at a London school for translators. Lydia and Fitz work well together. But translating Logisi makes trained translators feel "intoxicated". (Which explains the title of the book). I don't want to say much more about the story to avoid giving away spoilers. As science fiction, it's not terribly interesting as the entire story takes place on Earth, and there's little world building. The Logis remain mysterious and unexplained. We learn next to nothing about their culture. Perhaps this is fine, because the story takes place entirely on Earth. As a mystery, it's convoluted, involving video gaming and game development; conspiracy theories about the Logi disseminated on social media; police corruption, etc. But ultimately the ending is disappointing. However, the story kept my interest all along. A lot of this was because of the excellent audio narrator. The main character, Lydia, was the most compelling, as she’s the only one we really get to know. The other characters were interesting too, but we don’t learn as much about them, and are therefore less invested in them. Summary So: Audiobook: 4 Novel itself: 3.5 Thanks for the ARC Thank you to NetGalley and Recorded Books for providing an ARC (Advanced Review Copy) of the audiobook. #DrunkonAllYourStrangeNewWords #NetGalley

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    3.5 Stars This is a cute, entertaining short science fiction novel. This is set in a future where we have made contact with aliens, yet this book feels more like a contemporary story rather than a piece of science fiction. Despite the aliens, this novel is very accessible to sci fi newbies, particularly those who enjoy softer science fiction. My favourite parts were definitely the aspects at the beginning involving translation and language. I wish they had been a larger part of the book. As for t 3.5 Stars This is a cute, entertaining short science fiction novel. This is set in a future where we have made contact with aliens, yet this book feels more like a contemporary story rather than a piece of science fiction. Despite the aliens, this novel is very accessible to sci fi newbies, particularly those who enjoy softer science fiction. My favourite parts were definitely the aspects at the beginning involving translation and language. I wish they had been a larger part of the book. As for the murder mystery, it was there but almost a background to the story of this funny translator. I typically prefer science fiction so this one was just top cute for my tastes. I would recommend this one to those that enjoy lighter sci fi romps without any hard science. Disclaimer I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    Thanks to NetGalley and Recorded Books for the audio ARC. It hasn't affected the content of my review. Firstly, I'm going to apologize in advance because this review might end up being the equivalent of one of those annoying YouTube comments where some genius pops in to be like "FIRST!" and sometimes they're not even first but they're so proud of themselves anyway. I hope I don't descend to that level but I can't promise anything because I had such a good time with this book I'm afraid my filters Thanks to NetGalley and Recorded Books for the audio ARC. It hasn't affected the content of my review. Firstly, I'm going to apologize in advance because this review might end up being the equivalent of one of those annoying YouTube comments where some genius pops in to be like "FIRST!" and sometimes they're not even first but they're so proud of themselves anyway. I hope I don't descend to that level but I can't promise anything because I had such a good time with this book I'm afraid my filters for reasonable behavior may currently be affected (appropriate, considering the book's plot). I was approved for this book yesterday morning when I was sitting on the couch in my PJ's and I got so excited I squealed, downloaded it instantly, and immediately started listening. I have now finished it approximately twenty hours later and can safely say this is one you should add to your TBRs if you like mysteries and/or near-future science fiction (with aliens!). There is so much packed into this tiny book. Lydia is our main character, and she's a translator for the cultural attache of the Logi, an alien race that made first contact with humans years back, and whose presence has affected human culture greatly (and human culture is of course beginning to affect them back). The Logi need translators not because they can't learn to speak human languages, but because their method of speaking is only available physiologically to a small percentage of humans, as they speak telephatically. Hilariously, the people chosen to train for these jobs have to also be trained to overcome the side effects of speaking with a Logi, which is a state very much like drunkenness (hence the title of the book). This state of being drunk is one our narrator, Lydia, very much has to deal with, and instances of it affecting her are significant to the plot, especially as her boss winds up murdered in his study, while she is the only living person remaining in their shared house, and due to being language drunk the night before, she has no memory of anything after about 9 PM. The plot to uncover who murdered Fitz, her former boss, is a twisty one full of genuine surprises, but more importantly, being with Lydia as she is first blamed for the murder, and then gets caught up in trying to find out what's really going on, is a genuine great time. There's an undercurrent of humor to this entire book, even when dark things like murder are happening. The narrator of the audiobook, Amy Scanlon, does a fantastic job voicing the UK-expat Lydia (although some of her American accents are a bit weird) and especially manages to grasp (and enhance) the tone of the book, which another narrator could have easily butchered. The worldbuilding in this is also really fun, and the concepts Robson is able to explore because of it are intriguing (but full of spoilers). This is a sci-fi future I really don't think I would mind living in, although I wouldn't go so far as to describe it as cozy. This is still a world in which people are struggling to filter out the bullshit. For most of the book, this was a solid five-star read for me, but while the denouement of the mystery was great, the end of the book afterwards felt just a tiny bit lackluster, like it was missing something to bring the whole thing together. I could have done with just a bit more of whatever my brain thinks is missing. But I still loved it, and will read it again, and need to buy myself a hard copy when it goes on sale in two weeks. [4.5 stars, rounded up]

  6. 5 out of 5

    Chantaal

    Lately, I've found that strange little sci-fi, fantasy and weird speculative books are appealing to me. Drunk on All Your Strange New Worlds is definitely a weird, fun book. Based in a future post-first contact world, Lydia is a translator for an alien. The Logi, as the aliens are known, communicate via telepathy and some humans are capable of translating. The only downside is that it produces a feeling that is akin to being drunk while communicating with and interpreting for the Logi. Lydia get Lately, I've found that strange little sci-fi, fantasy and weird speculative books are appealing to me. Drunk on All Your Strange New Worlds is definitely a weird, fun book. Based in a future post-first contact world, Lydia is a translator for an alien. The Logi, as the aliens are known, communicate via telepathy and some humans are capable of translating. The only downside is that it produces a feeling that is akin to being drunk while communicating with and interpreting for the Logi. Lydia gets wrapped up in a murder mystery when her Logi is found dead, and the plot moves full steam ahead from there. What I liked: the fun first contact ideas, the world building as Robson imagines what our near future could look like in terms of tech, social circles, work, climate change, etc. It's kind of fun watching authors follow roads from our present into a possible future, and seeing how they imagine our current technology and ways of life would evolve. Lydia was a fun character to follow as we move through her world and learn everything through her eyes. A lot of the side characters were neat, each bringing some new aspect of the world into focus with their parts. What I didn't like: the unfolding of the murder mystery. I felt like too much of Lydia's amateur investigation depended on clues and plot threads that felt like coincidence, or just kind of happened out of nowhere. Like when she runs into (view spoiler)[the guy she met & slept with in the UK only for him to arrive in NYC and he just saw her randomly? On all of Manhattan? The characters and narrative lampshade this coincidence, but it still rubbed me the wrong way. (hide spoiler)] The things I didn't like didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the story, though! It was fun and interesting and a good way to spend a few afternoons of reading. 6/18: 3.5 rounded up, this was fun. Review to come. 5/18: HELLO I JUST WON AN ARC OF THIS FROM TOR!!!

  7. 5 out of 5

    ash |

    7/10; Drunk on All Your Strange New Words was such a welcome read. I’ve been reading a lot of dark fantasy recently and well, it’s really nice to change it up. Sitting at 288 pages, this was an enjoyable soft sci-fi set in a post-contact period. The aliens (Logi) have already established first contact and have entered into a cultural working relationship with humans on Earth. With a murder mystery central to the plot, it made for an interesting way to explore the novel technology as well as a fu 7/10; Drunk on All Your Strange New Words was such a welcome read. I’ve been reading a lot of dark fantasy recently and well, it’s really nice to change it up. Sitting at 288 pages, this was an enjoyable soft sci-fi set in a post-contact period. The aliens (Logi) have already established first contact and have entered into a cultural working relationship with humans on Earth. With a murder mystery central to the plot, it made for an interesting way to explore the novel technology as well as a futuristic New York. Lydia is a translator for human/alien communication and received training at the London School of Thought Language. The Logi don't use their mouths to speak. For Lydia, and the other human/alien translators, communicating telepathically with the Logi, i.e. processing the language in their brain, made them feel drunk.. The story takes place primarily in New York, with a brief visit to Halifax, England. The world building was inventive as far as the technology/digital details went. The period the story takes place in is very digitally connected. I wish we would've gotten a little more information on the Logi because I think it would have enriched the story more. Information on the first contact with the Logi, why the Logi came to Earth and their early interactions with human beings would've been interesting to learn. We learn a little about Logi culture throughout the story. Robson did do an excellent job weaving these details into the narration and avoided dumping info at the reader. The murder mystery was pretty good. I did feel that there were some areas that didn't wrap up as much for me as I would have liked.. I feel that wrapping up the mystery took primary precedence (as it should, of course) however some other details felt unresolved. As for the characters... I loved the two main Logi's, Fitz and Madison. They were the heart of the story for me which was why I wanted to learn more about their civilization. Overall, Drunk on All Your New Words was a very enjoyable read. I loved the title as well. Thank you to the author (Eddie Robson) and publisher (Tor) for an advance reading copy of Drunk on All Your Strange New Words. This did not influence my thoughts or opinions. Drunk on All Your Strange New Words releases June 28th, 2022.

  8. 5 out of 5

    The Captain

    Ahoy there me mateys!  I received an eArc of this sci-fi novella through NetGalley in exchange for me honest musings . . . This is the story of Lydia who works as a translator for the telepathic alien cultural attaché nicknamed Fitz.  The entertaining aspect of this book is that working as a translator causes the humans to basically get drunk the longer that they translate.  So when Fitz is killed, Lydia finds herself as the main suspect.  Only she can't remember what happened that night.  Did sh Ahoy there me mateys!  I received an eArc of this sci-fi novella through NetGalley in exchange for me honest musings . . . This is the story of Lydia who works as a translator for the telepathic alien cultural attaché nicknamed Fitz.  The entertaining aspect of this book is that working as a translator causes the humans to basically get drunk the longer that they translate.  So when Fitz is killed, Lydia finds herself as the main suspect.  Only she can't remember what happened that night.  Did she really do it? The highlight of the novel for me was learning about the translating, how training for that job happened, and the actual translating itself.  I love word play and cultural differences and so that was the main appeal of the novella.  I also enjoyed the relationship between Fitz and Lydia. Ye don't get a lot about the alien culture but I enjoyed what was presented. The world building, characterization, and murder mystery elements were a bit light.  I thought the solution to the murder was a bit odd and nonsensical.  But I was rooting for Lydia and did enjoy following her story.  A quick fun read.  Arrrr!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Emma Ann

    A book about languages, about translation, about the possible future of the internet and a world where everyone’s plugged in all the time. I read it in one sitting.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    Picked this up via TOR (free access to egalleys in return for an honest review, can't beat it right?), the premise/blurb sounded interesting so I gave it a shot. It's not bad. 3 stars may feel like damning with faint praise to some folks, but if you consider it like a bell curve then you'll realize most books would honestly range in that 2.5-3.5 area. This would fall on the higher end, because it was interesting and kept me engaged. I can't really give any more detail without stepping into spoil Picked this up via TOR (free access to egalleys in return for an honest review, can't beat it right?), the premise/blurb sounded interesting so I gave it a shot. It's not bad. 3 stars may feel like damning with faint praise to some folks, but if you consider it like a bell curve then you'll realize most books would honestly range in that 2.5-3.5 area. This would fall on the higher end, because it was interesting and kept me engaged. I can't really give any more detail without stepping into spoiler territory, but I just wish the plot had centered more around the aliens than the translator. It feels like there's a lot of backstory that could've really made things pop, but instead we get a whodunit in a post-climate change Manhattan. This would be perfect for a summer beach read, though, so if you're hunting for a quick little page-turner that doesn't ask too much from you, well, here it is!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    It took me almost a week to get through the first 60 pages, and then a day to finish the remaining 200+, which accurately reflects my changing level of interest in this quirky piece of speculative fiction. It opens with disaffected near-future-not-millennial Lydia Southwell at the daily grind. Her job is illustrious - translating for the alien species that has made contact with Earth - but the details of working for her alien boss 'Fitzwilliam' ("Their names simply don't translate [...] and whil It took me almost a week to get through the first 60 pages, and then a day to finish the remaining 200+, which accurately reflects my changing level of interest in this quirky piece of speculative fiction. It opens with disaffected near-future-not-millennial Lydia Southwell at the daily grind. Her job is illustrious - translating for the alien species that has made contact with Earth - but the details of working for her alien boss 'Fitzwilliam' ("Their names simply don't translate [...] and while Lydia could describe what she thinks of when she hears his name (pale violet; ice slowly cracking over the surface of a pond; the scent of lemon; and then just a bunch of numbers), that's not actually his name, and also it would take ages to say") - are decidedly mundane. As the cultural attaché for the Logi, Fitz attends the theater, hobnobs with publishers and media people, decides which human works are worth translating into Logisi. Also, there's that interesting detail that translating for the telepathic Logi has the effect of making humans blackout drunk if they do too much of it: The footage from the diplomatic car that carried Lydia and Fitz back to the residence last night makes for an uneventful eight minutes and seventeen seconds' viewing, apart from the bit half-way through where Lydia can be seen to wind the window down and scream "ANNE BRONTE COULD KICK EMILY'S ARSE" at Fifth Avenue, before Fitz reaches out an arm and guides her gently back to her seat. All this was fine but not inspiring urgent page-flipping: the first part is speculative near-future fiction that takes a very pointed look at the future of social media and its impact on people who constantly get their feed through glasses. The aliens are intriguing but the science is non-existent, and Lydia with her casual drug use and apathy didn't immediately win me over. And then Things Happen, and suddenly the story swerves into another genre, and then later on, the bottom drops out and it turns into a different one again. I didn't see either of these coming (though maybe I should have, given Eddie Robson's previous book Hearts of Oak), and I was delighted by the evidence of devious plotting and how important things casually mentioned earlier became. It's a short book, and every sentence feels necessary. One of the major plot points is resolved disappointingly (view spoiler)[the murder mystery...come on, I couldn't even remember meeting the murderer earlier (hide spoiler)] , but Lydia's character arc and that of her strange but weirdly functional relationships with the Logi, are fully satisfying. The last paragraph is a gem: closure, loss, growth, and the bittersweetness of memory all wrapped up in a few brief lines.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Scott - Book Invasion

    A selection from my ‘Anticipated Releases of 2022‘ Robson imagines a near-future world with self-driving cars, smart-glasses, VR games, and a humanity who has made peaceful relations with a telepathic alien species. Using their education they’re given at a prestigious school for translators, graduates can then being working with the ‘Logi’ as a translator. Though with the job comes a few side effects, such as the more you’re translating, the more intoxicated you become. When Lydia was a kid, of c A selection from my ‘Anticipated Releases of 2022‘ Robson imagines a near-future world with self-driving cars, smart-glasses, VR games, and a humanity who has made peaceful relations with a telepathic alien species. Using their education they’re given at a prestigious school for translators, graduates can then being working with the ‘Logi’ as a translator. Though with the job comes a few side effects, such as the more you’re translating, the more intoxicated you become. When Lydia was a kid, of course she’d heard that communicating with the Logi made you drunk—everyone heard that—but she honestly wasn’t sure if it was just a stupid urban myth. On her first day at the London School of Thought Language (LSTL) they told her that processing the language in your brain didn’t make you drunk but it did make you feeldrunk, a distinction Lydia found hard to grasp: drunkenness is a feeling, so what’s the difference between feeling drunk and being drunk? They explained that from a biological perspective it was very different because your body wasn’t dealing with toxins, and the process didn’t damage your body in the same way alcohol did. So it was like getting drunk with no downside? Awesome. At least, that was what she thought at the time. Through the story we learn about the history and effects of the ‘translation’ process and how humans view the ‘Logi’ race as friends or as enemies. There are moments of discrimination and galactic xenophobia against them in public as well as the media though there are circles who hope to work with the prestigious Logi and request their support on their projects. Lydia was a solid main character. With her own flaws and fluxuating hopelessness, she manages to set out to solve the mysterious tragedy in order to clear her name. Though that’s where things get interesting. What proceeds is a rabbit hole of characters, players and associates of her employer. Though once you follow through to the end of this labyrinthine game of who-dun-it, there are things that have been kept from the reader which leads to a pretty interesting ending that i didn’t see coming. I enjoyed this glimpse of an integrated telepathic alien race rather than humanity-destroying threats. Robson paints a picture that they’re treated more like royalty with fancy gatherings and gala events while being respected (though not by all) by the higher echelons of society. Also the ‘mystery’ piece felt a bit more down-to-earth as we only had to Lydia’s novice detective skills rather than some hyper-observant savant. This is a solid light-scifi who-dun-it with some chuckles in a future NYC where humanity and aliens can co-exist, and whoever wields the language has the power.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Wolf

    Eddie Robson’s previous novel, Hearts of Oak, was a 5-star read for me, so it’s not too surprising that this new book also gets ALL the stars! In Drunk on All Your Strange New Words, the action takes place in a version of New York at some point in the future, where rising sea levels have devastated most coastal areas, New York exists as a tourist mecca behind sea barriers, and an alien race known as the Logi have established embassies and commerce with the population of Earth. Main character Lydia Eddie Robson’s previous novel, Hearts of Oak, was a 5-star read for me, so it’s not too surprising that this new book also gets ALL the stars! In Drunk on All Your Strange New Words, the action takes place in a version of New York at some point in the future, where rising sea levels have devastated most coastal areas, New York exists as a tourist mecca behind sea barriers, and an alien race known as the Logi have established embassies and commerce with the population of Earth. Main character Lydia works as a translator. The Logi speak mind to mind, and only those with an aptitude for telepathic communication can work in the field. Lydia is highly trained and very good at what she does, and she enjoys her time with “Fitz”, the human name the Logi cultural ambassador goes by. The only downside is that the work of mind-to-mind communication has a chemical side effect equivalent to intoxication, so the longer work hours or more complicated exchanges Lydia carries out, the drunker she becomes. Can we just pause here to admire what an amazing set-up for the story this is? I’ve never come across anything like it, and I was immediately fascinated by the entire premise. That’s just the beginning, though. The morning after a particularly challenging night of translation work, Lydia finds Fitz murdered in his study inside the Logi cultural residence. The doors were all locked for the night, only Lydia and Fitz were inside, and Lydia was so drunk from translating that she doesn’t remember anything at all past the middle of the evening. She’s clearly the prime suspect, and to make matters worse, she can’t even say with certainty that she didn’t do it. The investigation into the murder is incredibly engrossing, with Lydia, the police, and other Logi diplomats carrying out their own inquiries. Lydia checks out clues and seemingly random connections, all of which seem to point to a larger conspiracy… or does it? It’s complicated, to say the least. Drunk includes deft, intricate plotting, great character profiles, clever dialogue, and a fabulous new version of our world to think about. Grim and dark in many ways, it also includes a renewed interest in hard-copy books, so that’s something to look forward to if this future comes to pass! The author includes technology and slang that are different from our own, but not so impenetrable that it’s hard to follow. The writing is very accessible, and there’s an underlying sense of lightness and humor, even in dark moments, that make this a very enjoyable read. Bottom line? I loved this book, and couldn’t put it down. Don’t miss it!

  14. 4 out of 5

    MasterofMyStory

    The alien race and their manner of communication is very interesting (I’m very happy that they are definitely non-human and aren’t pretending to be). On the characters: The characterization is very middle-of-the-road as there isn’t much distinction and depth beyond the protagonist (the side characters are generalized and stereotypes more often than not). I would have liked to learn more about the aliens, even just to enrich their characterization. But there is enough depth to avoid complete two-d The alien race and their manner of communication is very interesting (I’m very happy that they are definitely non-human and aren’t pretending to be). On the characters: The characterization is very middle-of-the-road as there isn’t much distinction and depth beyond the protagonist (the side characters are generalized and stereotypes more often than not). I would have liked to learn more about the aliens, even just to enrich their characterization. But there is enough depth to avoid complete two-dimensional characters. On the writing: This might be a personal critique but, for me, the third-person present tense writing flops completely. I realize, normally, present tense writing lends itself to faster pacing (and I assume that’s what Robson’s after), however it reads awkwardly, and it feels out of step with the POV. Aside from that, the overall writing was well-executed. On the plot: The plot is unique and interesting, but I feel it did meander a bit toward the end. The overuse of twists, turns and double backs creates more confusion than a streamlined plot progression. Without spoiling the story, I’m also a bit disappointed that the different plotlines don’t merge into a single cohesive ‘reason’ or ‘motivation’ at the end. On the worldbuilding: There isn’t much information about this new world as a whole or how it came to be like it is, which is fine, but it feels like a lost opportunity for me – the alien culture, and the human acclimation to it, is at the center of the story but Robson doesn’t expand on how the aliens came to be on Earth or how their culture is actually different or the same (aside from a mild hint at religious differences, which isn’t explored in further detail). There’s also quite a bit of the concepts that isn’t explained fully, so it does take a lot to decipher things’ meanings or use or place within this new world. The ‘social media’ inserts feel like an unnecessary addition that doesn’t move the plot or emphasize character at all – as if it’s just there as a nice-looking gimmick. Final thoughts: Aside from the mouthful that is the title, Drunk on All Your Strange New Words is a fun, interesting read that kept my attention even though I struggled with the present tense writing. The characters, plot, setting, and overall writing is good, and I would recommend this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Geonn Cannon

    Overall, I liked it. I really liked the fact that this was a post-first contact situation, where aliens are already just a part of society (and the various ways that's affected the world are just facts of life), and the murder mystery was an excellent way of exploring the changes made to the world. But I felt like the mystery was just sort of... there. I didn't feel overly engaged in trying to figure out whodunnit or why, and when the case was solved it felt more like just... "Okay, well, that a Overall, I liked it. I really liked the fact that this was a post-first contact situation, where aliens are already just a part of society (and the various ways that's affected the world are just facts of life), and the murder mystery was an excellent way of exploring the changes made to the world. But I felt like the mystery was just sort of... there. I didn't feel overly engaged in trying to figure out whodunnit or why, and when the case was solved it felt more like just... "Okay, well, that answers that." There were so many red herrings that the actual resolution felt like one of several options and the author just pointed at one at random and said, "That one's right." Overall, as a scifi novel, it's an excellent world and stands out among others in the genre. I felt like the world was similar to one China Miéville might create while still being separate enough that it didn't feel like it was cribbing from him.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    The nitty-gritty: Cozy mystery, humor and futuristic sci-fi combine to make Eddie Robson's latest a uniquely fun read. Reading an Eddie Robson book is such a joy. I absolutely love his writing style, his subtle humor and the interesting characters who populate his stories. Last year I read Hearts of Oak and loved Robson’s quirky style, and his latest is just as quirky and fun to read.  The story takes place in a future New York where climate change has decimated the landscape of the famous city to The nitty-gritty: Cozy mystery, humor and futuristic sci-fi combine to make Eddie Robson's latest a uniquely fun read. Reading an Eddie Robson book is such a joy. I absolutely love his writing style, his subtle humor and the interesting characters who populate his stories. Last year I read Hearts of Oak and loved Robson’s quirky style, and his latest is just as quirky and fun to read.  The story takes place in a future New York where climate change has decimated the landscape of the famous city to the extent that parts of Manhattan are under water. In this future, an alien race called the Logi have made peaceful contact with humans, although their language is completely different and only select humans who have an ability to communicate telepathically are able to speak with them. Our main character Lydia is one such translator, having completed a course at the London School of Thought Language. She’s been assigned as the translator to the Logi cultural attaché, an alien who calls himself Fitzwilliam, or “Fitz” for short. Lydia enjoys her job, although the hours are long and exhausting and it’s starting to take a toll on her. Communicating telepathically with the Logi induces a feeling of being drunk (hence the book’s title), which leads to Lydia doing reckless and sometimes embarrassing things while she’s working. One morning, after a long night spent attending a play and an after party with Fitz, Lydia wakes up to discover Fitz’s dead body in his office. Lydia has no memories of the night before and doesn't remember how she got home. Now she’s the number one suspect in Fitz's murder, although she’s pretty sure she didn’t do it, and so she sets off to discover for herself the identity of the real killer and the reason that Fitz was targeted. Most of the plot centers around the murder mystery, as Lydia gets help from an unexpected source and follows clues on a circuitous path through the city. This isn’t a fast-paced plot by any means, but the joy in reading this book comes from the characters and the world-building. Lydia is a delight! She’s a fairly awkward woman who doesn’t really seem to fit in anywhere. She’s happened upon her translating job because she took a test that revealed her affinity for learning to communicate with the Logi, but it’s a stressful and draining job. Lydia often takes a drug called &amp (pronounced “namp”) which offsets the drunken effects of communicating with Fitz, but her drug use is called into question during Fitz’s murder investigation and doesn’t help her case at all. During her search for the murderer, Lydia gets into all kinds of trouble—she seems to attract it, which is one reason I loved her so much. We briefly meet Lydia’s mum and step-father Gil, who are minor side characters but add a nice sense of family history to Lydia’s character. Most of the characters, though, are of the shady variety and all seem to be suspects in one way or another, so it’s hard to know who to trust. I really grew to like another Logi named Madison, who “watches over” Lydia after the murder. Madison is annoying at first and Lydia doesn’t like her at all, but they end up having to work together and I ended up loving their dynamic. I enjoyed the futuristic touches as well, although the author somehow makes the story feel contemporary at the same time. Social media still rules peoples’ lives, as each person has their own “feed” and can share things instantly. News stories go through something called a “truthometer” which assigns “truthiness” ratings, and you can filter you news feed if you want to keep fake news out (something I wish we had now!) Lydia constantly wears a pair of glasses that record everything she sees and hears. My favorite futuristic touch is that when you visit Strawberry Fields in Central Park, you can interface with a John Lennon AI who will chat with you if you have a problem you need to solve. Robson's aliens are different from what you might expect. For one thing, the Logi have trouble understand digital data, which is ironic because they have decided to make contact with a mostly digitalized world. And because only certain people can directly communicate with them, the Logi end up feeling more like props than actual aliens. If you’re looking for an in depth story about an alien race, with detailed information about what they look like and their reasons for making contact with humans, you’ll probably be disappointed. Instead, this story is centered around the humans, and I was OK with that. The overall feel of Drunk On All Your Strange New Words is more cozy than tense, although Lydia does get herself into a couple of hairy situations. Part of the mystery involves a group who oppose the presence of the Logi and think there’s a conspiracy against humans that involves mind control. But Robson does a great job of keeping the mystery twisty and interesting, and the different characters Lydia comes into contact with kept me from guessing the identity of the murderer. Lydia’s unexpected antics made for some very funny scenes, and the ending was a nice, feel-good moment that left me smiling. I can’t wait to see what Eddie Robson writes next. Big thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alexander Tas

    Read this review and other Science Fiction/Fantasy book reviews at The Quill to Live Two years ago, I read a short little novel titled Hearts of Oak and came away as bitter as old bark. It was bland with a few twists and turns that kept the plot moving, and ended with such a slap in the face, I was turned off from Eddie Robson for a while. Lo and behold, I was flabbergasted when Andrew slapped an ARC of Robson’s latest novel, Drunk On All Your Strange New Words, on top of my TBR pile. The joy of Read this review and other Science Fiction/Fantasy book reviews at The Quill to Live Two years ago, I read a short little novel titled Hearts of Oak and came away as bitter as old bark. It was bland with a few twists and turns that kept the plot moving, and ended with such a slap in the face, I was turned off from Eddie Robson for a while. Lo and behold, I was flabbergasted when Andrew slapped an ARC of Robson’s latest novel, Drunk On All Your Strange New Words, on top of my TBR pile. The joy of receiving the first volume of the Berserk manga overshadowed by the work that lay ahead. In my typical fashion, I decided to dive right in and do my job. Robson’s latest is a tedious dive into the future of social media, and conspiratorial plots that might fit right in with today’s headlines. Lydia is a human translator for the Logi, a peaceful alien race that can only communicate telepathically. She works specifically with their cultural attaché, Fitz. Only a small set of humanity has the ability to receive their brainwaves, and even fewer of them make it through the rigorous training required of them to act as official translators. Even after they make it through, the process of translation makes the human feel as if they are drunk, making their duty quite exhausting. After a “drunken” altercation with a theater producer, and a short vacation home to Halifax U.K., Lydia wakes up one morning to find Fitz murdered. Considering she’s the last one who saw him alive, she is suspect numero uno. And something strange is going on that she’s never heard about before; she can still hear Fitz, and he might just help her solve the case. I’m going to start with the positive. Though a little annoying at times, I do think Robson walks the fine line of portraying a heightened state of social media in the future. It’s an attempt that sometimes crosses over into boomer territory, while also offering some commentary on the idea of measuring the “truthiness” of individual posts, and how those systems could be gamed. And while some of the posts are pretty cringey, they were one of the few things I found myself chuckling at during my read. I just wish there was a little more done with them. They kind of serve as window dressing, breaking up the monotony a little bit. Other than that, though, a lot of the issues I had with Hearts of Oak reared their ugly heads here. The characters were barely fleshed out. Lydia had the most going for her, but even she felt like a reader stand-in. I can tell you she’s from Halifax, likes to drive cars without automation, and is probably bisexual. Oh, she also doesn’t want to go to jail for something she is pretty sure she didn’t do, the main impetus for solving the crime. There wasn’t much of a set up for her relationship with Fitz to really make his death feel like a crime beyond the fact that he was an alien who was murdered. The folks that Lydia interacts with through the story come and go as needed to make the plot feel like it was moving, but they were barely even there. Robson’s writing is serviceable but doesn’t add a lot of feeling. The scenery was barely noticeable, to the point where one scene took place on the roof of a building and I didn’t notice it until halfway through the scene. I will say, just to clear the air, I am generally not a fan of murder mysteries. Solving the mystery doesn’t work on its own for me, and I need more buy-in. I want motives, I want character, I want intrigue, and maybe that makes me a greedy bastard. I want to care about the outcome; I don’t want to just feel good having solved it before the main character. And for the love of humanity, don’t just hoodwink me with an unearned twist. Unfortunately, none of those criteria were really met in Drunk. Every single event felt designed to infuriate me specifically, each gallivanting as Schrodinger's red herring. I know that’s how mysteries are supposed to work, but none of the trails or reveals had much weight, besides one, which Robson deserves a bit of commendation for. It utilized Chekhov’s gun, relied on the limited information Lydia had at her disposal, and the translation aspect of the book. It wasn’t amazing, but I did like it. In terms of themes and commentary though, I found the book lacking. Now this will probably come off a bit harsh, but the translation aspect was pretty low effort. Considering the toll that it takes on the translators, and the lack of verbal speech by the Logi, I expected a little more feeling, a little more nuance. Instead, it’s just some italics missing “he said, she said.” There were barely any moments where Lydia even actually translated Logisi to other humans, often just sticking to conversation between her and Fitz, or later Madison. It also feels irrelevant to the story, it’s just a neat little thing that makes it feel like an alien contact novel. I wanted more connection to the story, to the happenings, to the damn murder, and the state of politics. Instead, it just feels like “we just need to be better at communicating” without even doing by example. It just takes it as a given that a novel about alien translations should be about the need to say nicer things to each other. What is so frustrating is that the pieces are there. The truthiness for social media posts, the constant need to update one’s feed to be presentable to the world, and the possibility for camaraderie between Lydia and the Logi she interacts with. Instead, it feels like the reader has to do all of the work in their own head in order for the novel to have a point. To make the points Robson grasps for, make sense. And after all of that, the murder mystery ends with Robson farting in your face, as if the mystery was just an ephemeral hot wind. I’m all for subversion, and I will admit there was a bit of work put into this one, at least until the very end. But fuck me was I pissed at the final reveal. Not because I got it wrong, but because it felt unearned. I don’t think Andrew could make me read more Robson, even if it meant I’d get booted from the site. His books feel like screenplays for long running adventure serials, not necessarily bad, just not the right medium. Here’s this weird scenario, how does one deal with it?! There is no atmosphere, no character, no stakes beyond what the reader adds. And that might work for you, but for me, it’s a deal breaker. Rating: Drunk On All Your Strange New Words 4.0/10 -Alex An ARC of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts on this book are my own.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Estibaliz79

    Thanks to Tor/Forge and Goodreads for providing my with an Uncorrected Advance Reading Copy of 'Drunk on All Your Strange New Words', by Eddie Robson, soon to be published and available on the best bookstores (June 28th, 2022 should be the lucky day). What can I say? This was mighty fun. Maybe not revolutionary, but it was a perfect light sci fi read, and it ticked all the right boxes for me. Lots of action, mystery, just the right amount of humor and such a relatable main character... It's not ev Thanks to Tor/Forge and Goodreads for providing my with an Uncorrected Advance Reading Copy of 'Drunk on All Your Strange New Words', by Eddie Robson, soon to be published and available on the best bookstores (June 28th, 2022 should be the lucky day). What can I say? This was mighty fun. Maybe not revolutionary, but it was a perfect light sci fi read, and it ticked all the right boxes for me. Lots of action, mystery, just the right amount of humor and such a relatable main character... It's not everyday that the blurb or the marketing speech hits the mark but, in this case, this quote sure is accurate: "A locked room mystery in a near future world of politics and alien diplomacy." And yes, it's as appealing as it sounds. 'Drunk on All Your Strange New Words' is good soft sci-fi, where the technology is just secondary (but material to the whole plot) and the whole main idea revolves around more social constructs and ideas, mostly the needs of special translators to communicate with this alien species that lives between us in the future, the Logi. As I said before, but I have to keep repeating myself, this was such a fun and engaging read. I do reckon that my ratings are always a bit extra when it comes to ARCs not published yet, probably based on the excitement that comes from being 'first', but whether if I rated it with 4 or 5 stars, this sure has been a 4.5 read for me. High praise to Robson!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Galloway

    This one was more three stars for me for the first half and I wasn't sure I wanted to finish it, but the latter half picked up and rose to four stars. It basically felt a bit slow to me as we dealt with the world building and strong social media presence in that future society and showing that Lydia was a bit of a mess. The latter half was more mystery and cleverness and cultural explorations. This one was more three stars for me for the first half and I wasn't sure I wanted to finish it, but the latter half picked up and rose to four stars. It basically felt a bit slow to me as we dealt with the world building and strong social media presence in that future society and showing that Lydia was a bit of a mess. The latter half was more mystery and cleverness and cultural explorations.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Holly (The GrimDragon)

    DNF I was wicked excited for this, since it's about alien translators-- sounds fascinating! Unfortunately, in the first 30 or so pages, there are various fatphobic comments. The last paragraph during the visit to Lydia's mum's place, especially. Rather than having a fat character & them being accepted as such, this feels like it's explaining away someone's weight & further reiterating that being fat isn't okay. The fact this comes after numerous descriptors of "heavy" & one just becomes fucking ti DNF I was wicked excited for this, since it's about alien translators-- sounds fascinating! Unfortunately, in the first 30 or so pages, there are various fatphobic comments. The last paragraph during the visit to Lydia's mum's place, especially. Rather than having a fat character & them being accepted as such, this feels like it's explaining away someone's weight & further reiterating that being fat isn't okay. The fact this comes after numerous descriptors of "heavy" & one just becomes fucking tired, y'know? Just because this dude wrote for the Doctor Who franchise, does not mean my wibbly-wobbly ass is going to finish this (there were some definite timey-wimey vibes lacking, needless to say!)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    Originally posted on my blog: Nonstop Reader. Drunk on All Your Strange New Words is a quirky SF post-first-contact mystery by Eddie Robson. Due out 28th June 2022 from Macmillan on their Tor/Forge imprint, it's 288 pages and will be available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. I wa Originally posted on my blog: Nonstop Reader. Drunk on All Your Strange New Words is a quirky SF post-first-contact mystery by Eddie Robson. Due out 28th June 2022 from Macmillan on their Tor/Forge imprint, it's 288 pages and will be available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. I was fascinated by the premise of the book and by the world building (mostly, more on that later). It's post-first-alien-contact in the near future. The aliens, Logi, can only communicate through telepathic images to perceptive individuals, with the proviso that doing so renders the human translator drunk in the process. I had some trouble engaging with the story because it's told in third person point of view in the present tense. It was obviously an intentional choice, for the direct told-in-the-moment kinetic style, but I just found it intrusive and ever so slightly annoying to read. The writing itself is quite competent. The central concepts, the plotting, and the world building are a bit chaotic and scattered, again undoubtedly intentionally, but the fact that the disparate plot threads never really resolved into a central and complete denouement felt unbalanced to me, especially with regard to the setting (near-future NYC which felt a tiny bit lazy), and that there didn't seem to be many real or profound observations about the Logi (or indeed humans). The primary characters are very well rendered and I found them compelling. There are numerous secondary characters however which felt two dimensional and incomplete. Overall, it's an interestingly offbeat book and well written. Three and a half stars for me, likely higher for fans of avant-garde SF murder mysteries. Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    I headed into Drunk on All Your Strange New Words without revisiting the blurb, and misreading one of the title words - so I really had no idea what was coming. I greatly enjoyed the world-building - I found the settings of post-climate-change New York and Halifax really intriguing, even before the addition of extraterrestrial life, interspecies political relations, and a locked room mystery, and would have happily read more just about how that society operates. I found myself dragged along at a I headed into Drunk on All Your Strange New Words without revisiting the blurb, and misreading one of the title words - so I really had no idea what was coming. I greatly enjoyed the world-building - I found the settings of post-climate-change New York and Halifax really intriguing, even before the addition of extraterrestrial life, interspecies political relations, and a locked room mystery, and would have happily read more just about how that society operates. I found myself dragged along at a fast pace through all of the twists and turns of the mystery at the core of the novel - I was constantly keen to find out what happened next. If there was one downfall, it was that I didn't feel as emotionally connected to Lydia as I might have done - especially as someone who is often motivated by character-based texts. That said, I hugely enjoyed reading this book, and will probably think about the worldbuilding for a while yet. Thanks to Tor/Forge and Netgalley for the ARC.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cari

    With easy writing but a complex plot, this story will appeal to people who love cross-genre writing. Lydia is a translator for the Logi, an alien race that has come through a portal to align with Earth leadership. The Logi don't talk, so translators must commune with them and their thoughts. When Lydia's boss, Fitz, dies suddenly and violently, she is the prime suspect. Since translating can make humans feel drunk, Lydia remembers nothing about what happened that night. What follows is a ride th With easy writing but a complex plot, this story will appeal to people who love cross-genre writing. Lydia is a translator for the Logi, an alien race that has come through a portal to align with Earth leadership. The Logi don't talk, so translators must commune with them and their thoughts. When Lydia's boss, Fitz, dies suddenly and violently, she is the prime suspect. Since translating can make humans feel drunk, Lydia remembers nothing about what happened that night. What follows is a ride through a future NYC that takes the reader on multiple twists and turns.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lilibet Bombshell

    Oh how I love books that heavily embed linguistics not only the culture of the people in the book but also so deeply into the very plot of the book! I may not be a linguist (that title falls to my baby sister), but both she and I grew up with a love of languages and how language evolves over time. This book made me so very happy in my linguistics pants just because it was so clever and almost effortless in how it took the English language and showed how much it could have shifted and then been e Oh how I love books that heavily embed linguistics not only the culture of the people in the book but also so deeply into the very plot of the book! I may not be a linguist (that title falls to my baby sister), but both she and I grew up with a love of languages and how language evolves over time. This book made me so very happy in my linguistics pants just because it was so clever and almost effortless in how it took the English language and showed how much it could have shifted and then been embedded into the social fabric in the future. I won’t give any examples, because I really don’t want to ruin the fun. Some of the changes are just so downright spot-on they become hilarious. I found myself saying, “Of course that’s what we’d end up calling that in the future!” This book also relies heavily on how technology has changed language on a global scale, with American English, fragmented sentences, and emojis being the most common languages spoken when the digital world is involved. I am simply mad about this book. It’s one of the best sci-fi novels I’ve read this year, and it’s not even pure sci-fi. It’s also an amateur sleuth mystery, a little bit of a thriller, and a crafty bit of speculative fiction. There are many great points to be made about first contact with an alien civilization: what kind of considerations and how many considerations would we be willing to give to an alien civilization to gain access to their technology, should they come in peace? Would they have an advantage over us once some of us could learn their language and act as translators (in case they didn’t speak out loud, which is the case in this book) because it would give them a buffering time between speaking and then having to hear someone’s reply in which to craft more questions, thoughts, decisions, and answers? Would they have an advantage in composing oneself between one statement and another just by virtue of the translation lag time? The overall murder mystery plot is an engaging and a twisty road. It’s unpredictable and it seems that just when the mystery might be solved, it’s another red herring or the logic falls apart and we’re a few steps back again. A few steps forward, a stumble back. That’s how this book goes and that’s how I like it. And just when you think all the players have been identified, there’s sure to be another piece put into play or one of the pieces is found to have not been part of it at all. In the end, I was about 85% surprised by who it was. And then I felt like, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Trust me, pick up this book. Then actually read it. If you’re a fan of speculative fiction I can almost guarantee you’ll enjoy it. Thanks to NetGalley, MacMillan-Tor/Forge, and Tordotcom for granting me early access to this title in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Snowleesi

    "Drunk on All Your Strange New Words" is a post-first-contact sci-fi novel, perfect for those who like their sci-fi on the lighter side, without all the hard science (and with a mystery thrown in). In the world of the novel, aliens have long ago made themselves know to humans and now live amongst them on Earth. The Logi are a peaceful race, rather shunning digital technology, and also unable to communicate with words, they use telepathy instead. There are few humans who are able to "hear" them a "Drunk on All Your Strange New Words" is a post-first-contact sci-fi novel, perfect for those who like their sci-fi on the lighter side, without all the hard science (and with a mystery thrown in). In the world of the novel, aliens have long ago made themselves know to humans and now live amongst them on Earth. The Logi are a peaceful race, rather shunning digital technology, and also unable to communicate with words, they use telepathy instead. There are few humans who are able to "hear" them and translate into human languages, with a rather inconvenient side-effect - it makes them drunk. Our main character is Lydia, a translator for a Logi cultural attaché who goes by Fitz. She has been getting quite tired of the demands of her job, especially the constant drunk-like state, which gets her into some trouble. Right as she is on the verge of quitting her job, Fitz is murdered, and, partially to clear her own person of suspicion, Lydia sets off to solve the murder. What follows is Lydia following breadcrumbs, tips (some from surprising sources), and slowly uncovering a sinister plot involving humans who are quite hostile to the Logi and their presence on our planet. The entire story takes place on Earth - which was a bit disappointing to this reader, as the Logi culture sounds fascinating - and big props should be given to the author and his world building, as he paints Earth's believable near future in technology, social media, climate change, etc. It was a quick, fun read - I was absolutely loving it. I was unexpectedly offered this ARC by the publisher, which was quite lucky as I would have probably not picked the novel up otherwise (too long TBR!). The story is entertaining, the main character far from Mary Sue/cookie cutter, the Logi intriguing enough that I would like the author to travel to their world next. It's a perfect beach/summer read for a sci-fi fan.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Lewis

    I was enthralled with this book from the moment I picked it up and started reading. The concept was pretty fascinating. There is a race of aliens that are here and they communicate telepathically. They also of course speak telepathically using their language so human translators are taught but they can only teach the small percentage of the population who have the ability to hear the telepathic thoughts of the aliens. As an added twist while translating for the aliens the sensation of being drun I was enthralled with this book from the moment I picked it up and started reading. The concept was pretty fascinating. There is a race of aliens that are here and they communicate telepathically. They also of course speak telepathically using their language so human translators are taught but they can only teach the small percentage of the population who have the ability to hear the telepathic thoughts of the aliens. As an added twist while translating for the aliens the sensation of being drunk comes over the translators. Part of their training is to get drunk and still be able to translate and still be able to try and act at least somewhat sober. This is where the title drunk on all your strange new words comes from. It is an odd idea but very original at least as far as I know. Because of this our protagonist can get seemingly black out drunk if she attends a social function that requires a lot of translating so she often will wake up in the morning not remembering everything that happened the night before which becomes an issue when the story really kicks off. This was all just the setup for the story, everything I just explained is in the very early part of the book that you learn before the story jumps off so hopefully no one will go into it feeling like I have spoiled anything! I could not put this thing down. Five stars!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Steve Nelson

    The aliens have been here for a while, helped solve a few problems and are interested in our arts and literature to share with their home planet. But not everyone is happy about the help and expanding market options. Then the cultural attaché is found dead. The aliens can't speak, and therefore need to have translators that can communicate telepathically. Unfortunately, the act of translating leaves the translator 'drunk' after a while. Fitzwilliam's translator Lydia had been with him all day at The aliens have been here for a while, helped solve a few problems and are interested in our arts and literature to share with their home planet. But not everyone is happy about the help and expanding market options. Then the cultural attaché is found dead. The aliens can't speak, and therefore need to have translators that can communicate telepathically. Unfortunately, the act of translating leaves the translator 'drunk' after a while. Fitzwilliam's translator Lydia had been with him all day at an event, then into the evening and had gotten to the point where she passed out. She discovers the body the next morning at the attaché's residence and has no recollection of what happened after they got home. As a mystery, this has plenty of misdirections, dead ends, scary rooftops and police chases. As a sci-fi novel, it explores how our long-term relation with extraterrestrials may work out. It will satisfy readers of either genre.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    It took until I finished this book, closed it, and looked at the cover again to realize what the title meant. Very clever. Indeed, this whole book is very clever. It’s a mystery, but I just about guarantee it’s unlike any mystery you’ve read before. I just love the sci fi elements - this is my favorite type of sci fi, where we learn what it means to be human from our interactions with beings from other planets.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kristi Lamont

    Loved the concept more than the execution. Lots of fun/witty/smart stuff about social media and about England, but the "mystery proper" turned off WILDLY convoluted-y, and y'all know how much I hate me some convoluted-y. Glad I read it, and do plan to read more by Eddie Robson, but only when I'm in a Doctor Who-y sort of mood. PS Mama, don't bother. xxoo Loved the concept more than the execution. Lots of fun/witty/smart stuff about social media and about England, but the "mystery proper" turned off WILDLY convoluted-y, and y'all know how much I hate me some convoluted-y. Glad I read it, and do plan to read more by Eddie Robson, but only when I'm in a Doctor Who-y sort of mood. PS Mama, don't bother. xxoo

  30. 4 out of 5

    Krista

    Drunk on All Your Strange New Words has made me the #1 Logi fan. This was such a fun story and the strongest part of it was the characters. I loved Fitz, Lydia, and Madison a lot. Lydia brought so much humor, made even better by amazing narration. I also found the use of a translator for human/alien communication to be a unique and interesting aspect of the book. However, too much focus was on the weak murder mystery. It kept me on the edge of my seat, but didn’t have a satisfying ending (not to Drunk on All Your Strange New Words has made me the #1 Logi fan. This was such a fun story and the strongest part of it was the characters. I loved Fitz, Lydia, and Madison a lot. Lydia brought so much humor, made even better by amazing narration. I also found the use of a translator for human/alien communication to be a unique and interesting aspect of the book. However, too much focus was on the weak murder mystery. It kept me on the edge of my seat, but didn’t have a satisfying ending (not to mention all the deadends). I would have much rather learned about alien first contact or more about Logi culture. I hope the author writes more books in this world because I would love to know more about the Logi and how their relationship with humankind develops. Thank you NetGalley for this audiobook! 👽🛸

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