“Tea is considered a delicacy in many parts of the galaxy”: New science fiction & fantasy

“Tea is considered a delicacy in many parts of the Galaxy. However, the proliferation of Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Nutrimatic Machines has made it very hard to get a good cup of tea. It is also a strong Brownian Motion producer” – Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Who can resist the magical, mystical, restorative powers of a good cup of tea?

Well, according to Becky Chamber’s latest book, A Psalm for the Wild-Built and Kemi Ashing-Giwa’s  The Splinter in the Sky, the answer is not many of us.

In their latest novel, Becky Chambers has a tea monk who travels from place-to-place offering calming, relaxing cups of tranquillity, one brew at a time. And in Kemi Ashing-Giwa’s book, a lowly scribe wants to quit her day job and expand her fledgling tea business.

It is far from the first-time fantasy and science fiction authors have found inspiration for their plots in a good cup of tea.

There are numerous examples where this millennia-old drink plays a key part in a fantasy or science fiction work, such as the iconic mad hatter’s tea party in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Douglas Adams was also a huge tea fan; you just need to look at how important tea is in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or the title of the second Dirk Gently instalment, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul.

Other authors and books that have tea involved in their plot include Skinwalker by Faith Hunter about a vampire hunter, passionate about tea pots and single estate loose leaf teas. There is also a wonderful  tea shop in  Under the Whispering Door by T J Klune and Gail Carriger’s Soulless features a lot of tea drinking. There’s also A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin and Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta to name just a few. See our interview with T J Klune here!

A Psalm for the Wild-Built and The Splinter in the Sky are just two of our selected newly-acquired science fiction and fantasy titles; others include Marie Cardno’s fabulous How to Get a Date with the Evil Queen, the awesome Ravensong by T J Klune and Hawke’s Bay’s steampunk, Sir Julius Vogel Award-winning author Gareth Ward’s latest book Tarquin the honest Ocian’s Elven .

A psalm for the wild-built / Chambers, Becky
” It’s been centuries since the robots of Panga gained self-awareness and laid down their tools; centuries since they wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again; centuries since they faded into myth and urban legend. One day, the life of a tea monk is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honour the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of “what do people need?” is answered. But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how. They’re going to need to ask it a lot. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The splinter in the sky / Ashing-Giwa, Kemi
” The dust may have just settled in the failed war of conquest between the Holy Vaalbaran Empire and the Ominirish Republic, but the last Emperor’s surrender means little to a lowly scribe like Enitan. All she wants is to quit her day job and expand her fledgling tea business. But when her lover is assassinated and her sibling is abducted by Imperial soldiers, Enitan abandons her idyllic plans and weaves her tea tray up through the heart of the Vaalbaran capital. There, she will learn just how far she is willing to go to exact vengeance, free her sibling, and perhaps even secure her homeland’s freedom.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

How to get a date with the evil queen / Cardno, Marie
“Sian’s world thinks she’s dead. Trillin’s wants to make sure of it. And the world they escaped to together just threw a dragon at them. All Sian wanted was a quiet moment to pash her new girlfriend. Instead, she and the adorably monstrous Trillin find themselves trapped by a world whose fairytale magic has very strict ideas about who gets a happily-ever-after. Princesses exist to be rescued. Heroes do the rescuing. And monsters? Monsters get killed. In a world where happy-ever-after has teeth, Sian and Trillin are going to learn to bite back. How to Get a Date with the Evil Queen is a paranormal romcom featuring ridiculous gender and genre roles, big swords and a woman who doesn’t know how to use them, and shapeshifting true love winning against all odds.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Tarquin the honest. Ocian’s elven / Ward, Gareth
“Tarquin the Honest and Lunar Nix return with more underhand shenanigans and razor-tongued repartee to pull off a heist so big, bards will sing ballads of their derring-do for centuries. Created for the ancient dragons, a priceless treasure is kept under Elven lock and key at the heart of the great city of Ribekah. Tarquin the Honest, Wizard of the Silver Weasel, is under orders to ‘rehome’ the treasure from the ultra-secure Elderyn Museum. The mission is an impossible one – even the Thieves’ Guild thinks it is folly – but Tarquin has a cunning plan involving magic, trickery and a ragtag band with a unique set of talents…” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Ravensong / Klune, TJ
“Gordo Livingstone never forgot the lessons carved into his skin. Hardened by the betrayal of a pack who left him behind, he sought solace in the garage in his tiny mountain town, vowing never again to involve himself in the affairs of wolves. It should have been enough. And it was, until the wolves came back, and with them, Mark Bennett. In the end, they faced the beast together as a pack… and won. Now, a year later, Gordo has found himself once again the witch of the Bennett pack. Green Creek has settled after the death of Richard Collins, and Gordo constantly struggles to ignore Mark and the song that howls between them…” (Adapted from Catalogue)
The water outlaws / Huang, S. L
“Lin Chong is an expert arms instructor, training the Emperor’s soldiers in sword and truncheon, battle axe and spear, lance and crossbow. Unlike bolder friends who flirt with challenging the unequal hierarchies and values of Imperial society, she believes in keeping her head down and doing her job. Until a powerful man with a vendetta rips that carefully-built life away. Disgraced, tattooed as a criminal, and on the run from an Imperial Marshall who will stop at nothing to see her dead, Lin Chong is recruited by the Bandits of Liangshan. Mountain outlaws on the margins of society, the Liangshan Bandits proclaim a belief in justice–for women, for the downtrodden, for progressive thinkers a corrupt Empire would imprison or destroy…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

All the dead shall weep / Harris, Charlaine
“Following the murderous events of Serpent of Heaven, Lizbeth Rose is awaiting the arrival of her sister Felicia and her husband’s younger brother Eli in Texoma. Both needed to leave the seat of the Holy Russian Empire in San Diego after Felicia’s burgeoning wizardly power in death magic became the reason for kidnapping and assassination attempts from her mother’s family of high-powered wizards in Mexico. Yet bad news has traveled ahead of them, as Eli is called back to San Diego, taking Peter along with him, splitting them apart in more ways than one as their enemies’ plans for revenge come to fruition.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz : stories of the witch king and the puppet sorcerer / Nix, Garth
“Sir Hereward: the only male child of an ancient society of witches. Knight, artillerist, swordsman. Mercenary for hire. Ill-starred lover. Mister Fitz: puppet, sorcerer, loremaster. Practitioner of arcane arts and wielder of sorcerous needles. Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz: godslayers. Agents of the Council of the Treaty for the Safety of the World, charged with the location and removal of listed extra-dimensional entities, more commonly known as gods. Together, they are relentless travelers in a treacherous world of magic, gunpowder, and adventure… ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Where peace is lost : a novel / Valdes, Valerie
“At the edge an isolated star system, Kel Gardavros, once a member of an Order whose military arm was disbanded and scattered across the galaxy, finds her past intruding in the form of a long-dormant Pale war machine that is suddenly reactivated, primed to kill every sentient creature on the planet.” (Adapted from Catalogue)