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When it comes to Kameron Hurley's work I've lost it; I'm a fully fledged fangirl and a fool for her words. I signed up for her newsletter and I actually read it—that's how deep I'm in.

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green book cover of Ascension shows a woman who looks remarkably like Gina Torres dressed in a space suit

Between the joyful exuberance that permeates Jacqueline Koyanagi’s debut and the family-like crew at the centre of her story, it’s unsurprising that several reviewers have drawn parallels between "Ascension" and "Firefly". Like "Firefly", "Ascension" has a lot of heart. It’s an emotionally warm book which manages to make a large space ship, hanging in the immense blackness of space, feel like a cosy domestic environment. It also enthusiastically throws itself into portraying life’s adventure, tragedy and weirdness, and draws out truly touching emotional moments without being saccharine. What I loved best about "Firefly", beyond the specifics of character and setting, was its constant beating heart; its clear love for people, stories and SFF creation. "Ascension" has that same quality and I was easily drawn into a novel which felt as if it had been built with love, excitement and enthusiasm.

"Ascension" has space adventures, werewolves, hot female starship captains and mysterious, dissolving women. It’s got space gardens, explosions, make-outs and friendships! Fun radiates off this book as it plays with SFF tropes and draws its characters through their adventures. Reading Ascension reminded me of watching TV programs like "Xena: Warrior Princess", "Star Trek Enterprise", "Merlin" and, yes, Firefly – SFF shows that filled their character’s lives with friendship and love and wonder. These programs often also included the angst I've come to crave, but I ultimately watched them because they were fun SFF creations which believed people could achieve amazing acts of heroism. SFF, they said, didn’t all have to all be grim and dark. Sometimes it could involve ridiculous disguises, implausible but satisfying rescues, or friends and lovers who stuck by each other.

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Supplementary Materials

Olivia Waite - K is for Jacqueline Koyanagi

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