The Practice, the Horizon, and the Chain (Paperback)

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Named a Best Sci-Fi Book of 2024 by Esquire

A Most Anticipated in 2024 Pick for Goodreads | LitHub | Book Riot | She Reads | The Nerd Daily

“I am in love with Sofia Samatar's lyricism and the haunting beauty of her imagination. Her stories linger, like the memory of a sumptuous feast.”—N. K. Jemisin

Celebrated author Sofia Samatar presents a mystical, revolutionary space adventure for the exhausted dreamer in this brilliant science fiction novella tackling the carceral state and violence embedded in the ivory tower while embodying the legacy of Ursula K. Le Guin.

The boy was raised as one of the Chained, condemned to toil in the bowels of a mining ship out among the stars. His whole world changes—literally—when he is yanked “upstairs” and informed he has been given an opportunity to be educated at the ship’s university alongside the elite.

Overwhelmed and alone, the boy forms a bond with the woman he comes to know as “the professor,” a weary idealist and descendent of the Chained who has spent her career striving for validation from her more senior colleagues, only to fall short at every turn.

Together, the boy and the woman will embark on a transformative journey to grasp the design of the chains that fetter them both—and are the key to breaking free.

About the Author

Sofia Samatar’s first novel, A Stranger in Olondria, won the 2014 William L. Crawford Fantasy Award, the British Fantasy Award, and the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, and was included in Time Magazine’s list of the 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time. She also received the 2014 Astounding Award for Best New Writer. Her novel The Winged Histories completed the Olondria duology, and was followed by Tender: Stories, Monster Portraits (with the artist Del Samatar), and The White Mosque: A Memoir. Sofia lives in Virginia and teaches at James Madison University.

Praise For…

"A breathtaking novella that resonates like a new myth made of familiar materials."—Esquire

I am in love with Sofia Samatar's lyricism and the haunting beauty of her imagination. Her stories linger, like the memory of a sumptuous feast.”—N. K. Jemisin

"An extraordinarily moving tale of power, connection, and community, and a thought experiment perfectly designed to meet our times. Here Samatar’s precise moral clarity is both a beacon and a provocation, inviting you into an emotional and philosophical encounter you won’t soon forget.”—Matt Bell, author of Appleseed

The Practice, the Horizon, and the Chain does what only Samatar can do: cut to the bone, but with a loving hand. It's a hopeful, humane, and bruisingly perceptive fable about the chains we build, and what it takes to break them.”—Alix E. Harrow, New York Times bestselling author

This book has sharp, beautiful teeth—some of us will find catharsis in the bite, and some of us may come out bloody and ashamed, but The Practice, the Horizon, and the Chain demands honesty, most of all with ourselves. No matter who you are, you'll find a lesson here—not a cautionary tale about how we “should” or “should not” live, but the hopeful possibility of how we could live. One day. Maybe.”—C. L. Clark

“Full of spirit and heart, razor critique and compassionate insight, riveting mystery and compelling drama. Sofia shakes up what we accept as normal, inevitable, and fixed. She is a poetic seer, a prophet of human possibility. The Practice, the Horizon, and the Chain challenges us to envision the world we want and bring it forth!”—Andrea Hairston

“Breaks your heart from the very start, and then proceeds to slowly shatter all your delusions about the possibility of reforming oppressive institutions. Ursula Le Guin is the only possible point of comparison for the rich humanity and boundless imagination on display in The Practice, the Horizon, and the Chain, but Sofia Samatar has no peer.” —Sam J. Miller

Deceptively easy to read, simple and pure as radiation’s shortest waves, Samatar’s translucent prose shows her audience our very bones as she brings us to bathe in the source of her story’s light. Out of the future’s neglected shadows she summons the secrets which are so often used to humble and oppress us. Then she reveals to us something better than those secrets, for in The Practice, the Horizon, and the Chain, Samatar’s instantly appealing characters—students, prisoners, guards, and professors—spin shining webs of connection out of the breath we share and the endlessness with which all are surrounded. These are webs of truth and love.”—Nisi Shawl

“Fierce and unique, Sofia Samatar's The Practice, the Horizon, and the Chain is an offworld allegory that reflects our imperfect world through a perfect speculative lens.”—Tananarive Due, American Book Award winner

Samatar unfurls worldbuilding details with masterful subtlety, making each shocking reveal all the more potent. Through what amounts to a meditative far-future allegory, Samatar highlights the power of collective action in the face of oppression. This packs a punch.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Metaphysical and philosophical, this novella from Samatar (The White Mosque) combines space adventure with an examination of the carceral state, here set in academia, that will leave readers with much to think about."—Library Journal

"Samatar (Monster Portraits, 2018) beautifully weaves an allegory about caste systems and academia in a fleet of colony ships."—Booklist

"The Practice, The Horizon, and the Chain takes on a number of heavy issues for a relatively modest novella, but never loses focus on the dreams of its two memorable central characters, or on the power of its distinctive setting."—Locus

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250881809
ISBN-10: 1250881803
Publisher: Tordotcom
Publication Date: April 16th, 2024
Pages: 128
Language: English