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The Mimicking of Known Successes

by Malka Older

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Investigations of Mossa and Pleiti (1)

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3002087,308 (3.8)26
On a remote, gas-wreathed outpost of a human colony on Jupiter, a man goes missing. The enigmatic Investigator Mossa follows his trail to Valdegeld, home to the colony's erudite university--and Mossa's former girlfriend, a scholar of Earth's pre-collapse ecosystems.Pleiti has dedicated her research and her career to aiding the larger effort towards a possible return to Earth. When Mossa unexpectedly arrives and requests Pleiti's assistance in her latest investigation, the two of them embark on a twisting path in which the future of life on Earth is at stake--and, perhaps, their futures, together.… (more)
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» See also 26 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
I enjoyed the idea of a Watson/Holmes-like pair of women on a remote moon investigating a murder in a university setting. ( )
  drthubbie | Apr 13, 2024 |
I read this as part of my Nebula finalist packet.

While I enjoyed the setting of colonized Jupiter and the efforts to preserve remnants of old Earth, the re-worked version of Holmes and Watson left me cold. I didn't connect with the characters at all. The mystery felt convenient as it played out, too. I had expected to really enjoy this based on the description, so I'm actually left a bit stunned at how things ended up. ( )
  ladycato | Mar 30, 2024 |
This is the cozy, queer, Holmesian space mystery I didn't know I wanted to read until now. I just loved every part of this book!! If you enjoy authors like Becky Chambers or Martha Wells then "The Mimicking of Known Successes" is a must-read. ( )
1 vote deborahee | Feb 23, 2024 |
While investigating a mysterious disappearance, Inspector Mossa follows a trail to Valdegeld, her former university, and seeks out Pleiti, a former lover, now an academic at the university. Pleiti agrees to help Mossa in her investigations around Valdegeld, which could lead to immediate danger, but also long-term happiness for both.

This mystery takes place on a terraformed Jupiter, or rather, a series of human-made platforms connected by railcar rings hovering over the gas giant. It's explained that, because of the interference from the planetary emissions, wireless communication is not possible, so the story has the feel of a golden age mystery in many details of the setting: tea and scones in cozy academic quarters, rushing to catch the train on a stormy evening, etc. I enjoyed this aspect of the story, though I found the situation rather implausible -- wouldn't it have made more sense to colonize some of Jupiter's moons when Mars failed? The romance was done with a light hand and was satisfying without dominating the story. I felt the pacing was a little off, though I can't put my finger on why, and the mystery wasn't entirely satisfying to me. Those may have just been personal quirks, though. I'd recommend this to anyone intrigued by the summary, but I'm not sure if I will seek out the sequel. ( )
  foggidawn | Jan 27, 2024 |
Going into this novella I was of two minds. On one hand, I'm not sure that a "cozy," Holmesian, true-crime story set on a future Jupiter was quite what I was looking for. On the other, Malka Older is looking more and more like an important writer in the field, who I should be reading, but I didn't find her first cycle of novels all that attractive on a thematic basis. Maybe I think about this sort of thing too much.

Be that as it may, I'm pleased to report that this is an entertaining story with quite a bit of depth. One, I think the level of world-building Older displays is outstanding, She got more done in a 160-odd pages than most people do in twice as many. Two, I thought the relationship Holmes and Watson, I mean Mossa and Pleiti is well done, as they have a history where they have every reason to be dubious of each other, but come together when circumstances demand. Three, the conspiracy that drives the plot is not the best I've ever seen, but it's not bad, and a story like this should have the pacing of a thriller, and Older keeps things ticking along. I look forward to the next story in the cycle. ( )
  Shrike58 | Dec 13, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Malka Olderprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dorcus, LindseyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Demand better than back to normal
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The man had disappeared from an isolated platform; the furthest platform eastward, in fact, on the 4°63' line, never a very popular ring.
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Attempting to approximate an idealized past is most certainly both futile and foolish, but individually disrupting what absolutely must be a collective endeavor is no better, and selfish as well. (p. 165)
Perhaps there's a discipline, or trans-discipline, of flexibility and reactiveness, or a calculation of principles involved in ecosytem survival rather than literal mimicking of known successes. (p. 165)
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On a remote, gas-wreathed outpost of a human colony on Jupiter, a man goes missing. The enigmatic Investigator Mossa follows his trail to Valdegeld, home to the colony's erudite university--and Mossa's former girlfriend, a scholar of Earth's pre-collapse ecosystems.Pleiti has dedicated her research and her career to aiding the larger effort towards a possible return to Earth. When Mossa unexpectedly arrives and requests Pleiti's assistance in her latest investigation, the two of them embark on a twisting path in which the future of life on Earth is at stake--and, perhaps, their futures, together.

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