Publisher: Blind Eye Books
Release Date: October 3, 2017
Received From: A Novel Take PR
1858 – Warring mages open up a vast inland sea that splits the United States in two. With the floodwaters come creatures from a long distant past. What seems like the End Times forges a new era of heroes and heroines who challenge tradition, law, and even death as they transform the old west into a new world.
In the heart of dinosaur country a laconic trapper and a veteran mage risk treason to undertake a secret mission.
A brilliant magician and her beautiful assistant light up stages with the latest automaton, but the secrets both of them are hiding test their trust in each other and pit them against one of the most powerful men in the world.
At the wild edge of the Inland Sea, amidst crocodiles and triceratops, an impoverished young man and a Pinkerton Detective must join forces to outmaneuver a corrupt judge and his gunmen.
SEXUALITY: homosexual, lesbian
PAIRING: M/M, F/F
TROPES: magical abilities, surprise magical abilities, alternate history, class disparity, reunited exes
TAGS: steampunk, alternative history, fantasy, historical, short stories, adult, queer characters, dinosaurs, black character, Indian character, Chinese character, Mexican character, multiracial character, POC character, disabled character, elemental magic, interracial relationship, Jewish character
WARNINGS: mention of slavery, racism, slurs, suicidal ideation, suicide mention, mental illness (PTSD), mention of genocide, ableism, misogyny, kidnapping, sex trafficking, torture, rape mention, child abuse
When I first got the A Novel Take PR email about signing up for the blog tour for this book, I was tentatively intrigued. Dinosaurs in the Wild West? I wanted to know how this happened and how the characters adjusted, so I requested to be on the tour.
What I found is a brilliant combination of alternative, supernatural history with steampunk elements, while it retained much of the culture that existed within the time period. There is, unfortunately, racism, misogyny, queermisia, and more, but they were all textually challenged through the main characters, and several of the supporting characters.
The first story features a queer, Black man who works with a disabled, queer man to close the rifts that allowed the dinosaurs to travel through time. The second story features a queer, Indian woman on the run from her past, who fearlessly confronts it when she comes face to face with it, and her lover, a queer woman who is unafraid to go after the justice she thinks is deserved. In the third story, a queer, Jewish man helps a queer, multiracial man to find his missing family and falls in love with him in the midst of it all.
The cast is incredibly diverse, which I think works greatly in the book’s favor, as many authors would’ve written these stories about white characters and left it at that. Instead, Ginn Hale gives us a multitude of different ethnicities to read about.
Considering how short the three stories are, I appreciate the fact that Hale did not heavily rely on sexual interaction as vital to the plot. The first two stories have a couple sex sequences that last a paragraph or two at most and aren’t particularly explicit, and the third story only has one scene, longer and more explicit than the previous two stories but still not even close to what one would expect from a romance. I thought this, too, worked in the novel’s favor, because it made more room for actual plot within the short stories.
The Long Past & Other Stories is an overall enjoyable read.
Ginn Hale resides in the Pacific Northwest with her lovely wife and wayward cats. She is an award-winning author of science fiction and fantasy, as well as an avid coffee-drinker.