Light From Uncommon Stars

By Ryka Aoki,

Book cover of Light From Uncommon Stars

Book description

Good Omens meets The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet in Ryka Aoki's Light From Uncommon Stars, a defiantly joyful adventure set in California's San Gabriel Valley, with cursed violins, Faustian bargains, and queer alien courtship over fresh-made donuts.

Shizuka Satomi made a deal with the devil: to escape…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked Light From Uncommon Stars as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Light From Uncommon Stars is a ray of sunshine when times are tough and the news is depressing.

It’s a yummy and affirming sci-fi book where marginalized people, particularly trans women, get to thrive. Instead of solving problems by killing people, small and affirming acts of allyship, friendship, and love add up to a better world. The story is beautifully done, nonviolent, and hopeful.

It’s not easy to combine two very different genres of fiction successfully, let alone three, but Aoki does.

Aliens owning a donut store in California’s San Gabriel Valley; a violin master teacher who has sold her soul to the devil; a transgender kid cast out by their family, who has a natural talent for the instrument despite never having had a lesson, and who is taken advantage of by everyone, until she starts to study with her mysterious teacher.

I was fascinated to see how on earth—as well as off it—these three very different elements could possibly combine into something…

The Light From Uncommon Stars is, at its sci-fi core, a story about being human and all of the messiness that comes from that state of being.

Even the aliens share a sweet humanness – a desire to find home, to find love, to find family. Plus, you can never go wrong with a donut-shop setting. This book is queer and gender-expansive, with all the beauty and trauma that comes with each.

I wouldn’t call this book cozy – and it’s worth noting that not all of the queer characters are “good queers”, but it isn’t gritty or dark –…

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