Book Club - Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee

Book Cover

After the Genji debacle, I felt it was only fair to use my next book club selection on the book most requested by the listener of this show, Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee. That does not mean this pick is without merit. Despite being the author's debut novel it was nominated for several awards, and won some as well. It is the first book in the Machineries of Empire series.

The book itself is a fundamentally a sci-fi novel full of space battles. It truly deserves to have a space ship on the cover. It tells the story of Kel Cheris, a captain in the hexarchate, a space empire. A large and important space station, the Fortress of Scattered Needles, is overthrown by heretics. Cheris is chosen for a mission to take it back.

Of course it's not just some pulp action adventure space opera. The book is actually about calendars, orthodoxy, democracy, immortality, consciousness, memory, folklore, traditions, math, games, and more. I think the parts relating to game design where perhaps why the listener wanted us to select it.

So humble listener, I hope you are happy we have chosen the book you have requested. Look forward to us discussing it probably sometime this summer.


I’ve been waiting for an excuse to re-read this book, and now I have it.

Books two and three of Ninefox Gambit take a turn for the uninteresting, in my opinion.

Instead of the series being called “Cool Space Battles with Weird Shit and Game Design Discussions” it’s called “The Machineries of Empire” and, turns out, I’m much less interested in Empire building than I am in what made up most of Ninefox Gambit.

Not bad books, but certainly a step down from my “five stars book of the year” reading experience of the original novel.