Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted over at Wishful Endings to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about but haven’t yet read. Most of the time they’re books that have yet to be released, but not always. It’s based on the Waiting on Wednesday meme, which was originally hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.
This week my Can’t-Wait-For Book is The Principle of Moments by Esmie Jikiemi-Pearson!
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Science Fantasy
Representation: Black cast, Black disabled/chronically ill queer MC
Published on: 18th January 2024
In self-deified Emperor Thracin’s brave new galaxy, Humans are not citizens. Instead, they are laborers indentured to the empire, working to repay the billions in debt they unwittingly incurred when they settled on Gahraan—a planet already owned by someone else.
Asha Akindele has lived her whole life on Gahraan, eking out an existence between factory assembly lines and constant terror—studying stolen aeronautics manuals in the dead of night and trying not to get herself killed for mouthing off to a guard. Then she discovers she has a sister imprisoned by the Emperor, and is forced to make a choice: stay enslaved, but relatively safe, or escape and risk everything in the name of family.
Obi Amadi is a time-traveller, sick with a legendary disease. Armed only with his prosthetic arm, his ever-constant melancholy, and the humour he uses to mask it, he has spent years travelling through time and space in search of a cure for the sickness currently unmaking him limb by limb. His mandate: Find the cure, go home. And maybe figure out along the way if the prince he thinks sometimes he might love could be that home.
When Obi saves Asha’s life, they make a pact: both will do all they can to get the other to the Emperor’s stronghold unscathed. With the reluctant aid of Xavior, a mouthy deckhand with a mysterious past, Asha and Obi attempt to navigate a galaxy that hates them to find the things they both believe will make them whole.
But a prophecy has started that has other plans, and not only is Asha forced to make a terrible choice, she must soon reckon with the legacy of an ancient religion and its heroes, who may be awakening, reincarnated in ways beyond her comprehension.
I have been SO EXCITED for this book for SO LONG – it won the Gollancz and Rivers of London BAME SFF Award back in 2020, which CRUELLY TEASED US ALL by publishing summaries/blurbs of the winning book – this one!!! – without giving us any way to READ IT. Then the publishing deal was announced in 2021! Then the release was pushed back, because, you know *gestures at world*. It’s currently set for release January 2024, and I just want to make it extremely clear that I have been VIBRATING WITH EXCITEMENT for this book since 2020.
(I don’t begrudge how long it’s taking to get into my paws, btw. I actually like stalking books like this – checking in at least once a month to see if there’s any news, setting up alerts in my favourite places, keeping my lists of Books To Look Out For up to date, adding new titles to my Anticipated Releases calendar. I grant you it’s weird, but it’s fun for me.
is my autism showing yet)
And I mean, look at that blurb!!! Evil space capitalism, a queer disabled time traveller, prophecies and reincarnation. PRINCES WHO MIGHT BE HOME. An emperor who clearly needs deposing. WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE???
Pretty sure the prophecies and reincarnation makes this science fantasy, which is an underutilised and underappreciated genre I am always dying to see more of. And then we have what’s not mentioned in the blurb – like the fact that this book (or maybe the trilogy as a whole?) is century-spanning, which has me all kinds of interested – I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel that took place over that kind of time, and I’m interested to see what that looks like. BUT AS WELL, Jikiemi-Pearson has also promised us
- an alien library that takes days to cross on foot
- tragic reincarnation romance!
- excerpts of an academic text exploring the mythic traditions of a lost planet, complete w annotations
I don’t know which of these I’m most excited about, to be honest. ALIEN LIBRARIES. REINCARNATION ROMANCES. ANNOTATED IN-WORLD TEXTS!
…Okay, it might be the texts. Just. But only because I’m such a worldbuilding nut!
It’s Black, it’s queer, it’s science fantasy. I have yet to come across one single detail about it that I am not in love with. And it’s available for preorder!!! Has been for a while, in fact.
So, you know, if you haven’t already: GO PREORDER IT.