The Mimicking of Known Successes by Malka Older
The Mimicking of Known Successes is a mystery novella set on a platform constructed around Jupiter. While the world-building is great, there isn't enough of it. I loved the descriptions of the platforms and how sections and railways are set around the uninhabitable gas giant—not to mention the university's large role in the future reintroduction to life on Earth through meticulously planned ecosystem building. Unfortunately, that was the only thing I really enjoyed about this book and there wasn't enough of it to paint a full picture.
The main plot centers around a mystery regarding a missing person and what could have become of him. Though there are numerous snippets of information thrown at Mossa and Pleiti, most of it seems disconnected, and the ending proves unsatisfying because there aren't breadcrumbs sprinkled throughout the story for the reader to pick up on. If I'm reading a mystery, I don't want to come to the end without having seen it coming. I should at least be able to look back, knowing everything that led up to that point, and stitch clues together. This story did not offer that, and for that reason the ending fell flat.
I also disliked the overstated romance. Mossa and Pleiti's relationship is paper thin, yet the narrator (Pleiti) never lets up about how she wishes Mossa will give her a sign that their relationship—which Pleiti broke off—might be rekindled.
All in all, I believe there was too much going on in this 176-page novella. If it had been novel length, there would have been time to flesh out the world, mystery, and romance.
*Thanks to Tordotcom for the physical ARC.*