Sourdough by Robin Sloan
Might contain spoilers.
Just as wonderful and magical a book on the second reading as on the first. It’s still engrossing,
compelling, fascinating, and so easy to read that the pages simply fly by. I’d forgotten the
protagonist is a woman. It’s clever to have her be a particularly hands-on software developer,
courted by major companies, whose gender is relevant in specific ways (her relationship with Beorg,
wraiths fumble and assume she’s in marketing when they meet her at Marrow’s Fair,
the adorable Lois Club).
This time around, I felt more drawn to the first half, where she meets the starter, than to the second, with the Marrow’s Fair market and corporate intrigue. I would have been happy to continue reading about Lois’s adventures in breadmaking, which genuinely made me feel light and ecstatic, just like the first time.
The story has a slightly confusing perspective on the Mazg and their starter. For most of it, the starter is an incredible thing that only the Mazg—and now Lois—know is alive. At the end, it becomes a bit of a monster. Lois feeding it the King Arthur starter appears significant, since she has her qualms about it, but in the end that doesn’t matter.
I like that romance isn’t really a part of the story until the very end, yet it feels natural when it arrives. (Earlier, those two colleagues taking turns to tell Lois the other one has a crush on her is hilarious as well as annoyingly true to life.)
Double spicy sounds like my kind of food. The mention of the
extra slab of sourdough
bread for dipping makes me salivate.