River of Teeth
by Sarah Gailey (they/them)
A Finalist for the 2017 Nebula Award for Best Novella
Sarah Gailey’s wildfire debut River of Teeth is a rollicking alternate history adventure that Charlie Jane Anders calls “preposterously fun.”
In the early 20th Century, the United States government concocted a plan to import hippopotamuses into the marshlands of Louisiana to be bred and slaughtered as an alternative meat source. This is true.
Other true things about hippos: they are savage, they are fast, and their jaws can snap a man in two.
This was a terrible plan.
Contained within this volume is an 1890s America that might have been: a bayou overrun by feral hippos and mercenary hippo wranglers from around the globe. It is the story of Winslow Houndstooth and his crew. It is the story of their fortunes. It is the story of his revenge.
Critics lauded the portrayal of a romance between bisexual Houndstooth and nonbinary Hero Shackleby. In regards to the “very little discrimination” which the characters encounter, Gailey has admitted that the worldbuilding involves “judicious handwaving”, in that “(i)f someone were to extrapolate the history of the world that had to develop in order for this story to happen, they’d probably need to cut out a lot of slavery and colonialism and Western Imperialism from America’s history.”