Stuff I Like - The Incrementalists

Today's Thing is a novel, The Incrementalists by Steven Brust and Skylar White.

The story begins with Phil; he's a professional cardplayer in Las Vegas. He's also a member of a secret society called The Incrementalists, a collection of immortals who survive by placing their memories and personalities into new bodies. Sometimes the old personality erases the new one, sometimes not so much. Their task is to make the world a better place, but incrementally, a little at a time. And Phil has found his latest recruit; Ren, a software designer, who agrees to have the "stub" of Phil's partner, Celeste, placed inside her.

It does not go according to plan. 

I fell for this book. Hard. It's a clever premise and an interesting plot, but what kept me reading was the story of Ren & Phil's relationship. Even without the plot, I would have read a whole book of these two having a conversation; their love story is funny, exciting, and ultimately, deeply moving. And the writing is philosophical and funny and just right. "The door opened, and Ren emerged, and my heart did a thing." Love that.

As good as Brust and White are, their words are only enhanced by Mary Robinette Kowal and Ray Porter, who narrate the audiobook, Kowal from Ren's perspective and Porter from Phil's. This was my first real exposure to Kowal's work, and I've gone on to enjoy both her own novels (The Glamourist Histories), and her work narrating Seanan McGuire's October Daye series. And Ray Porter is so damn good, y'all. I've since listened to him read all Jonathan Maberry's Joe Ledger novels (stay tuned), and am just finishing up his readings of Chandler's Philip Marlowe books. He's rather become what I aspire to as a narrator.

So, whether you get it in print or audio, check out The Incrementalists. It is A Thing That Is Good.