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August Kitko and the Mechas from Space: 01/28/23
August Kitko and the Mechas from Space by Alex White (2022) is a queer space opera that mixes mechas and music theory. Put another way, it's queer Macross.
Gus Kitko is a jazz pianist hired to play during Earth's swan song. The invading Vanguards are coming and so far nothing humanity has done has worked so this is it. Ardent Violet, rockstar and Gus's significant other, is also there to witness the end.
Except they're both fantastic musicians and skilled in various complex ways of playing music. Their skills with music is what makes them perfect candidates to pilot the Vanguards who have gone rogue, realizing that killing all humans might not be the best plan in the universe.
If you're my age, aliens communicating with music isn't anything new. You're probably thinking:
In Alex White's novel, the solution is more like:
And I am 100% down for the music nerds turning big damn hero and saving the universe.
Along with the epic battles across space, Gus and Violet are an adorable couple. They're not the ideal romance book couple. They're messy and into their separate lives but they will drop everything to help each other when needed.
This novel also sits on the Road Narrative Spectrum. Gus and Violet and the other human Vanguards are scarecrow (protector) travelers (99). Their destination is utopia (FF), both literally, in trying to find human survivors that have been cut off from communication, and metaphorically in the form of an end to the war. Their route there is through the labyrinth (99) in that their relationship with their respective Vanguards is a transformative one.