Caviar Blini and Vodka paired with A Gentleman in Moscow

Fiction To Sink Your Teeth Into, a feature from author and professional chef Rohan O’Duill!

A Gentleman in Moscow tells a story of optimism in hopeless situations. The count shows us we can still appreciate beautiful things in the most difficult of circumstances. So even if things are bad, you can sit back with a book and some delicious food and drink and enjoy that small moment.

blinis topped wth caviar. In the background is the book A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles and a glass of vodka.
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Red Kibble paired with Nemesis Games

In which Rachel hijacks Rohan’s Fiction to Sink Your Teeth Into column!

“[Naomi] opted for red kibble from a scarred kiosk with adhesive from generations of nightclub flyers caking its sides. It came in a brown pressed-shred container that fit in her left palm with a plastic spatula like a flattened spoon to eat with. The first bite filled her mouth with cumin and her mind with dust-covered memory. For a moment, she was in her bunk on Tio Kriztec’s ship, huddled over the white ceramic bowl she had loved then and forgotten for years, eating quietly while the others sang in the galley”  (Nemesis Games, Chapter 9)

“The meal was the heavily spiced and deep-fried balls of bean paste that Belters called red kibble “(Persepolis Rising, Chapter 26).

Red kibble is featured prominently in James S.A. Corey’s Expanse series, particularly Nemesis Games and Persepolis Rising, where Naomi Nagata enjoys it in stark contrast to her crewmates on the Rocinante. It’s a dish favoured by the Belters, the downtrodden civilization raised and adapted to living in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. They frequently must make do with the limited ingredients available, adding interest through spice and texture.

Many Expanse fans have tried their hand at recreating the recipe, which was also featured on the show. I had to give it a try!

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Cascade Book Launches & Signing

Rachel A. Rosen hosts the first book signing for her debut novel, Cascade, Friday, July 29th, 2022, 6:00 PM at Glad Day Bookshop in Toronto. Masks absolutely required!

“Rachel A. Rosen is some kind of twisted genius. I wish I had even half her moves.” — Peter Watts, author of Blindsight

If day drinking is more your cup of tea, join us for a launch party at the Imperial Pub at 4 pm on Sunday, July 31st! You can even see the legendary location where the first part of Cascade was written.

Cascade: Writing the Apocalypse

Cascade was never meant to be a work of climate fiction.

My meandering novel of magic, monsters, and machinations grew its themes organically. Not everything, even in a novel about politics, needs to be a political allegory. Sometimes the tentacle of a long-dead god emerging from the bottom of the ocean is just a tentacle of a long-dead god emerging from the bottom of the ocean. But the further I wrote, and the more IPCC reports were released to resounding global silence and inaction, the more it became obvious that the apocalypse that threatened the world of Cascade was a one not dissimilar to the one that imperils our own.

This led to one of my many bouts of soul searching while writing the novel. Could I even finish the book, let alone the series, before reality rendered it irrelevant? Was it selfish to care about that? Was it even ethical to write a book—which, for all its topicality, is a work of entertainment—when our planet is on fire? Surely my time was better spent at a pipeline blockade or, at the very least, marching in the street.

It may disappoint you, gentle reader, that I don’t have those answers. But I have done a fair bit of thinking about the role of artists, and other creators, during a climate apocalypse.

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The Music of Cascade

I didn’t set out to do it, but music is woven through Cascade like a spell. From Lucy’s opera to Ian’s fiddle, music is the backdrop of my characters’ lives—and of my own writing process.

I went from always listening to music when I wrote, to never listening to it, to a particular ritual during the pandemic where most of my drafting happened while listening to The Friday Night Parkdale Special. (At least the ending of Cascade was written to Motown, Tipper Gore’s Filthy 15, and hair metal. FNPS—and I— contain musical multitudes.) 

But there’s also the songs that I listen to when I’m imagining my world and my characters and the soundtrack to their story, and those are the songs I’m going to talk about in this post. I’ve put the whole playlist on Spotify, but I’ll share some highlights below.

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Last-minute Cascade pre-order promotion

Do you want weird mail from a weird author? Pre-order the ebook edition of Cascade before June 15 and you too can have something strange show up in your snail mailbox. Just DM Rachel on Instagram or the Night Beats Twitter with the receipt (and your favourite astrological sign—doesn’t need to be yours), and we’ll send you a personalized postcard by Rachel and stickers from After Hours in Toronto.

Get Cascade from your favourite online bookstore here!

The ebook version of Cascade sitting on the paperback version of Cascade, surrounded by fairy lights and various swag and objects.

Cascade Kindle pre-order

Cascade (the Kindle edition) is now available for pre-order. You can get it here:

Other formats are coming soon. There’s also still time to back the Kickstarter for limited edition offers and multiple formats.

Advance praise for Cascade

  • “Finally, an urban fantasy that kills the cop—and the rest of the  government—in your head. Relentlessly radical and often hilarious, Cascade will change the way you look at magic, and the state,  forever.” — Nick Mamatas, author of The Second Shooter.
  • Cascade is an excellent introduction to the imaginative prose of Rachel A. Rosen. Her debut novel takes us to a futuristic North America filled with vividly realized characters surrounded by magic and the possible end of the world. One of the few novels I’ve read recently in a single weekend. Sharp and thought-provoking, with thrilling moments and crackling with compelling ideas, I wouldn’t miss this one. I’m looking forward to her next instalment!”— Bryan Thao Worra, author of BEFORE WE REMEMBER WE DREAM.
  • “Rachel A. Rosen’s Cascade is one of the best books I’ve read this year. She brings a unique blend of magic environmentalism, Canadian politicking, and indigenous and queer rights to the table. I never thought I would be so interested in the near-futuristic Canadian political process!” — Marsha Altman, author of The Darcys and the Bingleys
  • “Full of magic and social commentary, Cascade is never so witty that it hides its anger or so angry that it sacrifices wit. This is a brilliant exciting debut by an author that will have a long and fruitful career if there’s any justice in the world.” — Tim Lieder, author of Sugarplum Zombie Motherfuckers