A perfect Sunday with... Aliette de Bodard

Pulpy detectives, delicious tea and wandering Paris!

A perfect Sunday with... Aliette de Bodard

Every week, a top writer, artist or creator reveals how they’d fill their perfect Sunday, sharing their favourite comfort reads, movies, food… anything that would make their weekend great.

Today, it’s the turn of A Fire Born of Exile author, Aliette de Bodard.

Aliette’s perfect Sunday… brunch

I'm really not a breakfast person (I tend not to eat in the morning), so I'd be having tea. A good Four Seasons oolong, smooth, sweet and just a little bit acid, or a bi luo chun, a green tea shaped like spirals--intensely floral and with a fruity taste. And of course it'd come in my favourite teaware--something which really depends on the mood, but it has to be a cup that feels good in my hand, the texture, colour and heft just the right match for the tea.

Aliette’s perfect Sunday… read

Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles are really hard to describe: they're a dizzying historical fiction chronicling the life of the fictional eponymous character, a nobleman turned soldier of fortune who crosses the path of many historical figures while fighting his own battles. The characters are all memorable from heroes to villains, the setting is impeccable, and Dunnett's scholarship just shines--the books effortlessly quote languages from Latin to French to Arabic, and in a way that absolutely doesn't interrupt the narration. These just get better on a reread--one for which I'm overdue!

Aliette’s perfect Sunday… comic

I'm really fond of Isabelle, a Belgian comic by Will/Franquin, Delporte and Macherot. It's a very cute comic that follows the adventures of Isabelle, a seventh-generation descendant of Hermès, her (great-great...)-uncle, a sorcerer who finds himself in the modern world when Isabelle helps free him from a curse. She, Hermes, and Hermès's fiancée Calendula have magical and whimsical adventures. Will has a flair for very cute and startling drawings, especially of fantastical creatures; the stories are simple but effective and memorable.

Aliette’s perfect Sunday… movie

That's really dependent on mood, but I've got a real fondness for the Robert Downey Junior Sherlock Holmes, a pulpy adventure with a flair of the maybe-fantastical that I feel Conan Doyle would have loved. Mark Strong is very on-point as the creepy villain, and the Jude Law/RDJ duo is funny, dynamic and very endearing.

Aliette’s perfect Sunday… TV binge

Nirvana in Fire is a Chinese historical drama based on a novel: incomparable strategist Mei Changsu comes back to the imperial court at a time of strife between the two major princes. He's soon assiduously courted by both of them--but what neither prince knows is that Mei Changsu was once a general betrayed and left for dead, who is here for revenge... The characters are brilliant in this, the plot is amazingly twisty, and who doesn't love a good revenge story? (I do. I always do).

Aliette’s perfect Sunday… podcast video game

I'm afraid I just don't listen to podcasts! May I pick a video game instead? I'm a latecomer to Capcom's Ace Attorney series: I just played the first two trilogies on the Switch and was enthralled by the characters, the mix of very funny (and sometimes very bad) puns, as well as very serious subject matters. Phoenix Wright, the Ace Attorney of the title, is a wonderful stand-in for the player; but my favourite remains drama boy prosecutor Miles Edgeworth, aka "dressing sharp, being rigidly fair, and making all the wrong decisions all at once". The various cases can be replayed as much as favourite books can be reread, and I'm looking forward to doing just that.

Aliette’s perfect Sunday… album

I'm particularly fond of Vienna Teng's music, and her first album Waking Hour remains a firm favorite--especially "The Tower", a mesmerising combination of enthralling lyrics and a rhythmic melody that's always stuck with me. The rest of the album showcase Teng's songwriting as well as her amazing piano skills. It's perfect music to either sink into, or for a writing session.

Aliette’s perfect Sunday… treat

I'm particularly fond of putting on hiking shoes and going to wander in Paris, especially as the weather turns warmer (walking under the rain is no fun). It's just so relaxing to be following the Seine, stopping to look at various places I usually rush by--finding the odd building or the odd tree and then moving on--and then grabbing an ice cream or a macaron from the various fancy shops in Le Marais as a treat before returning home.

A Fire Born of Exile by Aliette de Bodard is out now from JABerwocky Literary Agency in the US and Orion Publishing in the UK.

The Scattered Pearls Belt is a string of habitats under tight military rule . . . where the powerful have become all too comfortable in their positions, and their corruption. But change is coming, with the arrival of Quynh: the mysterious and enigmatic Alchemist of Streams and Hills.

To Minh, daughter of the ruling prefect of the Belt, Quynh represents a chance for escape. To Hoà, a destitute engineer, Quynh has a mysterious link to her own past . . . and holds a deeper, more sensual appeal. But Quynh has her own secret history, and a plan for the ruling class of the Belt. A plan that will tear open old wounds, shake the heavens, and may well consume her.

Aliette de Bodard writes speculative fiction: she has won three Nebula Awards, an Ignyte Award, a Locus Award and six British Science Fiction Association Awards. She is the author of A Fire Born of Exile, a sapphic Count of Monte Cristo in space (Gollancz/JABberwocky Literary Agency, Inc., 2023), and of Of Charms, Ghosts and Grievances (JABberwocky Literary Agency, Inc, 2022 BSFA Award winner), a fantasy of manners and murders set in an alternate 19th Century Vietnamese court. She lives in Paris.

Author Photo: Chloe Vollmer-Lo