Having recently finished and enjoyed his Final Architecture trilogy, I wanted to read some more of Adrian Tchaikovsky’s work. On a whim, I picked up this novella, and saw that it was dedicated to the memory of Gene Wolfe — which struck me as a good sign. Ostensibly a fantasy story about a young, headstrong princess determined to banish the demon that’s plaguing her kingdom, Elder Race takes a sci-fi turn when the mighty wizard she turns to for help turns out to be something else entirely: an anthropologist sent to study her planet. Of course, the blending of sci-fi and fantasy isn’t new, but Tchaikovsky throws in some interesting twists, be it the trauma and loneliness of a “wizard” who fears he is the last of his kind or some particularly beautiful ruminations on the power of myths and stories to inspire, comfort, and heal us. This took me a little longer to read than I expected because I kept getting distracted with other things, but Elder Race could be a nice weekend read — if you’re looking for such a thing.