There is something magical about reading a narrative in which the author’s unbridled joy pours from every sentence ... Yoss is perhaps the most singular voice in contemporary Cuban science fiction, and Red Dust is an explosive mix of science fiction and noir that pays tribute to both genres while also showing how much the author loves them ... While love for noir is at the heart of the novel, science fiction is the heart itself. It’s also the entire structure of the novel. Yoss has never been afraid to come up with wild ideas, and he does that a few times in Red Dust ... a book that delivers plenty of passages that entertain while also presenting bizarre science and strange possibilities ... While most of the alien mayhem isn’t overtly political, there are a few instances in which he gets political or does a brilliant deconstruction of how the center-periphery model operates and how it is designed to ensure those who possess power retain it and those who depend on the center are doomed to remain in ignorance and dependency ... an odd mix that somehow works beautifully. Fans of science fiction will immediately fall in love with Yoss’s imagination, and fans of noir and detective stories will get a kick out of seeing the author taking classic tropes into outer space and seeing classic novels through the eyes and mind of an android. Restless Books has done a fantastic job by bringing Yoss’s work to English speakers, and translator David Frye has once again managed to translate a narrative with strange words, unique phrasing, funny turns of phrase, and even a hint of Spanglish without losing any of the spark and humor that make Yoss’s work such a pleasure to read. If you’re a fan of Yoss, this is a superb addition to his oeuvre. If you’ve never read Yoss, then this is the perfect place to start.
For readers similarly attached to Chandler, Raymond will be a delight. His narration is an immensely charming Philip Marlowe impression: goofily self-conscious, often laugh-out-loud funny, and perfectly translated. (I shudder to imagine how hard translating pseudo-Chandler must have been; Frye deserves a tip of the fedora Raymond never takes off.) Red Dust is pastiche at its finest, and it delivers a happy ending that seems to warm even Raymond's robot heart.
... inventive ... As a fan of science fiction, this quick read is fun ... Yoss builds a new world in Red Dust and refers often to Asimov, detective novels, and creates space ships and creatures, that all took me a few pages to learn. The payoff was well worth it. Good science fiction demonstrates the weaknesses and strengths of humanity ... I really enjoyed Raymond. I also couldn’t guess where the plot was going, it is fresh, unique. Yoss’s humor shines through either because he understands English or because the translator is that talented. The strength of the book is the relationships between Raymond and a couple of key characters, but the action is also clear and gives the book tension. I’m happy to have discovered the world of Yoss and will look for more of his quirky novels.