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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Nebula Award for Best Novelette 

Finalist for the Hugo, Locus, Shirley Jackson, and Sturgeon Awards 

The Only Harmless Great Thing is a heart-wrenching alternative history by Brooke Bolander that imagines an intersection between the Radium Girls and noble, sentient elephants. 

In the early years of the 20th century, a group of female factory workers in Newark, New Jersey, slowly died of radiation poisoning. Around the same time, an Indian elephant was deliberately put to death by electricity in Coney Island. 

These are the facts. 

Now these two tragedies are intertwined in a dark alternate history of rage, radioactivity, and injustice crying out to be righted. Prepare yourself for a wrenching journey that crosses eras, chronicling histories of cruelty both grand and petty in search of meaning and justice.

©2018 Brooke Bolander (P)2019 Tantor

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  • Mark
  • 13-09-2020

A fantastic story about man trying to play God

There is so much meaning packed in this little short story, this is a must read for anyone who has the time to read it. A graphic look into the bestial nature in all living things, portraying man as an selfish and ignorant godhead while the animals of the book are the beings with great insight and humanity. Full of sharp criticism of man’s egocentric ideals, and how they cause downfalls for anyone, human or beast, in the name of progress. Witty, critical, and beautiful, I cannot wait for more from Brooke Bolander.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.