My Favorite Bit: Mary Robinette Talks About THE SPARE MAN

Today’s My Favorite Bit post is about my new novel, The Spare Man. Here’s the publisher’s description:

Tesla Crane, a brilliant inventor and an heiress, is on her honeymoon on an interplanetary space liner, cruising between the Moon and Mars. She’s traveling incognito and is reveling in her anonymity. Then someone is murdered and the festering chowderheads who run security have the audacity to arrest her spouse. Armed with banter, martinis and her small service dog, Tesla is determined to solve the crime so that the newlyweds can get back to canoodling—and keep the real killer from striking again.

What’s my favorite bit?


My actual favorite bit involves a little bit of murder and a lot of spoiler, so you get my second favorite bit. I loved writing the character Fantine. I loved writing her so much that I actually had to trim her out of parts of the book because she was utterly unnecessary but fun. 

Why did I like writing her? Because the cursing pattern I gave her was delightful to play with. She’s a lawyer and fierce, but she also is trying very hard not to use swear words, so she curses using a combination of Shakespearean insults and Catholic martyrs. That means you get things like “Holy Saint Dymphna’s dad” or “mammering lobsters.”

So allow me to present my Top Ten Fantine curses.

  1. Methuselah’s swim trunks
  2. beetle-headed walking bladder
  3. In the name of St. Jerome’s dirty thongs
  4. Bartholomew’s bloody skin
  5. galumphing sack of cheese curds
  6. Bash my pox-brained head in with tablets and stab me with blunt styluses
  7. Holy fartweasels on a flying carpet
  8. Frozen farts on a stick
  10. eight-bit bozos


The Spare Man Universal Book Link






Mary Robinette Kowal is the four-time Hugo, Locus, and Nebula Award winning author of The Glamourist Histories series, Ghost Talkers, the Lady Astronaut Universe, and The Spare Man. She is a cast member of the award-winning podcast Writing Excuses and has received the Astounding Award for Best New Writer. Her stories appear in Asimov’s, Uncanny, and Year’s Best anthologies. Mary Robinette, a professional puppeteer, also performs as a voice actor (SAG/AFTRA), recording fiction for authors including Seanan McGuire, Cory Doctorow, and John Scalzi. She lives in Nashville with her husband Rob and over a dozen manual typewriters.

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