Review of The Secrets of Umami (The Galactic Culinary Society #1) by D.R. Schoel

Following the protagonist, Jeanne, in her perilous descent into an off-world volcano to recover a delicious confection and gain the experience/ clout amid the Galactic Culinary Society, purveyors of synesthetic wonders, was a blast. 

Well-described locales and well-paced exploration. Cheeky, digestible, and sciency. I was quite impressed by the old-fashioned cover art and retro charm of the tale. High recommended for all s-f aficionados. Light-hearted and futuristic – perfect for an escapist jaunt through imaginative adventures.

Review of Song of the Golden Brew (The Galactic Culinary Society #2) by D.R. Schoel

In the second segment of the Galactic Culinary Society series, you will find more atmospheric description and additional otherworldly settings. 

You will notice a relaxed pacing, punctuated with action, but never threatening to overwhelm the reader’s sense of awe at the universe inhabited by the protagonist. It is a setup ripe with sequel potential: catching ingredients from exotic locales.

Combining lighthearted humor with a solid sense of discovery, the gourmet hunters here are more realistic than those in the tradition of Toriko. A survivalist tension pervades the ambiance, propelled by amusing dialogue and dependable world building. The strange creatures it presents do not often phase or impress our well-traveled main character. With old-fashioned sensibility we are introduced to the fictional universe through the lens of gustatory marvels. This is the science fiction of new frontiers we might remember from the Golden Age, reminiscent of Fritz Leiber. The author takes time to establish new aspects of their creation, including interplanetary commerce and social strictures, making for a treat for readers with a refined palette.

The gastronomic delights on offer do not disappoint – don’t human lives already center around food? This is merely a playful extension of our mortal tendencies, infused with mystery and wonder, an approachable, compulsively readable, and memorable trip. Well-written, fraught with danger, guided by a resourceful heroine, doling out cinematic encounters, the author engages familiar science fiction tropes in a fresh way, through the reliable method of visual storytelling and employing colorful side characters which make for a seductive literary confection.