Thursday, August 18, 2016

What Pada-Sara Means to the Elephant, by Jeremy Sim

(High Fantasy) A boy and his sister flee their home city during a crackdown on the underclass, but the soldiers chasing them are closing in. (5,845 words)

Rating: 3, Average

, by appeared in the issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies (Issue 206).

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: The essence of the story is about the two kids making it to safety, and by the end, even though they haven't got to Ankora yet, we know they're safe, and so the story concludes naturally. Further, they have some hope of freedom for their people and even of safety for their parents.

The story seems to be a metaphor for how the upper classes subsist on the backs of the working classes. The bharjana literally create bread by magic, but one can read that as representing anyone who creates value by working with his or her hands.

There is a good bit of tension during the chase and while the kids are trying to hide from the soldiers. There's also tension at the end when we're not sure if they'll let the kids go.

Con: It's surprising that the yodhinika solders just let them go so easily. The moral choice doesn't appear to be much of a choice at all; as the narrator says, the yodhinika are bullies and parasites." Both of these factors weaken the ending substantially. 

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