Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Jeweled Nawab Jungle Retreat, by Priya Sridhar

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(Indian Steampunk) Mr. and Mrs. Coates came to India to hunt the most difficult prey, and no one can convince them that hunting the Great Worm is suicide. (5,378 words; Time: 17m)

Rating: ★★★★☆ Good tale with a different twist on gender swapping
Recommended By: RHorton:4

"," by (edited by Scott H. Andrews), appeared in issue 214, published on .

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

Pro: Through her sacrifice of her identity, her devotion to her family, and her bravery, Rani earns her boon from Mahesh. She doesn't wish to be a boy; she only wishes for no one to discover that she's a boy. The gift of acquisition of knowledge has a different significance; it's what she needed to make her life worthwhile. Mahesh is kind and gives her precisely what she needs, even though she lacked the presence of mind to ask.

Mr. and Mrs. Coates are cardboard villains, but they make for great sacrifices; Mahesh's enthusiasm makes for great comic relief at a tense moment. To the extent that he represents the real India and they represent the worst of Europeans, it's not a surprise that he finds them such a tasty treat.

Obviously, Mr. and Mrs. Coates were trying to hunt a god. In fact, Mahesh means "Great Warrior" in Sanskrit and is one of the names of Shiva, the Destroyer.

Con: Except for being tasty, Mr. and Mrs. Coates have nothing to recommend them at all. They're caricatures of boorish imperialist tourists. We don't feel a sliver of regret when Mahesh wolfs them down.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 214)
Priya Sridhar Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB

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