Monday, August 6, 2018

The People Who Sleep Beneath the Waves, by Malena Crawford

[Strange Horizons]
★★★☆☆ Average

(Historical Fantasy) Ayomide was a chief’s daughter, but now she languishes on a slave ship, praying only for a good death. (4,445 words; Time: 14m)

"," by (edited by Sheree RenΓ©e Thomas and Rasha Abdulhadi, Erin Roberts), appeared in issue 07/30/18, published on .

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

Pro: Ayomide finds the good death she sought and gets the absolution she needed but didn’t ask for.

The moment when we realize that Ayomide killed her child rather than let him be enslaved is heart-stopping.

A few bits of Yoruba culture are of note: The curse of Aole (1789) condemned the Yoruba (in modern Nigeria) never to have unity. This references the fact that Ayomide and her neighbors were betrayed to the slavers by their own people.

Ironically, Ayomide means “my joy has arrived” and Olusola means “He who dominates the waves.”

Con: Ayomide gets what she wanted merely by asking for it. Olokun’s price is essentially that she gives Ayomide a job in the afterlife.

Learning that Olusola was doomed to die in infancy anyway takes away Ayomide’s pain, but it takes much of the energy from the story by trivializing her sacrifice.

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