Monday, September 30, 2019

One Found in a World of the Lost, by Shweta Adhyam

★★★☆☆ Honorable Mention

(Indian Post-Apocalypse Fantasy) In a hostile, ruined Earth, a teenage girl struggles with the consequences of the death of her twin sister. (6,979 words; Time: 23m)

"," by (edited by Scott H. Andrews), appeared in issue 287, published on .

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

Review: 2019.564 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The story develops along two threads: Pavitra, in the real world, struggling with life without her beloved sister. And Gayatri, in a different plane, trying to figure out what the yakshini is really after. (And also whether she really is Gayatri or not.)

Pavitra’s challenge is that she measures herself against Gayatri and always finds herself wanting. She struggles to accept the idea that it’s okay for her to have different strengths from her sister.

“Gayatri” has a more straight-forward challenge: summon Yama, the Lord of Death, and bring to his attention the way the yakshini has been stealing souls from him by locking their spirits into stone pillars.

In the conclusion, it appears that “Gayatri” has been Pavitra and the “other plane” was just her dream. But it was a real dream, in the sense that she really did confront a yakshini and she really did summon the Lord of Death and earns a boon from him.

Con: The hopelessness of the situation of Pavitra’s pack made it hard for me to enjoy this story. The world is described as so hostile that I can’t imagine any future for humanity other than extinction, and that gives everything else a feeling of futility.

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2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Author had a 2017 story in Intergalactic Medicine Show as Shweta Sundararajan so I don't think she's eligible for the Astounding Award.

    1. Thanks, I've updated the 2019 New Writers page.