Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday, by Saad Z. Hossain

★★★★★ Fun plot, great characters, cool setting

(Post-Apocalpyse Future Fantasy) Melek Ahmar, Djinn King and Lord of Tuesday awakes after thousands of years of imprisonment and sets out to take over the world. Or at least show the humans how to have a good party. (30,235 words; Time: 1h:40m)

"The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday," by (edited by Jonathan Strahan), published on by .

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

Review: 2019.449 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: Melek (the Djinn), Bhan (the Gurkha), and Hamilcar (the Sheriff are all strong characters, each with his/her own agenda. Melek wants to be king, but only for the parties. Bhan wants to destroy Kathmandu (or at least destroy the AI that runs it). Hamilcar wants to save his city, and that means digging to the bottom of things and figuring out what’s really going on. Karma, Shakia, and Doje are all secondary characters, but each has his/her own personality and goals (some obscure until the end).

The novella does a great job of weaving the various plot threads into a whole by the end. It also does a great job of lightening the story with bits of humor here and there. A favorite was:
Normal physics returned with a hesitancy that showed it had been well and truly spanked and was now not nearly as smugly certain of its seat at the table.

It also does a nice job of integrating the Djinn into what’s otherwise a strictly SF Post-Apocalypse world.

The setting is also worthy of note: A 22nd-Century Kathmandu run by an AI that administers a unique economic system and delivers abundance via powerful nanotech. And I definitely give the author points for realizing that an AI isn’t really going to “think” or have emotions, although it might be programmed to mimic them.

Con: The ending falls a little flat. Yes, zeroing all the points will at least erase the unfair benefits the big landowners got on Karma Day 1, but the real zeroes will still have no way to earn more points, while the productively employed will replenish their totals, so it’s not clear it makes that big a difference.

Doje is a bit of a cardboard villain, and Shakia’s motivations are never entirely clear.

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2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. I found this a fun read (especially the parts where the djinni were complaining about how nasty people are) with a nice balanced blend of science fiction and fantasy.

    1. Yes, it's very rare that a cross-genre story works for me, so this one was very special.