Friday, October 18, 2019

The Justified, by Ann Leckie

★★★★☆ Nice Tale, with an Unexpected Outcome

(SF Colony Dystopia) The immortal ruler of her world summons Het from her self-imposed exile to deal with a threat of insurrection. (7,893 words; Time: 26m)

"The Justified," by (edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe), appeared in (RSR review), published on by .

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

Review: 2019.544 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: From the beginning we have hints that Het has substantial destructive abilities, starting with the point where she considers destroying Diahaut rather than returning with them. This is part of why Merur wants Het to seek out and destroy the threat—Het has done this in the past.

The chance meeting with the two little children changes everything: “Please don’t kill us, Noble Het.” Her fearsome reputation with the “single-lived” is well-earned, and it clearly pains her to see such a small child expressing such fear.

When she begins her rampage against the Justified, she starts by asking if her thirty-six warriors would kill small children if ordered to. When they assure her they would, she lays them waste. The connection with the conversation with the kids is obvious and yet moving nevertheless.

The conclusion, where Diahaut “poisions” Het, is moderately satisfying—given the circumstances, it would be hard for anything to be completely satisfying. Het is a monster, and she knows that now, so the best place for her really is alone and away from everyone else.

On a separate note, there are plenty of moments of tension, despite Het’s enormous power. Well done!

This is a retelling of the Egyptian myth of Sekhmet (the Eye of Ra) and her rampage against mankind.

Con: Het seems to be a little too powerful to believe as a real creature in our world (as opposed to a goddess in the original). You’d think soldiers with guns would bring her down.

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1 comment (may contain spoilers):

  1. Reprinted online at Lightspeed 131 (Apr 2021):