Friday, March 13, 2020

Grayer Than Lead, Heavier Than Snow, by Yukimi Ogawa

★★★☆☆ Mixed

(Future Fantasy) Kiriko accepts a contract to help a wealthy foreigner who has run out of his medicine, but her success attracts the unwelcome attention of “colorful” people who look down on lowly colorless folk like her. (8,536 words; Time: 28m)

This is the same protagonist from “Ripen,” which you probably want to read first, since it explains the world much better.

"," by (edited by Neil Clarke), appeared in issue 162, published on .

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

Review: 2020.134 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The setting is a country in our world (a thinly disguised Japan) where the upper-class people are born with various colors and patterns on their bodies. Everyone else is a second-class citizen.

I’ll call her magic, tuptomancy—making magic through manipulating patterns. She’s a very good tuptomancer, and her success surprises even the ando (android), Mizuha, who hired her. Mizuha sees lots of potential for a technology that greatly amplifies the effects of drugs, even if Kiriko doesn’t want to be involved.

It’s nice that Kiriko agrees to help out Mizuha even after the ando stole her materials, and it’s rather funny that she forgets to ask for payment before insisting the andos erase all their memories of her.

Con: The story has quite a number of minor errors in the English. Given the author is not a native speaker, that doesn’t surprise me, but what does surprise me is that they didn’t all get fixed by the copyeditor.

The details about tuptomancy get really dull after a while, since we don’t really have an organizing principle for it and don’t know of any limits on it. Also, as Mizuha points out, it’s rather hard to believe that these complex spells always work as expected on the first try.

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Yukimi Ogawa Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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