Friday, July 10, 2020

Seven Dreams of a Valley, by Prashanth Srivatsa

[BCS]
★★★☆☆

(Indian Fantasy ) The night watchman was warned not to look at the imprisoned witch, Kalmashi, but it was hard not to, and now he’s having strange dreams. (3,501 words; Time: 11m)

Recommended By: πŸ‘MHaskins+1 (Q&A)


"," by (edited by Scott H. Andrews), appeared in issue 307, published on .

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

Review: 2020.356 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: Just as most Western Fantasy is set in vaguely medieval European secondary worlds, this one is set in a vaguely 18th-Century Indian secondary world.

The main action of the story is how the witch used her magic to control the night watchman, but we see it from his perspective. In dreams, he goes back to a time when (I think) the witch’s father was a boy. He witnesses her mistreatment during the days and dreams more of her history each night.

By the last night, he dreams he sees the girl (young Kalmashi) having an epileptic fit, and, realizing they’ve destroyed the iron amulet that helped with her fits, he gives her his keys. The next morning, of course, the real Kalmashi has escaped—right on the eve of her execution—and she’s left a trail leading towards the Emperor’s chambers.

Con: I’m not sure whom to root for here. The emperor and the empire seem to be pretty cruel, but Kalmashi’s no saint either, and the night watchman seems to be entirely brainless.

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