Sunday, August 16, 2020

The Inaccessibility of Heaven, by Aliette de Bodard

[Uncanny]
★★★★☆ Recommended

(Fantasy Horror) Samantha searches Paris to try to find what’s killing fallen angels. (16,638 words; Time: 55m)

This is set in an alternate version of the world in her Dominion of the Fallen series. Those stories are also set in an alternate Paris with fallen angels, but in this world, there has been no destructive war; this city functions normally, with things like working taxis and cell phones. There’s no need to read those stories to read this one, and this one won’t spoil the series either.

"," by (edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas), appeared in issue 35, published on .

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

Review: 2020.389 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: One drawback of having read the series is that I keep thinking the world is a lot darker than it really is. Yes, there’s a murderous monster out there, but it’s still Paris, with working lights, phones, taxis, etc. Although gloomy and foreboding is definitely the right atmosphere for a story like this one.

Samantha is quite resourceful in tracking down all the people/angels who might help identify the source of this problem. Partly because she loves the angel Calariel, but also because she has a strong sense of right and wrong, and she often acts based on that rather than thinking things through. She’s also a much better detective than she is a witch.

In the conflict at the end, she’s the only one who realizes that they have to call upon the Celestial City for help. That they have unleashed a horror that no one in this world can vanquish. A big part of her reward is that when God himself turns up to close the breech, he takes a moment to make sure she knows she’s loved.

Con: This is literally a deus ex machina ending.

Besides Samantha, the other characters aren’t very well developed. It’s not clear what Samantha sees in Calariel nor what O’Conner sees in Arvedai.

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Aliette de Bodard Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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