The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday by Saad Hossain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Bandgladeshi author Saad Hossain (Djinn City) has written a wry novel about the awakening of a long buried (for millennia!) djinn king by the name of Melek Ahmar, Lord of Mars, The Red King, the Lord of Tuesday, Most August Rajah of the Djinn. He's awakened by melting ice, in the Kanchenjunga in the high Himalayas. This melting business is your first clue that we are dealing with a a sort of post-climate apocalyptic future. He encounters a lone gurkha by the name of Bhan Gurung who lives in cave (one would almost think he was hiding out there) and keeps track of the goings on in the world by a streaming system called the Virtuality. The second hint we are dealing with a dystopian, post-apocalyptic future is that nearby Kathmandu, one of the only cities to survive, is controlled by some sort of vast tech called Karma. The climate, controlled by nanites, is maintained for the safety, wellbeing, and convenience of all citizens. *cough* Karma is all-knowing and all-seeing, in part by virtue of a personal medical device (PMD) implanted in every citizen. It's called an Echo. (Yep!) The Echo allows citizens to interface with the Virtuality directly, and access physical services like transportation, homes, and food vats. (Sounds yummy.) It also might be a means for say, scoring people on a karma scale. You know, like a numerical caste system? It's not like those numbers really mean anything, or that anyone could rig the system or anything. (BTW, Bhan Gurung has removed his PMD in order to stay off Karma's radar, or perhaps due to other reasons, like overall objection to the entire process?) Bhan and Melek Ahmar, Lord of Tuesday, sneak into Kathmandu because a king needs a kingdom and all. And requisite mischief ensues.
This rollicking satire has me interested in reading Djinn City, because Hossain has a wonderful sense of satire.
I received a paper review copy of this novella in exchange for an honest review.
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