Scattered Along the River of Heaven — Aliette de Bodard

Free to read over at Clarkesworld.   It’s also in the collection Of Wars, and Memories, and Starlight.

This story reminds me of Butterfly, Falling at Dawn in the way people and cultures change and shift, with those who fight to maintain things, those who fight to rid things, those who adopt the new and those who refuse to.   But unlike Butterfly, Falling at Dawn where we had an external power come to support those who wanted change within their own society, to free themselves from the tyranny of their own people; in Scattered Along the River of Heaven we have a post conflict situation where one society has freed itself violently from the slavery and tyranny imposed upon it by an external society.

Likewise, within that society there were slaves who wanted to maintain the status quo, as they had been granted privileged positions amongst the slaves: the masters deliberately creating a tier system ensuring that the privileged slaves would keep the under-privileged slaves in place by overseeing, snitching, reporting, etc..   However, once their enslavers had been overthrown these privileged slaves were either killed or exiled along with their masters, hated and despised by those of their own people that they kept downtrodden for their own comfort and importance.

It’s also another one of those books by Aliette where a second reading is a must: at least it was for me.   It’s like i just couldn’t see the overall picture until the last 10th or so of the story, where things become clear and fall into place, and then i was left hanging, needing to go back and read it all again with a much clearer idea of what it was i was reading.   I think there’s some important information that is missing from the beginning that you don’t find until the end, but, doesn’t matter.   Or maybe it’s like one of those poems that you have to keep going back to hoping to glean a little more meaning each time.

But yeah, good book, plenty to think about culturally and things.

Next up, Immersion.

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