Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The Inaccessibility of Heaven (Dominion of the Fallen), by Aliette de Bodard

Uncanny Magazine, Issue 35, July/August 2020

Samantha de Viera works at a shelter for newly Fallen angels. She's in a relationship with Calariel, a Fallen who also works at the shelter. Sam is also a minor witch. One day, she comes home to find that guests have let themselves in.

Arvedai is a Fallen Sam has had conflicts with in the past, but now he's asking for her help. Fallen are being killed, and in a horrifying way, torn apart by something with claws and fangs. Arvedai wants her to help find out who is doing it, and why. This will be dangerous--and it becomes a cause of conflict with Calariel.

This is part of de Bodard's Dominion of the Fallen series, a Gothic Paris where the Fallen are a major presence, defining how everything works in a rather grim, dark world. It's well-written, developed and textured and interesting, and it's just not my kind of story or my kind of setting.  Too dark. Too grim. This novelette is a 2021 Best Novelette Hugo Finalist, and I can't say it doesn't deserve to be. For myself, though--I much prefer de Bodard's Xuya Universe stories.

This story is available as a free read on the the Uncanny website. I'm reviewing it voluntarily.

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