Tor.com, January 23, 2019
- “His Footsteps, Through Darkness and Light” by Mimi Mondal (fantasy short story)
This is a tale about Trapeze Master Binu of the Majestic Oriental Circus, his jinni friend Shehzad Marid, and, eventually, the devadasi (raja’s and god’s dancing girl) Savithri. When the latter seeks Binu’s help to escape her unrewarding bondage and Binu rather rashly agrees, a god is angered, the circus is threatened, Binu and Shehzad Marid’s relationship is tested, and Binu must do what he can to try to make things right. This is all as colorful as it hopefully sounds and there is a sort of sprightliness to the somewhat goofy Binu’s narration which is appealing though the “good” and “bad” in the story isn’t very challenging and the ending is played with the net down with threats and costs and bargains coming out of nowhere. It’s a pleasant enough diversion which may find fans.
Edit (2019-02-04): Thanks to the folks at Short Fiction Monday on Fantasy Literature for pointing out that this is a sort of sequel to “The Trees of My Youth Grew Tall” (Strange Horizons, July 16, 2018). I’d reviewed, but forgotten, that story. The current story is much better but some folks may prefer to read both.