Aliette de Bodard. In Everlasting Wisdom. (Infinity Wars ed Strahan)

Originally in : Infinity Wars, ed Jonathan Strahan, Solaris Books 2017.

Read in : The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume Three. (ed Neil Clarke, Nightshade Books 2018)

A shorter story that rather whizzes through the plot, helpfully being very clear about what has happened and what is happening, so the ending comes quite quickly and isn’t really a surprise. The central conceit – that a human has had an ‘appeaser’ implanted in her, a creature who emanates words of wisdom from the Emperor, which are picked up by the general population, in order to keep them in control – is an interesting one, and a lengthy novella could have been written just on that. But the backstory is explained, we are told the general population are getting restless, and just as things come to a head, the protagonists meets a women in very much the same dire straits the she was in when she had the appeaser implanted, gives her pause for thought and sets up a decision for her.

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