A great story from Forrest, albeit with a limited sfnal element.
It’s set in an alien, mountainous landscape with ever-depleting water supplies, in a patriarchal society – well, alien enough to me, as I’ve never been close to the Hindu Kush or the Himalayan Kamakorum. We follow young Asma, her older sister about the married. The younger sister does not have the favour of her mother, and feels more like the maiden aunt who is part of the family. And during the course of the story, set against a background of corporate mining and politics, we find out more about her, the barriers to her, and an option (the minor sfnal element) that will enable her to avoid following in her aunt’s footsteps and being a maiden aunt in the service of her older brother.
The sfnal element are ’empath’ implants, that would enable her to get a job as a diplomat, but that could easily have been replaced by a non-sfnal route into diplomacy, so that’s not really a crucial element to the story (truth to be told, when I came to write this review I started by stating there wasn’t an sfnal element, so minor was it to the excellent story).