Das is a new author to me, and this story is an impressive introduction. He posits a world that has one hemisphere permanently turned to face the sun, one turned away. I’m sure the more scientifically minded would post huge objections as to why this would be impossible for intelligent life to develop, but as a social scientist I’m more interested in the society he portrays.
The society is in effect that of Victorian England, with a steampunky vibe about it. The narrator is a woman looking back on a childhood train journey that she took when she was eight. The journey was with her older brother and parents – her father a captain of industry and very much a Knight of the Realm, in that in this society, as a young men he was part of forays into the inhospitable night-side of the planet, where he slew one of the ‘Nightmares’ that live there, and threaten them.
Or, rather, one of the creatures that live in the night-side and whom they feel threatened by, as the story looks at how the society chooses to destroy that which it does not understand and thus fears. It’s a nicely different conceit, and handled well.