The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday by Saad Z. Hossain
When the djinn king Melek Ahmar wakes up after millennia of imprisoned slumber, he discovers a world that is completely foreign. Melek Ahmar is joined by mountain man Bhan Gurung, an old Gurkha soldier who has shrugged off technology and the city. Humanity lives in the city of Kathmandu, where everyone is equal and everything is run by Karma, the all-knowing, all-seeing autocratic AI without a conscience, who crunches everything by numbers. But despite all of their advancements, humanity is still the same, and there is something rotten in the city…
Holy fucking shit this was hilarious and intense and scary all at the same time.
Little bit mystery, lotta bit dystopia, with the world run by nanotech and algorithms (ooooooh, the fallacy of algorithms) and Karma, who assigns every thing and every act a point. This combines the brilliance and delight of technological advancement with the horrorshow of humanity, climate change and the failures (or gruesome successes?) of technology.
I really enjoyed reading about this world of supposed equality (well, kinda, although as always there are people living in the stratosphere as the rich stay rich and the zeroes stay in the bottom), where old school magic returns with a vengeance. There’s a lot of discussion of consequences and equality, and a lot of drinking and goat sacrifices and pistachio-shelling.
Hamilcar Pande was a surprise favorite, a fake sheriff who nonetheless was the only person who ask what the fuck would make four generals cry during a court martial.
This world was a delight, Melek Ahmar was seedy and terrifying and hilarious (and super powerful—there’s a reason homeboy is one of seven—which makes twenty years of dripping water on his head all the more humorous), and I hope to see more of this world, and of the Gurkha and the djinn.
I won this free copy from a raffle hosted by the publisher