This is the third of the short stories written by Aliette de Bodard that I’ve read. It takes place in the same universe as The Tea Master and the Detective and Citadel of Weeping Pearls, but this time the action takes place on a space station.
A magistrate named Linh arrives on the station, seeking refuge from a war that has engulfed her planet, but also because she wrote a missive against the current policy of the Emperor. There she finds her extended family, who are somewhat dysfunctional, which she doesn’t really help with at all!
More than this, problems start to arise with the Mind that runs the station (similar to the Minds in the ships in the Empire). The Mind really is another character, very much like the other books but with a different side that we haven’t seen in other novels.
It was a great story, perhaps not as exciting as the other novels, but focussing more around family drama and interpersonal relationships. However, it’s still a richly described universe, with ceremony and pomp and all that good stuff. It’s entirely enjoyable. It makes me want to have a whole novel in this universe more than ever.