McDonald creates a unique and original setting for his seven science fiction stories, set in the India of 2047. One hundred years post independence, India is still a fascinating soap opera which must contend with warring states, water wars, strange new genders, and artificial intelligence. McDonald, who lived in India for four years, juxtaposes the conservative and culturally determined ways of thinking with the social use of strange and new technologies in a way that that stretches the mind. In “An Eligible Boy” , a young man goes though all kinds of practices under the tutelage of an AI to try to find a wife in a land where the there are more men than women. In “The Little Goddess”, a young girl is protected, cosseted and worshipped as a Goddess till she loses blood through menstruation or as is the case here through injury. Thrown out of the palace, she wanders around in the bustling country finally becomes a conduit for smuggling AI(artificial intelligence)that is imbedded in her brain to help transport it illegally across different states. Each story shows that McDonald knows his craft, taking science fiction to new levels by offering a unique and an exotic setting and a perspective different from the traditional European or North American one. His language is fresh and original and his prose sharp. This book is a must read!
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