Sudhir is leaving, part of a migration to someplace in the sky. Just exactly why isn’t clear until the end. A Scholar, he carries bags with tassels that contain the Memories of many different peoples. He meets a small alley girl, who, much to his dismay, lights a pipe of sweetleaf. He fights the urge to take her with him. He remembers other people he’s met along the way.
What makes this story memorable is the portrayal of different people: the girl in the alley who lights up a pipe and the fisherman who touches foreheads with Sudhir and tells him, “You’re the future.”
The ending is not credible on two fronts. To describe those will require spoilers. To read spoilers, highlight the passage below. Or, ignore.
On the first front, the ship is forced to carry more passengers than anticipated. Does that mean that people in other villages are left out? Or does that mean that the ship leaves with a heavier load than planned for? In either instance, bad things.
Secondly, how does Sudhir have time to teach all the other people the information in the Memories, especially after making his way to the front of the line?
The story displays a lovely sense of compassion and duty to others. Sudhir maintains his composure throughout. All of this is admirable and enjoyable to read, as are the portraits of humanity. The solution just didn’t work for me.
According to their blurb, author Uri King-Levy is a nonbinary Jewish author from California. They spend their days writing weird fiction, playing with their pet rats, and rescuing spiders barehanded. You can follow them on Twitter @FarOffTidbits, where they post microfiction, snippets of longer fiction, and guides on alien life.
The story can be read here.
Title: “For the Peace”
Author: Uri King-Levy
First published: November 10, 2020, Daily Science Fiction