Oops I’m a little late, but in my defense it was a long weekend. (Yes, of course I’m tempted to make a sardonic remark re: the weekend in question being the Fourth of July.)
At any rate! You can purchase a copy of the latest Fantasy & Science Fiction digitally here (there’s also subscription options), or pick up a print subscription here. There’s so much great stuff in it, it’s a delight to be included.
Look at it O:
I’ve said most of what I wanted to say about this piece elsewhere (link coming soon), but one of the things I like about speculative fiction is, well, the speculation. One of the reasons colonialism proliferated so widely was technology asymmetry, both for the obvious reason and, I suspect, because it enticed more people to collaborate than might have otherwise. So most of the offscreen worldbuilding was spent thinking out what a world would look like where the two sides were closer, though not identical, in technology.
Rural people are more literate than in the real-world analogue, and as a consequence of the wider connectivity the locals have always had (there’s just no way Mysteriously Unnamed Country had nearly as many principalities), the Mysteriously Unnamed Empire is less able to hold on to its acquired territory. In this regard, THE YEAR 1000 by Valerie Hansen was helpful, because it’s about an era in which globalization was happening on more technologically coequal footing. Also, I wish I’d read all of INDIA AFTER GANDHI by Ramachandra Guha before writing the end.
As the title should give away, there’s also agency with regards to feminism. I do want to note that aspect of it is more closely based on my experiences in modern India, and that it would be a mistake to assume precolonial India was automatically more misogynist than such. I mean, Kautilya’s Arthashastra has a bit on how if a woman’s husband disappears for a year, that property’s now hers and she should move on with her life. At least based on that, sati was not standard practice.
At any rate, if you’ve made it this far, here are some pictures from Chowmahalla Palace. I don’t know who all writes the Wikipedia articles relevant to India, but it’s a bit amusing to see the same tiptoeing around the Asaf Jahi dynasty‘s collaboration as on the actual displays there. (Not an expert, but read the article on the Nizams.)
Tragically most of my pictures were terrible. Bad equipment (2012) + I’m a third-rate photographer anyway, haha. (What is composition? I just want to keep all the humans out of the frame.)