Butterfly, Falling at Dawn — Aliette de Bodard

And it’s back to “The Universe of Xuya” for another detective story.

Originally published in Interzone, then printed in The Year’s Best Science Fiction and then re-printed at International Speculative Fiction where you can read it for free.

Once again we’re in the heart of Xuya, and Xuyan society, but instead of an American detective we are now given a Mexica magistrate.   Once again, cultural tensions are played out as the Mexica people who are now living in Xuya are mostly refugees who fled Mexica during the civil war; and just like in real life, where we find immigrant communities we find a wide spectrum between the culturally conservative groups on one side, who do everything possible to maintain their old ways in the new land, and, on the other side, those who chose to leave their past completely behind and adopt the new land’s ways completely as their own: i think, for me at least, the exploration of this spectrum is what this story does best.

Our Mexica magistrate, the first non-Xuyan magistrate in Xuya, has been given a Mexica woman’s death to investigate and is forced to confront her own past, people and culture within this new land, a land in which she, and others, have tried to leave the past behind.

So as much as this story is another piece in Aliette’s alternative history of the world, it’s also a thought provoking look into the lives of those who have had to leave their homes and cultures behind and find a new future in a new and foreign land.

Once again, great writing, interesting characters, good pacing.

Lots more Xuya story reviews coming soon — yeah, i’m becoming an addict.

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