Review From User :
I really enjoyed this story of uplifted, anthropomorphic animals. And as the main characters are elephants, animals that I love for their intelligence and social dynamics, I was happy!
Just a note about the cover: I LOVED the image! The artist, Victo Ngai, has created other covers for various short stories and novels published by Tor, and I'm very fond of this artist's work.
The story stars with the interrupted voyage by an elderly Fant (as the elephant-like species is known) on his voyage to a Fant graveyard. Elderly Fant get a sense of when they're ready to die, and leave across the ocean to this graveyard. The story continues with Jorl, who is a Speaker, who, with the aid of a drug called koph, can speak to the dead by accessing and gathering the individual nefshon (memory) particles for this person. Jorl is a sort of uncle to a young Fant named Pizlo who is an albino and has various other issues and is seen as an abomination by the other Fants on Barsk, the Fant planet. Pizlo is a very curious six-year old and is fascinating.
Jorl begins investigating when he hears of elderly Fants going missing, and wonders if the disappearances are connected to an ancient Fant prophecy. There's a lot more going on in the story, centred around the Speaking ability and the drug koph.
The characters are interesting, there's commentary about racism and acceptance of those that are different. There are ethical quandaries, and I just loved little Pizlo. When I finally finished the book, I was left with a big smile.
Category: Fantasy, Sci-Fi
An historian who speaks with the dead is ensnared by the past. A child who feels no pain and who should not exist sees the future. Between them are truths that will shake worlds.
In a distant future, no remnants of human beings remain, but their successors thrive throughout the galaxy. These are the offspring of humanity’s genius-animals uplifted into walking, talking, sentient beings. The Fant are one such species: anthropomorphic elephants ostracized by other races, and long ago exiled to the rainy ghetto world of Barsk. There, they develop medicines upon which all species now depend. The most coveted of these drugs is koph, which allows a small number of users to interact with the recently deceased and learn their secrets.
To break the Fant’s control of koph, an offworld shadow group attempts to force the Fant to surrender their knowledge. Jorl, a Fant Speaker with the dead, is compelled to question his deceased best friend, who years ago mysteriously committed suicide. In so doing, Jorl unearths a secret the powers that be would prefer to keep buried forever. Meanwhile, his dead friend’s son, a physically challenged young Fant named Pizlo, is driven by disturbing visions to take his first unsteady steps toward an uncertain future.
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