SH Flashback: “Greetings from Kampala,” by Angela Ambroz

Here's the next Strange Horizons Flashback story:

Greetings from Kampala,” by Angela Ambroz
During an interstellar war between Hindustani and Chinese forces, an African-Hindustani soldier with PTSD is stuck on a ship carrying refugees from both sides of the war—and the ship's captain is her former boyfriend, who's now forty years older than she is. (Content warning: includes portrayal and discussion of PTSD.) (Published in 2009.) (4,800 words.)

Ghada picked up her pencil and wrote, "They are all fuckers."

No. Doctor Rai said she shouldn't write statements like that, she had to write feelings. The category was called Feelings, after all. So she clicked the pencil once, pushing lead through the little hole (just like the Drops pushed steel through human bodies; splat), and wrote, squishing it in the margin, "IfeelthatThey are all fuckers."

(See also the full list of Flashback stories.)




I love the multiculturalism of this story. I don't think there are any white people in it, and there's no explanation or discussion of that. Relatedly, I love the subtle worldbuilding—for example, it would be easy to miss the reference to London being in Hindustan—and the vivid background details, like the different flavors of beedi.

I also like the protagonist's personality, especially as shown in those great opening paragraphs I quoted above, and the portrayal of her as just trying to get by in difficult and kind of terrifying circumstances.

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