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Best of 2013 – The Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists

We picked The Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists, by Ahimsa Kerp because we have a thing for long titles. That’s it, really.

Okay, that’s not true. We love this story because it’s just the right dose of steampunk wonderment mixed with a vivid and believable description of a real time in human history. It’s also a coming of age tale that beautifully illustrates the moment when we learn that the world is not as simple, or as just, as we previously believed it to be.

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Art by David Revoy/ Blender Foundation

The Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists

By Ahimsa Kerp

The train chug-chug-chugged past the wild jungles and verdant tea plantations as plumes of steam drifted into the blue sky. Josephine Anson and her mother, Olivia, sat in the front car and the view was incredible; the karst cliffs rose high above the lush valley floor. Above and behind it all, mist-clad and snow-topped mountains soared like mighty emperors. It was nothing like the Kent countryside. Josephine was bored.

Her mother continued to stare out the window, perhaps not even noticing the views. There was only one thing on her mother’s mind, Josephine knew, when her eyes glassed over like that. She was thinking of father. He had left in April of 1899, a year ago almost to the day, and they hadn’t seen him since. As England’s leading Confucian scholar, he had been hired to do translating at an historic site, but his letters had stopped months ago.

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