REVIEW: “Claudette Dulac and the Devil of the North” by Genevieve Sinha

Review of Genevieve Sinha, “Claudette Dulac and the Devil of the North”, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Issue Number 294 (January 2, 2020): Read online. Reviewed by Richard Lohmeyer

This is the tale Claudette tells a newspaper reporter about how she—a skinny, sixteen-year old trapper’s daughter—came to tangle with the mysterious Devil of the North. Basically, she did it by following her own good judgment while ignoring the sexist advice of male authority figures. “Young ladies who listen to others ‘bout their place don’t get much done at all,” she reasons.   

The story is set in a steampunkish version of the Canadian north, replete with skinner-bots and a number of cleverly named electric-powered guns. These include the ‘Lectric Oathkeeper, The True Heart, Lightning’s Fury, and The Foreboding of Beasts. But my favorite is The Wife’s Beloved, “a quadruple-barreled invention so noisy it was used only as a last resort but so called because every man who’d used it came home to his wife.”    

Like its companion story in this issue of BCS, the plot is not what’s best about this yarn. In fact, the ending seemed a bit anticlimactic. However, the setting and narrative voice more than make up for it. In short, it’s another fine story from a magazine well worth reading.