REVIEW: “She Calls Down the Future, In the Footprints Left Behind” by Setsu Uzumé

Review of Setsu Uzumé, “She Calls Down the Future, In the Footprints Left Behind”, in Aidan Doyle, Rachael K. Jones, and E. Catherine Tobler, Sword and Sonnet (Ate Bit Bear, 2018) — 49-60. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

The scene opens onto a circle of warriors awaiting the drumming song of Naicto, their seer, for whom “there was no difference between her drumming and her weapon” (p. 59). Her songs tell the truth, tell the warriors who will live and who will die in tomorrow’s battle. But the truth Naicto sings for Terag is worse than mere death: Live and she will kill her chief; die and the entire tribe is doomed.

But prophecies never mean what they say. And sometimes the prophet says what she says not because it’s true but because the lies are the only way to make the right future true.