Seven Cities of Gold

Moles’s prose is always tight and vivid and his worldbuilding is superb. … Moles may be riffing on Coppola, riffing on Conrad but he’s really channeling Orwell.
Hannah Strom-Martin, Strange Horizons
Measured, complex and unpredictable, it riffs on Heart of Darkness to great effect and delivers a bracing ironic commentary on the purpose and uses of faith.
James Lovegrove, FT.com
A powerful novella… the story needs to be read, to experience Dr. Nakada’s own dissolution, and the devastated heart of this America.
Rich Horton, Locus
A masterfully done work… lived-in and all-too-real… with physical details that feel real and yet surreal at the same time, and scenes so grotesquely horrible that they almost rise through it to a hallucinatory beauty.
Gardner Dozois, Locus
A poor re-write of Apocalypse Now.
C. Smith, Amazon.com

The air was hot as a sulfur spring, hot as fresh ashes. The sky was a deep blue, and completely clear. Of the looters and cannibals Ishino feared, there was no sign. There were no living people in sight, no fish, no birds. The wooden maze of the lower city, where the vast majority of the city’s inhabitants had lived and worked, was simply gone. Of the canals indicated on the charts, there remained only a vague geometry picked out in burnt pilings that rose here and there among oily slicks of garbage, slowly turning drifts of wreckage captured in lazy eddies, the corpses of dogs and pigs and human beings grounded against accidental dams of capsized boats and fallen timbers.

Nakada surveyed the prospect with a feeling of pleasant melancholy. There’d been less than a grain of opium in the packet she’d stolen from the formulary cart in the burn ward, maybe a quarter of her normal dose, but enough to take the edge off, enough to let Nakada appreciate what was around her. She felt suffused with mono no aware, the sense of inherent pathos in ordinary things: a category which at the moment seemed to her to encompass the boat, the dirty water, the vanished buildings, the corpses, the clear sky; to encompass the world. She looked out over the ruin of Espírito Santo, and in the bathhouse heat, shivered at its tragic beauty.

She felt, for the first time in months, alive.

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