The River Judge


The River Judge is a free novelette by S. L. Huang, the Hugo-winning author of The Water Outlaws, a retelling of the beloved Water Margin bandit novel, but from a womanly point of view.

The River Judge is a prequel to The Water Outlaws. But what interests me particularly in this short piece of fiction is how it presents in a precise and detailed way life in a rural village far from government interference... Self-rule is the norm, and whenever officials come in from the city, the townsfolk know it can only bring trouble upon them.

The other aspect is, of course, the oppressive patriarchy that governs absolutely every single aspect of women’s lives— and how it may eventually lead women to taking up banditry.

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