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The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  804 ratings  ·  181 reviews
When the djinn king Melek Ahmar wakes up after millennia of imprisoned slumber, he finds a world vastly different from what he remembers. Arrogant and bombastic, he comes down the mountain expecting an easy conquest: the wealthy, spectacular city state of Kathmandu, ruled by the all-knowing, all-seeing tyrant AI Karma. To his surprise, he finds that Kathmandu is a cut-pric ...more
Paperback, 167 pages
Published August 13th 2019 by
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Average rating 4.10  · 
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 ·  804 ratings  ·  181 reviews

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K.J. Charles
Oh my GOD this was so much fun. A crazed mash-up of djinn, nanotech, and detective story full of fantastic lines--it's literally laugh out loud funny, I was howling.

The curse of reading a lot of genre fiction is that it's very often obvious where a story is going from early on. This is never the case with Saad Hossain. At all. (I may never recover from Djinn City, in a good way.) The plot, settings, and concept all screech round unexpected turns, and occasionally plough through solid walls, and
Peter Tillman
See, there's this djinn, the Red King, the Lord of Tuesday. He's been locked up in an enchanted tomb for millennia. He wakes up, and comes out mad, bad, and ready to kick Hume ass....
There's this Gurkha, Bhan Gurung, an ex-soldier who is not quite what he seems. Together, they take the road to Kathmandu.

I usually advise readers to start with the publishers introduction. But this one is a bit spoiler-y, to my eye (but Indra Das's blurb, in boldface, is spot-on, and spoiler-free). I think you wou
I had so much fun reading this book. Thank you Coode Street's Gary and Jonathan for recommending this novella. It is delightful and fresh, and has a cool setting (near-future Katmandu). Here we have a grizzled Gurkha warrior and a megalomaniac djinn who just woke up and find out he's been sleeping for four thousand years. Chaos ensued when the djinn wanted to rule the nearby city because he thinks he's so awesome and deserved a throne. Little did he know that climate change had ruined the earth, ...more
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC of this book from the publishing company in exchange for a fair and honest review.

In the heart of the Himalayas, Melek Ahmar, the Lord of Mars, the Red King, the Lord of of Tuesday, Most August Rajah of Djinn, awakens after millennia of slumber. He finds that everyone's forgotten about him. Humans have their own problems: climate change has ravaged Earth and humans can't survive without nanobots scrubbing the air clean enough to breathe. Most therefore live in giant cit
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
A delightfully lighthearted story with innovative world building, a juxtaposition of old djinn legend and ultra advanced futuristic tech, combining elements of fantasy and sci-fi.

Awakened after millennia, a cranky yet powerful djinn sets out to become king of the independent city of Kathmandu, where an all knowing and powerful AI, known as Karma, oversees all aspects of life. But that's just the surface story. There's much more going on underneath, with the story becoming essentially a mystery a
Jun 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now we're talking. Hilarious, fast-paced, taking almost as many unexpected turns as Escape from Baghdad!. Highly recommended.

My favorite moments are here:
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, novella

Imagine an arrogant djinn waking up in a brand new world run by an artificial intelligence system called Karma. Melek Ahmar, the Lord of Mars, the Red King, the Lord of Tuesday, Most August Rajah of Djinn wants a city to rule, good parties, plenty of booze and great companions to drink, fight and carouse with. Accompanied by a Gurkha named Bhan Gurung who lives off the grid, he plans to conquer Kathmandu. At least he says so, but his actions suggest parties and heavy drinking appeal t
laurel [suspected bibliophile]
When the djinn king Melek Ahmar wakes up after millennia of imprisoned slumber, he discovers a world that is completely foreign. Melek Ahmar is joined by mountain man Bhan Gurung, an old Gurkha soldier who has shrugged off technology and the city. Humanity lives in the city of Kathmandu, where everyone is equal and everything is run by Karma, the all-knowing, all-seeing autocratic AI without a conscience, who crunches everything by numbers. But despite all of their advancements, humanity is stil ...more
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WTF did I just read? Weird Conan-the-Barbarian-Neil-Gaiman wannabe novella suddenly morphs into hi-tech post-scarcity SF utopia (or is it a dystopia; therein lies the rub). Our mismatched, crotchety pair of heroes stumbles into a wet-dream version of Kathmandu, lorded over by an AI called Karma.

Well, technically it’s not accountable; it just manages the algorithms. Which is what any leadership has invariably said at any major societal fuck-up, from Auschwitz to Baghdad. What follows is a delight
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a delightful novel - that’s only 165 pages! Hossain creates a very intriguing post-apocalyptic future in The Gurkha with governing AI systems and body implements, characters with secret agendas and grudges, and a very arrogant Djinn who really just wants to make a little trouble in what seems like paradise in Kathmandu. The tone of The Gurkha took a little getting used to, but once I caught on (which doesn’t take long) this book was hilarious. I can’t remember the last time I ended a book w ...more
Hilarious and highly entertaining, The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday is a genre-bending whirlwind of a novella with a surprisingly thoughtful social commentary.

I had one overwhelming thought upon finishing this book: "What on Earth did I just read?!?"
It's not often that one stumbles upon a book about an arrogant djinn and a knife-wielding, pistachios-eating old soldier fighting an AI for the control of a city. Even though I was expecting absurdity and craziness, Saad Hossain still managed with
Yasser Ahmed
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Melek Khamar, the Lord of Tuesday, has been asleep for ~3000 years and wakes up to a world where humans have salted the earth (or more accurately, the air) and require nanotech implants to survive. It doesn’t take too long for Melek Khamar (note he always refers to himself using his full name, the first indications of his self-importance) to begin his plans to take over again – because why not? That’s what he does. This might be shallow reasoning elsewhere but the entire novella is so self-aware ...more
Barb in Maryland
Sep 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-f-goodies
3.5 stars for this very entertaining novella set in a future Kathmandu.

Lots of nice touches in the story. I especially liked that the all powerful (and completely amoral) AI that runs the city is named Karma. Our Lord of Tuesday is a djinn, one Melek Ahmar by name, who is just looking for a good time; our Gurkha, Bhan Gurung, is looking for revenge against one of the most powerful men in the city. When the two team up all sorts of interesting things start happening.

The book is a raucous romp, so
Jul 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. What a great one-day mental vacation! A breath mint for the brain!

A powerful djinn emerges from a 1000-year captivity into a far-future science fictional Kathmandu run by an AI algorithm, aptly named Karma. The djinn teams up with an off-the-Karma-grid Gurkha with an axe to grind, the two enter the city, and fantastical shenanigans ensue. The writing has a quaint yet breezy charm that perfectly matches the story, and the characters are just the right degree of loopy. If you like this
Laura Hoffman Brauman
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a fun, fast read and a genre bending tale of science fiction/myth/fantasy all told with really fun, snarky dialogue and wit. When the djinn king, Melek Ahmar, wakes up after a millennia of imprisonment, the world looks nothing like he remembers. He wants some pillaging and some partying - but instead he ends up in the city-state of Kathmandu, where everything is ruled by Karma.
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-2020
Here science & technology, magic & lore, fantasy & science fiction collide as Hossain brings us a humorous, rich, lets-team-up romp.
Characters that are as intriguing as they are complex; crafted to create a tale that is fresh, unique, yet familiar. It is not hard to see us having to reconcile our current way of life with a more ordered, AI-influenced future.
An interesting narrative is conjured when two very different personalities with very different agendas collide; the resulting ad
Mar 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I will read whatever he writes.  Here, a djinn thaws out from his granite prison and finds a changed world.  The first Hume (human) he encounters is a nonplussed gurkha who endlessly nibbles on pistachios.  Together, to get the djinn king a kingdom to rule, they travel into a Kathmandu that's orderly, monitored and structured by technology.  The chaos this haphazard pair causes propel them on an adventure that cannot escape those who maintain the city's peace.  Sheriff and his lover-colonel, a f ...more
A furious race through a vividly imagined futuristic utopia. Or is it a dystopia? The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday is a novella and so doesn't have the plotty heft of Saad Hossain's other, longer novels, Escape from Baghdad! and Djinn City, but it does have his signature combination of cynicism, wisecracks, likeable yet wildly amoral characters, and a plot that hurtles to the finish. And some of the most badass female characters I have come across in the genre. So good. Highly recommended. ...more
Tim Hicks
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Wa-ha-hooey, what a ride!
There's violence galore, but it's done in cartoony action scenes.
Clever plot, lots of action, even more wry humour.
Imagine Bluto from Animal House reborn as a Djinn King.
Add an inscrutable Gurkha who was supposed to be dead.
An a near-Utopia run by a more-than-AI.

This is a Very Funny Story.
Higly recommended.
Doctor Science
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A djinn breaks out of a sarcophagus in the Himalayas and heads for post-apocalypse Kathmandu with a Gurkha he met along the way. The story that ensues is very Pratchett-like, though the characters and setting are completely that of South Asia. I found the ending *deeply* satisfying.
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely amazing. Blending futuristic sci-fi with very ancient stories of djinn. Plus, it's hilarious. Would trade a lot of Karma credits to read more in this world.
Ahmed Atif Abrar
May 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Major portion of Bangladeshis, the fellow country people of the author, are probably less known to this sort of writings. It is a bit encouraging to see a man born and bred up among us thinking distinctly.
The cover contains a goat-like creature, probably to symbolise Djinn; but it more alludes to 'satanic' contents inside. It could be slightly misleading.
As Muslims like me believe Djinn to be another creature living parallelly. The author, not a great believer of this, tries to 'envisage' the dj
Read all my reviews on

First book of 2020! And what a lot of fun it was.

Melek Ahmar, an imprisoned djinn king and among other things The Lord of Tuesday, who has just woken from a millennia long slumber in his prison and is completely forgotten by all but himself, is dead set on retaking the rule of at least some of humanity. Climate change however has caused all humans to drone together in big mega cities where the air gets cleaned all the time by an army o
May 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read this as my 3rd cyberpunk book for last year’s bingo, when I was just about to say “never again” to cyberpunk, but I really liked this one. It was fun and funny, and despite the main characters being pretty much selfish assholes, it was pretty cheerful. The post-climate-catastrophy situation is resolved in the city of Kathmandu Incorporated, where the people are content, generally living happy healthy lives. Until a self-important fun-loving djinn-king arrives and tries to shake things up. ...more
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
This was a fun, fast read that made me laugh out loud. Any book that can make me laugh is a welcome joy. I loved the characters and especially how they interacted with each other. The Karma AI fascinated me. The idea of addressing this (no-longer all fantasy) system from inside a lighthearted narrative is bold and unusual, and possibly a brilliant way to open a wider dialogue into the pros and cons. The environmental damage-solution achieved the perfect balance of interesting without too much in ...more
May 09, 2020 rated it liked it
A really fun and hilarious science-fantasy genre blend set in a nano-tech future with a djinn who wakes up after millennia and promptly upturns Kathmandu (with the help of a knife-loving outcast Ghurka).
Super quick and easy to read and very entertaining.

Because of the novella length there wasn’t enough to space to really address all of the subtle themes around technology, AI, capitalism, etc.
Read this one because I'm trying to read for the IGNYTE awards, it isn't something I would have picked up otherwise. The reviews promised me it was hilarious though, so I was cautiously hopeful. Alas, it was not for me. Some great funny moments, but too many atrocities for my taste (so often the problem when I'm reading books for adults).
I like the ending on this one much more, Mr Hossain.
I enjoyed this.
Wayne Turmel
May 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a fascinating, intriguing totally original book. It's a blend of fantasy, science fiction and satire, yet Hossain pulls it off. By far the most original book I've read this year.
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