aliettedb: (utena)

My story “Children of Thorns, Children of Water” has now been published at Uncanny Magazine. You can read it here.

This is set in the Dominion of the Fallen, my Gothic ruined Paris with Fallen angels, dragons, alchemists and magicians (aka my love letter to 19th Century Gothic fiction and manga and anime like Fullmetal Alchemist and Black Butler, which includes novels The House of Shattered Wings and The House of Binding Thorns ). It’s a standalone: an excellent introduction to the universe, and a good return to it if you’re already familiar with it!

What you get: dragons, creepy magic, cooking (!).

In a Paris that never was, a city of magicians, alchemists and Fallen angels struggling to recover from a devastating magical war…

Once each year, the House of Hawthorn tests the Houseless: for those chosen, success means the difference between a safe life and the devastation of the streets. However, for Thuan and his friend Kim Cuc, — dragons in human shapes and envoys from the dying underwater kingdom of the Seine — the stakes are entirely different. Charged with infiltrating a House that keeps encroaching on the Seine, if they are caught, they face a painful death.

Worse, mysterious children of thorns stalk the candidates through Hawthorn’s corridors. Will Thuan and Kim Cuc survive and succeed?

Read Online!

If you’ve already read and enjoyed it, why not try The House of Binding Thorns in which you get to meet again Thuan (aka, the queer, bookish dragon prince with amazing talent for getting himself into trouble), as well as a host of other characters?

(or you can also pick up the full issue of Uncanny Magazine, which has fiction by Seanan McGuire, Mary Robinette Kowal, Cassandra Khaw and other fine folk)

The Dominion of the Fallen Reading Order (Novels Only)

Book 1. The House of Shattered Wings | Book 2. The House of Binding Thorns

Excerpt

With thanks to Stephanie Burgis, Kate Elliott and Fran Wilde

It was a large, magnificent room with intricate patterns of ivy branches on the tiles, and a large mirror above a marble fireplace, the mantlepiece crammed with curios from delicate silver bowls to Chinese blue-and-white porcelain figures: a clear statement of casual power, to leave so many riches where everyone could grab them.

Or rather, it would have been, if the porcelain hadn’t been cut-rate–the same bad quality the Chinese had foisted on the Indochinese court in Annam–the mirror tarnished, with mould growing in one corner, spread down far enough that it blurred features, and the tiling cracked and chipped in numerous places–repaired, but not well enough that Thuan couldn’t feel the imperfections under his feet, each one of them a little spike in the khi currents of magic around the room.

Not that Thuan was likely to be much impressed by the mansions of Fallen angels, no matter how much of Paris they might claim to rule. He snorted disdainfully, an expression cut short when Kim Cuc elbowed him in the ribs. “Behave,” she said.

“You’re not my mother.” She was his ex-lover, as a matter of fact; and older than him, and never let him forget that.

“Next best thing,” Kim Cuc said, cheerfully. “I can always elbow further down, if you insist.”

Thuan bit down the angry retort. The third person in the room–a dusky-skinned, young girl of Maghrebi descent, who’d introduced herself as Leila–was looking at them with fear in her eyes. “We’re serious,” he said, composing his face again. “We’re not going to ruin your chances to enter House Hawthorn, promise.”

They were a team: that was what they’d been told, as the House dependents separated the crowd before the House in small groups; that their performance would be viewed as a whole, and their chance to enter the House weighed accordingly. Though no rules had been given, and nothing more said, either, as dependents led them to this room and locked them in. At least he was still with Kim Cuc, or he’d have been hopelessly lost.

For people like Leila–for the Houseless, the desperate–it was their one chance to escape the streets, to receive food and shelter and the other tangible benefits of a House’s protection.

For Thuan and Kim Cuc, though… the problem was rather different. Their fate, too, would be rather different, if anyone found out who they really were. No House in Paris liked spies, and Hawthorn was not known for its leniency.

Cross-posted from Aliette de Bodard

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aliettedb: (utena)

My Xuya short story “A Hundred and Seventy Storms” has been published online as part of Uncanny Magazine‘s July/August 2016 issue. Aka “wow I hadn’t actually used Kepler’s Laws in a long, long time” (I needed to do some quick and dirty planetary design. Was very proud I remembered most of them °_°).

Snippet:

This is the room where The Snow Like a Dancer dies, year by year and piece by piece.

When they wheel in the cradle where she rests, she always thinks—for a bare, suspended moment—that it will be all right, that it will all end well—and then nausea tightens around her, and the white and stark walls seem to press down on her, unbearably sharp, a faint memory of Third Aunt and Cousin Lua asleep, and the incessant noise of machinery monitoring her, drips and feeds hooked into her broken, disconnected limbs.

You can read it here.
You can also buy the issue it’s part of (which has Cat Valence, Sabrina Vourvoulias and many other fine folk) here.

Many many thanks to Stephanie Burgis who read it in record time, as well as to everyone who suggested life changing events when I asked on Facebook (I needed something against which to set the story)–particularly Kari Sperring who came up with large weather events.

And yeah, this is based on my experience of giving birth to the Librarian, at least the bit where I was lying down, tethered to an IV and in pretty strong pain (epidural came too late so I essentially gave birth on a light dosage of painkillers. There were… a couple of really not fun moments).

Cross-posted from Aliette de Bodard

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aliettedb: (utena)

Pleased to announce my Xuya short story “A Hundred and Seventy Storms” will be published in Uncanny Magazine. Mindship and perihelial storms on a particularly unpleasant planet. This is the story for which I brainstormed important life milestones on Facebook–many thanks to everyone who answered, and especially Kari Sperring for coming up with the “huge climatic event” that inspired this story. Thanks as well to Stephanie Burgis who helped me fix the ending.

Also, I hadn’t actually thought I’d ever dust off Kepler’s Laws for short fiction :p (as in actually jotting down numbers and doing calculations. I’ve used them for rough estimates but never actually done proper maths with them)

Snippet:

This is the room where The Snow like a Dancer dies, year by year and piece by piece.

When they wheel in the cradle where she rests, she always thinks–for a bare, suspended moment–that it will be all right, that it will all end well–and then nausea tightens around her, and the white and stark walls seem to press down on her, unbearably sharp, a faint memory of Third Aunt and Cousin Lua asleep, and the incessant noise of machinery monitoring her, drips and feeds hooked into her broken, disconnected limbs.

 

Cross-posted from Aliette de Bodard

Leave a comment at original post, or comment here.

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