Aliette de Bodard’s sci-fi novella “The Citadel of Weeping Pearls”
Richly imagined, a bittersweet tale of a mother and her two daughters; of mindships, deep space technologies, teleportation, and time travel.
The story is set in the Xuya Universe, in the string of orbitals and a multitude of planets called the Scattered Pearls.
The “Citadel of Weeping Pearls” is made up of many ships, its founder and ruler are Bright Princess Ngoc Minh. From a very young age, Bright Princess shows an unusually brilliant and inventive mind.
The Princess is the eldest and favorite daughter of Mi Hiep, Empress of the Dai Viet Empire. When she refuses to give up her research, Mi Hiep banishes her daughter to the outermost edges of the Scattered Pearls. In the Citadel, Bright Princess develops deep space technologies, including teleportation. One night the Citadel vanishes.
When the Dai Viet Empire is threatened by the Nam federation, Mi Hiep knows she needs Bright Princess’s help to defend the Empire. She sends Bright Princess’s younger sister to the outermost belt of the Scattered Pearls, to find the Citadel and Bright Princess Ngoc Minh.
Selected stories from the anthology by Lavie Tidhar, ed.: “The Best of World SF” (c) 2021 (vol. 1).
This is an international collection of 26 sci-fi and fantasy short stories, each unique, from 23 countries.
Some of the stories have been previously published, quite a few of them in the Uncanny and Clarkesworld magazines.
This is a brief summary of some of the stories I’ve read to date. Very imaginative stories, thought-provoking
Aliette de Bodard – “Immersion” (c) 2012.
France; French & Vietnamese heritage.
“Immersion” won the 2013 Best Short Story Nebula and Locus awards.
Quy is from the Rong culture, living in a universe filled with technology by the Galactics — the dominant power in the galaxy. Everyone wears an immersion avatar. A thin metal mesh fits around the head, synchs with the brain, and shapes an avatar around the person, based on a given culture. But the underlying logic is Galactic. Immersed in their avatar, a person can lose awareness of their own culture, their own identity…
Chen Qiufan – “Debtless” (trans. from Chinese by Blake Stone-Banks); (c) 2019.
A fantastic story of hope, risk, death, and …greed.
A story of asteroid mining and debt.
Complex mining facilities, unpredictable equipment failures, accidents.
The space miners do not remember how they have ended up as asteroid miners. Their memories of personal names, families, personal and work info, their money earned, debt owed, are all encrypted into genetic code. They still are very much human, with unique identities, idiosyncracies, emotions. Who “owns” them, and why?
Vina Jie-Min Prasad — “Fandom for Robots” (c) 2017.
“Computron” is a classical robot, a sentient robot, the only sentient robot of that kind created by Dr. Karel Alquist. Computron is now part of the Simiak Robotics Museum, able to engage in objective discussions with visitors. Computron discovers fanfiction and ends up collaborating, without revealing that he is a robot, in fanfiction about a cybernetic robot called Cyro.
Tlotlo Tsamaase — ” Virtual Snapshots” (c) (2019)
Story set in a time of climate and digital change.
Co-existing worlds: In the old world some children are birthed naturally by their mothers.
In the digital world, children are born in the DigiWorld, maintained by life-sustaining machines; and cannot venture out without a solar-powered avatar.
Vandana Singh – ” ‘Delhi” (c) 2004.
Aseem can see apparitions from different time streams – from past & future.
Sometimes he meets travelers like him: they can see him, he can see them; some even converse with him. He assumes perhaps it is just the way his brain is wired. He sees himself, in a Delhi of the future …
The Wheel of Samsara’ by Han Song (trans. from Chinese by the author).
A story of the Big Bang: Set in Doji Lamasery in Tibet. The Wheels of Samsara are bronze wheels along the temple wall.
Yi-Sheng Ng; “Xingzhou” (c) 2019
A story of the evolution of the continent of Xingzhou. It is literally a Continent of Stars, of suns connected by bridges. People from Earth come to work on the continent which is ruled by aliens. A highly imaginative story that brings together sci-fi and fantasy — a tale of hyperspace travel…the Yog Sothothian Occupation…rebellions…
Francesco Verso “The Green Ship” (trans. from Italian by Michael Colbert); 2018
A near-future story of refugees crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa and being rescued by the Green Ship, a floating bio-habitat.
Tade Thompson “Bootblack”
A time travel story, of a stranger who visits Cardiff. Linus Carter is a shoeshine when he meets the stranger, the “shining man.”
Hannu Rajaniemi — “His Master’s Voice” 2008
Post-human world. A necropolis in the Antarctic. Genetic algorithms and autogenesis.