Laws of Night and Silk
Kavian can pretend this girl is her daughter through drought and deluge, but the truth is the truth: Irasht is a weapon, and never any more.
Magic is bound by the laws a wizard carries. Day and night, air and gravity, the right place of highborn and low. The lay of words in language. The turn of the stars above high isu-Cter, the only civilization that has ever endured. All these are laws a wizard may know.
A child raised in a stone cell knows no laws. Only the dark.
And Kavian gave her daughter to the dark. In Beneath Ceaseless Skies.
Morrigan in Shadow
She’s falling into the singularity.
Straight off her nose, shrouded in the warp of its mass, is the black hole that ate a hundred million colonists and the hope of all mankind.
So Laporte throttles up. Her fighter rattles with the fury of its final burn.
A love and war story. On Clarkesworld.
Please Undo This Hurt
I don’t want to hurt anyone. I don’t want to get on Twitter and read about all the atrocities I’m complicit in. I don’t want to trick wonderful women into spending a few months figuring out what a shithead I really am. I don’t want to raise little cats to be coyote food. I don’t want to worry about whether I’m dragging my friends down. I just want to undo all the harm I’ve ever done. Remove the fact of my birth.
Do you think that’s possible? Not a suicide, that’s selfish, it hurts people. But a really selfless way out?
Nico and Dominga go drinking. Nico’s cat just died. Dominga just went through a bad breakup, and her job as an EMT is killing her. Nico starts talking about selfless ways out. And Dominga is terrified to realize she has one. On Tor.com.
Three Bodies At Mitanni
A techno-tyranny might take the crude step of creating slave castes who derive conscious pleasure from their functions. But a clever state will go one step further and eliminate the cause of these inefficiencies at the root. They will sever thought from awareness.
Anyahera, Thienne, and Shinobu fly a centuries-long mission: locate Earth’s lost colonies, and exterminate civilizations that pose an existential threat to mankind. They have to put that mission above everything else. Even their morals. Even their marriage. In Analog Science Fiction and Fact. Print only.
You asked me why you are alive, and this is the answer: because I was asked to do the impossible, to choose someone to die. And I loved them all, loved them as I loved Kumara, as I loved myself. I could not bear the choice.
You should let go. You can’t. In Escape Pod.
Anna Saves Them All
Anna spoke to an alien once before, a man who might have been born Homo sapiens but who wasn’t anything human. A beast in a red beret, servant of Ali Hassan al-Majid, who devised al-Anfal at his cousin’s request.
He didn’t believe that she was human either. He asked:
Are you an animal, daughter of Serhing Rekani?
Sealed in the poison viscera of a fallen starship, Kurdish expatriate Anna Rekani faces a terrible and familiar choice: commit a small atrocity, or permit a vast one. In Shimmer.
Sekhmet Hunts the Dying Gnosis: A Computation
Behold Sekhmet! Blood and brawn, fang and claw, shoulders caked in salt. Risen from the anaerobic sea, the ancient broth, to hunt and kill her foe.
Sekhmet devours. A myth of origin and transcendence. In Beneath Ceaseless Skies.
Economies of Force
The drones began to flock. First Rade saw only one, a high white cross that roamed the clouds. When it caught the sun the lenses of its eyes glinted like calm water.
“Is it the Loom?” he asked his father.
“No, Rade,” he said, snipping at the shaggy mass of Rade’s hair. “That’s our protection.”
The enigmatic Loom spreads from mind to mind, transmitted by anything that carries information: gesture, word, art. With any human defense compromised, the government of Harinder’s World resorts to a harsher kind of oversight. In Apex.
Morrigan in the Sunglare
Things Laporte says, during the war –
Cast into the hellfire of humanity’s civil war, young pilot Noemi Laporte discovers a terrifying, preternatural instinct for killing. A love and war story. In Clarkesworld. Thanks to the Blue Planet crew.
Never Dreaming, in Four Burns
If she doesn’t kill herself first, she’ll enter terminal dementia, withdraw from all outside stimulation, and die. Every time she wakes up from a dream she thinks: it hasn’t started yet. And: that could have been the last one.
She’s never going to see her engine fly.
Nur Zaleha binti Abdul Samad is right on the edge of inventing an engine that will give mankind the stars. But she has sporadic fatal insomnia: she’s going to lose the ability to dream, and then she’s going to die. There’s an impossible way out, but it has a price. In Clarkesworld.
Testimony Before an Emergency Session of the Naval Cephalopod Command
The squid is a solipsistic psychopathic God with a lust for submarine hull and a mandate from Ronald Reagan branded on its hunting tentacles.
A rogue Navy squid destroys a Soviet submarine and brings the world to the edge of nuclear war. One acid-washed cephalopod psychologist knows why. In Drabblecast.
A Tank Only Fears Four Things
When Tereshkova wakes up from the surgery, she is a tank. She knows it in her hull.
Love, trauma, uncertainty: all much easier to handle as a Soviet main battle tank. In Lightspeed.
Our Fire, Given Freely
Now that tribute sings in Bray’s veins, burns in the sweat upon her brow, alloys her bone and breath. Six years she has been sworn and still this power dizzies her.
Fire flows from the people to the monarch, so that she may rule unsleeping; from the monarch to the şövalye, so that they will fight unvanquished. These are the rules of civilization on the Black Atora. Until now. In Beneath Ceaseless Skies.
A Plant (Whose Name is Destroyed)
Hayden opens the blinds and leaves them that way. “I don’t like theology much,” he says. “It makes me self-conscious.”
Naveen needs to learn whether his boyfriend is actually a Sumerian deity, and how much you can love someone before you stop being yourself. In Strange Horizons.
Worth of Crows
Death comes for her in the night, drawn by hypothermia, and she turns it away with an upraised hand. It lopes under the dancing sky, circling her, trampling the reflections of ten thousand stars.
You are mine, it says. You are mine four times over, now. Come with me.
She came alone, with Death, to kill the dragon that ate the spring. In Beneath Ceaseless Skies.
The Traitor Baru Cormorant, Her Field-General, and Their Wounds
Baru Cormorant’s wound swallows half her world. She sorts her existence left and right, so that she can forget the proper things by turning.
Treachery, neuroscience, and doomed love. In Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Thanks to Rachel Sobel.
Cronus and the Ships
Titans moved in the dark. Self-replicating behemoths. An ancient ecosystem that swallowed rock and starlight and, above all, sought out the radio cries of newborn species. Jealous gods evolved to extinguish competitors in the cradle. Cronus machines.
A very short story of AI starships and self-replicating machines. In Analog Science Fiction and Fact. Print only.
I adored “Morrrigan in the Sunglare.” That ending. Looking forward to reading more.
Oh wow! I’m so glad.
I snuck a reference to ‘Flower, Mercy, Needle, Chain’ into Destiny today. I hope you don’t mind!
Don’t mind at all; flattered, rather.
I recently heard the podcast of your story “Morrigan in the Sunglare.” It was haunting and the language was so beautiful. Well done, and inspiring.
Seth – Doug and Tim’s dad here, remember me? I just for the first time read one of your stories (A Tank Only Fears Four Things) and I am looking forward to ingesting many more, and incorporating them into my self. Thanks!
Wow, hi! I’m so glad to hear from you. I hope everyone’s well – Doug’s out here in Seattle with me, but I can never seem to get a hold of him.
He’s a slippery fish, for sure. Try going for the ears, and from behind.
Joanna and I visited Seattle in early June, and it was most excellent. We would like to return sometime this fall, and if/when we do we will encourage Doug to get in touch.
On a literary note, I really like your titles, too. They kind remind me of Cordwainer Smith’s, who is on many days my favorite author.
Pingback: (Trust In God) Production Notes - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality: The Podcast
Holy shit! I read “Three Bodies at Mitanni” half a year ago and had no idea it was written by you until I came to your website today to try and drown my post-Baru Cormorant sorrows. Absolutely phenomenal, all of it. I’m going to have to track down your other stories.
Hey! I’m so glad you liked the story (and, I hope, the book). Always great to hear from people!
I have a confession to make: I haven’t yet read anything of yours. Not yet.
I was browsing my local Chapters when I saw an intriguing hardcover book with the most interesting cover image I have ever seen. Interesting and creepy. I took note of the title, the author (of whom I haven’t heard until now), and decided to read reviews before I splurged hard-earned money on an author I don’t yet know enough to trust.
The reviews for Baru Cormorant are awe-inspiring pieces in themselves. There are people saying they are going to be “haunted” by this book for a long time to come. Others are very, very sure that this book is going to be up for awards.
I bought your book based on these reviews.
Then I read the synopsis.
So…I am very, very sensitive when I read. I immerse myself completely in any and every book I read every time. Reading is an escape for me, one that helps me cope, and is far less damaging and self-destructive than alcoholism, drugs, or other risky behaviour.
I *know* that this book is going to break my heart. From reading the reviews and the synopsis, I can already tell that the ending is going to be devastating (and I haven’t even skipped ahead to the ending in order to prepare myself for the emotional heartbreak, like I usually do), and I need to set aside two or three days of uninterrupted time to read this book so I can process, cope, and cry in privacy.
What concerns me is that I cannot find any info anywhere on whether there will be a sequel. Again, just going on reviews, it seems to me that with such a devastating ending, there needs to be more written about this world.
So…are there plans for a sequel in the works?
I am looking forward to reading this book. And I am dreading it in equal measure. I know I am going to have a book hangover when I am finished.
I would just like to say Kudos to you for writing this book. Just going by reviews, I can see that there are a lot of people who are very deeply affected by this book, and I hope to see more books from you in future.
There are two sequels now.
Pingback: SF/F Review – The Traitor Baru Cormorant | Death Is Bad
I’m currently reading The Traitor Baru Cormorant and I’m almost halfway through it, but I knew I need to keep up with your work. Unfortunately, this website is strewn with spoilers, so I had to find the oldest post about Baru and comment on it to avoid jumping ahead of myself in the book. I need you to know how powerful this book is to me and how incredible you are. I’m from Alabama and I sure hope I finish this book soon so I can read all of these posts.
Pingback: FreeSpace Blue Planet Is A Masterclass In Video Game Storytelling: Part 1 | Coindrop
While all of the story-reading podcasts are great, I absolutely LOVE Kate Baker reading “Never Dreaming (In Four Burns)”, “Morrigan in the Sunglare”, and “Morrigan in Shadow” on the Clarkesworld Magazine podcast. I’ve listened to those three stories a couple of times a year for the last several years. Great stuff!
She’s great. You should let her know!
Did you write the new CE Lorebook for Destiny? If so, love the world building and Lore expansion for Cabal and also THANK YOU FOR CALUS NIPPLES 😉