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New Treasures: Of Wars, and Memories, and Starlight by Aliette de Bodard

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

Of Wars and Memories and Starlight-small Of Wars and Memories and Starlight-back-small

Cover by Maurizio Manzieri

I met Aliette de Bodard at the Nebulas weekend in 2015, on the way to a party in the Palmer House hotel, and we ended up chatting for about 20 minutes. She was charming, articulate, humble, and a very stylish dresser. And you know, that’s just not a combo you see very often, especially at a science fiction convention.

Anyway, she’s also won, like, ALL THE AWARDS. Her Universe of Xuya series may be the most honored SF story cycle of the last decade, with numerous Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and BSFA nominations and wins. John Clute’s entry for Aliette in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction reads in part:

Mostly comprising shorter works, the Universe of Xuya sequence – beginning with “The Lost Xuyan Bride” (December 2007 Interzone) and including On a Red Station, Drifting (2012), a short novel – is an Alternate History series in which China settles North America from the west, with complex consequences for earlier settlers like the Aztecs; some stories are set in space…

The Tea Master and the Detective… in the loose Xuya Universe sequence, is a Space Opera whose protagonists – Holmes and her shipmind Watson – are both female; it won a Nebula as best novelette.

Subterranean Press issued her first major collection on September 30 of this year. Of Wars, and Memories, and Starlight contains 14 tales, including many award winners: 11 Xuya stories, a novelette in her acclaimed Dominion of the Fallen fantasy series, and an original novella, “Of Birthdays, and Fungus, and Kindness.”

[Click the images for space-opera sized versions.]

As usual for Subterranean, the production and cover art are top notch. Here’s the description.

A major first collection from a writer fast becoming one of the stars of the genre… Aliette de Bodard, multiple award winner and author of The Tea Master and the Detective, now brings readers fourteen dazzling tales that showcase the richly textured worldbuilding and beloved characters that have brought her so much acclaim. Come discover the breadth and endless invention of her universes, ranging from a dark Gothic Paris devastated by a magical war; to the multiple award-winning Xuya, a far-future space opera inspired by Vietnamese culture where scholars administrate planets and sentient spaceships are part of families. In the Nebula award and Locus award winning “Immersion,” a young girl working in a restaurant on a colonized space station crosses paths with an older woman who has cast off her own identity. In the novelette “Children of Thorns, Children of Water”, a shapeshifting dragon infiltrating a ruined mansion finds more than he’s bargained for when his partner is snatched by eerie, child-like creatures. And in the award-winning “Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight”, three very different people — a scholar, an engineer, and a spaceship — all must deal with the loss of a woman who was the cornerstone of their world. This collection includes a never-before seen 20,000-word novella, “Of Birthdays, and Fungus, and Kindness,” set in Bodard’s alternative dark Paris.

Of Wars, and Memories, and Starlight contains by no means all (or even most) of Aliette’s Xuya tales; ISFDB lists no less than 31.

If you’re intrigued by the series and are looking for a less expensive way to check it out, here’s a few of the most recent releases, including the Locus Award-nominated novella “The Citadel of Weeping Pearls” (in the October/November 2015 issue of Asimov’s SF), the Hugo and Nebula-nominated novella On a Red Station, Drifting, and the Nebula and BSFA Award-winning The Tea Master and the Detective.

Asimov's Science Fiction October-November 2015-small On a Red Station, Drifting-small The Tea Master and the Detective-small

Asimov’s Science Fiction (Oct/Nov 2015), On a Red Station Drifting (Amazon, 2012), and The Tea Master and the Detective
(Subterranean Press, 2018). Covers by Maurizio Manzieri, Nhan Y Doanh, and Maurizio Manzieri

Here’s the complete Table of Contents for Of Wars, and Memories, and Starlight.

Introduction by Aliette de Bodard
“The Shipmaker” (Interzone #231, November-December 2010) — 2010 BSFA Award winner
“The Jaguar House, in Shadow” (Asimov’s Science Fiction, July 2010) — Hugo and Nebula nominee
“Scattered Along the River of Heaven” (Clarkesworld #64, January 2012) — Locus and Sturgeon nominee
“Immersion” (Clarkesworld #69 June 2012) — Hugo nominee, Locus and Nebula Award winner
“The Waiting Stars” (The Other Half of the Sky, 2013) — Hugo nominee, Nebula Award winner
“Memorials” (Asimov’s Science Fiction, January 2014) — Locus Award nominee
“The Breath of War” (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #142, 2014) — Nebula nominee
“The Days of the War, as Red as Blood, as Dark as Bile” (Subterranean, Spring 2014)
“The Dust Queen” (Reach for Infinity, 2014) — Locus Award nominee
“Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight” (Clarkesworld, #100 January 2015) — Locus nominee, BSFA winner
“A Salvaging of Ghosts” (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #195, 2016) — Locus Award nominee
“Pearl” (The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, 2016) — Locus Award nominee
“Children of Thorns, Children of Water” (Uncanny Magazine, Issue 17, July-August 2017) — Hugo and Locus nominee
“Of Birthdays, and Fungus, and Kindness” (original)
Story Notes

Of Wars, and Memories, and Starlight was published by Subterranean Press on September 30, 2019. It is 381 pages, priced at $40 for the signed, limited edition hardcover and $5.99 in digital formats. The cover is by Maurizio Manzieri, who did many of the covers in the story sequence. I bought my copy in the Windycon Dealer’s Room at Sally Kobee’s booth (thanks Sally!).

The-House-of-Shattered-Wings-medium The House-of-Binding-Thorns-small

Covers by Nekro

Our previous coverage of Aliette’s books includes:

Obsidian & Blood (2012)
The House of Shattered Wings (2015)
Adventure in a Ruined Future Paris: The Dominion of the Fallen Novels (2017)

See all our recent New Treasures here.

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