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Aliette De-Bodard

Aliette de Bodard Aliette de Bodard is a writer and computer specialist whose short fiction has already brought her a John W Campbell Award nomination, for best newcomer. She lives in Paris, France, in a flat with more computers than she really needs, and uses her spare time to indulge in her love of mythology and history. As a half-French, half-Vietnamese, Aliette has a strong interest in non-Western cultures, particularly the Aztecs and Ancient China, and will gladly use any excuse to shoehorn those into her short or long fiction. Read some of these works at Aliette de Bodard’s website.

Obsidian and Blood

Obsidian and Blood — (2010-2011) Publisher: Year One-Knife, Tenochtitlan the capital of the Aztecs. The end of the world is kept at bay only by the magic of human sacrifice. A Priestess disappears from an empty room drenched in blood. Acatl, High Priest, must find her, or break the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead. Aliette De Bodard is the hottest rising star in world SF and Fantasy, blending ancient crimes with wild imagination. This is her debut novel. FILE UNDER: Modern Fantasy [The Aztecs / Locked room mystery / Human sacrifice / Destroy the Gods]

Aliette de Bodard Obsidian and Blood 1. Servant of the Underworld 2. Harbinger of the StormAliette de Bodard Obsidian and Blood 1. Servant of the Underworld 2. Harbinger of the StormAliette de Bodard Obsidian and Blood 1. Servant of the Underworld 2. Harbinger of the Storm 3. Master of the House of Darts

Servant of the Underworld: Highly original debut novel

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Servant of the Underworld by Aliette de Bodard

Servant of the Underworld by Writers of the Future winner Aliette de Bodard is an interesting and, especially for a debut, well-executed cross-genre novel that successfully combines several disparate elements into an original story.

If ever a novel could be called cross-genre, Servant of the Underworld is it: the story is set in the 15th century Aztec empire (1. historical fiction) but magic and gods are real (2. fantasy). When a priestess is murdered, Acatl, the High Priest of the Dead, gets involved in finding the murderer (3. mystery), especially when it turns out that his brother is one of the prime suspects. Add to this some blood rituals and some other dark scenes that verge into horror territory (4!) and you've got a novel that bookstores could shelve in a few diffe... Read More

Harbinger of the Storm: A worthy successor

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Harbinger of the Storm by Aliette de Bodard

Servant of the UnderworldAliette de Bodard's début novel and the first book in the OBSIDIAN AND BLOOD series, was one of the most interesting books I'd read in a while. Not many people write a novel in a second language and manage to get it published, and I'm always mildly envious of people with that kind of language skill. De Bodard's work (Harbinger of the Storm is her second novel, but she has written lots of short fiction) usually features non-western cultures, something not that many writers take on, making Servant of the Underworld an unusual novel. I enjoyed her depiction of the pre-Columbian Mexica (Aztec) empire a lot. Harbinger of the Storm is the second book in the trilogy.

H... Read More

Master of the House of Darts: Just as good as the first two

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Master of the House of Darts by Aliette de Bodard

Master of the House of Darts is the third novel in Aliette de Bodard's OBSIDIAN AND BLOOD series. The first novel, Servant of the Underworld, was one of my favourite reads of 2010 and its sequel Harbinger of the Storm was, if possible, even better. In between writing these novels, de Bodard has also made an impression with her short fiction. Her novelette The Jaguar HouseIn Shadow, set in her Xuya alternative history, was nominated for both the Hugo and Nebula award, while The Shipmaker, set later in the same timeline, won the BSFA award for Best Short Fiction. Neither the Hugo nor the Nebula went her way, but I would be very surprised if she didn't win o... Read More

On a Red Station, Drifting: An intricate view of an alternate world

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On a Red Station, Drifting by Aliette de Bodard

Linh was a magistrate on the 23rd Planet when war came. She escaped to Prosper Station on a ship full of refugees, waiting until all of the others’ papers were checked before introducing herself to the authorities. “Magistrate” is a position of considerable power in Linh’s universe, and when her identity is verified by reference to the station computers, she is taken to Quyen, the woman who runs the station. The two women take an instant dislike to one another, thus setting the stage for everything that follows.

Linh and Quyen are of Vietnamese heritage, in a world in which the Dai Viet — the Vietnamese dynasties, beginning with the rule of Lý Thánh Tông in 1054 — stayed in power until the space age, and then spread out among the stars. Their technology allows them to keep their ancestors with them in a very real way. Linh, fo... Read More

The House of Shattered Wings: You will be back for more

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The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

In the late 20th century the ruins of the city of Paris are populated by a mix of humans and fallen angels. The angels may have lost God's grace, but they still have power. Their bodies contain magic that can be used by humans and angels alike. A central government, if ever there was one, has disappeared and the upper layers of society is organized into houses. These houses continually vie for influence in a Machiavellian political game. Silverspire, the oldest of these houses, founded ages ago by the very first fallen angel, is now in trouble. Since the disappearance of its founder, its influence has decreased to the point where its enemies feel they have a chance of taking them down a notch. The real nature of the threat eludes Selene, the head of the House of Silverspire, as she is distracted by house politics. An addicted human alchemist, a newly fal... Read More

Magazine Monday: Nebula Nominated Novelettes

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The novelettes nominated for the Nebula Award this year are so dissimilar that it’s going to be difficult for the judges to compare them and make a decision. Ranging from hard science fiction to the softest of fantasy, these stories are a testament to the breadth of the field. Ruth Arnell and I teamed up to take a look at the seven nominated stories.

One of the nominees is from the pages of AnalogEric James Stone’s “That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made.” Its central character is Harry Malan, the president of the Sol Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints – a church that exists at the heart of the sun, adjacent to the interstellar portal that exists there. The story does not explain how humans came to discover this portal, or the energy shield that allows humans to exist at the core of a star, lite... Read More

Magazine Monday: 2012 Nebula Award Nominees for Best Short Story

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For the second year in a row, Adam-Troy Castro has a short story nominated for the Nebula Award which I think the best of the nominees. “Her Husband’s Hands,” originally published in Lightspeed Magazine, posits a world in which medical technology is so advanced that virtually any bit of a soldier can be retrieved from the battleground and kept alive, complete with a memory recorded at some point before the attack that “killed” him or her. In Rebecca’s case, only her husband’s hands have survived. They have been fitted with light-sensitive apertures at the fingertips, which allow her husband to see; the wrists end in thick silver bands that house his life support and his “brain.” It’s at least as creepy as it sounds, particula... Read More

Magazine Monday: 2013 Nebula Award Nominations for Best Short Stories

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Helena Bell’s “Robot” is one of three nominated stories that originally appeared in Clarkesworld. It is a bitter story of a woman abandoned to the ministrations of a robot when she becomes ill. It is told in the second person as a list of commands and instructions by the woman to the robot. As much as the robot seems to be a blessing to this woman, she speaks to it as if she hates and resents it, even as she is forced to rely upon it as her disease — and the robot — eat her alive. (The robot removes diseased flesh from her body by eating it.) The worst of it, though, is that the robot seems to change to resemble her as it grows to know her. Is the robot intended to replace her? This story is more about tone and emotion than it is about plot, and Bell certa... Read More

Magazine Monday: Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Issues 142 and 143

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Issue 142 of Beneath Ceaseless Skies is a special double issue for BCS Science-Fantasy Month 2, which, according to the magazine’s website, features “stories that combine the awe-inspiring fantastical settings of BCS fiction with futuristic details like spacecraft, laser rifles, and advanced scientific concepts.” It makes for the best issue of the magazine so far in 2014.

“The Breath of War” by Aliette de Bodard takes place at the end, or at least near the end, of a war, on Voc, the planet on which the story is set. The characters in the story do not appear to be human. Rechan, the viewpoint character, is pregnant, and she and her family are engaged in their usual spring migration to the mountains. But their flyer breaks down and strands them halfway up the mountain, and finding repairs or a re... Read More

Magazine Monday: Subterranean Magazine, Spring 2014

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The Spring 2014 issue of Subterranean Magazine is as strong as this magazine ever is, and that’s saying a lot. Kat Howard’s story, “Hath No Fury,” stands out as a memorable work about the old gods in the modern age. It is a story about women who are victimized by men, and the women who refuse to allow those victims to go unavenged. Based loosely on the myth of Medea and Jason, the story is told in the first person by one of the Erinyes — the Furies — who in Howard’s contemporary New York are charged with avenging women murdered by husbands, boyfriends, lovers. Kaira is a close friend of Medea, who is a sort of muse to the Erinyes, guiding them when they first are changed from human to this new shape and watching over them as they fulfill their duties. Several other myths are mashed up here to create something new; so, for instance, Medea keeps bees, the Fates are old women knitting in the park, New York beco... Read More

Magazine Monday: Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Issue 157

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The sixth anniversary edition of Beneath Ceaseless Skies is a double issue, with four excellent stories.

The first is “The Sorrow of Rain” by Richard Parks, one of his Lord Yamada stories. Lord Yamada is a demon hunter in medieval Japan who tells his stories in the first person. On this occasion, he has been asked to stop incessant, late season rains; if the rains do not stop long enough to allow for a harvest within the next three days, the rice will spoil in the fields, leading to famine. Yamada sees a rain spirit almost as soon as he arrives, but she is neither a ghost nor a demon, and doesn’t seem to be the source of the rain. And the headman isn’t telling him everything. Parks tells gentle stories full of an ancient culture, usually involving a mystery, as here. His gentleness usually has a soft sting in the tail, though, a lesson about life that the characters have forgot... Read More

Magazine Monday: Nebula-Nominated Short Stories, 2014

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Here are the short stories nominated for a 2014 Nebula Award:

In “The Breath of War” by Aliette de Bodard, the main character, Rechan, is pregnant. She must find her breath-sibling before she gives birth, or the baby will be stillborn. That, and the fact that they are carved by adolescent women from a special stone called lamsinh, are all we know about breath-siblings at first. Most women have their breath-siblings with them once they are created, but Rechan’s has remained in the mountains from which it was carved during a time of war on her planet. “The Breath of War” is a very alien story, setting up a world and a biology that are so different from ours that the wonder ... Read More

SFM: Dickinson, de Bodard, Andrews, Lemberg, Bourne

Short Fiction Monday: There is so much free or inexpensive short fiction available on the internet these days. Here are a few stories we read this week that we wanted you to know about. 

“Please Undo This Hurt” by Seth Dickinson (2015, free at Tor.com) 

Not speculative fiction, but a very insightful and poignant story of Dominga, an EMT on the verge of burnout after the man she loves breaks up with her. Her friend Nico is in a tough spot as well, after breaking up with his girlfriend because he thought she deserved better, and losing his cat to a coyote attack. Dominga and Nico feel so overwhelmed with the uncaring universe around them that they just want a way out of it: not suicide, that would be selfish, just a way to erase every speck of their exist... Read More

SFM: Shepard, de Bodard, Bear, Jemisin, Parker, Holland

Short Fiction Monday: Our weekly exploration of free short fiction available on the internet. This week's theme, just for fun, is stories dealing with dragons. 

The Man Who Painted The Dragon Griaule by Lucius Shepard (1984, free online at Baen.com (sample from the Bestiary anthology), originally published in Fantasy & Science Fiction, also collected in The Dragon Griaule). 1985 Hugo and 1984 Nebula nominee (novelette), 1985 World Fantasy Award nominee (novella)

In ... Read More

SFM: de Bodard, Smith, Buckell, Steele, Pinsker, Barnett

Short Fiction Monday: Our weekly exploration of free and inexpensive short fiction available on the internet. Here are a few stories we've read that we wanted you to know about.

The Waiting Stars by Aliette de Bodard (2013, free to read online or download on author’s website). 2013 Nebula award winner and 2014 Hugo award nominee (novelette)

In this 2013 Nebula award-winning story, set in the 22nd century, Aliette de Bodard weaves together two narratives that at first seem unconnected but in the end, of course, are. The first concerns a woman’s exploration of a derelict spaceship in a graveyard of spaceships in an isolated corner of space controlled by the Outsiders. Lan Nhen’s Vietnamese-descended people build Mind-ships, ... Read More

Epic: Legends of Fantasy: Lives up to its title

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Epic: Legends of Fantasy by John Joseph Adams (editor)

Epic: Legends of Fantasy, edited by John Joseph Adams, is an anthology of stories written by some of the biggest names in epic fantasy. The book clocks in at over 600 pages not just because it’s very difficult to tell short epic stories (though some of these authors do manage to pull it off) but because here the authors are not just telling epic legends, they are legends in and of themselves. George R.R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, Robin Hobb, Paolo Bacigalupi, Brandon Sanderson, Ursula K. LeGuin, Kate Elliott, Orson Scott Card, Tad Williams, Aliette de Bodard, Michael Moorcock, Melanie Rawn, Mary Robinette Kowal, N.K. Jemisin, Carrie Vaughn, Trudi Canavan,  and Juliet Marillier all contributed stories to this volume.

Epic: Legends of Fantasy opens with a novella by Read More

More by Aliette deBodard

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsScattered Among Strange Worlds — (2012) Publisher: A collection of two thought-provoking science fiction short stories from the pen of British Science Fiction Association award-winner and Nebula and Hugo Award finalist Aliette de Bodard. Scattered Among Strange Worlds tackles issues of emigration, diaspora and loss of cultural values; and the threads of family that bind us strongly, even across the void of space… “Scattered Along the River of Heaven”: Zhiying and Anshi were once comrades in arms, the driving forces behind a revolution that led to the foreign colonisers withdrawing from Felicity Station. But what happens after the revolution is won, and the only enemies left are within your own ranks? “Exodus Tides”: The child of a mermaid and a human, Emilie has always known herself to be different. Growing up in Paris, in a post-apocalyptic country radically transformed by the mass arrival of mermaids as refugees, she has always yearned to return to the sea–the lost, unattainable country devastated by the Dark King and his cohorts. But sometimes, wishes can be granted in the most perilous manner…


CLICK HERE FOR MORE STORIES BY ALIETTE DE BODARD.


Writing the Other

Terry Weyna and I attended the 2013 Nebula Awards Weekend in San Jose, California last week. The event focused mostly on the Saturday awards banquet, and programming was rather light, but I did attend a panel called “Writing the Other,” subtitled, “How do we write about what we cannot know?”

Ken Liu, moderator



“Writing the Other” looked like the staff of a think-tank. Saladin Ahmed (Throne of the Crescent Moon), Kim Stanley Robinson, (2312, which won the Nebula), Ken Liu (“Paper Menagerie”) and Aliette de Bodard (who would win for the novelette “Immersion”) made up the panel.
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Marion and Terry report on the 2013 Nebula Awards Weekend

The 48th Annual Nebula Awards weekend was held by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America at the San Jose Convention Center in northern California from May 17 through 19, 2013. Terry Weyna and I, who both live in Northern California and both are aspiring writers, decided to see what a bunch of published writers get up to when they party together.

Gene Wolfe and Teri Goulding



Marion Deeds: I think what surprised me most is how light on programming the weekend was. I thought there would be sessions about the nuts and bolts of a writing career, but I guess that SFWA members already have a pretty good idea about that. Still, I thought we’d hear about things like the new Amazon publishing arms, the Night Shade Books mess, that sort of thing.

Terry Weyn... Read More