Julienne’s aunts are the archer who shot down the suns and the woman who lives on the moon. They teach her that there’s more to the city of her birth than meets the eye – that beneath the modern chrome and glass of Hong Kong there are demons, gods, and the seethe of ancient feuds. As a mortal Julienne is to give them wide berth, for unlike her divine aunts she is painfully vulnerable, and choice prey for any demon.
Until one day, she comes across a wounded, bleeding woman no one else can see, and is drawn into an old, old story of love, snake women, and the deathless monk who hunts them.
Scale-Bright (Immersion Press, 2014) is a contemporary fantasy novella introduced by Aliette de Bodard, nominated for the British Science Fiction Association Award. It blends Chinese myth, interstitial cities, and the difficulties of being mortal and ordinary when everyone around you has stepped out of legends. Read the first chapter here.
Just read “Scale Bright” by @bees_ja … Welp, that’s getting one of my Hugo nominations next year.
— Charlie Stross (@cstross) September 9, 2014
— Maria DahvanaHeadley (@MARIADAHVANA) July 19, 2014
‘Benjanun is a magician with words–she uses language to evoke everything from the texture of a festival meal, to the violence and despair of Houyi fighting against a demon; from the feeling of being resurrected from the dead, to a goddess watching the rise of modern cities.’ – Aliette de Bodard, Foreword to Scale-Bright.
‘Possibly the most exciting new voice in speculative fiction today. Benjanun Sriduangkaew is lyrical, edgy and startling – she is a true original.’ – Lavie Tidhar, World Fantasy Award winning author of Osama.
‘Fine writing, fascinating sexual politics, and well-developed, quirky characters make this tale a resounding success. ‘ – Publishers Weekly
‘Scale-Bright is a fabulous story and it’s only confirmed Benjanun Sriduangkaew as an author to watch… you’ll be sure to find [her name] often on future award shortlists.’ – Mieneke van der Salm of A Fantastical Librarian, World Fantasy Award nominee
‘It’s going to be difficult to contain my excitement over this novella and in any case, why should I? It has everything going for it—prose that beautifully encapsulates both the fantastic and the mundane; deft storytelling that folds and combines three different stories into one; and a strong focus on relationships between lovers, friends and families. In addition: ladies kissing and fighting and finding themselves.’ – Ana Grilo, Kirkus Reviews
‘It’s clear, in any case, that Sriduangkaew’s craft translates to longer form fiction without losing any of its impact. Scale-Bright’s wonderful world boasts delicately drawn characters and an affecting narrative, bolstered on the sentence level by exquisite exposition and deft description. – Niall Alexander, Tor.com
The novella stands alone, but is also connected to three short stories which provide further background to the mythological grounding of Scale-Bright. These stories are included in the ebook edition, and available separately as its own sampler (free!) on Nook, iBooks and Smashwords.