Speculative fiction writer, translator, and editor


work: In the Watchful City

In the Watchful City

Anima closes ær eyes and sees the world.

Cut off from the rest of the world by choice, the city of Ora relies on heavy surveillance of its people and surroundings to maintain order. Anima is one of the extrasensory humans tasked with running the city. Even if it means never leaving the Hub, Anima is content with ær job, as it offers ær a direct connection to the Gleaming, a powerful network that spans the globe and connects all things. Then, a mysterious figure named Vessel manages to enter Ora without going through one of the border gates. Se offers Anima the chance to look at ser cabinet of curiosities from around the world in exchange for a memento of ær own. Instead of turning ser in to the authorities, Anima, who has never seen the world outside Ora, accepts Vessel’s offer. But as æ learns the story behind each item, Anima realizes that the rest of the world isn’t like Ora and begins to doubt ær role in enforcing the city’s rules. As events collide, Anima is left with one question that destabilizes everything æ knows: What good is a city if it can’t protect its people?

In the Watchful City - Cover
Cover art by Kuri Huang
Author S. Qiouyi Lu
Genres Secondary world biocyberpunk mosaic
Publisher Tordotcom Publishing
Length 36,000 words
Draft due n/a
Final Due n/a
Published August 31, 2021

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Bisolar cycle

The planet of Aurei has a binary star system with two heartbeat suns. It also has one tidally locked moon that behaves like Earth’s moon. The two suns do not rise at exactly the same time. The larger sun rises first, followed by the smaller one. The larger one also sets before the smaller one….

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Painting of Vessel by S. Qiouyi Lu

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The Hub

The Hub is the central governance location in Ora. It houses nodes, people who are anchored to a worldtree via a stem attached to the base to their necks. The stem connects them to the Gleaming via a liquid medium of pava. The nodes network into a central processing unit to manage the city’s needs….

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A Death Made Manifold

Concept Art Storyboards to capture the atmosphere of the initial scenes. Real-world Inspiration Robber’s Roost in Sedona, AZ.

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Pava is an herb with medicinal and recreational uses. It can be prepared and consumed in various ways. The main effect of pava is to open a link between the user and Aurei’s qi, the planet’s metaphysical ecosystem and network, known as the Gleaming, the Host, and the Manifold, among other culture-specific names. The specific…

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