While Xin is using her song-magic to connect with another ansible, a dead body comes through the portal, sparking an investigation that introduces her to Starmage Ouyang Suqing.
Why this story?: I’m highly anticipating JY Yang’s Tensorate novellas, and decided to take the plunge into their work by reading the short story that Tor.com published on their website.
I was surprised when I opened this story to find it written in second person point of view. I wasn’t really expecting it, and, as far as I can remember, the last second person novel I read was one of those “choose-your-own-adventure” types where there are multiple endings and you have to choose based on your thoughts. Waiting on a Bright Moon is not one of those novels, but the second person writing didn’t take anything away from the story–in fact, it added so much feeling to it. I felt personally connected with the characters, and I honestly started to see myself in Xin’s character. I honestly had trouble keeping Xin’s gender straight because of the narrative, despite there being multiple points in the story where she is said to be female.
The world building was also mesmerizing. I was really curious about what being a Starmage meant, but by the end of the story I had fallen in love with the concept and Suqing’s abilities and character. Yang’s world building was flawlessly beautiful and entrancing, and I never wanted this short story to end. I want to know more. I want to know more about the rebellion, the other Colonies, the Authority, and what happens after.
I was also really interested in Xin’s ability as a ansible. Being an ansible seemed similar to being a Starmage, but it seemed like their power’s were more subtle, and less developed. My only wish is to know more about these abilities and what they mean and how they affect the personality of these characters. I just fell in love with their uniqueness and want to know more.
Although I couldn’t understand what it was saying, I loved Yang’s inclusion of the Chinese language. It appeared throughout the novella, adding a certain culture that I loved. Someone commented at the bottom of the story, saying that it’s beautiful as an English reader, but if you knew Chinese, then it would be so much more meaningful.
Final Rating: ★★★★★
I love short stories that rock my world, and this one is definitely one of those. I was not disappointed with how JY Yang’s writing is hyped, and, basically, this short story just made it harder for me to wait for their novellas.
Would I Recommend?
Yes? Why wouldn’t I? How is that even a question? Just, please, read it. It’s literally for free on Tor.com’s website, and, since I love this short story so much and since I’m a nice person, here’s a link.
Published: July 12th, 2017
Publisher: Tor Books
Page Count: 22
Genre: Science Fiction/Space Opera/Speculative Fiction
Synopsis: via Goodreads
Xin is an ansible, using her song magic to connect the originworld of the Imperial Authority and its far-flung colonies— a role that is forced upon magically-gifted women “of a certain closeness”. When a dead body comes through her portal at a time of growing rebellion, Xin is drawn deep into a station-wide conspiracy along with Ouyang Suqing, one of the station’s mysterious, high-ranking starmages.