We’re thrilled to share the cover for In the Watchful City, the debut novella from acclaimed short fiction writer S. Qiouyi Lu—arriving August 31st from Tordotcom Publishing. Poetic and ambitious, In the Watchful City explores a fantastical, bio-cyberpunk city through the lens of several interconnected stories, in the vein of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities.
In the Watchful City explores borders, power, diaspora, and transformation in a mosaic novella that melds the futurism of Lavie Tidhar’s Central Station with the magical wonder of Catherynne M. Valente’s Palimpsest.
The city of Ora uses a complex living network to surveil its inhabitants and maintain order. Anima is one of the cloistered extrasensory humans tasked with watching over the city. Aer knowledge of the world begins and ends with what ae can see and experience through the living network, and ae takes pride and comfort in keeping Ora’s citizens safe from all harm.
All that changes when a mysterious visitor arrives enters the city carrying a cabinet of curiosities from around the world, with a story attached to each item. As Anima’s knowledge of aer world expands beyond the borders of Ora to places—and possibilities—ae never before imagined to exist, ae finds aerself asking a question that throws into doubt aer entire purpose: What good is a city if it can’t protect its people?
S. Qiouyi Lu writes, translates, and edits between two coasts of the Pacific. Aer work has appeared in several award-winning venues. Ae edit the magazine Arsenika and run microverses, a hub for tiny narratives. You can find out more about S. at aer website s.qiouyi.lu or on Twitter @sqiouyilu.