Author: Neon Yang
Publisher: Tor Books
First Published: July 12, 2017
Genres: Dystopia, LGBTQIA+, Science Fiction, Short Stories, Space Opera
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
It is always amazing to me the amount of world-building that can occur in such a short story, and I was captivated by the world within Waiting on a Bright Moon in which humanity has been spread across space living in colonies. Humanity remains connected through the mysterious powers of the ansibles, a small enclave of special women whose “closeness” allows them to open portals through space through the power of song. Despite their incredible powers, they are looked down on as expendable parts and are cast out due to their proclivity toward other women. The starmages are equally incredible, and I was in awe of the magic systems crafted in this little novella.
I admit that I was overwhelmed when I first started reading and found the story and language difficult to follow. After a few paragraphs, I was utterly absorbed in the beautiful writing and my imagination ran wild from scene to scene. The world that the ansibles and the starmages live in is terrifyingly authoritative, and my heart bled for the stories of these women who are never really free to live and love as they desire. Waiting on a Bright Moon is such a gorgeous dystopian space opera, I fell in love with the characters and dreamt about the starmages all night after I finished the story.
“I just thought, I don’t want to live with this kind of fear and doubt all my life. Where even expressions of love have to be taken with suspicion.”
Trigger Warning: Sex, Violence