This masterful work positions Lu among the vanguard of contemporary futurism and speculative fiction."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
S. Qiouyi Lu's In the Watchful City explores borders, power, diaspora, and transformation in an Asian-inspired 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 called the Gleaming to surveil its inhabitants and maintain harmony. Anima is one of the cloistered extrasensory humans tasked with watching over Ora's citizens. Although ær world is restricted to what æ can see and experience through the Gleaming, Anima takes pride and comfort in keeping Ora safe from all harm.
All that changes when a mysterious visitor enters the city carrying a cabinet of curiosities from around the world, with a story attached to each item. As Anima’s world expands beyond the borders of Ora to places—and possibilities—æ never before imagined to exist, æ finds ærself asking a question that throws into doubt ær entire purpose: "What good is a city if it can’t protect its people?"
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Praise for In the Watchful City
"Beautiful prose, a complex structure, and well-wrought Asian-influenced worldbuilding. . . . This masterful work positions Lu among the vanguard of contemporary futurism and speculative fiction."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Stories within stories, possibilities within impossibilities: IN THE WATCHFUL CITY is half-tapestry, half-menagerie, adding up to an intricate, transcendent fantasy."—Chuck Wendig
“An intricately nested cyberpunk story that perfectly represents the best of the genre while exploring entirely new territory.”—Premee Mohamed
“In the Watchful City is piercing and precise, threading grief and joy through your heart as it examines the ties that bind people to one another.”—Andrea Stewart