Short stories by Henry Lien

Pearl Rehabilitative Colony for Ungrateful Daughters

by Alexandra Manukyan for the cover of Asimov's

by Alexandra Manukyan for the cover of Asimov’s

Published: December 2013 in Asimov’s Science Fiction

Genre: science fiction

Length: 15 pages

Setting: Pearl Colony, some time in the future

Interest: It was included in the 2014 Campbellian Anthology

Summary: Jiang Suki, otherwise known as Her Grace, Radiant Goddess Princess Suki, has been sent to the Pearl Rehabilitative Colony for Ungrateful Daughters because of her attitude . The colony is run by the nuns and attempts to work the attitude out of the girls and get them ready for the Pearl Opera Academy. On the first day at the colony, Suki gains a nemesis, Liang Doi. Suki works hard to get Doi kicked out of the colony, but she is also an expert at Wu-Liu (a skating art on the pearl covering of everything).

Final thoughts: I enjoyed Suki’s attitude throughout the story (her favorite phrase was piss me off to death!) and the Wu-Liu skating techniques sprinkled throughout of the story were reminiscent of martial arts but with a unique spin. The culture implied by the story was very strongly Asian, between the names, the honor to the parents, and the strong desire to have a boy child.

While I enjoyed most of the story, I was very disappointed with the ending. Suki is trying to draw Doi out in conversation and they’re training for one last test and the story just ends. I was completely unprepared because there was no resolution to any of the conflicts. It was nominated for a Nebula, though, so obviously many people didn’t have the same problem with the story that I did

Title comes from: the setting of the story

Supplemental Declaration of Henry Lien

Published: October 2013 in Interfictions

Genre: paranormal fiction

Length: 11 pages

Setting: California, present day

Interest: It was included in the 2014 Campbellian Anthology

Summary: The story is set up as a list of legal declarations referring to a court case involving the narrator, Henry Lien, following the death of his lover, Thornton J. Ness. Thornton set Henry up as the Trustee of a Trust, which prompted an involved legal battle following Thornton’s death from cancer. Thornton and Henry also set up a method for Thornton to speak to Henry in his dreams and use a password to prove his identity. The secret password is accidentally revealed by Thornton’s brother-in-law, though.

Final thoughts: Again, interesting but not spectacular. I found the physical arrangement of the story interesting because it proceeded as a series of listed points instead of your more typical narrative. I just wasn’t drawn into the story, nor was I drawn too strongly to the narrator.

Title comes through: it was the title of the court papers that made up the story. I find Lien’s use of really long titles to be interesting. They give you a sense of the story before you’ve even started it.

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