Sale: Scattered Along the River of Heaven to Clarkesworld


Wow, that was fast… Neil Clarke is taking “Scattered Along the River of Heaven” for the January issue of Clarkesworld. I feel… a little awed? I’ve been trying to break into Clarkesworld ever since it came into being (back when Nick Mamatas was still editor); and now it’s happened.

This is the story with pseudo-Chinese poems, colonialism and language that I was talking about earlier, the one where writing the last scene actually wrung me dry. It’s been knocking around my head for a while, ever since Aimé Césaire died: I wanted to write a story about poetry and language and decolonisation and national identity. It took me four years to find the words, and I ended up throwing a lot of personal stuff in it (much more than really makes me comfortable); but I’m proud of it, though a little fearful that it’s not going to be up to scratch. We shall see…

The revised snippet from the beginning (didn’t do much beyond touching it up)

I grieve to think of the stars
Our ancestors our gods
Scattered like hairpin wounds
Along the River of Heaven
So tell me
Is it fitting that I spend my days here
A guest in those dark, forlorn halls?

This is the first poem Xu Anshi gave to us; the first memory she shared with us for safekeeping. It is the first one that she composed in High Mheng—which had been and remains a debased language, a blend between that of the San-Tay foreigners, and that of the Mheng, Anshi’s own people.

Many thanks to everyone who took a look at it on OWW and helped me hammer it into shape: Oliver Buckram, L.K. Pinaire and David Kernot. And to the H, who liked it in spite of not understanding the ending at all :) (I fixed that part; now it should make sense for everyone).

January also marks the publication of another piece in which I had a part; but I don’t think I’m not allowed yet to reveal where and when. Watch this page for updates.


  1. Congrats!
    Sounds like January is going to be another issue with your indelible input

  2. Félicitations ! J’ai hâte de la lire !

    And yes, Clarkesworld is very hard to break into. Yay! Go you!

  3. He, thanks, Paul:-)
    Laura: Merci! (and I know people who get published into Clarkesworld over and over again. Not my case :) )

  4. Congratulations! Yet another thing to add to the endless reading list….

  5. Thanks, Brittain!

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