Good Hunting • 2012 • Steampunk short story by Ken Liu



Liang is a demon hunter falling in love with Yan, a shape-shifting fox spirit hulijing. As magic fades away, they have to adapt in the Hong Kong times of the Opium Wars: Liang becomes an engineer of steam engines and Yan a prostitute. It is time to let the magic of chrome and steel work their way.


The story starts as a silkpunk with faery tale themes and ends as a dark steampunk story. If you’re able to jump the deep bridge between these two worlds (and the author didn’t manage a smooth transition), then you’re going to love the story. The author shows his background, as it is heavily anti-colonial, e.g. in the abuse of Yan.

Meta: isfdb. This short story was published 2012 in Strange Horizons. I read it as part of The Paper Menagerie. It is also available for free.



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