A Salvaging of Ghosts • 2016 • SF Xuya short story by Aliette de Bodard

★★★1/2

A Xuyan short story with ghosts, a wreck of a mindship, and dealing with relatives‘ deaths.

Main character Thuy has a high-risk job: She goes into the depths of a broken space ships to salvage drug pearls. Those drugs where formed by the strange reality around mindships transforming souls of the dead. One of those deads is her daughter, also one of the pearl divers. Thuy wants to retrieve her daughter’s pearl as an artifact for her family altar.

I’ve read a couple of alternative universe Xuyan stories and found it hard to get back into the world of mindships every time. I’d love to fully immerse into the setting within one collection. Once again, it took several pages to remember that this is one of the Xuyan stories, what the universe was all about, and so forth. Once I had the grip, the story was half over, but I really liked the weird, melancholic atmosphere, the desperate character, and the humanistic view.

For better orientation in the Xuyan universe, she wrote a chronology.

Meta: isfdb. Appeared March 2016 in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, #195. Read in Best SFF 11. Available online.

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