For longer than anyone could remember, the village of Yiwei had worn, in its orchards and under its eaves, clay-colored globes of paper that hissed and fizzed with wasps.
Thus begins E. Lily Yu‘s tale “The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees.” I only read it last month but it was originally published in the Clarkesworld Issue 55, April 2011. In this tale Yu weaves a vivid world within a world where wasps and bees have an entire empire and way of life unbeknownst to the human world around them, at first. I don’t want to give too much away, as the joy of discovering while reading is too great with this story, just know you should go read it right now. Go, read it. I will wait…
See what I mean?! The story just sucks you right in. You easily see things not just from the bee and wasp perspective but the brief transitions to the human world fills you with foreshadowing and dread, typical humans, sigh.
E. Lily Yu has a some additional stories for you to enjoy via Clarkesworld:
“The Urashima Effect” by E. Lily Yu, Issue 81, June 2013
This story gave me chills but not from fright. A man awakens, after a few years in stasis, on a solitary journey to a distant planet and after learning of a terrible change in plans must make a life-changing decision. It is an intense story for one that is so simple; but then, Yu is very adept at using just the right amount of words to create the images she wants to conjure in your mind.
“Daedalum, the Devil’s Wheel” by E. Lily Yu, Issue 87, December 2013
Here is a story that will require multiple passes to ensure you didn’t miss anything. The surreal one-sided conversation is almost psychedelic with just the right number of glimmers into reality that you wonder if you yourself haven’t had a similar conversation in the wee hours of desperation.
A very recent story with TERRAFORM:
“Local Stop on the Floating Train” by E. Lily Yu, published December 22, 2014
Whew. This story. While set during an undefined point in the future, what happens to Lela on the train could just as easily, and sadly, happen today. It is a simple and yet powerful commentary on race relations in a dystopian future. Just go read the story and then share it.
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E. Lily Yu is one of those authors I will always be keeping an eye out for. I was drawn in by her short fiction and I am desperately hoping for either a collection or a novel to come out at some point. According to her website Yu is currently a doctoral student at Cornell and there is a more extensive listing of her writing here.
Her ability to paint the most glorious worlds is astounding and I can’t read enough of her work. I haven’t read all of her listed work on the website, some I am only just now learning about and shall eagerly be seeking it out.
Have any of you read E. Lily Yu? Let me know what you think of the stories and happy reading!
I hope you enjoyed the first installment of Short Story Highlight. A LOT more to come here as I think short fiction is often pushed to the side too quickly versus being relished and passed around.