Birdverse

Birdverse: my secondary world fantasy universe, named after its Bird deity. It is a  complex, culturally diverse world with very many LGBTQIA characters and different family configurations.

How queer is it? IT’S QUEER ALL THE WAY DOWN. Just to get this out of the way. If a character’s straightness is not explicitly stated, you can safely assume they are queer.

Lately I’ve also been writing a lot about neuroatypicality and disability. I am a sociolinguist and so my Birdverse worldbuilding draws on my knowledge of linguistics and other social science disciplines (folklore, anthropology) and as well as history of the decorative arts.

A Birdverse story, “Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds,” is on the Nebula ballot this year. It is also on the Tiptree longlist.

Birdverse accrues. While the works are stand-alone, you might want to read more than one piece to get a taste of its true complexity. My cunning plan is to keep writing and publishing in this world and continue to build these layers. Many, but not all, of my Birdverse stories and poems are interconnected.

Birdverse has a unique magical system, Magical Geometry, which draws on  concepts from our-world phonology and geometry. The ability to use magic relies on deepnames, which can be acquired in adolescence and early adulthood.

In the Birdverse, a magic loosely based in geometry is a source of craftsmanship, art, protection, and healing. Multiple cultures and countries engage in trade relationships and political alliances. Cultures make use of magic according to their own traditions and rules, and worship the deity Bird, in whichever feathered form Bird takes. And within these countries and cultures, individuals hurt and are hurt, heal and are healed. (Bookslut)

I have a Birdverse Patreon, where I share work in progress, art, poetry, and other things unavailable elsewhere. More cool things are coming!

The Starcounter of Keshet
 

What is available:

The Desert Glassmaker and the Jeweler of Berevyar” (short story, Uncanny) – a small happy story about two artists. (February 2016)

Mirrored Mappings” (poem, Through the Gate) – a mythic poem about layered histories, set in the Great Burri Desert. Accidentally the speakers are the characters of my BV novella on submission, A Portrait of the Desert in Personages of Power. (June 2016).

Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds”  (novelette, Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
– continues the story started in “I will show you a single treasure.” Grandmother-nai-Leylit has something to hide. (June 2015)

  • Nebula Award Nominee 2016
  • Tiptree Longlist 2016

“Beautiful telling of many gendered wordings and relationships, with great tenderness.” (Tiptree Award nomination)

Ranra’s Unbalancing” (poem, Strange Horizons) – Ranra tells about the disaster that destroyed her homeland. Also quince.  (November 2015)

  • Winner, Strange Horizons Readers Poll.

Geometries of Belonging” (novelette, Beneath Ceaseless Skies) – Parét, a famous mind-healer, is asked to cure a young autistic patient – but his patient does not consent to be cured. Meanwhile, Parét uncovers a carefully wrought intrigue against his lord and lover. (October 2015).

  • Winner, The Big Sip Award for excellent relationships in SFF 🙂 (It’s a small award, but I love it!)

“A wonderful portrayal of a society with trans and non-binary people, polyamory, fluid sexuality, and dom-sub relationships.” (Tiptree Award Nomination)

Three Principles of Strong Building” (poem, Strange Horizons) – a worldbuilding poem about one of the oldest Applied Disciplines, Strong Building (September 2015).

I will show you a single treasure from the treasures of Shah Niyaz” (poem, Goblin Fruit) – many women work together to create the greatest treasure ever woven, even though they know what fate awaits it.  (Summer 2013)

  • Rhysling Award nominee
  • Rhysling award, 3rd place, in the long poem category

Held Close in Syllables of Light” (novelette, Beneath Ceaseless Skies): YA with three queer teens on a trading quest gone awry.  (October 2011.) It’s important to note that this was an earlier story, the first BV story to be published – and that it takes place later on the timeline. Things changed quite a bit in Birdverse since then, especially in the details of the Ranravan-Kekeri House dynamics, as well as to the Raker’s earlier time in Burri. All this is background detail, but it is important. I will update this story for a collection, should one materialize.

  • Reprinted in Best of BCS, Year 4.

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On submission

A Portrait of the Desert in Personages of Power (longer novella): A very old royal personage, running around the desert on stilts, discovers the antihero fast asleep in the sands. ( supermages, consent, power exchange, the magical history of Birdverse). I just finished this thing and I frikking love it. On submission.

“Where Your Quince Trees Grow” (short story) – a new BV story about a young person from Katra immigrating to the Coast. It’s a tender, slow story about quince and immigration. On submission.

“The Book of How to Live” (novelette) – Efronia Lukano is a commoner without magic who trekked across the landmass to study at the Royal University of Laina. A story about bitter academic politics, and revolution as a viable alternative to academic politics 🙂 – On Submission.

———-

In Progress

Main Birdverse Novel which actually needs a title. Deep breath. The Upholding, the BV origin novel. Estranged Ranravan siblings must find a way to work together to stall a magical environmental catastrophe. Accidentally (I keep saying this!) accidentally, also the Tajer/Parét origin story – you might remember these characters from ” Geometries of Belonging.” (magic, the environment, linguistics, depressed and mentally ill protagonists, queer D/s romance, many trans/NB characters, even winemaking – everything I love is in this thing).

“Magpie” – a short story about artifacts, set in Stromha.

Bridgers,  novel – prequel to The Upholding. I am revising this. It’s about revolution and linguistics.

“Two and Five Syllables,” alternatively “The Odd Angle” (either a novella or a novel, argh). This one continues the story of Dedéi, the young autistic person from “Geometries of Belonging,” who runs away from their abusive family and Has Adventures while also dealing with very many speech and motor difficulties. Follow their adventures on Patreon!

“This is My Mission, This is My Sleigh”  – a bunch of ethnomusicologists traverse the desert on a sleigh driven by a shapechanging lion. I only wish I were joking. (novella in progress).

5 Comments

  1. […] stories from Rose that I’ve recently read and loved. These are both set in the same world, Birdverse: a world where magic is based on language and geometry in fascinating […]

  2. […] just $1 a day you can support Rose’s ongoing and expanding body of stories set in the “Birdverse.” One of the most recent of these stories is a Nebula Award nominee this year (the conference […]

  3. […] well-done stories with magic. If you are reading this, you may be familiar with my secondary world, Birdverse; you’ll find most of my favorite things in […]

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About

Rose Lemberg is a queer immigrant from Eastern Europe and Israel. Rose's work has appeared in Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Unlikely Story, Uncanny, and other venues. Rose is a Nebula Award nominee for their Birdverse novelette, "Grandmother-nai-Leylit's Cloth of Winds."

For a quick taste of Rose's writing, try the Sampler. You can support their work on Patreon.

Header image courtesy of M. Sereno.

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