Birdverse is 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? Pretty Bird-plucking queer. 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. By this I mean you want to read more than one story 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 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.
“A surreal magic system reflects on the characters’ diverse personalities while providing a sense of otherness.” (Tangent)
“Read this for the unusual magical system and Lemberg’s ornate, beautiful language” (FantasyLiterature)
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 now have a Birdverse Patreon, where I share work in progress, art, poetry, and other things unavailable elsewhere. More cool things are coming!
What is available:
“The Desert Glassmaker and the Jeweler of Berevyar” (short story, Uncanny) – a small happy story about two artists. (February 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.)
- Reprinted in Best of BCS, Year 4.
In progress or on submission
Bridgers, novel – I am revising this. And it’s about revolution and linguistics.
“Where Your Quince Trees Grow” – a new BV story about a young person from Katra immigrating to the Coast. It’s a tender, slow story about quince and immigration, and it will be on submission soon.
“The Book of How to Live” (novelette, on submission!) – Efronia Lukano is a commoner without magic who trekked across the landmass to study at the university. A story about bitter academic politics, and revolution as a viable alternative to academic politics 🙂
“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).
“A Portrait of the Desert in Five Personages of Power” (novella in progress): A very old royal personage, running around the desert on stilts, discovers the antihero fast asleep in the sands. ( supermages, consent, D/s, the magical history of Birdverse).