Rated PG. Includes war, and violence.
by Ken Liu
This story begins, as all of my creations do, in shadows.
No story is without its particular emphases and elisions, just as no woman goes about without her makeup. Many women on our home island of Uchinaa (they call it Okinawa here in Japan), and on the other islands that make up our Kingdom of Ruuchuu, copy the rumors of fashion in Nanjing and Beijing, in Kagoshima and Edo, and smother their faces with smooth creams and bright rouge, sweet-smelling powders and red lip wax.
But they do not understand the true secret of the art of enhancing a woman’s beauty, which now I will teach you.
A face is not a flat piece of paper. Like the surface of our island, it has heights and depths, peaks and valleys. That means shadows.
About the Author
Ken Liu is an author of speculative fiction, as well as a translator, lawyer, and programmer. A winner of the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy awards, he is the author of The Dandelion Dynasty, a silkpunk epic fantasy series (The Grace of Kings (2015), The Wall of Storms (2016), and a forthcoming third volume) and The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories (2016), a collection. He also wrote the Star Wars novel, The Legends of Luke Skywalker (2017).
In addition to his original fiction, Ken also translated numerous works from Chinese to English, including The Three-Body Problem (2014), by Liu Cixin, and “Folding Beijing,” by Hao Jingfang, both Hugo winners.
About the Narrator
Aki Gibbons is a traveler with a multicultural worldview and a passion for remarkable storytelling. A multifaceted writer of many voices—humorous, wry, fresh, dreamlike, authentic—she is a seasoned copywriter, experienced blogger and writer/reader of strange stories since childhood. Born in Okinawa and raised in California’s Bay Area with her sister by biracial parents, she has spent much time traveling to Japan, including some years of residing in Tokyo.
When not writing, reading, watching movies or traveling, you can find her enjoying happy hour or a meal in the garden with her husband, cats and perhaps a friend or two.
Follow her on Twitter or Instagram: @akigibbons