JY Yang is a queer nonbinary Singaporean writer who self-describes as a postcolonial intersectional feminist, and their sublimely gorgeous fantasy world that we first see in The Black Tides of Heaven reflects these identities in its every facet. Its aesthetic is an Eastern twist on steampunk (silkpunk), and our protagonists — twins — are perfect reflections of each other until they slowly develop their own personalities and, wonderfully, their own genders. You see, here humans are born without gender until they decide whether they are a man or a woman for themselves — sometimes as a toddler, sometimes as an adult, or sometimes not at all — and so we are allowed to see those beautiful details and realizations, their coming-unto-self. An epic unspools itself at the feet of these siblings who find themselves in their differences, in fates that interweave with both tyranny and rebellion. If you like queer stuff or mythology or honestly fantasy of any kind, don't you dare let yourself miss out on something this special. Recommended By Cosima C., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A Finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards for Best Novella
The Black Tides of Heaven is one of a pair of unique, standalone introductions to JY Yang's Tensorate Series, which Kate Elliott calls "effortlessly fascinating." For more of the story you can read its twin novella The Red Threads of Fortune, available simultaneously.
Mokoya and Akeha, the twin children of the Protector, were sold to the Grand Monastery as infants. While Mokoya developed her strange prophetic gift, Akeha was always the one who could see the strings that moved adults to action. While Mokoya received visions of what would be, Akeha realized what could be. What's more, they saw the sickness at the heart of their mother's Protectorate.
A rebellion is growing. The Machinists discover new levers to move the world every day, while the Tensors fight to put them down and preserve the power of the state. Unwilling to continue as a pawn in their mother's twisted schemes, Akeha leaves the Tensorate behind and falls in with the rebels. But every step Akeha takes towards the Machinists is a step away from Mokoya. Can Akeha find peace without shattering the bond they share with their twin?
The Tensorate Series
Book 1: The Black Tides of Heaven
Book 2: The Red Threads of Fortune
Book 3: The Descent of Monsters
“A fascinating world of battles, politics, magic and romance.” Zen Cho, author of Sorcerer to the Crown
“Full of love and loss, confrontation and discovery. Each moment is a glistening pearl, all strung together in a wonder of world-creation.” Ken Liu, Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy Award winner and author of The Grace of Kings and The Paper Menagerie
"Joyously wild stuff. Highly recommended." The New York Times
About the Author
JY Neon Yang is the author of the Tensorate series of novellas from Tor.Com Publishing (The Red Threads of Fortune
, The Black Tides of Heaven
, The Descent of Monsters
and The Ascent to Godhood
). Their work has been shortlisted for the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Lambda Literary and Locus awards, while the Tensorate novellas were a Tiptree honoree in 2018. They have over two dozen works of short fiction published in venues including Tor.com, Uncanny Magazine
, and Strange Horizons
Neon attended the 2013 class of Clarion West, and received their MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia in 2016. In previous incarnations, they have been a molecular biologist, a writer for animation, comics and games, a science communicator, and a journalist for one of Singapore’s national papers.
Neon is currently based out of Singapore. They are queer and non-binary. Find them online at http://jyyang.com or on Twitter as @jyneonyang.