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Sydney J. Van Scyoc

Cadet Jahna arrives on Nelding, a backwater planet, as a volunteer in an interstellar peace corps. The First Fathers of Nelding, a brooding, repressive group, requested her particularly - surprisingly, for she is young and unexperienced. Her first impressions are gloomy. Jahna is delivered to the huge fog fortress, Pengalen, where she learns, first, that she is to be assigned the care of infants and, secondly, from Becklord, the mysterious but attractive lord of Pengalen, that there is another culture on Nelding, a forest community called Tentback which is considered unclean and inhuman by the First Fathers and their followers.

Tentback is inhabited by people called mock-dirads, the mutated descendants of human colonists, born deformed and cast out by the First Fathers. They have mysteriously become protean, have imitated the native dirads and grown to look like them. Becklord sees the danger of becoming too alien to preserve civilization of any kind and pland that Jahna become a template, a pattern for imitation for female infaants (for the ability to imitate is lost in early childhood). Becklord is opposed by the First Fathers, by certain mock-dirads, and by Zuniin, an insane Tentback mother, tortured by hatred and fear, who will kill Jahna before letting her "steal" Tentback babies.

Conflict increases, culminating in violent warfare. Jahna must choose to stay in Tentback and become the Starmother or retreat to civilization.

Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers

Alyssa Wong

This Nebula nomited short story originally appaered in the Nightmare special edtiont Queers Destroy Horror in october 2015. It can also be found in the anthologies Heiresses of Russ 2016: The Year's Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction (2016), edited by A. M. Dellamonica and Steve Berman, Nebula Awards Showcase 2017, edited by Julie E. Czerneda, and The New Voices of Fantasy (2017), edited by Peter S. Beagle and Jacob Weisman.

Read the full story for free at Nightmare.

Star Mother

Star Mother: Book 1

Charlie N. Holmberg

When a star dies, a new one must be born.

The Sun God chooses the village of Endwever to provide a mortal womb. The birthing of a star is always fatal for the mother, and Ceris Wenden, who considers herself an outsider, sacrifices herself to secure her family's honor and take control of her legacy. But after her star child is born, Ceris does what no other star mother has: she survives. When Ceris returns to Endwever, however, it's not nine months later?it's seven hundred years later. Inexplicably displaced in time, Ceris is determined to seek out her descendants.

Being a woman traveling alone brings its own challenges, until Ceris encounters a mysterious?and desperate?godling. Ristriel is incorporeal, a fugitive, a trickster, and the only being who can guide Ceris safely to her destination. Now, as Ceris traverses realms both mortal and beyond, her journey truly begins.

Together, pursued across the Earth and trespassing the heavens, Ceris and Ristriel are on a path to illuminate the mysteries that bind them and discover the secrets of the celestial world.

Star Father

Star Mother: Book 2

Charlie N. Holmberg

In a heavenly war, the moon is prevailing...

It happens in an instant, filling Aija with dread: the Sun is suddenly cast from the sky, throwing the Earth into midday darkness. On the fourth day of endless night, Aija finds an unconscious man by the river. His skin is as hot as her lantern's glass and just as golden. To Aija, a farmhand with the soul of an artist, this beautiful stranger is an inspiration--and a mystery. He calls himself Saiyon. He bleeds light. His friends are celestial. His enemies, godlings of the moon.

Between Aija and Saiyon, attraction grows warmer. For Aija, an unfathomable revelation: she's falling in love with the earthbound Sun God. When Saiyon's faltering powers are restored to full glory, what then? There's a way Aija can become immortal, too. Saiyon can't support such a risk.

Aija chooses to follow her heart to places darker and more dangerous than she realizes. Whatever sacrifices lie ahead, they're the only way to make an impossible true love last forever.