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Flower, Mercy, Needle, Chain by Yoon Ha Lee

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"Flower, Mercy, Needle, Chain" is a 2010 science fiction short story by Yoon Ha Lee. It is about an ancient woman who possesses a uniquely powerful weapon.

Guns and Roses

This was another excellent story I read for the 2011 Million Writers Award. An unbelievably cool story from an author whom I had never read before! This story, about some very creative weapons, was an absolute joy to read, and my only complaint was that it was too short! I highly recommend this story to anyone who loves great science fiction – you won’t be disappointed.

Non-spoiler Summary in a Nutshell

Guns 'n' Roses by s i n h a, CC 2.0 License

Shiron is a unique woman in many ways. Not only is she the last surviving human, but she also possesses a gun of extraordinary power. That gun, called Arighan’s Flower, has the unique ability to destroy not only the person who is shot but his or her entire ancestral line as well! There are only a handful of weapons created by Arighan, and she has had this one for a long, long time. But when a constructed man visits Shiron and tells her of a newly discovered weapon she is forced to make a very difficult decision.

Interesting Tidbits About This Story:

  • Page Count: 6
  • Word Count: 2,729
  • Did you know that Yoon Ha Lee has a B.A. in math from Cornell University? Yep. You can learn more about this excellent author on her web site.

Where You Can Find Flower, Mercy, Needle, Chain:

  • This story was first published in the September 2010 issue of the the online magazine Lightspeed – where you can still read it for free.

Craving More Science Fiction Short Stories?

If you liked "Flower, Mercy, Needle, Chain" then you might also enjoy “Hello” Said the Stick by Michael Swanwick – about a soldier who finds a talking stick with a deadly secret.