"The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window" is a 2010 speculative fiction novella by Rachel Swirsky. It is about a powerful dead woman whose soul is summoned for many years by the living people who seek her knowledge.
Not Really Science Fiction
So, this story isn’t really a SF story. It kind of falls more in the fantasy arena, although the ending could be considered a little bit more SF-ish. Oh well, it was nominated for a Nebula award so I’m thinking that makes it fair game. Anyway, it is a very cool story and one that I think most of you will probably enjoy so I’m reviewing it here – have fun!
In life Naeva was a powerful sorceress to the Queen, but she was betrayed and killed in a very unceremonious way. But hey, being dead doesn’t mean that one stops being useful! As Naeva is about to find out there will be all kinds of people who need her specialized knowledge for their own ends. There is the unscrupulous daughter, some crazy shamans and the man who lets her share his body. But Naeva’s favorite is Misa, the academic who wants more from Naeva than just her knowledge. Has Naeva finally found a home in this strange life-after-death? Maybe… at least until something more important occupies Misa’s world and changes everything.
Some Juicy Tidbits About This Story
- Word count: 18,925 (33 pages)
- This story was nominated for the 2011 Nebula Award for Best Novella.
- Special thanks to Jason Sanford for recommending this awesome story!
Where To Find The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window
- This story first appeared in the Summer 2010 edition of Subterranean Online – where you can still read it for free.
- "The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window" is also included as one of the stories in The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume 5.
Craving More SF Stories Like This One?
If you liked "The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window" then you may also enjoy “Stone Wall Truth” by Caroline M. Yoachim – about a woman whose job is to torture and then heal the enemies of her state.