Talulah J. Sullivan has a new queer indigenous sci-fi book out (gay, poly), book one in the Hoop of the Alekšu’in series: Blood Indigo.
A centuries-long stalemate endures over possession of a sentient world.
In one corner, a dwindling cabal of shamans holds a weakening defense; in the other, a colony of aliens tries to maintain a bio-engineering experiment run amok. In the middle stands a youth who has been genetically altered to ‘Shape’ the elemental powers.
If Tohwakeli surrenders to those powers, he will be not only outcast, but a weapon.
The storyKeeper speaks:
“When Grandmother grows weary of us, grows tired of the ever- creeping, cloying moss upon Her many-tiled back, She has but to draw into Her shell and gather unto Herself. And wait, through beginnings into endings…”
Listen, my cousins, for this is all true! These, the words of our Ancestors, had their beginnings from the words of Ša’akfo, spoken as the tailed Star danced over Grandmother’s belly. The words passed down over winterings and counts; a story told, repeated… even as I tell and speak these words now, so many Wheels later—and after they come to pass.
After “Eyes meet eyes to waken Spirit. Spirit wakens our Mother’s heart, and Her heart wakens…”
For once, not so long ago, after Winnowing tilted our lands into a dark and insular time, but before Reckoning showed us the error of our fears, there was a beginning. There are always beginnings, you might say; and a’io, everything begins, and ends, and rides the Wheel as we ride our grazingKin beneath Sun’s grace. But this beginning? It came stalking-quiet, and we with our backs turned upon it, foolish. Frightened. Like chukfi in a’s burrow, we lingered content, safe and ignorant, digging new warrens, making pellets and babies…
Ah! You ask! But the answers are always layered like the Land beneath our feet. Changing kindles beginnings. Little changes, they seem, at the first. Singular motions, ripples in cavern pools, singular actions as each reveals a new way, or makes new footprints upon a new path. Anhliči, my cousins… Recognise them. Remember them, and See them:
Here is one of the Beloved shrugging off complacency and fear, grasping the mane of a spoiled horse to bid it into decency. Here is a daughter feeling betrayal and rebellion beneath ways long made twisted and hidden—forbidden! Here is one made outlier and outcast, who Saw in Stars what others feared to. Here is a chieftain’s son, changing into something he was taught to fear and hate. Here is a child captured in the raiding, loosed to find her People and set a Land free. Here is a elder who believes he alone knows the secrets, and merely clasps sand in open fingers. Here is a changing-spirit youth, callow yet powerful enough to shield a’s People. Here is a son of two worlds, craving the belonging but having to turn away, accept instead of deny, believed Shaper when he was, instead, Catalyst.
All these our People, all our cousins—and with so many paths it would seem they’d never converge, a’io? Yet all these paths, all these singular motions, one then the other, fall like drops of Rain, gather and runnel to feed River. We might act alone, we might take a solitary path, yet every act cannot help but come together and inform the whole.
Enrichment, or betrayal, all affects all. We know this. We are one with our Kin, be they two- or four-footed, winged or finned or footless, rooted or carried upon Wind. Our People are one. Our separate actions affect the one. We are made as one even as we travel the Hoop like we ride our Kin into Wind’s blessings.
For these singular, seemingly insignificant motions were indeed the beginning, cousins.
They were the beginning of the ending…
TALULAH J. SULLIVAN has been a pro equestrian, a dancer, an actor, an activist, and a teacher… yet she’s never managed to not be a storyteller. Ever.
Her works reflect worlds both old and new, cultures fantastic and familiar, and promise an immersive, subversive experience. BLOOD INDIGO is her first novel that seeks to weave a ‘tale basket’ from the proud example of her Choctaw and Chickasaw grandmothers. More information can be found at her website: