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In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns
In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns
In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns
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In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns

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A man has been turned inside-out.

Fifty years in the future, in the sleek modern city of Bangalore, a scientist working on revolutionary bioengineering techniques has been discovered inside his own locked home, his body converted into a neat toroidal package of meat. It's up to Police Sub-Inspector Ferron to unearth the victim's complicated past and solve the crime, despite the best efforts of the mastermind behind the murder, aliens beaming signals from the Andromeda Galaxy, her overbearing mother, and an adorable parrot-cat who is the only witness.

Elizabeth Bear is the multiple Hugo Award winning author of KAREN MEMORY, HAMMERED, the Jacob's Ladder trilogy, and the forthcoming ANCESTRAL NIGHT.

HerausgeberElizabeth Bear
Erscheinungsdatum18. Juni 2018
In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns
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    In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns - Elizabeth Bear

    Sobbing Squonk Press

    South Hadley, MA 01075

    Copyright © 2012 Sarah Wishnevsky

    All Rights Reserved

    Printed in the United States of America

    First Edition, 2018

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    Names: Bear, Elizabeth, author

    Title: In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns / Elizabeth Bear

    Description: First Edition. | South Hadley : Sobbing Squonk Press [2018]

    Identifiers: ISBN 978-0-9863735-1-0 (ebook)

    ISBN 978-1-9832070-5-1 (KDP paperback)

    Subjects: Bangalore, | Mystery, | Science fiction, | Alien contact | Solarpunk | Genetic engineering

    Designed by Sarah Wishnevsky

    Cover image: detail of Starry Night at La Silla, photograph by Håkon Dahle at the European Southern Observatory (ESO). Used under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, with my sincere gratitude.

    Original cover image at:

    Publication History:

    First Publication:

    Asimov's SF, January 2012, Sheila Williams, ed.

    Subsequent Publications:

    The Year's Best Science Fiction, 30th Annual Collection,2013, Gardner Dozois, ed.

    The Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2013,Rich Horton, ed.

    Shoggoths in Bloom (2012), Paula Guran, ed.

    Lightspeed, February 2015, John Joseph Adams, ed.

    In the

    House of


    a Lonely

    Signal Burns


    Elizabeth Bear

    for Asha

    Police Sub-Inspector Ferron crouched over the object she assumed was the decedent, her hands sheathed in areactin, her elbows resting on uniformed knees. The body (presumed) lay in the middle of a jewel-toned rug like a flabby pink Klein bottle, its once-moist surfaces crusting in air. The rug was still fresh beneath it, fronds only a little dented by the weight and no sign of the browning that could indicate an improperly pheromone-treated object had been in contact with them for over 24 hours. Meandering brownish trails led out around the bodylike object; a good deal of the blood had already been assimilated by the rug, but enough remained that Ferron could pick out the outline of delicate paw-pads and the brush-marks of long hair.

    Ferron was going to be late visiting her mother after work tonight.

    She looked up at Senior Constable Indrapramit and said tiredly, So this is the mortal remains of Dexter Coffin?

    Indrapramit put his chin on his thumbs, fingers interlaced thoughtfully before lips that had dried and cracked in the summer heat. We won't know for sure until the DNA comes back. One knee-tall spit-shined boot wrapped in a sterile bootie prodded forward, failing to come within fifteen centimeters of the corpse. Was he jumpy? Or just being careful about contamination?

    He said, What do you make of that, Boss?

    Well. Ferron stood, straightening a kinked spine. If that is Dexter Coffin, he picked an apt handle, didn't he?

    Coffin's luxurious private one-room flat had been sealed when patrol officers arrived, summoned on a welfare check after he did not respond to the flat's minder. When police had broken down the door—the emergency overrides had been locked out—they had found this. This pink tube. This enormous sausage. This meaty object like a child's toy eel, a long squashed torus full of fluid.

    If you had a hand big enough to pick it up, Ferron imagined it would squirt right out of your grasp again.

    Ferron was confident it represented sufficient mass for a full-grown adult. But how, exactly, did you manage to just... invert someone?

    The Sub-Inspector stepped back from the corpse to turn a slow, considering circle.

    The flat was set for entertaining. The bed, the appliances were folded away. The western-style table was elevated and extended for dining, a shelf disassembled for chairs. There was a workspace in one corner, not folded away—Ferron presumed—because of the sheer inconvenience of putting away that much mysterious, technical-looking equipment. Depth projections in spare, modernist frames adorned the wall behind: enhanced-color images of a gorgeous cacaphony of stars. Something from one of the orbital telescopes, probably, because there were too many thousands of them populating the sky for Ferron to recognize the navagraha—the signs of the Hindu Zodiac—despite her education.

    In the opposite corner of the apt, where you would see it whenever you raised your eyes from the workstation, stood a brass Ganesha. The small offering tray before him held packets of kumkum and turmeric, fragrant blossoms, an antique American dime, a crumbling, unburned stick of agarbathi thrust into a banana. A silk shawl, as indigo as the midnight heavens, lay draped across the god's brass thighs.

    Cute, said Indrapramit dryly, following her gaze. The Yank is going native.

    At the dinner table, two western-style place settings anticipated what Ferron guessed would have been a romantic evening. If one of the principles had not gotten himself turned inside out.

    Where's the cat? Indrapramit said, gesturing to the fading paw-print trails. He seemed calm, Ferron decided.

    And she needed to stop hovering over him like she expected the cracks to show any second. Because she was only going to make him worse by worrying. He'd been back on the job for a month and a half now: it was time for her to relax. To trust the seven years they had been partners and friends, and to trust him to know what he needed as he made his transition back to active duty—and how to ask for it.

    Except that would mean laying aside her displacement behavior, and dealing with her own problems.

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