Her Silhouette, Drawn in Water, by Vylar Kaftan (Tor)
This lovely novella reminds me of water-colors, painted with a deft touch, often evoked rather than explicitly depicted as layers of illusion are dispelled. The story opens with Bee, incarcerated in a series of caverns with only one companion, her lover, Chela. Although her crime was blowing up a space ship, she has no memory of it. Food and other supplies are delivered, but the two of them never encounter another human being. Gradually, though, Bee realizes she has telepathic powers that are nullified by a chip in her brain, supposedly related to her crime. The more she tries to reach out with her mind, the more agonizing the consequences, and the more frantic Chela becomes to maintain their status quo, to not challenge their imprisonment, and to keep Bee emotionally entangled with her.
Slowly Bee peels away the layers of illusion, and I won’t reveal what comes to light, as “the pleasure is in the journey.” Suffice it to say that I kept turning the pages, pausing to savor the nuanced, exquisitely crafted prose. Her Silhouette, Drawn in Water showcases Kaftan as an author of immense skill and sensitivity. The end suggest that Bee’s story will continue, and I for one will be looking forward to it!
I would not be surprised if this book was an award contender.