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Little Bird
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ISBN-10: 1-77115-362-8
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy/SF
eBook Length: 223 Pages
Published: April 2017

From inside the flap

There was always something different about Sun Song Shia, but like most little girls she just wanted to be loved. Strangely, it wasn't until the Chinese government stuck her in a research facility did she find the love and acceptance she craved. Song Shia returned to her parents only to be met with wariness and even fear. She craved her Baba's love most of all, but that love came at a terrible price.

Song Shia fled China all the way to the Safe Zone city of Chicago. Even there she was monitored and strictly regulated by the government. Despite it all, Song Shia fell in love with a museum curator named Alex. Right from the beginning Song Shia warned Alex to "Run like hell!" Alex did not run. As their romance developed, Song Shia reluctantly brought Alex further into her world. Then their life together exploded when a devastating secret was exposed: a secret Song Shia kept not only from the world, but from herself.

Little Bird is an expansion of "In Her Eyes," which appeared in the Jan./Feb. issue of F&SF and reprinted in The Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Novellas, edited by Paula Guran. "In Her Eyes" was also a nominee for the Theodore Sturgeon award and an honoree for the James Tiptree award.

Little Bird (Excerpt)

Even before she had words for "heart" and "blood," she sensed the fluttery bird pushing life water throughout her body. She felt the blood pulse and flow through tiny tubes in her limbs and even sensed the one-way valves that kept it from backing up into her heart. Long before she had words, she knew her organs and what they did. She sent her consciousness through her body: watching, listening, learning.

A man placed a cold, round piece of metal on her chest and she knew he was listening to that fluttery little bird within. She sped it up so that its individual beats blurred together so fast they no longer pushed the fluid through the tubes. Then she slowed it way, way down so the beats came only at long intervals. A commotion arose. The man with the round piece of metal seemed upset. She didn't mean to upset him. She let the little bird in her chest beat as it normally did. The man smiled at her and she smiled back.

She liked the man. She felt her pupils open wide to let in more of this man's face. She grabbed two of his fingers in her tiny hand and held tight. The man tried to pull away but could not. Not until she let him.

The man turned toward her Baba and made sounds: "She's strong."

She didn't know what the sounds meant. She just knew she liked the man and she loved her Baba. She felt the muscles in her face move in response to him.

"And very cute," added the man.

Her Baba looked down at her.

"She's still a girl."

She didn't know what the sound meant but she didn't like the feel of them in her ears. Then her Baba turned away and walked out of the room. Song Shia cried but Baba stayed gone. She knew that someday she would learn to make the right sounds, the sounds that would make Baba come back.