Plagued by the creeping loss of her memory, diplomat Bréone Hemmerli continues to negotiate peace in an increasingly climate-devastated world. The Necessity of Stars brings the alien Tura to Bréone’s Normandy garden, a place removed from the world’s ruin. Within the garden’s shadows, Tura will show Bréone a way forward, even if she can’t remember it.
Since 2000, E. Catherine Tobler has sold more than 120 science fiction and fantasy short stories to markets such as Apex, Lightspeed, Fantasy, and Interzone. Her Clarkesworld story, “To See the Other (Whole Against the Sky)” was a finalist for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. She has published seven novels with small press markets, and co-edited the fantasy anthology Sword & Sonnet, which was on the Ditmar, Aurealis, and World Fantasy award ballots. In 2019, her thirteen year run as editor at Shimmer Magazine made her a Hugo and World Fantasy finalist. In June 2020, her first short fiction collection, The Grand Tour, was published with Apex Book Company.
“A Necessity of Stars is a lush story about memory and the games it plays, luring you further and further into Bréone’s beautiful, tangled world. An alien contact tale that is as charming as it is clever, Tobler gives the concept on a gorgeous and tender new spin.”
—Anya Ow, author of Cradle and Grave
“The Necessity of Stars is a many-splendored and profoundly moving science fiction novella. It’s a love story, deftly woven into a tender and subtly shaded alien invasion story. It’s also a poignant tale about aging, with Tobler delving deep into the fears that haunt many in old age: that we might lose the people and the life we love, that we might lose our memories, and ultimately even our own Selves. More specifically, The Necessity of Stars is the mind-bending, dizzying tale of what happens in the shadows beneath the trees in a French garden when the alien Tuva meets the human Bréone.”
“Tobler’s prose is always stunning, her characters rich, and her worlds immersive. The Necessity of Stars is no exception with its beautiful exploration of memory, perception, what we choose to see and what we choose to ignore, and our responsibility to each other and to the planet.”
—A.C. Wise, author of Wendy, Darling
“In prose just as slippery, glimmering, and strange as the arboreal aliens it describes, Tobler probes the nature of memory and humanity’s impact on planet Earth.”