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Heart recieves multiverse fiction

On Heart, there are logistically-two Earths on two separate continents both contemplating the same task; namely, the import of fiction from offworld. Both of them are women, and both are supported by their Skies in this task; however, one is Eravian, and one is Anadyne. 

The Eravian is a scout for a major publishing house and is looking to sell new books, poetry, and hypertext works in translation. Her name is, as best as can be translated, "Crystal." She has just recieved a condensed data dump from a contact at the Eravian Offworld Embassy containing several hundred gigabytes of offworld material; her shipment of hardcopies came in yesterday.

The Anadyne's name is Pigeon. She is part of Snowblossom's polycule. Snowblossom, being the Sanctified of the entire Anadyne Union, has better things to do with her time than read alien fiction, but she's not above placing one of her own Skies as one of the first readers for works intended to be published in the Anadyne Union. Pigeon leapt at the opportunity, as she loves spending all day curled up with a good book; and so she is officially the Senior Reader in charge of recommendations to the Council of Reflections. A heavy responsibility, but as Snowblossom's Moon she is very used to this sort of thing. She has a slightly different data dump than Crystal does, but many of the works are the same. 

Crystal and Pigeon open their readers at the same time, and begin to read. 

What's in the slush pile?

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An epic poem about an ancient king, presented in the original with extensive annotations. Full translations are going to be legitimately tricky; it's long, it's gorgeous, and the poetic form is pretty strict and doesn't adapt well to the rhythms of other languages, but the writer keeps doing this thing where the rhyme scheme and meter highlight underlying thematic connections between different lines—anyway. The plot begins with an introductory section where the king is going around doing atrocities in a very badass ancient-legendary-figure sort of way, right up until a random peasant girl lights him on fire with her magic powers and he immediately falls madly in love and drops everything to beg her to marry him, then spends the next two-thirds of the poem gradually lightening up on the atrocities front, partly because he has now realized that peasants are people and partly because his wife keeps arguing with him and occasionally threatening to light him on fire again, which he always responds to with a confused mix of fear, adoration, and occasionally anger. The queen's power to set fire to her husband is depicted very obviously and straightforwardly, discussed in the text and the dialogue; the king's reciprocal power to have his wife executed is left completely to subtext and implication, only barely hinted at by means such as using epithets for her that emphasize her fearlessness whenever he gets angry. Accompanying notes explain that the poem is an allegory for real historical events, with the queen standing in for the entire Phoenix archetype, which did appear during that approximate historical era and did have those approximate powers and did have approximately that effect on ancient kings' tendency to oppress people although the exact mechanism was obviously very different.

Extremely well-researched historical fiction detailing the life of a high priestess of the River Kingdom who, by contrast to most high priestesses of the River Kingdom, did actual politics instead of spending all her time managing the movement of water. One gets the impression that the author wishes they could spend all their time managing the movement of water; lovingly detailed descriptions of River Kingdom plumbing and water management take up a solid third of the book, intermingled with plenty of inner monologue from the high priestess and lots of interactions with very well-fleshed-out side characters. An appendix carefully distinguishes side characters for whom there is historical evidence (and what that evidence covered) from side characters the author made up (and the census data and contemporary sources from which they extrapolated those characters' likely traits). An additional appendix tries to explain the context of the Ondine archetype so the aliens can properly appreciate it, but the author admits that they're not very good at explaining this sort of thing and recommends some other reference material to interested reader.

Porn about masochists with access to magical healing is its own entire genre but here is a widely acclaimed example, in which a [sadist who lives by themself in a castle they designed and built using magic] (this is a two-word phrase in the author's native language) gets an unexpected visitor and falls in love with them despite being sort of shaky on this whole 'human interaction' concept. Neither of them has much of a clue how to pursue a healthy relationship, but they are both highly motivated to figure it out, and they make it to the end of the book having successfully reinvented most of the basics from scratch and settling into a life together full of art and luxury and wholesome, loving, extremely gory sex. The climactic scene involves the introverted-sadist-architect breaking into tears about how much they love their partner and needing to be wrapped in blankets and snuggled until they calm down. The two of them are the only characters in the entire book, unless you count the introverted-sadist-architect's house as a third character, which you very well might given how much screentime it gets. The back of the book has a collection of author-approved fanart of the castle, added so the aliens can get a sense of the architectural styles involved that words alone would have trouble conveying.

A duology of very long fantasy novels, which turn out to be collectively about 40% appendix by pagecount. The appendices cover worldbuilding, conlangs, and a set of six different detailed maps of the world, each from the perspective of one of the major nations involved in the plot, all of which have subtle disagreements with each other on matters such as which landmarks are important, what they are called, and who owns them. The plot consists of a ragtag yet lovable ensemble cast, thrown together by circumstances beyond their control which accidentally leave them the only people in the world capable of saving it from a cataclysmic threat, having breakdowns about how they're not ready for this and then going ahead and doing their best anyway. In the end, they pull it off by the skin of their teeth and with rather more casualties than any of them are comfortable with. The second volume has a long denouement consisting mostly of our heroes leaning on each other and their friends and loved ones to help them cope with all their realistically-described trauma once the crisis is over; the last chapter concludes when they're all psychologically stable again and leading healthy, thriving lives, and the epilogue shows a bittersweet scene of the six of them holding a private memorial ceremony together ten years later, after which they are going to attend a massive celebration being held in their honour on the anniversary of their success.

A work of interactive fiction, in which the player's character appears wandering in a starlit desert with no memory of where they came from or how they got here. After finding and exploring a nearby ruin, you eventually stumble upon a talking statue of a beautiful winged person, and although the statue is very shy at first, eventually you can coax enough information out of them to realize that they're some sort of powerful magical being who has been horribly abused by people using them for personal gain. You, too, can horribly abuse them and use them for personal gain; or you can use them for personal gain in less gratuitously awful ways that they still pretty clearly find traumatizing; or you can try to befriend them; or you can try to befriend them but in a sex way; or you can ignore them and try to figure out a way to escape the mysterious magical ruins by yourself. The descriptions of the statue's reactions to trauma are uncompromisingly realistic; the descriptions of the statue's reactions to genuine friendship and love are heartbreakingly sweet. The story has multiple possible endings, depending on your relationship with the statue and on whether you choose to escape the mysterious ruin or not, plus the implicit non-ending of simply never deciding to take an ending option; it is only possible to remove the statue from the ruins by force or with maximum trust levels, and if you do it by force the statue crumbles to dust as soon as they cross the outer wall.


A queer romance novel between a professional book reviewer and quality consultant and an author of series of progressively more meta fictionalized book reviews, ranging from simply publishing multiple reviews of the same book to writing reviews 'written' by the characters featured in that or other books. The main plot consist of a series of fights, make up fucks, mysterious symbolic journeys throughout a temple and a dare for them to swap places - avoiding muddling meaning and creating meaning through questions, rather than answers. 

The process of writing is lovingly detailed, and is the performance anxiety of making something for the world to see, while the reviews are mostly only covered in snippets and asides - though there's a few links to conjectured completed reviews attached in the normal publication version from the fanfiction community, but there's a lot of missing moments and oddly jumpy resolutions around the visits to priestesses - often coming out with a wildly different view of how to handle things and a new infusion of sex drive. 

A book about a VR system that replaces dreams with a multiplayer incredibly porny RPG world, where everyone has signed up for nigh-unbounded kink for as long as they dream, within the parameters they've set. Though the sex scenes make up about half the book's length and are clearly intended to be fappable, the rest of the book is a very clearheaded examination of the importance of consent, of the balance between not letting your dreams become reality and preventing yourself from self-modifying to hurt yourself when you are too tied up in your self-image. 

The mechanics of the game are clearly detailed, and the footnotes include a series of references to machine-learning papers proving the approximate balance of the combat system and of neurological studies of some of the more exotic pleasure induction techniques described, detailing why they're likely theoretically possible and relating them to exotic techniques available today. 

A space opera television show built around uplift efforts - with the primary conflicts being odd religious and cultural concerns barring the path, emergency worker burnout, and a series of related mysterious aliens who intervene to ensure 'cosmic balance' through both direct attacks, negative space wedgies, and even political campaigns implemented in a wide variety of systems, with an order of secretive priestesses constantly helping the cast out despite their secular origins and purpose. The technology and logistics are rendered in painstaking detail (especially in the secondary materials) and the whole show is built around the frustrations in project management, and conflict mediation under stress and sleep deprivation, though the cast never seem to want to stop helping, persay. 

There's also a lot of drama about the difference between corruption and 'skilled negotiation' across cultural boundaries, involving a number of exchanges of gifts and courtesies that are often very similar between missions that are treated very differently in the different worlds they help.

Nearly all of the perspective characters are femme amongst all of the works, oddly enough.


Pigeon's first batch of fiction is from the Grapeverse. The epic poem is obviously losing something in translation - she has been briefed that the aliens have magic beyond reflections, which otherwise would be the most exciting thing about this. Nonetheless, the feeling she has is that this is something deep, with memory and investment behind it - perhaps it's a shirasanmi* of a kind for Phoenix; she's not quite clear on what an 'archetype' is, but it seems to be something similar to a reflection? If this was translated properly it might produce some interesting results. She sets it aside to show to Snowblossom later; it seems diplomatically important. 

The historical fiction based on moving water around... There's a part of her that's deeply fascinated with the engineering problems, and a part of her that questions what possible practical use it could be, and part of her that appreciates the character building and interiority, and part of her that feels like the book is not really about much. (All these parts have names and personalities of their own, but we're simplifying a bit here.) The further insight on "archetypes" is interesting, but she's definitely going to bring the epic poem to Snowblossom first and just mention this in passing. Though it is nice to see that the aliens have Earths too. 

The porn about sadists and masochists is... intriguing. She is not personally into that kink but it's well-written enough and building so much on a fundamental idea of good communication and work in relationships that the romance doesn't suffer much. She doesn't understand what's up with these aliens and their associations with architecture, but the story is engaging and well-written and would probably find a mass audience. She sets it aside in her personal collection, and keeps reading; the liturgical implications aren't really significant here, so there's not much to talk to Snowblossom about. 

The very long fantasy novels start off promisingly enough, but she's not really into fantasy, and she has enough complicated politics in her life already, thank you. Aliens also have territorial disputes, how surprising. She sets them off to the side only half-read, and doesn't get to the ending. (Eventually one of her junior readers encourages her to take the time to read the whole thing, and the ending makes her cry. But in her first cut she doesn't get there.) 

The interactive fiction... Oof. Beautiful. Really makes you think. She takes the befriending-but-not-in-a-sex-way route, and decides to leave the game unconcluded, staying close with the statue in the place where they're comfortable. She doesn't understand why people would play the other routes - okay, no, she understands why people would have sex with the statue, people are horny, but personally she feels it's more heartfelt if it's more selfless on the part of the player. It is mildly annoying that it assumes only one self for the player character, but she can't expect aliens to be like her. 

*Soul-record, in practice a combination of a will, a eulogy, and a personal mythology with specifically defined rites of remembrance, generally written by the person in life or their survivors. It is a daily ritual for the Sanctified to select a shirasanmi from the vault and publicly perform one of its rites, thereby representing symbolically the wishes of all the unremembered. 


Meanwhile, a continent away, Crystal is looking at the exact same section of her data dump, covering the Grapeverse books. 

The epic poem is probably only publishable as a historical curiosity or as Grapeverse mythology; it clearly suffers in translation. Maybe it could go into an anthology of some form? Hmm, the effect of the magical powers being actually real is an interesting twist. It's perhaps not mass-marketable, but a professionally-produced slim volume for those interested in Grapeverse culture could be worth something. She sets it in the maybe pile. 

The water management political thriller obsessed with plumbing has some mass-market appeal in Eravia - Eravians enjoy learning how things work, especially if there's a plot attached - but sales in Anadyne would probably be weak. Maybe pile. 

Ooh, alien erotica! And it's S&M. And extremely well-written, wow. It's a crammed market, but between the quality of this one and its alien origins, there's potential for a smash hit. The architecture focus is a little distracting, but given it's alien fiction it adds an exotic sense of place to the whole thing. She'd better get on this one quickly; she sets it in the definitely pile.

... And her ARC of the alien erotica can quietly go in her personal collection. She got this job because she has good taste, damn it. And when she has some time away from these books she'll be able to give it the, ah, attention it deserves. 

Fantasy is not her specialty but this next duo are well-written. The stakes are personal and real, the worldbuilding is well-thought-out, and it treats all the costs realistically and seriously. That's a winning combination. It's still clearly alien given the lack of any reflections and the fact that the friends don't end up in a polycule at the end, but that lends it a charming simplicity to some degree. It is, however, quite long, and some people might lose their focus on it before getting to the ending. Fantasy readers are more likely to put up with longer books, though, and quite a lot of this is appendix. Perhaps an abridged version? Maybe pile. 

The piece of fiction with the statue is very sweet and precious and will make a lot of money for whoever gets the distribution rights. Yes pile. 

Overall, this is a much better slush pile than she usually has - then again, she hasn't worked in imports before. It's different when you're working with books that have already been published.



There were some issues with format conversation, but the translators did the best they could manage with the lack of smell!


A tale for young workers about a new mushroom farmer who is very unhappy with her* job and desperately wants to change it and become an explorer, but feels like she must stay in her current job for the good of her hive! The story details her becoming less happy and satisfied, until she eventually makes new friends in her fiction-reading group who encourage her to tell the hive-manager that she’s unhappy and wants to switch jobs. She does this, and becomes much happier, and finds a new valuable type of fungus for the colony, that is eventually used to make a new kind of antibacterial. It is clearly written with a moral lesson to tell people about your problems and not just tough them out.


A very complicated political novel with around 600,000 words, featuring nine diplomats from three different hives navigating a tension-filled debate about the morality of executions, while also trying to make the most advantageous trade deals, with several backroom discussions between every combination of hives at different points, embarrassing interpersonal drama, and a tremendous amount of dramatic irony.

A rules and lore book for a tabletop RPG, featuring several books of additional content based on other series, and a wide variety of different powersets. Nearly three hundred different personality traits are listed in the original alone, all with various mechanical benefits and downsides. 


*Gender is very weird and confusing, but they’re just translating everything as she for now until someone thinks of a better idea.


Pigeon's second batch of fiction is from Hearthome (curiously similar name to Heart, that.)

The alien approach to spirituality in the book reviewer romance is quite interesting, with memory discontinuities not dissimilar to that experienced by some Reflections; it's relevant to faith, so her jotted notes about it go on the stack for Snowblossom. As a writing device, she's not much for the jumping around and implying things; it's a bit too obscure for her taste, and smacks of Deus Ex Machina in a couple places where the visit to the priestesses abruptly resolves a relationship issue. 

More alien porn, huh. And very... Creative. The VR system premise probably would do well in Eravia, but here it's just uncomfortable to replace dreams with VR. Sure, there are ecstatic cults who would probably appreciate this book, but she's not a member. The message is good, but like the other alien erotica it's just a bit too kinky for her. Aliens make weird porn too, film at 11. The notes on exotic methods of inducing pleasure, though - that's worth putting a bookmark in and bringing to Snowblossom as an offering to the Ecstatics, assuming these are safe for Heart's natives. Someone will no doubt be willing to volunteer. 

And then there's the uplift fantasy... Again, confirming that there are Earths on all worlds, people who do the dirty work. It's kind of nice to see the struggle portrayed. The science fiction lean isn't really her taste either, but she doesn't mind overmuch. The premise strikes her as distinctly Eravian here as well. It's not quite utopian, and it has more religion in it than she'd expect, but... Well, it's alien! She finds herself smiling a little. This one will go into her personal collection. 


Crystal's data dump has the same three books from Hearthome as well!

The meta book reviewer/professional book reviewer one would probably sell well in Anadyne, but resolves a little too much with faith to sell well in Eravia. The erotica content would probably move some copies, but it's not exceptional. Maybe pile. 

The book about the VR system is... very creative. That's a lot of kinks. The trouble with that is that it doesn't have a specific niche, it's just in general really kinky. A little something for everyone, she guesses. But there's a risk of squick, too, and she can't publish something that has ecstatic-cult pleasure technique instructions in the back - that would have to be cut out for mass publication, there's liability issues otherwise. Honestly, probably not worth the negotiations. No pile. 

The space opera television show isn't something her company can license distribution rights for, she works with print and hypertext. Based on an episode or two it's good though. She'll pass it along to a contact of hers in the television industry and maybe it'll see sales. She bets it'll sell well in Eravia. 



Now here's some genuinely alien alien fiction - the Antsfolk download, which is apparently based on colony dynamics? 

The tale for new workers is a bit simplistic, but the alien perspective makes it worth reading. It doesn't go into her collection though. 

She is SO DONE with complicated politics. She tosses the 600,000 word novel across the room before she even gets a tenth of the way through. Snowblossom can read it herself if she wants to know about the political lives of the Antfolk. 

The tabletop RPG sourcebook is a tabletop RPG sourcebook. It sure is detailed. She guesses personality is more important when you can only have one? Well, in any case this is neither politically important nor interesting, so she'll just set it aside. 


The Antsfolk download is less promising - the translation from scent is difficult in the first place, and the considerably more alien minds involved make the areas of overlap less obvious - but she'll read the three books provided anyway. 

The first one is alright. Seems like something you could put in an anthology of Antsfolk stories to illustrate their culture and attitudes. It's a bit simplistic, though; she doubts her readers would be held by it very well. Maybe pile. 

The 600,000 word political novel is both too long and too complicated for mass market. Skies just don't have the attention span for this kind of thing. Suns might buy it, but they generally have better things to do than read. No pile.

As for the RPG sourcebook... Well, it lacks any rules for making reflections, but the personality creation rules are quite complex and could be used practically for self-finding. Then again, in that market it's not really outstanding on any criteria save exhaustiveness. No pile. 

Ah well. Perhaps there'll be something more interesting in the next section of her data dump. 


A less complicated political novel, classified as “short,” with only 70,000 words and three subplots. In this one, one of the hives is secretly preparing to wage war on both hives and framing it on the other, and is thwarted when one of the ambassadors has a crisis of faith, which is detailed in full. She defects, tells the others about the evil plans, and gets lots of cuddles with her new friends.


A quasi-historical piece of fiction, where “history” means “complex spice trade deals,” “romantic? expensive gifts,” and “people are using spears to fight,” than any real attempt at accuracy. Features a moderate amount of politics, mostly centered around mutual-hostage-spy agreements and the spice trade, and a lot of people breaking down and getting cuddles.


A poem about the loveliness of sunning yourself on a summer day, and finally feeling warm, which is compared to the feeling that the point of view character feels when with their best friend.


This book is written and formatted like a strategy guide for a video game, but on deeper examination it is actually a cleverly disguised auto-biography about the real life of a professional cosplayer. It follows her journey from competition to competition, and goes into extensive detail on the gathering of materials, planning of patterns, assembly, testing, and final performance of each character, as a video game strategy guide would, with colorful diagrams, detailed illuminated tables, and plenty of imagery. It requires no prior knowledge of the characters she becomes along her journey, with the main descriptive passages weaving an instructionally-styled tale of getting into each character's headspace. Interspersed within these tales are the details of the cosplayer herself, the friends she made along the way, and several lovingly highlighted digressions (with photos) into occasions when she had particularly notable sexual encounters while in-character.

Here is a long series of science-fiction light novels, dozens of entries but each one readable in one sitting, set among the outer planets of the solar system in an alternate reality where fictional-super-genius-creativetechnologists command interplanetary fiefdoms each with their own extremely unique and in some cases very awesomeness-over-practicality creativetechnology spaceships. The books follow the adventures of a benevolent pirate faction called The Caregivers that uses cyberwarfare and advanced biohacking to find lonely repressed trans girls and remake them as inhumanly beautiful and sexual women with implausible levels of talent in seduction and in reverse-engineering rival faction's creativetechnology, who are then sent as infiltrators to find more recruits among the other factions as well as steal and repurpose ships from the least friendly factions. Each book follows a different newly-minted supersexy spacer girl, and begins with that girl's nigh-magical and wish-fullfillment-y transition in pornographic detail, with a different emotional angle each time. The series as a whole weaves together into a single serial narrative with girls from previous books playing a large role in the plot of subsequent books, and keeps this up long enough that one of the series main selling points is how it manages to juggle so many characters without collapsing in on itself, like the author had deliberately set out to displace the reader's entire Dunbar's-Allocation with an army of kind-hearted honeytrap space-prostitutes.


An ARG / dating sim about an 'administratrix dating system' spread throughout dozens of websites with a wide-variety of puzzles - ranging from algebraic and geometric intuition puzzles to pattern finding to esosteric science references designed to 'find you the perfect match' based off of a deep series of kink questionaries spread throughout the experience (and customizeable-to-the-route in a 'cheat screen' offered as a supplement for those who prefer not to play in that style) all integrated into a series of dating sim routes, with increasingly dramatic changes to the 'second skein'* - letting you romance the customized version of your character together alongside the native version. It's left ambigious how much the normal version of the character is a recreation or a simulation designed to accomodate those who don't want to 'really be a bad person', or how much they'd genuinely otherwise fall in love with you. There's a large emphasis on futadom and body worship in most of the routes, and a machine learning system that does a decent job of filling in between the pre-authored content, though it has a tendency to get a bit stale and 'slip' between the selves and lose coherency after long conversations or things too unexpected. It's still hauntingly realistic, sometimes. 

*lit 'second-weave-of-a-single-tapestry' - it seems to be a much more manual and cognitive seperation, based on hypotheticals and direct simulationism, sometimes aside from the creation of seperate emotions. 

A book about a telepathic non-binary couple travelling through time, discussing the reality of 'great man' history - watching the exact process of planes, several varieties of light bulbs and generators being invented, interspersed with dialogue and thought-commentary of the inventors and those around them before, during and after the inventions. It's written as a meditation on the flow of blame and credit, with a special focus on a plural inventor who has the debate about the subject in their own thoughts, adding another layer to the story. There's a few mentions in passing of the priestesses and sex as things that the main characters talk with and indulge in occasionally, but it's essentially safe for work and unreligious. 

A non-fiction book in hypertext about hypnosis, sensitivity and immerse-hallucination-induction, written in a fairly clinical style, with a couple of notes about when each of the techniques succeeds and fails in allowing reliable replication of the sort of behaviours exhibited by the real thing, and a few neurological comparisons and autonomic function tests, complete with a bunch of tables and questionares about why you are bothering with the research and 'how this pursuit will exalt you before your goddess', but is otherwise unreligious. There's a sample character or two written in for emulation, and a series of baselines and forum-records of people emulating them added in the appendixes. It's notated as the 'clean' version on the main page. 


There are two works so far from Iie*a, home of the neotenous, monogendered, largely aquatic race which have mostly by accident come to be referred to as the Joeys.

One is a song, apparently for children, about a young Joey who is implanted with a lover (executive-function-boosting symbiote, the more or less literal backbone of their society) and immediately sets out to adventure, leaving his dozen or so fathers behind, because he's desperate to do something interesting, not just make art and have fun as is approved of by society. Unfortunately, he is not very well suited to adventure; fortunately(?), he's self-deluded enough that he manages to convince himself at every turn that whatever disaster has just ensued is what he wanted. He loses his possessions fairly early, but reasons that he wanted to experience the world on his own merits. He makes several friends and drives them away with his terrible luck and inability to own up to mistakes, but convinces himself that they were the cause of whatever disaster latest befell him. Eventually, he falls in battle against a shark he had convinced himself was threatening a nearby village, which is actually a farmer's beloved pet; he goes to his grave convinced that he is a hero dying before his time, and when the spirits of the deeps show him his life and ask his regrets before letting him drift out of reality, he cheerfully claims none. The spirits state that he is the only man who has ever died happy, and that on balance, more people should lie to themselves if they want to enjoy life.

The other is a lightly annotated collection of poems by a fry afflicted by a terminal illness which meant he would not live long enough to be implanted with a lover, and chose to spend his brief existence writing about what life meant to him. It's stylistically shaky, not as polished as one might expect from a professional, but it's certainly more than might be expected of a six-to-ten-year-old equivalent. His tone shifts almost schizophrenically between bitter sarcasm and raw fear-anger-suffering and appreciating small joys in life, not only between individual poems but between stanzas or lines within the same poem. One of the better-regarded poems swings wildly between apologizing to his fathers for bringing them pain and railing against them for not smashing his eggsac with a rock when they realized the suffering he would experience. The poems deteriorate stylistically as his health declines, until his final poem, which he transcribed through a Morse code equivalent after seizures had taken his speech and motor function: i am filled with words i cannot say i fear the end no end my pain is not your pain beloved fathers love me let me leave you


Oh, there's more to the Antsfolk section.

Not another political novel. 

She gets further into the second one before setting it down; again, a little too much politics for her, though the unrealistic handling helps some. Spears, huh? Ants with spears. What a strange image. 

The poem is sweet and cute and simple. She'll share it with Snowblossom and probably kiss her about it. 


More Antsfolk books. With how the last batch went, she's not optimistic. 

Alright, this political book is a more reasonable length. The politics seem a little more simplistic though, and the market for that is more interested in complicated plots. Do they have anything complex but short? She sifts through the slush pile a little more to see if there's anything she's missing. 

The spice trade one is pretty good. A little popcorny, but the trade deals are grippingly twisty. She could see a future for this one at market. It might misinform some people about Antfolk history, but that's not her problem. Maybe pile. 

The poem isn't a standout. Is this from an anthology of some form? A collection of antfolk poems might move, but she's not a magazine publisher; single poems aren't really her business. 


Another set of books. This one is from... Homerealm? 

At first she thinks the first book is a strategy guide and she almost puts it down, but then the gimmick becomes clear and the book opens up into a tell-all biography. It's stylish and clever and gosh those are nice photos. With stories. 

It's a good thing she's doing this in her personal rooms and her staff work remotely. She's seen some interesting stuff produced by ecstatics in her time, but this kind of reflection-inhabitation-while-cosplaying-for-the-purposes-of-sex never really gets old to her, and the strategy-guide gimmick is entertaining and amusing and did she mention the pictures are kind of great. 

She's going to read this one together with Snowblossom. It's... illustrative. And she's very lucky to have it. 

... And this second one is going to absolutely shatter Snowblossom and make her a gooey, gooey mess. The aliens are just like us. It's enough to make you believe in a higher power. 


These books from Homerealm are all standouts. The cosplay guide is excellent on multiple levels - it's a coherent story, it's presented with a wonderful gimmick, the porn is hot and compelling, and it's like the aliens know how to soul-draw - it's a great guide on how to develop reflections. The whole package just works together wonderfully. She puts it on the Yes pile. 

As for the series of light novels, it'll absolutely decimate the 25% of the population that are trans, so that's a clear winner. Short, readable, very wish-fulfillment-y, all ties together into a larger world - people will be buying it for their polycules, it's not going to be a massive investment, it'll sell like hot cakes. Yes. 


More works from Hearthome are next on her list. The dating sim ARG is... well, it's clearly adapted to a different kind of generic player than you'd find on Heart. It falls a little flat for her since those aren't her kinks, but it's clearly well-written and has a lot of effort put into it. She appreciates the girls with dicks, at least, but this one won't be going into her private collection. 

The aliens are plural! That's a welcome surprise. Snowblossom must already know, but she doesn't share everything she hears instantly. The discussion of blame and credit seems mature and interesting. Priestesses are pretty important to Hearthome, huh? She finishes the book and sets it aside to discuss with Snowblossom later. 

The text on hypnosis is - well, holy shit. She doesn't know how this nonfiction book got into her download of fiction, but it's clear the aliens have new techniques in the area of soul-drawing. This is actually dangerous material, she knows people who would try this and get a psychotic episode - but it's very worth discussing. She actually phones Snowblossom about this one to inform her. (Yes, she knows. Yes, it's impossible that we could censor it. She's already told the careholds to prepare.)


Hearthome's ARG is fun, but too complex to reimplement in whole on Eravian technology for a large audience. Between that and the choice of kinks, it doesn't get the greenlight.

The history and plurality book is interesting, especially because of the different experience of plurality involved. She gives it a cautious maybe, with a note to discuss it with the other scouts at her company and determine if it's sufficiently exotic to sell well. 

The non-fiction book is unexpected, and looking at the contents, dangerous. She's going to kick that one upstairs to her boss and not think about it too much.


The works from Iie*a are next. 

The song for children has a weird moral, but it is at least satisfyingly alien. It's a bit sad and a bit silly. She's not really sure how to feel about it. 

... The book of poetry she has to put down because it's too sad. And then go cuddle one of her girlfriends about it. And cry. That's... That's a raw blow. Ow. 

Suffering is a constant, huh? She had hoped it would be better than that. But still... There's something - she doesn't want to say human - but meaningful, in that connection to one's fellow hurting being. 

Her girlfriend reads the rest of the book to her, and they cry together, and they hug, and they hope a lot that they'll have long lives and be remembered well and forever.


Iie*a's works aren't promising, coming from such a different species, but it's worth reading what they've sent. 

The song for children is interesting from a cross-cultural perspective; its moral is interestingly inverted to what she'd expect, or else more subtle than she'd expect for children. It's probably not publishable, but it's certainly worth having read. 

The book of poetry... Goes firmly on the Yes pile. People need more reminders to care for what they have. And this raw, hurt energy from somewhere far away - that means something. It'll sell. And be remembered. She wouldn't be surprised if there were a sect created in the fry's honor. 


A realistic mystery novel for adults involving the murder of one member of a company's internal policies board. A witness claims to have seen someone dressed as a certain employee and sharing her fur color standing over the body. The main investigation dives into seeking out other people who might dress similarly and who have similar fur colors, as well as the exact internal policies of the company and whether or not the employees would have a reason to protest against them, and whether or not anyone would have a personal grudge against the particular victim. In the end, the case is cracked when the witness is revealed to have an undiagnosed form of colorblindness that widens the suspect pool, allowing them to find the actual killer. The killer is revealed to have been attempting to have a civil discussion about a certain company policy, but constant insulting needling from the victim led to them snapping and escalating to murder. Their sentence is partly decided on with input from the deceased's family, and in the end a short jail sentence and therapy for those violent urges are the final conclusion. Interestingly enough, at no point is someone deliberately framing the first suspect suggested as a hypothesis.

There is also a version of the above novel that's intended for younger readers. Several of the suspects are removed from the plot to shorten the book, although the main forensics and investigation methods are still described in detail. The main plot difference lies in the ending, where the murder is framed more as a fight gone wrong, and much more detail is given on the need to control those impulses, as well as methods for doing so.

A nonrealistic fantasy culture-clash novel for all ages about two species, both somewhat distinct from grayliens, where one group is obligate carnivores and the other herbivores. The book focuses on a herbivore ambassador to the carnivore city, and alternates between surreal illustrations that the herbivore is telepathically transmitting back home, narrative from the perspective of the ambassador's host as they try to be a good host, and various records of the minutes of the council meetings on each side. The herbivores are generally presented as overly paranoid and hypervigilant, with the ambassador constantly distorting the actual events as something horrifying, although there are also some hints that the carnivore host is being overly positive about some things themself, and the two slowly get to understand each other better and better. The climax involves the herbivores nearly declaring war on the carnivore city when they believe their ambassador has been murdered, and the carnivores preparing for war due to an unintentional insult, but by now the host and ambassador have become fast friends/romantic interests (it's not entirely clear and could go either way) and manage to stop the war from erupting. The last scene is the herbivore ambassador carefully trying a meat dish, a callback to a previous discussion about the two species having an omnivorous common ancestor.


A soft and sweet book about learning to love as your gender-concept slips into place, framed around a blessing from a dream of being able to go just that little bit further in transition. There's a lot of detail in the hormonal adjustment process, and a lot of saccharine cuddling as the main character learns how to indulge in the softer things in life. There's a bit of a fetishitic focus on her breasts improving, but mostly it's just about the simple joys of dresses fitting and being what you dreamed to be, all told in a journal telling about her life, in love and in her job writing. 

A series of rapekink webfic featuring mindbreak and increasingly exasperated and tired insults from the original self of the sex slaves you make that's designed to be short and sweet enough to each be playable in a single session. 

An rpg system designed to model inventiveness and value drift in mad scientist superheroes, based on a 'statement of principles' and a 'foundation of the self' that seems oddly related to the hypnosis book. 



Joeys confer amongst themselves and decide that they are going to send some further works, these ones having been positively received. (A smaller contingent wails that the aliens are gonna figure out that the Joeys aren't actually cool.)

Several variants on the theme "two brothers fall in love and have an unhealthily codependent relationship which is obviously kind of terrible for both of them but is equally clearly scratching some kind of itch for the author"! These vary from "comically unhealthy" to "darkly, horrifyingly unhealthy"; several of the latter involve the pair inducing metamorphosis into wights, the next stage of Joey life, which is viewed as approximately the ultimate taboo. These works contain a lot of lovingly described sex, though it's not always lovingly described in a way that makes it hot per se; funny or outright distressing is almost as common, and works often don't have a consistent bias towards one emotional register for sex scenes.

A book centered around the internecine drama of a family of Joeys that really shouldn't be raising a child together! Some of the fathers aren't even speaking to each other, though they present a unified front to the outside world. As their fry grows, the fathers' relationships break down further, and the kid grows up faster than he should; he ends up climactically yelling at them for a while and going off to live on his own until he's old enough to get his lover. (This is seen as incredibly impressive; apparently the executive dysfunction treated by the implantation of a lover is normally so crippling that a Joey without one should not expect to be able to get out of bed most days without the help of his fathers.)

A fantasy series featuring a lovingly designed magic system which this margin is far, far too narrow to contain. The magic-users form secret societies within normal Iie*an society, distinguished by their extensive use of body modifications to alter how they are perceived so they can do different magic. The main plot is that various threats to Iie*a are being fomented by an equivalent secret society of wights, and the good magic-using Joeys must thwart them. Gradually the story grows more and more complex and morally ambiguous, and by the end of the series it's much less pro-Joey anti-wight and much more "people can convince you that things are good or bad for amorphous and meaningless reasons; it's not your job to have a self-consistent moral compass, it's your job to know what people want to get out of convincing you that something is good or bad".


Next up is a section of data dump from the Grayliens. 

Ooh, a mystery! Her favorite! 

It's interestingly straightforward compared to what she's used to - and in some ways that makes it twistier, since it doesn't obey the usual genre conventions. The colorblindness is a nice little surprise. The focus on rehabilitative justice is interestingly modern. 

She skips the version for younger readers - she's not interested in reading the same book twice.

The carnivore/herbivore one is more politics why must they keep sending her political novels. At least this one is less realistic. And the emphasis on differing realities is interesting and new. Okay, she'll give this one a try. 

(She reads it all, and smiles, and sets it aside to show to Snowblossom. She does politics as a passion, she'll appreciate the alien view on cultural clashes and alternate perspectives. The meat dish ending is a little overly optimistic and weird, but that just makes it interestingly alien.)


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