Hundreds of years in the future, Earthmen have moved out into the galaxy of inhabited worlds, only to find that space travelers from Earth are second-class citizens or worse on most of the planets they visit. Joseph Farber, an artist, is part of an Earth colony among the alien Cian on the planet Weinunnach. He is deeply moved by the rituals of the Cian—and by the captivating Liraun, a humanoid Cian. With love between races forbidden, Faber allows himself to be genetically altered so that he and Liraun may marry and interbreed. But the couple soon discovers that the fundamental differences between their very modes of being may lead to tragedy and, perhaps, ultimate revelation.

Dozois is known for his beautiful evocation of setting and emotional intensity within a truly alien and often austere vision of the future. He is a science fiction master of the first order—a fact fully on display in this outstanding collection.

"Lyric, haunting, heartbreaking—this is science fiction at its best."—George R.R. Martin

"My generation of writers has produced relatively few authentic masters. . .Gardner Dozois is one of them."—William Gibson

Science Fiction Hall of Fame Inductee Gardner Dozois is the winner of two Nebula awards for his fiction. Dozois was the long-time editor of Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, a position for which he won fifteen Hugo awards. He remains editor of the annual Year's Best Science Fiction anthologies.

With all-new cover art by Ron Miller.

Cover Art by Ron Miller

This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental.

First printing, December, 1978

Printed in the United States of America

eISBN: 978-1-61824-925-8

Copyright 1978 by Gardner Dozois

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form.

Electronic version by Baen Books