The Salt Witch by Martha Wells
Welcome to Short Fiction Friday! Every Friday, Black Forest Basilisks will be shining a spotlight on a new short story, novelette, or flash fic in addition to our regular posts. These stories will usually be available for free online, but occasionally stories from published anthologies will also be featured.
This story is available online for free at: Uncanny Magazine – Click through to read!
Juana thought this was bullshit. She had found the broken sailboat in the south wind and tried to pilot it to Hispaniola, but it wouldn’t go in the right direction. You’d think flying would be the hard part, but no, it was steering. And you’d think witches would be born knowing how to sail boats on the wind toward the Caribbean but no, apparently not, and that was…that was bullshit, was what it was.
In The Salt Witch, Martha Wells explores the intersection between heritage and individuality within a patriarchal culture. Juana, a witch attempting to traverse the sea in a broken sailboat, instead finds herself washed ashore a ghost island filled with the victims of a hurricane and held captive by a malevolent force residing in its center.
In discovering her past and the truth of her life, she also must take it upon herself to look past the borders of her own conception of herself. How can she know if she loves something if it’s the only thing she’s ever known? When she hits rock bottom, stews in denial, her salvation lies in taking ownership of her personal truths and transmuting them into power. She is a witch, and that power is what she will use to take down the Demon King who has pulled the island and its ghosts into his orbit.
Sometimes, you just have to tell someone “no.”
About the Author
Martha Wells has been an SF/F writer since her first fantasy novel was published in 1993, and her work includes The Books of the Raksura series, The Death of the Necromancer, the Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy, The Murderbot Diaries series, media tie-ins for Star Wars, Stargate: Atlantis, and Magic: the Gathering, as well as short fiction, YA novels, and non-fiction. She has won a Nebula Award, two Hugo Awards, two Locus Awards, and her work has appeared on the Philip K. Dick Award ballot, the BSFA Award ballot, the USA Today Bestseller List, and the New York Times Bestseller List. Her books have been published in eighteen languages.