Melissa Scott was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, and studied history at Harvard College. She earned her PhD from Brandeis University in the comparative history program with a dissertation titled "The Victory of the Ancients: Tactics, Technology, and the Use of Classical Precedent." She also sold her first novel, The Game Beyond, and quickly became a part-time graduate student and an — almost — full-time writer.

Over the next thirty-eight years, she published more than thirty original novels and a handful of short stories, most with queer themes and characters, as well as authorized tie-in work for Star Trek: DS9, Star Trek: Voyager, Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, Star Wars Rebels, and Rooster Teeth's anime series gen:LOCK. Lately, she has collaborated with Jo Graham on the Order of the Air, a series of occult adventure novels set in the 1930s (Lost Things, Steel Blues, Silver Bullet, Wind Raker, and Oath Bound) and with Amy Griswold on a pair of gay Victorian fantasies with murder, Death By Silver and A Death at the Dionysus Club. She has also continued the acclaimed Points series, fantasy mysteries set in the imaginary city of Astreiant, most recently with Point of Sighs. Her latest short story, "Sirens," appeared in the collection Retellings of the Inland Seas, and her text-based game for Choice of Games, A Player's Heart, came out in 2019. Her most recent solo novel, Water Horse, is just out from Candlemark & Gleam.

Finders by Melissa Scott

Cassilde Sam is a barely solvent salvage operator, hunting for relics in the ruins left by the mysterious Ancestors—particularly the color-coded Elements that power most of humanity's current technology, including the ability to navigate through hyperspace. Cassilde is also steadily fading under the onslaught of Lightman's, an incurable, inevitably fatal disease. She needs one last find big enough to leave a legacy for her partner and fellow salvor Dai Winter.

When their lover and former colleague Summerlad Ashe reappears, offering them a chance to salvage part of an orbiting palace that he claims contains potentially immense riches, Cassilde is desperate enough to take the gamble, even though Ashe had left them both to fight on the opposite side of the interplanetary war that only ended seven years ago. The find is everything Ashe promised. But when pirates attack the claim, Cassilde receives the rarest of the Ancestors' Gifts: a change to her biochemistry that confers near-instant healing and seems to promise immortality.

But the change also drags her into an underworld where Gifts are traded in blood, and powerful Gifts bring equally powerful enemies. Hunted for her Gift and determined to find Gifts for her lovers, Cassilde discovers that an old enemy is searching for the greatest of the Ancestral artifacts: the power that the Ancestors created and were able to barely contain after it almost destroyed them, plunging humanity into the first Long Dark. Haunted by dream-visions of this power whispering its own version of what happened, Cassilde must find it first, before her enemy frees it to destroy her own civilization.

CURATOR'S NOTE

Finders by Melissa Scott—forerunner of several major science fiction tropes and winner of the Campbell, Gaylactic and Lambda awards—is the first novel in the projected series Firstborn, Lastborn, a bold re-imagining of the tales of Prometheus, Pandora, and the Titans. In Finders, Scott continues her sophisticated examinations of sentient AIs and the difficult choices in front of regular individuals and groups by showing the actions of a fraught love triangle: three scrappy salvagers of lost, barely understood, ancestral technologies find themselves facing decisions that could literally destroy their universe. Kernel stories for the series can be found in the widely acclaimed anthos The Other Half of the Sky, To Shape the Dark, and Retellings of the Inland Seas. – Athena Andreadis

 

REVIEWS

  • "Space travel and faster-than-light drives blend with world mythology…//…a fun story with convincing worldbuilding and a delightful triad romance at its heart."

    – Publishers Weekly
  • "Space Opera with a fine, wide sweep of time behind it, intriguing "Clarkean" magical science, and an engaging, edgy threesome of central characters. Fun to read, and best of all, the promise of more to come."

    – Gwyneth Jones, author of the Aleutian trilogy, winner of the World Fantasy, Clarke, Dick, and Tiptree (now Otherwise) awards
  • "An action-packed space adventure with so much heart. // This thought-provoking, crunchy science fiction novel comes with deep conversations, technological wonders…"

    – Tansy Rayner Roberts, author of the Creature Court trilogy, winner of multiple Ditmar and WSFA Small Press awards
 

BOOK PREVIEW

Excerpt

Cassilde killed that hope—it was far too soon to speculate—and said, "Any sign of this lifesaving device?"

"In the alcove, I think," Ashe answered. The work lights didn't quite penetrate its depths; he was still using his handlight to examine the walls. "But I'm not seeing any actual device."

"There's things attached to the beds," Dai began, and at that moment the lights flickered.

Cassilde grabbed her remote, pinged the ship to demand its status. The codes flashed back in the proper sequence: power transmitters all green, ship's systems green, nothing in the sensor web. She shook her head. "Nothing here."

"I could head back and double-check," Dai said, reluctantly.

Cassilde considered, weighing the difficulty of getting out again if they lost the transmission against the lost time and work. Minor glitches, skips in the field transmission, were rare, but not unheard of; usually it meant she'd failed to tune the transmissions properly to avoid all interference. The status reports all looked solid, though, and sometimes you never did find out what caused the problem. "You posted glow-dots, right?"

"Of course." Dai sounded annoyed, and she gestured an apology.

"Sorry. Stay, I think. If it happens again, we'll rethink it."

"Better rethink it now." The stranger's voice came from the hatch.