">Henry Lien

Henry Lien, Author

Bilingual Illustration Flattened


A teenage girl figures out a way to stop the dolphins in Taiji, Japan from being slaughtered every year by teaching them a meme to spread and warn each other with.

To read the story for free, click HERE.

This story appears in the March/April 2015 issue of the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. I conceived this story after watching the documentary “The Cove” on the plane ride up to Clarion West Writers’ Workshop in 2012. I was stirred to write something about saving the dolphins in Taiji, Japan from slaughter. I was inspired to cast the story as a Twitter feed because I admired the boundary-pushing work of my Clarion West instructors Kelly Link and Gavin Grant who workshopped it with me. The story is based on the astounding current research about dolphin communication, language, and intelligence. I’m vegan and a big animal lover. I believe that, in 50 years, history will look back on a lot of our current practices and thinking about animals with shame and revulsion. I also believe that animals make humans better humans and that animals make us ask important questions about what it means to be human. Thus, I wanted to write a story about a practice that makes me very ashamed to be part of the human race but with a main character who makes me very proud to be part of the human race. This story is perhaps the most heartfelt I have ever written and I think of it as my “E.T.” The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction published an extensive interview with me about this story. To read the interview, click HERE.

[SPOILER AHOY!] One question I have been getting since the publication of the story is whether the attorney truly would have done what he did at the end. All I can say is that I was an attorney for ten years. If I were that attorney, I would have been deeply conflicted about the corporation I was working for and I would absolutely have put my job on the line to stand up for Akari. [EXEUNT SPOILER]

Artist Caroline Sirounian and I collaborated on this sketch inspired by the story.

Here is some critical reaction to the story
(review contains spoilers).
Tangent Online, Jerard Bretts & C. D. Lewis

Here is some reader reaction to the story.
[A] completely wonderful story. I cried, and will probably cry in the future thinking of it. – Laurel Amberdine

I can’t begin to tell you how much I love ‘Bilingual’ . . . [b]etween the structure, the civil disobedience, empowered teen girls, the research element, and your own comments on the value of tackling something difficult . . . – Kodiak Julian

[G]orgeous and exciting and fresh and bursting with life and love. It’s a terrific adventure of a story, told entirely in tweets and bracketed with legal memos, about animal liberation and the radical potential of teenage girls and kitschy pop stars on Twitter. PHENOMENAL WORK. – Sam J. Miller

To learn more about the documentary “The Cove”, click HERE.

To learn more about how to support the campaign to stop the slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Japan, click HERE.