">Henry Lien

Henry Lien, Author

LUGS Illustration Flattened

The Ladies’ Aquatic Gardening Society

Two grandes dames of the Gilded Age battle for position in Newport society by planting increasingly outrageous and environmentally devastating theme gardens.

To read the story for free, click here:

To listen to the free podcast version, click here:

This story appears in the June 2015 issue of Asimov’s. It was a finalist for the Nebula award. It was re-printed in Chinese in Science Fiction World Magazine and in Croatian in Sirius-B Magazine.

I chose this story to write under Connie Willis at Clarion West Writers’ Workshop because I love Connie’s use of humor. I chose to write it in this stitched-up mock 19th century prose style because I enjoy how uncomfortable the language is and I love the coldness of Jane Austen’s observations about human pettiness. I also wanted to write something about the excesses of the Gilded Age because in my work as an art dealer, I learned that many of the most beloved collections of art made available to the public and many of our most important cultural institutions were funded with fortunes in industries that had devastating environmental and social impacts or that exploited powerless peoples and animals. Finally, I wrote this story because I just love gaping at rich people behaving badly.

Here is some critical reaction to the story.
Tangent Online, Jerard Bretts
SFRevu, Sam Tomaino
SFSignal, Haralambi Markov

Artist Caroline Jaltorossian and I collaborated to create this original oil painting inspired by the story, which is a Surrealist makeover of John Singer Sargent’s “The Wyndham Sisters”.