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Her Silhouette, Drawn in Water

3.39  ·  Rating details ·  452 ratings  ·  114 reviews
All Bee has ever known is darkness.

She doesn’t remember the crime she committed that landed her in the cold, twisting caverns of the prison planet Colel-Cab with only fellow prisoner Chela for company. Chela says that they’re telepaths and mass-murderers; that they belong here, too dangerous to ever be free. Bee has no reason to doubt her—until she hears the voice of anoth
Kindle Edition, 110 pages
Published May 21st 2019 by
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Average rating 3.39  · 
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 ·  452 ratings  ·  114 reviews

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destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
DNF @ 63%

I tried really hard to get into this because I loved the premise, but I strongly dislike the narrative voice and the characters. The whole setup is also kind of confusing, too; amnesia plotlines are tough for me anyways, and I don't think this one is written very well. Since it's so short, I kept telling myself I'd force myself to finish it, but it's been 2-3 weeks since I've read a single page so I might as well drop it.

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this ARC
Her Silhouette, Drawn in Water is a mind-bending and very gay futuristic sci-fi novella whose main character is a queer latinx woman.

At first, I thought this was going to be a cave horror story about an f/f/f love triangle, which I loved as a concept, but this book turned out to be something entirely different, which was... both the story's main strength and weakness.

I love being surprised by things that are properly foreshadowed, but when the foreshadowing makes you feel like the main character
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
An artist in darkness will fight back with light.

When I first read an extract from this on, I was very intrigued - telepaths imprisoned in never ending tunnels on an asteroid somewhere? Sign me up! And having read the whole thing - not exactly what I expected, but so much more than that. And beautifully written to boot.

It is quite short, that's the only drawback, but somehow in that brevity there's still time for a realistic recovery, both physical and emotional. But the less I say the b
The Captain
May 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Ahoy there me mateys! I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . .

This novella is about two telepaths trying to survive in a prison planet.  One, the protagonist Bee, is determined to escape even though her memory is faulty and she can't even remember why she was sentenced.  The other, Chela, is only focused on day-to-day survival and refuses to discuss much of the past.  The prison that they are in happens to be a cave system in
May 25, 2019 rated it did not like it
i blacked out after i had to read the sentence "my asshole clenches with shame" with my own two eyes on may 25th 2019. thanks, but no thanks
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
Her Silhouette in Water is one of those books where the final moments either or make it, or break it. For me they absolutely made it. Up to the point of the resolution, I wasn't quite sure about it – but the ending completely changes everything and might even blow your mind.

First of all, a lot of things have to be said about how the rep in this book! I can only judge from the outsider's perspective (lol I haven't even been to the US and we are a pretty homogenous society so things are differe
Jul 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a lovely novella. When we first meet main character Bee, she's on a totally grim prison planet with Chela, who tells her that they've been confined here for their telepathic crimes. They spend their days climbing and evading bugs, and have a routine. Until, one day, Bee hears someone else in her head.
This was a great story: I totally loved Bee, and her relationship with her wife. There are some really interesting longterm effects on Bee's body and brain from the method used to keep her in p
This was probably not my kind of book. I can’t be sure I understood everything except that one has to love and forgive oneself before trying to overcome life’s other obstacles.
Mel (Epic Reading)
Aug 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc-netgalley
Having read a number of stories very similar to this one, I predicted the end long before I had even read the first 50 pages. It is perhaps worth noting this is a short story at only just over 100 pages.
Anytime there is only one person feeding a BS sounding story to a character with a memory loss problem I get skeptical. You just know something is definitely not right here. The story has overtones of Momento in which the “helper” is not telling the whole truth (or any truth).

Overall this is re
May 18, 2019 rated it liked it
The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Her Silhouette, Drawn in Water by Vylar Kaftan is a futuristic sci-fi novella whose main character is a queer latin woman.
I enjoyed very much the rep here: three of our main characters are queer women. Plus, this book deals a lot with important themes such as PTSD, anxiety and loneliness.
One of the strenghts of this novella is definetely the writing style. I could feel on my own skin the sense of
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt, science-fiction
A really clever short novella that sees a powerful telepath and her companion trying to survive in endless dark caves on a prison planet. Bee can't even remember the horrible crime that saw her imprisoned, but her companion Chela assures her that just being a telepath is bad enough. But then Bee begins feeling telepathic contact from someone else.

This was brilliant with a wonderful twist and I'd love to see the story followed up.
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I was confused by this story, but in the end it all came together. It's a story that shows the strength of the human spirit and the human mind--to persist and protect itself, to fight and try to win even against all odds. I liked it despite my initial confusion.

Further, I think it could be the start of a great series. The only problem is, the worldbuilding is reminiscent of (view spoiler)

I'm sorry the current
May 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020, science-fiction
Synopsis: Bee tries to escape a harsh environment together with Chela, her lover. They are the only human souls underground in a maze of rock chambers on a foreign planet. Large bugs compete with them for the 3D printed food that they chase every day. Bee finds out why she's here: it is a prison and she is a telepath who killed thousands of people.

As Bee fights for recovering her memory, she sees through the deception, and as soon as someone reaches out for her, she tries to break free. It is he
Jul 24, 2018 marked it as to-read-so-bad-it-hurts
A claustrophobic sci-fi love story, 'telepaths on a prison planet'* aaand this quote: 'Prison without guards? Prison with no memories? Prison with only your lover as company? Bee is determined to escape—but how, when every moment is spent racing to survive?'


Thomas Wagner
(2.5 stars) Though written with a powerful sense of compassion for the emotional struggles of its protagonist, Vylar Kaftan’s novella Her Silhouette, Drawn in Water feels like it needed more time in the oven. It’s not the first time I’ve read a novella that I wished were, if not a novel, just a bit more substantive than it is. I suspect it won’t be the last. The story’s an uneven mess. But it did end up as a Nebula finalist, once more validating the evergreen adage that Your Mile ...more
Beth Cato
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, science, novella
I received a gratis advance copy of this novella through Netgalley

Intense. Mind-bending. Kaftan's novella is an incredibly fast, breath-taking read that never lets up the pace even as the nature of the tale changes. It begins feeling like a claustrophobic thriller: two Latinx women, prisoners within a cave system on an alien world, scrambling to survive on infrequent care packs as they battle off horrendous bugs. Their intense love for each other helps them to get by. The women were sentenced he
Lilyn G. | Sci-Fi & Scary |
A quick, easy read with a surprising ending.
SeaPiggy | Word Alchemy
The best thing I can say about this book is about the back book blurb. The premise sounded intriguing, which is why I decided to read this novella. However, the disconnect between the blurb and the actual story is significant - to the point where I read the blurb again to understand where *my* disconnect was (only to find out there is a failure of promise / expectation to the reader).

Sooo...for those interested in reading this book, I'll give a relatively spoiler-free version up-front so that o
Samantha Beard
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to and NetGalley for providing a copy of Her Silhouette, Drawn in Water by Vylar Kaftan for review! is cranking out the hits this year, and this one really caught my attention with the cover reveal. I was immediately attracted to the vibe of the artwork, and after reading the synopsis I had to add it to my reading list. It is a short read, but well worth your time!

Fans of speculative fiction will find a lot to love in Sillhouette. The expectations for the narrative change
Apr 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I haven’t read much speculative fiction, but when publishes a novella, my curiosity is instantly piqued, no matter the genre. The blurb on this one sounded promising and -- let’s be honest -- the gorgeous cover and unique title drew me in as well. So I thought I’d give it a try!

And whaddya know -- it’s wonderfully weird! It’s also intense, introspective, dream-like and diverse (sapphic latinx characters). I loved the pacing of the story (FAST) and the twists (NUMEROUS). It’s trippy in a
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
The story opens with the point-of-view character, Bee, stranded in the caves of an asteroid with a woman named Chela. We find out they've been imprisoned because of the role they played in a telepath uprising. Soon it turns out that not everything is as it seems. The story's strength is in its examination of feelings of love and betrayal when one partner is found and another is lost, plus the insights it gives into PTSD.
Sarah (CoolCurryBooks)
I don’t have strong feelings about Her Silhouette, Drawn in Water, which is why I decided this should be a shorter review than normal.

All Bee can remember is the darkness of the prison planet. She doesn’t remember anything of her life before. Luckily she’s not alone — she’s got Chela. Chela tells her that they were both psychics and that they used their powers to kill a bunch of people during a war. That they deserve to be here. Bee believes her, but then she starts hearing something… another ps
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a story about a telepath who is prisoner on an alien planet for some terrible crime she can't remember. Or can she?

Quite a twisted story that flows like a dream while slowly revealing the truth. The love between the female protagonists really hit me, filled with all kind of sensations and without boundaries. Being a telepath can be an advantage, no doubt.

I am not sure if I like the ending. It's a nice twist but feels a bit loose. Something should have followed to make the world-buildin
Telepath Bee, imprisoned in an endless cave system due to crimes against humanity, has only a single person as a companion.

The first half of this book, in the caves, was excellent. I liked Bee and completely got into her struggles to survive. And then the story did a complete turn, which I can't talk about because it would spoil it, and I never really got along for that ride. So if you want to read a book about a telepath trapped in caves, don't read this one. If you want a story of a telepath w
Dawn Lawson
May 23, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This novella was sent to me by the publisher,, at no cost. It will be available from 21 May.

Vylar Kaftan's novella opens with Bee scrambling through darkness, which is pretty much all she can remember doing.  The official blurb reads: 

"All Bee has ever known is darkness.

She doesn’t remember the crime she committed that landed her in the cold, twisting caverns of the prison planet Colel-Cab with only fellow prisoner Chela for company. Chela says that they’re telepaths and mass-murderers;
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The nitty-gritty: A short, well written tale with a dream-like quality that gives readers plenty to think about.

This was such an odd little story, but I enjoyed it a lot. Vylar Kaftan has written a twisty, hallucinogenic tale about mental health and inner strength that didn’t go where I was expecting it to go—at all. I’m still not sure I under
3 stars, Metaphorosis Reviews

A woman and one companion are trapped in an endless labyrinth that seems to have no exit. Or are they? When the woman escapes, leaving her companion behind, has she found freedom?

Review: I've been hearing the name Vylar Kaftan for years, it seems like, but never read of any of her work. So when I saw this novella available, I thought I'd pick it up. It's fine, if not particularly inspired.

It's generally well written, though the prose is choppy in places. How

Deborah Ross
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This lovely novella reminds me of water-colors, painted with a deft touch, often evoked rather than explicitly depicted as layers of illusion are dispelled. The story opens with Bee, incarcerated in a series of caverns with only one companion, her lover, Chela. Although her crime was blowing up a space ship, she has no memory of it. Food and other supplies are delivered, but the two of them never encounter another human being. Gradually, though, Bee realizes she has telepathic powers that are nu ...more
Bonnie McDaniel
This novella started out very promisingly. The protagonist, Bee, and her lover Chela are trapped in a cave system; Bee doesn't remember what they did to be marooned there, and Chela refuses to tell her anything beyond that they're telepaths and they killed four thousand people. The first three chapters are very good, intriguing and well paced. Then another telepathic voice intrudes on Bee's mind, the mental voice of the wife she's forgotten, and Jasmine breaks Bee out of the Matrix-like hold she ...more
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Vylar Kaftan writes speculative fiction of all genres, including science fiction, fantasy, horror, and slipstream. She was nominated for a 2010 Nebula Award for her short story “I’m Alive, I Love You, I’ll See You in Reno.” Her stories have appeared in Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, ChiZine, and Clarkesworld. Her work has been reprinted in Horror: The Best of the Year, honorably mentioned in The Ye ...more

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