Vero has always felt at odds with his community. As a trans man in near-future Puerto Rico, he struggles to gain acceptance for his identity and his vision of an inclusive society. After a hurricane decimates the island and Puerto Rico is abandoned by the United States, Vero leaves his home to petition the centralized government for aid and seek the truth about new colonists arriving on the island.
But in the Yucatan, Vero finds a landscape ravaged by an ecological disaster of humanity’s own making—the Hydrophage, a climate technology warped into a weapon of war and released onto the land by the dictator Caudillo. Amidst the destruction, Vero finds both desperation and hope for regrowth as he documents the lives of the survivors. Details about the colonists’ intentions emerge when Vero meets the Loba Roja, an anti-Caudillo revolutionary who imagines the renewed power of the Maya. Intrigued by her vision of the future and her unapologetic violence, Vero is faced with life-changing questions: can an Indigenous resurgence protect his beloved island? And what must he sacrifice to support it?
E.G. Condé is an anthropologist of technology and an emerging queer speculative fiction writer of the Puerto Rican diaspora. His short fiction appears in If There’s Anyone Left, Reckoning, EASST Review, Tree and Stone, Sword & Sorcery, and Solarpunk Magazine. Stay connected to his writing at his website or follow him on social media via @CloudAnthro.
Karlo Yeager Rodríguez is originally from the enchanting island of Puerto Rico, but moved to the Baltimore area some years ago where he now lives with his wife and one odd dog. His fiction has appeared in places like Seize the Press, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and is forthcoming in Strange Horizons. He is also the nonfiction editor for Seize the Press and main host of Podside Picnic.