Reading the Bones

by Sheila Finch

A struggling linguist, a sheltered debutante, and a strangely silent child are running for their lives, trapped in the violent confluence of three species, only one of which is human. This novella of the fan-favorite Xenolinguist series is a fast-paced, gripping exploration of cross-cultural communication.


“READING THE BONES combines the best elements of the previous Xenolinguist stories. From the theoretical and abstract elements of linguistics to the characteristically brutal and savage violence marking several of the earlier pieces, all emotionally and artistically capped by the powerful denouement involving the redemption of the main character.”

David Truesdale, Editor of Tangent Online

“This short novel is expanded from one of her stories, a Nebula Award-winning novella, and the result is her best novel to date.”

SF Chronicle

Awards & Accolades


1998 Nebula Award: “Best Novella”