A couple years ago I read a good short story that I haven’t been able to find. I only sporadically read Tor, Clarkesworld, or award winning short stories, so it probably had some buzz. I think it was probably written in the last few years.

My memory is fuzzy, but the main character is a woman. There is some sort of important timeless tower around a black hole or something like that. For some reason, people constantly try to bribe or challenge its protector to get something from it. It is filled with riches which he can't appreciate. He also has a gun that can shoot anywhere in the universe. I think she comes to gamble with him or challenge him for whatever is in the tower.

  • This sounds a bit like one of Stephen King's "The Dark Tower", probably involving Roland, the Gunslinger.
    – Kakturus
    Feb 3, 2020 at 13:39
  • 1
    Nope! That’s not it Kakturus Feb 4, 2020 at 0:03

1 Answer 1


I figured it out. It’s The Knight of Chains Deuce of Stars by Yoon Ha Lee and published in Lightspeed Magazine, August 2013.

The tower is a black spire upon a world whose only sun is a million starships wrecked into a mass grave. Light the color of fossils burns from the ships, and at certain hours, the sun casts shadows that mutter the names of vanquished cities and vanished civilizations. It is said that when the tower’s sun finally darkens, the universe’s clocks will stop.


Most people don’t first notice the warden when they meet him, or the rooms crowded with agate-eyed figurines, flowers of glass, cryptochips sliced into mosaics. They first notice the warden’s gun. It is made of living bone and barbed wire and smoke-silver axioms. It would have a stock of mother-of-pearl, if pearls were born from gangrenous stars. It has a long, lustrous barrel forged in a bomb’s hellheart. And along the barrel is an inscription in whatever language your heart answers to: I never miss.

  • 1
    Excellent! You can self-accept by clicking on the checkmark by the voting buttons as per the tour.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Feb 27, 2020 at 12:10

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