Storm Moon Press - Sinews of the Heart Untitled Page

Sinews of the Heart

Out of Print

Nikki was never meant to exist.

It started with the genchangers, human-made genetic viruses designed to meld animal features into humans for fun, fashion, or fetish. The viruses mutated, became airborne, began changing people at random. Then came the fear, and the war. The normal humans were quickly outnumbered and outclassed, hunted to the brink of extinction, and huddled in small, fortified settlements. Their only hope for survival was that the mutants would eventually die out. But the viruses mutated again, and many of those infected found themselves able to breed. Fur-borns like anthrotiger Nikki were the first of a new generation of life on Earth, homo superior. The world belonged to the anthros.

All of Nikki's life, she was taught to hate and revile humans. But that was before she met the Buckmans, a human family trying to make it to a safe zone, nothing at all like the bloodthirsty monsters her father told her of. And in particular, the Buckman's young son Kane, who stirs feelings in Nikki she doesn't understand. Kane, though, wants nothing to do with her, and Nikki doesn't know if it's because she's an anthrotiger, or because her father insists on calling her by her birth name—Nicholas.

At first, Dad wanted to kill the apes we found hiding in the old cabins, as if everything that had happened was their fault. But I don't think humans I mean, apes actually meant to bring about the end of their world.

The apes we met that night, though; they sure turned over my girly world.

A boyish trait of mine that Mom finds charming is that I like trash. Or at least, I like what it tells me. Nearing sundown on the evening we found the apes, I was exploring the area near our camp. I brushed black dirt off the half-crushed, faded cardboard box I found in an old, torn trash bag. The box caught my eye because there were silvery stars printed on it. The stars still gleamed, but only just a little. An original ape once held this box, and had probably smiled at the stars winking back at him. Or her. The box was about the size of the kind of package that once held 'toothpaste', another ape artifact I'd seen in the trash, but never used. We didn't need toothpaste because the meat we ate kept our teeth clean. My teeth were still white, all thirty of them, but Mom and Dad were starting to get that pale buttery color on theirs. That happens to tigers as they get older, I'd heard, though Mom and Dad had only been tigers a little longer than I'd been alive.

Dad thought it was weird that I liked trash. Usually, what I liked most was 'sparkly crap', as he called it. But I was curious. Trash was like a window looking back on that sparkly-box world that collapsed before I was born. Collapsed because of what was once inside the wrinkled old carton I held.

Mom and Dad were up the hill behind me a ways, getting ready to hit the road again. I blinked at the cool air and smiled a bit at the sunlight that still shone a pretty pink gleam on the rugged sides of the awesomely close and comforting mountains. It was nearly twilight down in the shallow valley where I crouched. I had spied the old plastic trash bag all weathered and ripped and fluttering for attention in the brush near the edge of the woods. The assortment of trash in this bag seemed ordinary at first: soda cans and food wrappers and a paper magazine with news about the war, not one of the wonderful magazines with the shiny, sparkly pictures I truly loved. This magazine had happy news for the apes, about how their army had put down an insurrection in Salt Lake City. But I knew my history. The legendary Commander Grant brought his wolf pack down on the lonely lakeside city a week later, and they left the streets littered with dead ape bodies while the apes' buildings burned around them. The apes built structures to protect themselves, but when our kind hunted them down, it was so obvious where our enemies would hide. Fire burned to cinders what our sharp teeth couldn't rip.

4 - Sally at Bending the Bookshelf
"Without giving too much away, this is a story that's ultimately about acceptance. It's about coming out, connecting, and being loved. Sinews of the Heart is also a very violent story at times, with some confrontations and fatalities that genuinely surprised me, but it's all within the context of the post-apocalyptic world. Well-written and imaginative, it's also as entertaining as it is thoughtful and sensitive. Kudos to Cody L. Stanford for doing something profound within the genre, for making Nikki such a genuinely positive heroine, and to Storm Moon Press for taking a chance with such a different sort of tale."


50,000 words
108 pages

Release Date

Book Type






Cover Art

Nathie Block


Trans*, science fiction, post-apocalyptic, anthropomorphic, coming of age