Arula Ratnakar is a scientist, artist, science fiction writer and aspiring astronaut. She graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in May 2021, where she studied biology, neuroscience and architecture. She now works in a neuroscience lab, where she is interested in studying neurophotonics, the intersection of declarative and procedural memory, and brain simulation science. All four of her published stories can be found in Clarkesworld Magazine and her artwork can be found in the first issue of Dark Matter Magazine. She is autistic and bisexual.

Themes of identity and reality have always interested Arula, particularly as someone who is the daughter of two immigrants from India and has grown up in the U.S with many different cultural influences. Arula plans to continue writing science fiction stories, and hopes to work on science fiction movies someday.

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Arula Ratnakar has the following works available at Clarkesworld:


FICTION by Arula Ratnakar in Issue 185 – February 2022

SEARCHING FOR NEURODATA . . . NEURODATA NOT FOUND ERROR: PROGRAM_BABIRUSA STARTING SHUTDOWN OF FUNCTION_GRIND The Untangling Today, Painterman is staring out from the framed acrylic scene on the sixth wall, grinning at us with painted teeth and leaning against the trunk of an oak tree, its leaves and branches rendered in delicate, careful brushstrokes. The paintbrush he […]


FICTION by Arula Ratnakar in Issue 174 – March 2021

As the people began to die, desperation drove us to the depths of the sea for cures. We mined mineral-rich vents until the tube worms went extinct, stripped polymetallic nodule fields bare, squeezed sludge out of sea sponges to treat the new diseases, these monstrous incurable plagues, born from our new climate, that spread through […]

Lone Puppeteer of a Sleeping City

FICTION by Arula Ratnakar in Issue 168 – September 2020

I remember being born. I remember the sensory overload of light and sound and scent, making me cry aloud and take fresh air into my lungs—a new sensation. I remember the weight of gravity, rendering my fragile limbs helpless and clumsy where they had been graceful and nimble in amniotic fluid. Then I remember Mother, […]

Insaan Hain, Farishte Nahin

FICTION by Arula Ratnakar in Issue 152 – May 2019

A stack of pamphlets. A fall to the floor. Then nothing. 6 A spherical object with a four-inch diameter moves through space, a scattering of stars in the background. Switches flip, pieces click into place, and an electric blue light in a chip the size of a pinky nail begins to glow. You wake up. […]