Frequently asked questions
The House of Shattered Wings
Q: What is the release date of The House of Shattered Wings?
A: August 18th in the US and August 20th in the UK.
Q: Is there a UK hardcover?
A: In the UK, The House of Shattered Wings is a trade paperback. The US has a hardcover edition.
Q: Is there going to be a sequel?
A: Yes, there is! There’s no title as of yet, but I think of it as “the Hawthorn book”.
Q: Why are there things in the book, such as House names, in English?
A: Because I had to make a number of tricky choices… Essentially, a lot of the place names have meaning in French (“Petit Pont” is “Little Bridge”, for instance), but in most cases it felt like overkill to translate everything. The Houses’ names were an exception: I wanted the meaning to carry over into English, so had to translate them (and yes, if it ever gets translated, those would have to be translated into the target language). And some of them (like “Aiguillon”) aren’t translated because they’re people’s names.
Q: Your accents are all over the place!
A: Apologies! I have a really inconsistent accentuation when typing in English. Most of this was supposed to be fixed in copyedits, but I didn’t catch everything…
Q: Are there short stories set in the same universe?
A: Yes! In Morningstar’s Shadow is a free ebook set in the same universe, if you just want to see if the book is your kind of thing (or if you’ve finished it and want some bonus scenes). It’s available from all major ebook retailers, or you can read it for free here.
Of Books, and Earth, and Courtship is a novelette set before the war and features the very first meeting of Emmanuelle and Selene, two of the main characters in the book. Expect: magic, caper, and kissing. Available from all major ebook retailers: buy links here.
“The Death of Aiguillon” is a novelette set 60 years before the novel, focusing on a kitchen girl after the fall of the House of Aiguillon. It was published in Yanni Kuznia’s A Fantasy Medley 3. This is a limited-run, signed edition: there is, for the moment, no ebook edition, I’m afraid.
On a Red Station, Drifting and Xuya universe
Q: Are you planning more stories set in the same universe?
A: A loose sequel, “The Citadel of Weeping Pearls”, will be in the Oct/Nov issue of Asimov’s. Otherwise the entire run of Xuya universe stories so far is listed here; most of them are available on the net.
Q: Why Xuya?
A: I wanted a different meld of cultures than our current ones; and also a chance to have Galactic empires that were based on Chinese/Vietnamese cultures rather than Rome. Also, I’ve always had a fondness for different familial arrangements, and it’s nice to explore families where artificial intelligences and humans/post-humans cohabit.
Q: Will there be a Xuya novel?
A: I have plans (in the “linked novellas” tradition), but they’re very research-intensive, and at the moment I have more pressing deadlines…
Q: Why do you write fantasy and science fiction?
A: Because I love the genre. Because science fiction was a mix of weird and wonderful and familiar when I was growing up, and I want to repay that debt. Because I want people to travel far and wide with my stories.
And because science fiction and fantasy need more fish sauce!
Q: So, what’s up with all the Chinese culture stuff? I thought Vietnam and China were long-time antagonists…
A: Uh, it had never occurred to me that someone would ever ask that question, but just for the record… Vietnam and China have long had a complicated relationship (as befits a country that was basically colonised by China for over twelve centuries, and never entirely free of Chinese influence). Chinese stories and Chinese motifs have played a huge role in Vietnamese culture, even though of course Vietnam has its own national identity and founding myths.
(also, it’s a sad but acknowledged fact that many non-Asians will not make a difference between Chinese culture and Vietnamese culture, and my Vietnamese characters are often mis-labelled as Chinese. The characters from “Immersion” and most of my subsequent Xuya fiction are emphatically not Chinese).