Tag: shameless

Best of 2014 and 2015 lists


Best of 2014 and 2015 lists

Shameless self-promo post:
-Very happy to see that three stories of mine made the Tangent Online Recommended Reading list (along with many, many other friends’ stories): “The Breath of War” in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, “A Slow Unfurling of Truth” in Carbide-Tipped Pens, and “The Frost on Jade Buds” in Solaris Rising 3. Particularly proud about “The Breath of War”, which got two stars from the reviewer.

-Meanwhile, The House of Shattered Wings, my forthcoming novel from Gollancz about Fallen angels, political struggles and a Vietnamese immortal with a grudge, has made several “Most Anticipated of 2015” lists: most recently at Cheryl Morgan‘s blog, Ana Grilo’s list at Kirkus, Lady Business, Fantasy Cafe, D Franklin at Intellectus Speculativus, and Mihai Adascalitei’s Dark Wolf’s Fantasy Reviews. Aka, wow, very humbled. Thank you everyone!

A few upcoming publications, and a reminder


A few cool news: first, I’ve put together an ebook sampler for my fiction. The idea isn’t to do a short story collection (or even to make money!), but simply to allow people to discover my stuff by browsing through their Kindles and other reading devices. The thing is called Scattered Among Strange Worlds, and regroups my Clarkesworld Chinese/Vietnamese diaspora in space story “Scattered Across the River of Heaven” and my IGMS apocalyptic mermaid tale “Exodus Tides”. Due to exclusivities, etc., it will be available end of July (or possibly a bit later if I have to fight to upload a book on amazon…). Price should be the lowest I’m allowed to set, so 99 cents?

The cover and ebook design is by the ultra amazing Patrick Samphire, who recently launched his own ebook cover and ebook design business over at 50secondsnorth. He blogs about the design and the choices he had to make here, on his blog.

Isn’t it fabulous? Many thanks to Patrick, who’s got a very sharp eye for what works for books covers, and does absolutely freaking gorgeous stuff (and his rates are pretty darn affordable, too). You know you want an ebook this summer 😀

Also, my Chinese-y story “Under Heaven” will be available in Electric Velocipede issue 24, in which I share a TOC with Ken Liu (then again, who doesn’t share a TOC with the ever-prolific Ken? 🙂 ) and Ann Leckie. You can find the full list of stories here, and their publication date should be available soon.

Finally, I’ve sold my short story “Ship’s Brother”, set in the Xuya continuity, to Interzone for their next or after-next issue. Featuring a ship named after a fairytale character (Mị Nương, aka The Fisherman’s Song. If you’re read the fairytale, you’ll know why). Many thanks to Chris Kastensmidt and the ever-awesome Rochita Loenen-Ruiz for reading it and offering very cogent suggestions!


You never liked your sister.

I know you tried your best; that you would stay awake at night thinking on filial piety and family duty; praying to your ancestors and the bodhisattva Quan Am to find strength; but that it would always come back to that core of dark thoughts within you, that fundamental fright you carried with you like a yin shadow in your heart.

I know, of course, where it started. I took you to the ship–because I had no choice, because Khi Phach was away on some merchant trip to the Twenty-Third Planet–because you were a quiet and well-behaved son, and the birth-master would have attendants to take care of you. You had just turned eight–had stayed up all night for Tet, and shaken your head at your uncles’ red envelopes, telling me you were no longer a child and didn’t need money for toys and sweets.

In other news, packing for Romania in a bit of a panic. More later, but a small reminder you can find me in Bucharest Friday 17:00, at the Calderon Cultural Center, 39, Jean-Louis Calderon Street, sector 2, for the Society of Romanian Science Fiction’s ProspectArt meeting. I’ll be interviewed by the tireless Cristian Tamas, and will read from “Immersion”, a full two weeks before it’s published in Clarkesworld!

Brief plug: Scheherazade’s Facade


So, a long, long while ago, I wrote a story called “A Bitter Taste”, a pseudo-Hindu fantasy about war and destined victories (hint: it doesn’t quite turn out the way you’d think 🙂 ). I subsequently sold it to an anthology called Scheherazade’s Facade, which was about characters who didn’t follow gender conventions (my story had a hermaphrodite). The TOC included awesome people such as Tanith Lee, Sarah Rees Brennan and Paolo Chikiamco. That was the good news. The bad news… well, the anthology never happened, because of the economic situation at the time, and I thought that was the last I’d hear from it.

I should have had more faith. Michael M Jones, the editor, never gave up on it; and he has found an agreement with Cecilia Tan of Circlet Press to publish it. The catch: we have to raise enough money to pay everyone involved: the costs for Circlet, Michael, the contributors and the cover artist (and I hope I’m not forgetting anyone at this stage). Michael is aiming for pro rates; and the prizes include anthologies from Circlet Press as well as more classical bits (like e-copies of the anthology, physical copies, bookmarks).

It’s already past the halfway point, but every little bit helps: if you want to donate, please go here. Thanks in advance!

Heart Attack of the Day


The latest issue of Locus contains Gardner Dozois’s review of “Scattered Along the River of Heaven”, which he very kindly calls the story one of the best of the year so far, and compares it to Ursula Le Guin’s “The Day Before the Revolution”. (in case you’re curious and not a Locus subscriber, Sean Wallace posted the full text of the review here)

Given that Le Guin is basically one of my heroines, who got me into feminism, and got me into SF at a time when most (hard) SF left me cold; and that “The Day Before the Revolution” is one of her stories that still stick with me, years after reading it… you’ll understand why I’m pretty much floored at that point.

(bonus links: Adam Callaway’s take on the Nebula Awards finalists, aka I’m floored again; and just for a contrast, VarietySF’s take, which basically lists “Shipbirth” at the bottom of the list as completely incomprehensible and unreadable)

D’Obsidienne et de Sang longlisted for the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire


And a last one before I leave on holidays…

The longlist for France’s Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire has been released, and, er, D’Obsidienne et de Sang on there a great number of times–the novel’s longlisted for Best Foreign Novel, my wonderful translator Laurent Philibert-Caillat is longlisted for Best Translator for his translations of my book and Lauren Beukes’ Zoo City, and my cover for the French edition (produced by Larry Rostant) is also longlisted for Best Work of Art.

Er, wow?

Many congrats to Lauren Beukes for doing a similar triptych, to Lionel Davoust for being longlisted for Best French Novel, and to ezine Angle Mort for making the list!

(shortlist is due out at the end of March, winners announced in May)

Saturday update


(ETA: yes, I’m aware it’s still Friday by 30 minutes… I screwed up with my posting system, and I don’t feel like undoing the automatic twitter and FB notifications)

So, a very quick update, because 15+ people are showing up tonight tomorrow night at my house, in order to see off the Lunar Year in style (ok, I lie, nothing to do with that. We’re housewarming with a bad sense of timing).

D’Obsidienne et de Sang, the French translation of Servant of the Underworld, would appear to be a finalist for the Prix Masterton, a French literary award for SFF and horror (mainly geared towards horror and dark fantasy if the list of past winners is to be believed). The shortlist includes China Miéville’s The City and the City, and Gail Carriger’s Soulless (opening novel of a series which, amusingly, I’m reading right now) Er, wow? (and yes, the irony of being listed under “Fiction translated into French” has not escaped me).
-Couple Obsidian and Blood spottings: Cynthia Ward mentions both Servant and Harbinger in her end-of-year recap for Acqueduct Press, Harbinger gets noted by Duncan Lawie in his end-of-year review for Strange Horizons; Jacob at Drying Ink (who did this amazing interview with me a while back) ponders why you should read Historical Fantasy in front of a rather fetching cover of Master of the House of Darts
-hum, did I mention “The Bleeding Man” was going to be in Ian Whates’ Dark Currents, an anthology debuting at Eastercon which includes Adrian Tchaikovsky, Adam Nevill, Tricia Sullivan, Rod Rees, Nina Allan, Andrew Hook, Finn Clarke, Lavie Tidhar, Jan Edwards, Emma Coleman, Rebecca J Payne, Sophia McDougall, Una McCormack, Neil Williamson, V.C. Linde? No, I don’t think I did (I’ve known for a bit, but it wasn’t public).

I’m working on an SF story involving probabilities, and finally got in my nominations for the BSFA (short fiction, since I didn’t actually read any 2011 novels except for the aforementioned Gail Carriger (Heartless, which technically I haven’t started, having just downloaded it to my ereader).

Actual content to come, including mini-reviews of Elizabeth Bear’s Range of Ghosts (short version: you have to pre-order this book now), and David Gemmell’s Troy.

Linky linky


-More “Scattered Along the River of Heaven” linkage: Two Dudes in an Attic (in an analysis that is not only gushing but starting to rival the story in length, wow), Jonathan Crowe, and Marina
-Warpcore SF reviews Master of the House of Darts
-Jim Hines tries to duplicate female poses on genre covers, and posts pictures. Hilarious. (even though, yeah, women do move a little more easily at the hips than men, it’s true that none of those poses look exactly comfortable for men). genreviews does the same thing comparing male and female poses on covers.
-Related: Fantasy Armor and Lady Bits, or why boob plates are the most impractical idea ever.

Linky linky, the shameless edition


-It’s only been out a week, but there’s been awesome coverage of “Scattered Along the River of Heaven”: Lois Tilton on Locus Online marked it as Recommended, and noted it as a “good story” in her semi-monthly summary (my first time ever Lois Tilton likes something of mine…). Ken Liu posted a few thoughts on it here; John M. Kerr liked it ; starlady38 referred to it as “painfully good” (and reviewed Harbinger of the Storm, too!); the World SF blog showcased it; VarietySF wondered if it was part of a new trend of “helpful” invasive swarms of bots; and various people on twitter (Alex Dally McFarlane, Joyce Chng, Fred Warren, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz…) pointed to it. Wow. Never quite had so much press for one story.
-Fatema Mernissi on “Size six: The Western women’s harem”:

Unlike the Muslim man, who uses space to establish male domination by excluding women from the public arena, the Western man manipulates time and light. He declares that in order to be beautiful, a woman must look 14 years old

(I think what Mernissi means here is “time and slenderness”, because “time and light” makes no sense in the context of the article)
(via ideealisme Don’t agree with everything, but it’s an interesting analysis of current standards of beauty)
-Kate Elliott on “Re-reading and the Experience of Narrative”: interesting thoughts on how the sense of urgency can shape certain modern narratives; and on how re-reading can parallel life:

In life, we come back to the same events or choices, back to similar things, and we can never see them in exactly the way we saw them the first time, or the last but one time, when we encountered a similar moment or that same issue.

-Ari Marmell on “The Shared DNA of Steampunk and Epic Fantasy”. Worth munching on, though I’m not entirely sure I buy the premise in its entirety (the basic nostalgia drive is bang-on, but the parallels that are drawn feel a little too neat. Haven’t had time to think about this properly yet).
-And a random food link: thịt heo kho trứng (caramelised/braised pork with eggs) in steamed buns, from Blue Apocalypse. Yum.

Ye obligatory eligibility post, plus asking for story recommendations


So, since everyone is doing it, the obligatory awards eligibility post…

I only published three original pieces of short fiction this year, and of these the one that has the most visibility is this one (it got noticed in Rich Horton’s year-end summary of Asimov’s, among other things):

-“Shipbirth”, published in the February 2011 issue of Asimov’s, best described as “Aztecs in space”. Eligible in the short story category. If you’re interested, I’ve put it online here (it’s in EPUB and MOBI format as well, for ereaders).

On a not-so-selfish note, meanwhile, here’s the stuff I read this year that was awesome:
Short stories:
-Nancy Fulda, “Movement” (Asimov’s March issue). OK, I’m biased. I read an early draft of this and loved it. But Lois Tilton and Jason Sanford also think it’s a great story, so I’m not the only one. It’s in the point of view of a child with temporal autism and a unique outlook on life–but what happens when her parents want to cure her of her “disease”?
-Yoon Ha Lee, “Ghostweight” (Clarkesworld, January 2011). I’m a big Yoon Ha Lee fan, and this story is awesome. It’s about a woman (and an entire people) who carry the souls of the dead, and how far she’s willing to go to get revenge against the empire that destroyed her home. It’s also about origami, and war-kites, and change. Wonderful from beginning to end.
-Ferrett Steimetz, “Run, Bacri Says” (Asimov’s October 2011). The premise is goofy (what if you could save your life like in videogames, and then rewind to the save point); the story is anything but, taking the reader along with it, and raising hard questions about the worth of actions. Good, in a very disturbing kind of way. And also recommended by Lois Tilton.
-Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, “Return to Paraiso” (Realms of Fantasy, October 2011). A wonderful piece, set in a fantastical version of the Philippines, with a rebel returning to her home in a cage, and the effect she has on the community. Chockful of detail, with a strong voice reminiscent of the best magical realists. Track it online and read it, you won’t regret it. Plus, it has an awesome illustration.

-“The Man Who Ended History: a Documentary”, Ken Liu (available online here at Ken’s website, originally published in Panverse Three). Ken had a lot of very good stories this year, but this one is my favourite (narrow tie between this and “Paper Menagerie in F&SF, though). It deals with a novel method of observing history–about what this means for memory, for the victims of atrocities and their descendants, and for history as a discipline. It’s a harrowing look at a dark episode in the history of Asia, too, and will definitely make you think.

Zoo City, Lauren Beukes. It won the Clarke Award, and deservedly so–a rich thriller set in a world where criminals acquire an animal familiar who gives them supernatural power, the novel follows Zinzi December through Johannesburg and the titular slum–and her attempts to make sense of the mysterious disappearance of a singer. Bursting at the seams with wonderful world-building and a sharp eye for details and voice, this should make final ballots if there’s any justice.

-Zen Cho (qian on LJ) is eligible for the Campbell! You should totally read her Malaysian-vampire novelette, “The House of Aunts” in Giganotosaurus, and her short story (?) about lion dancers and exorcisms, “起狮,行礼 (Rising Lion—The Lion Bows)” in Strange Horizons.

Other than that… I haven’t been reading much short fiction or recent novels lately. What’s out there that’s award-worthy? I still have ten days (for the BSFA), and a couple of months (for the Hugos and Nebulas) to catch up on stuff… Any recs much appreciated (feel free to plug yourself, too). Thanks in advance!

ETA: Ken’s novella is actually available on his website (thanks to Dario Ciriello for the link). Go check it out!

Shameless plugging


Because, you know, I enjoyed those things when I critted them, and now they’re out in the wide world!
-T.L. Morganfield sidewise-nominated “Night Bird Soaring” is up at Escape Pod. I’ve loved this story since critiquing an early draft of it five or six years ago, and I’m definitely tickled pink that it’s had such a good career. And the ending is a killer (though T.L. might not agree with me on this, but hey, I’m entitled to my personal early reader opinion :)).
-Rochita Loenen-Ruiz “Return to Paraiso” is going to be in the October issue of Realms of Fantasy. It’s a fantastic, magical story with Rochita’s wonderful and ethereal use of language. You can get a peek at the illustration for it here.
-And now, for something I didn’t crit: Lavie Tidhar’s Osama is available from PS publishing and for the Kindle (US, UK). From the blurb:

Osama tells the story of a private detective hired to locate the obscure writer of pulp novels featuring one Osama bin Laden: Vigilante. The detective’s quest takes him from Vientiane to Paris, London, New York and Kabul, across a subtly-changed world where nothing is quite as it seems – including himself.

I haven’t read it yet, but I’ve enjoyed the short stories, and Lavie’s interview about its release (in Interzone this month) brings up fascinating topics about terrorism and the myths it engenders, and how to use the pulp fiction frame to tackle hard truths. And the book has been getting rave reviews, too, so definitely worth checking out.