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Category: Miscellania

Uncanny Year 3 Kickstarter!

Uncanny Year 3 Kickstarter!

A few months ago, I was fortunate enough to have a story published in the very excellent Uncanny Magazine, in an issue that boasted an otherwise intimidatingly stellar lineup. Somewhere after that, M Sereno and I had an hour-long conversation with Uncanny’s podcast interviewer, Deborah Stanish. We talked about our stories in the issue (Mia had a poem in the very same issue), and what it’s like being a queer, non-white, non-Western woman writing SFF.

As part of the Uncanny Year 3 Kickstarter, that joint interview has now been released as a special episode after the campaign hit 250 backers! So you can listen to it in all its glory.

 

As I’ve previously written about, 2015 was a tough year for me writing-wise, and in the fight between crushing self-doubt and feeling hopeless about the state of SFF, I nearly quit writing (this despite being enrolled in a creative writing MA. I was convinced I’d never complete another short story, much less sell one).

Throughout this the Thomases were amazing in their encouragement of their writing. I’d sent Uncanny a story for their open subs period in 2015, for which I got an rewrite request, which never materialised due to aforementioned struggle with writing. Despite this they still encouraged me to send them something for their 2016 open subs period. That something turned out to be The Blood That Pulses In The Veins Of One, and the rest is history.

Having support from editors as fantastic as the Thomases was deeply crucial on my journey to recovering my writing groove. I was so discouraged, I was thinking, “Nobody cares about the kinds of stories you write, nobody will read you or remember you, nobody will consider some rando from Singapore as a proper SFF writer ever”, and there they were, telling me that they did. That they noticed, that they remembered, that they cared. And it wasn’t just about me– Uncanny publishes such a wonderful, diverse slate of authors, and I am so very glad for that.

This is why I’ve offered a bunch of rewards to go with the Year 3 kickstarter– I’m offering an hourlong Google hangout/Skype session where you can pick my brain about anything (anything!), and 3 short story crits (up to 12,000 words each). Heck, I think the magazine subscription itself is its own reward, but the fact that so many people (dozens!!) chipped in to offer additional backer rewards speaks to the wonderful community that Uncanny has built up in just two years.

If you can afford it, go get one of the awesome higher-tier backer rewards. Or just pick up a year’s subscription. It’s totally worth it, I assure you.

 

Campbell Eligibility Post 2015!

Campbell Eligibility Post 2015!

Hello friends!

As you may be aware, I am eligible for the John Campbell Award For Best New Writer this year. Since the Hugo + Campbell noms are coming to a close (ends March 10 2015 at 11.59 PST!), I thought I’d put up a post to remind folk about the stuff I had out last year.

Storytelling For The Night Clerk (Strange Horizons) – My first pro sale! A story about cyborgs and which narratives get to be told. This story was recommended by Lois Tilton in her review, and placed fourth in Strange Horizon’s reader poll for their best stories of 2014.

Patterns Of A Murmuration, In Billions Of Data Points (Clarkesworld) – A sordid tale of loss, revenge and omniscient AIs, Another recommendation by Lois Tilton, and it tied for third in the reader poll for best Clarkesworld 2014 story. (Considering how strong the CW slate  is, not something to sneeze at!)

Harvestfruit (Crossed Genres) – A fun little flash piece, and by “fun” I obviously mean “full of war and death and loss and patricide”.

Also,

if you’d like to do a bit more reading to get a general sense of what I write and also because I’m too lazy to do a separate update, my story Tiger Baby, which I wrote in 2013 for a Singaporean anthology of cat stories, was recently reprinted in Lackingtons‘. It’s not eligible for any of the awards either way, but I’m quite proud of this one! Amal El-Mohtar did a lovely review of the story for her Rich And Strange column on Tor.com  (SPOILERSSS) <3

Yes, J, but who are you nominating for the Campbell Award?

I’m glad you asked!!! I am constantly delighted by the amount of talent my fellow emerging writers possess. My recommendations for the Campbell are: Usman T. Malik, Alyssa Wong, Sam J. Miller, Carmen Maria Macchado and Natalia TheodoridouEvery story of theirs I’ve read  has punched me in the gut. They write such beautifully emotional stories and are all worthy candidates for the award.

Thank you for your  consideration!

Award Eligibility Post, 2014

Award Eligibility Post, 2014

Right. I have been encouraged to make one of these, so here we are. My award-eligible stories from 2014.

I didn’t publish that much last year. Mostly I had three stories out in the places that people know–my first pro sales and I’m very glad of them. Some people have said very nice things about them too, for which I’m grateful. Yay, my little babies  have found places in people’s hearts!

All three of my works published this year have been sci-fi, and are eligible for the Hugo, the Nebula, and — as was  just brought to my attention today– the BSFA.

I am also eligible for the John Campbell Award For Best New Writer. It’s the first year I’m running. **

Storytelling For The Night Clerk at Strange Horizons — My first pro sale! My baby. It was favourably reviewed by Lois Tilton, and later made her list of favourite stories in 2014. It also made Nina Allan’s list of recommended 2014 fiction.

Harvestfruit at Crossed Genres — My first flash sale, to CG’s special flash issue. I know flash is a hard sell at awards time, but I listed it here for completeness of portfolio (since, Campbell, etc)

Patterns Of A Murmuration, In Billions Of Data Points at Clarkesworld — aka, “Why the hell couldn’t I have picked a shorter title?” Seriously though, if I had to pick this is probably my favourite story that I’ve sold this year (and thus far). Lois Tilton also liked this one, and it also made her favourite stories list. It was tipped as noteworthy on Fantastic Stories of the Imagination and the Verge, and also made Usman Malik’s and Nin Harris‘ 2014 best-of lists.

Seriously, everyone– thank you for your consideration, thank you for reading, and thank you for your support.

**I don’t feel I’ve read enough in 2014 to come up with a good best-of round-up list, but my picks for Campbell award nominees? Usman Malik, Alyssa Wong, Natalia Theodoridou, Rachael K. Jones, Carmen Maria Machado. Every story of theirs I’ve read has blown me away. Highly recommended.

Kickstart something great! (A signal-boosty post)

Kickstart something great! (A signal-boosty post)

me at the reading
Me (on the right) and my friend Joey, whom I hadn’t seen in a while, catching up at the Body Boundaries reading last weekend. Photo c/o Gwen Kwan, via Etiquette SG’s Facebook page

A couple of brief signal-boosty updates before I have to run to work! No, this isn’t the specfic tea party post. Not yet.

ETIQUETTE 2013 FUNDRAISER

Etiquette are registering as a non-profit arts group dedicated to showcasing creative and critical work by  women artists. To do so, they need to raise money. Run by two amazing women, they’ve done a number of wonderful art projects in the past: Photography, written word, theatre… I’m involved with one of their projects: I have a story in their anthology Body Boundaries, which is coming out in July. There was a reading last weekend, a preview of sorts, which is where the above photo of me comes from. Anyway, they need to raise S$10,000, and I encourage everyone to contribute if they can. It’s a good cause, there’s a great community built up around it, and the art scene in Singapore could do with more woman-centric spaces, particularly those that explore women’s issues critically. Indiegogo page here! 46 days to go!

**Fun fact: I submitted two stories to Body Boundaries and the editors like both, so I asked them to take the one that was more personal, as I thought I could place the other story in other markets. The other piece ended up being the bulk of my submission to Clarion West… But I haven’t actually submitted it elsewhere because it needs a fair bit of editing and I haven’t gotten around to doing it. Argh!

 

Crossed Genre’s Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction From the Margins of History

4 days to go! An anthology to collect stories of people whose voices are not often heard. It’s already met its base goal, hit two stretch goals (for a bigger anthology with more stories!) and is now pushing towards a US$30,000 goal so that each of the stories featured can get a B & W illustration. The anthology sounds like an amazing idea and the folks at Crossed Genres have been doing some fantastic work in representing diversity in genre fiction, so I’m always all out for their projects.

Different Weights

Different Weights

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I always think it disingenuous for people to look across vast stretches of history and make sweeping statements about the human condition by saying “well things lasted like this for so many hundred years, while this phenomenon we have now did not exist until the last few decades” (in a effort to undermine the current state of things by implying it might only be a temporary fad).

I honestly do not think that the way things worked in the past should have any bearing on the way things work in the present simply because each generation of humanity (in their overlapping, non-finite boundaries) thinks and looks at the world differently, shaped by the ever-changing pattern of the world they grew up in. Culturally we are further removed from our ancestors, say, 200 years ago, than we are from any of our contemporaries. Sure, we may have history to guide us, but we see history through a lens of contemporaneity as well.

I’ve started reading Empires In World History: Power and the politics of difference by Jane Burbank and Frederick Cooper. I am on the first chapter; ought to be an interesting read (part of background research for this year’s NaNo project, in which I will attempt to actually churn out a Real Proper Novel). Probably more thoughts on it as I go along.

I have another blogpost to get through today, this one for the spec fic blog, in conjunction with the Ayam Curtain open call. I have no idea how to begin.

My BEDA efforts were killed by my attempt to finish up a submission for a local anthology, which I’ve now been asked to modify fairly extensively. It’s a good thing, but I feel time creeping up on me The amount of things I have to write over the next couple of weeks — both work- and fiction-wise  — daunts me. It’s like a weight on my chest that won’t go away.

Why I Became An Atheist

Why I Became An Atheist

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be Christian.

Growing up, my family subscribed to that strange mix I call Chinese pagan culture, something which mixed ancestor-worship with scraps of Taoism and Buddhism and a larger Chinese mythological pantheon. When I was in upper primary, and miserable and lonely, I was approached by a teen at a shopping mall while skiving on the way home, and given a pamphlet that said I could have order and peace and happiness if I accepted Jesus Christ into my life.

I was eleven. It sounded nice. I took the pamphlet home and hid it in a drawer and decided I wanted to become a Christian when I grew up and moved away from my parents’ house. Until then, I was going to be a secret Christian. I didn’t have a Bible, and I had not read any scripture except for the four Gospels I had pretty much been  forced to review for school (for English! for crying out loud!) and had subsequently completely forgotten. But I believed in God and I believed that he would somehow save pathetic little me. I even made up a little prayer I would recite to myself in bed, sometimes over and over: Dear God please forgive me for all the sins I committed today and let me not repeat them again tomorrow, amen.

As I said, I was eleven. And I was making it up as I went along.

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so i pushed you underwater

so i pushed you underwater

An absolutely gorgeous video for a beautiful, beautiful song by a band that is quickly becoming one of my favourite local outfits.

I first discovered them at an open mic night at The Pigeonhole and they stole my heart away. I have their debut album and love it to bits.