Happy to reveal the cover for Elsie Chapman and Ellen Oh’s A Thousand Beginnings and Endings, in which my story “The Counting of Vermillion Beads” will appear. It’s a retelling of Tấm Cám, except set in a science fantasy palace where girls compete to become high-ranking officials of the Everlasting Emperor–and it’s about sisterhood and families and the threads that never really can be snapped.
And best of all, it’s only one of a stellar lineup that includes Shveta Thakar, EC Myers, Cindy Pon. Eeeeeeeeeeeee!
It’s not out till June 2018, but you can preorder it now!
My story “Children of Thorns, Children of Water” has now been published at Uncanny Magazine. You can read it here.
This is set in the Dominion of the Fallen, my Gothic ruined Paris with Fallen angels, dragons, alchemists and magicians (aka my love letter to 19th Century Gothic fiction and manga and anime like Fullmetal Alchemist and Black Butler, which includes novels The House of Shattered Wings and The House of Binding Thorns ). It’s a standalone: an excellent introduction to the universe, and a good return to it if you’re already familiar with it!
What you get: dragons, creepy magic, cooking (!).
In a Paris that never was, a city of magicians, alchemists and Fallen angels struggling to recover from a devastating magical war…
Once each year, the House of Hawthorn tests the Houseless: for those chosen, success means the difference between a safe life and the devastation of the streets. However, for Thuan and his friend Kim Cuc, — dragons in human shapes and envoys from the dying underwater kingdom of the Seine — the stakes are entirely different. Charged with infiltrating a House that keeps encroaching on the Seine, if they are caught, they face a painful death.
Worse, mysterious children of thorns stalk the candidates through Hawthorn’s corridors. Will Thuan and Kim Cuc survive and succeed?
If you’ve already read and enjoyed it, why not try The House of Binding Thorns , in which you get to meet again Thuan (aka, the queer, bookish dragon prince with amazing talent for getting himself into trouble), as well as a host of other characters?
(or you can also pick up the full issue of Uncanny Magazine, which has fiction by Seanan McGuire, Mary Robinette Kowal, Cassandra Khaw and other fine folk)
The Dominion of the Fallen Reading Order (Novels Only)
With thanks to Stephanie Burgis, Kate Elliott and Fran Wilde
It was a large, magnificent room with intricate patterns of ivy branches on the tiles, and a large mirror above a marble fireplace, the mantlepiece crammed with curios from delicate silver bowls to Chinese blue-and-white porcelain figures: a clear statement of casual power, to leave so many riches where everyone could grab them.
Or rather, it would have been, if the porcelain hadn’t been cut-rate–the same bad quality the Chinese had foisted on the Indochinese court in Annam–the mirror tarnished, with mould growing in one corner, spread down far enough that it blurred features, and the tiling cracked and chipped in numerous places–repaired, but not well enough that Thuan couldn’t feel the imperfections under his feet, each one of them a little spike in the khi currents of magic around the room.
Not that Thuan was likely to be much impressed by the mansions of Fallen angels, no matter how much of Paris they might claim to rule. He snorted disdainfully, an expression cut short when Kim Cuc elbowed him in the ribs. “Behave,” she said.
“You’re not my mother.” She was his ex-lover, as a matter of fact; and older than him, and never let him forget that.
“Next best thing,” Kim Cuc said, cheerfully. “I can always elbow further down, if you insist.”
Thuan bit down the angry retort. The third person in the room–a dusky-skinned, young girl of Maghrebi descent, who’d introduced herself as Leila–was looking at them with fear in her eyes. “We’re serious,” he said, composing his face again. “We’re not going to ruin your chances to enter House Hawthorn, promise.”
They were a team: that was what they’d been told, as the House dependents separated the crowd before the House in small groups; that their performance would be viewed as a whole, and their chance to enter the House weighed accordingly. Though no rules had been given, and nothing more said, either, as dependents led them to this room and locked them in. At least he was still with Kim Cuc, or he’d have been hopelessly lost.
For people like Leila–for the Houseless, the desperate–it was their one chance to escape the streets, to receive food and shelter and the other tangible benefits of a House’s protection.
For Thuan and Kim Cuc, though… the problem was rather different. Their fate, too, would be rather different, if anyone found out who they really were. No House in Paris liked spies, and Hawthorn was not known for its leniency.
(thanks as always to our friend Paul Weimer who helps clean up the CtB kitchen after we destroy it…)
Podcast #031: Lines of Supply – Cooking the Books with Malka Older
pepper (any kind),
Sautée the onion and pepper in the oil. Add the ground beef and break it up to brown thoroughly. Add the garlic, minced or crushed.
Add a lot of oregano (I am not kidding, a lot) and some cumin.
Add tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Add raisins and olives, turn heat down and cover, simmer for 30-45 minutes.
If it gets dry add liquid: water, beer, stock, etc.
Malka Older is a writer, aid worker, and PhD candidate. Her writing can be found at Leveler, Tor.com, Bengal Lights, Sundog Lit, Capricious, Reservoir, Inkscrawl, Rogue Agent, in the poetry anthology My Cruel Invention, and in Chasing Misery, an anthology of writing by female aid workers. Her science fiction political thriller Infomocracy is the first full-length novel from Tor.com, and the sequel Null States will be published in 2017.
She was nominated for the 2016 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Named Senior Fellow for Technology and Risk at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs for 2015, she has more than a decade of experience in humanitarian aid and development. Her doctoral work on the sociology of organizations at the Institut d’Études Politques de Paris (Sciences Po) explores the dynamics of multi-level governance and disaster response using the cases of Hurricane Katrina and the Japan tsunami of 2011. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, and at malkaolder.wordpress.com.
Harbinger of the Storm, my Mexica imperial succession novel with star-demons and priestly intrigues, is available on Kobo for $1.99 for today only!
The year is Two House, and the Emperor of the Mexica has just died. The protections he afforded the Empire are crumbling, and the way lies wide open to the flesh-eating star-demons–and to the return of their creator, a malevolent goddess only held in check by the War God’s power.
The council should convene to choose a new Emperor, but they are too busy plotting against each other. And then someone starts summoning star-demons within the palace, to kill councilmen…
Acatl, High Priest of the Dead, must find the culprit before everything is torn apart.
Want a copy? Go here (offer should also be valid at other Kobo websites!).
I’ll be at the London MCM Comicon, May 26th-28th. Come say hello!
My schedule: Brave New Worlds: How to World-Build in Fantastical Fiction
No matter whether you have dragons on every street corner, are urging armies of knights into endless battle or are trying to figure out to how money works across entire star systems, all fantastical fiction requires strong world building. Join authors Alastair Reynolds (REVENGER), Aliette de Bodard (THE HOUSE OF BINDING THORNS), EDWARD COX (THE RELIC GUILD SERIES), and Tom Toner (THE PROMISE OF THE CHILD) as they discuss what the ins and outs of writing in imagined places.
Panellists: Alastair Reynolds, Tom Toner, Edward Cox , Aliette de Bodard, Ian McDonald
Moderator: Mark Stay
Panel Duration: 1hr & 15mins
Exact Time: 1:30pm – 2:45pm
Day: Friday 26th of May
Lower Platinum Suite Author signing (not clear if this is during the time slot or shortly thereafter, but I’ll be around!)
You might have missed the announcement on this, but I’m now Fran Wilde‘s co-host for Cooking the Books, the podcast about SF and food. This month we sat down with Ruthanna Emrys, the author of the newly released Winter Tide from Tor.com Publishing, a novel about re-imagined Deep Ones.
We talk about how Ruthanna uses food to evoke memory in her book. What we didn’t realize is that we would also be talking about revising the Lovecraftian recipe, and exploring monster digestion.
This podcast contains so much salt. Also a heads up about Ruthanna’s book party with her blog co-host Anne M. Pillsworth at Wiscon in a few weeks! Are you going? Pick up a Honeyed Salt Cake for us. Or try the recipe yourself, below…
This month’s Cooking the Books Podcast, #030: A Taste of Salt – Cooking the Books with Ruthanna Emrys contains:
Deep Ones comfort food
What one would feed H.P. Lovecraft (a Book Smugglers question!)
Truffle salt, fleur-de-sel harvested from marshes, smoked salt…
1.5T fine-ground salt (People of the air who think there’s such a thing as “too much salt” may want to make this 1.5 teaspoons.)
½ C honey
1 stick butter, softened
½ t baking soda
Additional honey + course ground fleur de sel for glaze, to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Cream butter, sugar, and honey until smooth.
Add egg and mix.
Combine remaining dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well.
Drop spoonfuls of batter onto a greased cookie sheet, leaving room for cakes to spread to about 2 inches wide.
Bake 9-12 minutes until lightly browned.
Remove from oven—immediately brush with warm honey and sprinkle with sea salt. Serve warm.
Ruthanna Emrys is the author of Winter Tide, the first book in the Innsmouth Legacy series. She is also co-blogger on Tor.com’s Lovecraft Reread, and writes short stories about religion and aliens and psycholinguistics. She lives in a mysterious manor house on the outskirts of Washington, DC with her wife and their large, strange family. She makes home-made vanilla, obsesses about game design, gives unsolicited advice, and occasionally attempts to save the world. You can find her on Twitter, livejournal, her website, and at Tor.com.
So, the lovely Likhain (who’s up for a Best Fan Artist Hugo, and whose art you’ve seen me publicisebefore), has had unexpected vet bills on top of a costly move, and could really use some help (in the “need money for groceries” context of help). I know she’s given an amazing amount for the community (if you want a few of the specifics I’m familiar with, she ran a lot of the fundraiser we did for Rochita Loenen-Ruiz a year ago, in spite of being tired and drained most of the time).
The best help would of course be to contribute to her patreon or commission her for work, but this is medium to long-term stuff, and we’re talking pretty short term here? If you happen to want to help, you can paypal her here.
And should you donate above 7$/£5/€9, forward me the receipt using the form below, and I’ll send you an ecopy of Ships in Exile, which gathers three hard-to-find Xuya stories.
I’ll be at Waterstones Piccadily in London on Wednesday 12th April 19:30 (so tomorrow!), in conversation with Zen Cho and Vic James. You can get tickets here (or just show up at the event and get them).
And I’ll be attending Eastercon in Birmingham: my schedule is here
I’ve also been around the blogosphere:
My Favorite Bit at Mary Robinette Kowal’s Blog: destroying Paris and terrible bilingual puns
Unfamiliar rooms: magic and dread in Kari Sperring’s The Grass King’s Concubine, at Tor.com
At my blog: why likeable characters are overrated and how to design your very own character we love to hate,
The Fallacy of Agency at Uncanny Magazine, with awesome Likhain art (aka Madeleine from The House of Binding Thorns, with silver and gold foil and all the usual Likhain prettiness, which you can see a snippet of above. Seriously. Go check the post out just for the art because it’s stunning. Likhain is a current Hugo finalist for Best Artist and deservedly so!)
Author takeover: War of the Houses at Mugglenet (which makes me absurdly happy because Harry Potter was such a big part of my London years)