Just a quick heads-up that I put chapter one of my upcoming Gollancz/Roc release The House of Shattered Wings online for your reading pleasure
It is almost pleasant, at first, to be Falling.
The harsh, unwavering light of the City recedes, leaving you in shadow, leaving only memories of relief, of a blessed coolness seizing your limbs. Nothing has turned yet into longing, into bitterness, into the cold that will never cease, not even in the heat of summer.
I shared this on twitter recently, but I thought I’d repost here for those who weren’t around on Sunday.
A few years ago, I started the custom of naming Xuya mindships after literary allusions or metaphors–because, in a society where literary culture is still very important and scholars drive the creation of mindships, it felt like a natural process. Of course, if you’re not familiar with Chinese/Vietnamese culture, a lot of these probably fall flat–so accordingly, I’ve provided a summary of those references I can remember.
“The Frost on Jade Buds” (in “The Frost on Jade Buds” in Solaris Rising 3) comes from a proverb that I can’t remember exactly. I think it’s beauty cold enough to shatter jade.
“The Tiger in the Banyan” (in “Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight”): the tiger in the tale of Cuội, who uses banyan leaves to heal her dead cub (in the version I remember, the tiger lays her dead cub in the hollow of the banyan tree, which always made more sense to me when you consider what a banyan looks like …
“The Dream of Millet” (in “Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight”): a dream Lã Động Tân/Lü Dongbin had while his millet cooked, which convinced him to renounce the world and become an Immortal.
“The Sea and Mulberry” (in “A Slow Unfurling of Truth”, in Carbide-Tipped Pens: in Vietnamese, “sea and mulberry” means a big upheaval in the affairs of men (from a Chinese legend where every thirty years, the sea turned to mulberry fields, and the mulberry fields to the sea).
“The Turtle’s Citadel” (from “The Waiting Stars” in The Other Half of the Sky): Âu Lạc, a citadel that was built with the help of the Golden Turtle Spirit (the walls kept collapsing until the king called for the help of the Golden Turtle, who led him to an evil spirit nearby). The citadel was also defended by a magical crossbow made with one of the claws of the Golden Turtle, and could not fall so long as the crossbow remained there (there’s another reference to this tale in “The Citadel of Weeping Pearls”, where a mindship is called “The Turtle’s Golden Claw”).
“The Cinnabar Mansions”(from “The Waiting Stars” in The Other Half of the Sky): basically a creative English translation of 紅樓 “Red Chamber” (from “Dream of the Red Chamber”).
“The Fisherman’s Song” (from “Ship’s Brother” in Clarkesworld Magazine): the song of Trương Chi, which earned him the love of a mandarin’s daughter, and later her tears after his death. I was this close to making it “The Fisherman’s Lament”, but I thought it was a bit pessimistic a name to give a midship
My story “Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight”, is now out in Clarkesworld for their issue 100 (and big congrats on this milestone). The TOC looks fabulous, with stories by Tang Fei, Naomi Kritzer, Kij Johnson, Zhang Ran, Catherynne M Valente, Jay Lake, Damien Broderick, and Karl Schroeder. Read the story here (there’s also an audio version read by the fabulous Kate Baker, here).
Just a reminder that you have until Nov. 1st to enter the Master of the House of Darts competition, which comes with lots of neat prizes . You can enter via a comment or a repost, but for the best chance to win, don’t forget you can make up an Aztec recipe! So far, we’ve had prickly pear juice, chicken mixiotes, Aztec brownies, poultry with spicy fruit sauce, and gummy hearts that look like real hearts (not a recipe per se, but good enough as Aztec food ). Come and join in the fun, either here or here!
(the less experiences cooks can also tell me who their favourite character in Obsidian and Blood is )
Yup, once again, I have way too much time on my hands…
Let me know what you think, and I’d be very grateful if you shared/RTed/etc.
(sorry about the preview–I’ve tried to pick the best image I could, but youtube’s automatic choices aren’t excellent, to say the least…)
ETA: sorry, the competition is coming a bit later today, when I’ve finished with the various picture uploads…
You can now listen to the podcast of my pseudo-Chinese story “As the Wheel Turns” over at issue 9 of Dark Fiction Magazine (where I am in the stellar company of Juliet McKenna, James Barclay Andrew Reid and Kev Clark).
Click here for the podcast. Thanks to Sharon Ring, Kate Sherrod and the rest of the Dark Fiction Magazine team!
Over at Speculate!, Brad Beaulieu and Gregory A Wilson are running a three-week special on Harbinger of the Storm: this week is the review of the book; next week will be an interview with me, and the following week will focus on writing techniques used within Harbinger.
Many thanks to Brad and Greg for the opportunity–not only did they read and dissect the book from cover to cover, they also arranged a three-way chat on Skype across three different time zones on a weekday, which is nothing short of heroic.
The podcast has featured authors such as K.J. Anderson, Patrick Rothfuss and N.K. Jemisin, and Brad and Greg have a palpable and infectious enthusiasm for all things genre. Go listen here, and check out past episodes, too!
In other shameless news, I opened my copy of Interzone 234 to discover that “The Shipmaker” had taken 4th place in the Readers’ Poll (behind Nina Allan’s “Flying in the Face of God” and two neat Jason Sanford stories), and that the illustration by Richard Wagner had tied for 1st place. Wow…
Check out the new Salon Futura, in which Cheryl Morgan, Mike Carey, Jon Courtenay Grimwood and I talk about crossovers between crime and speculative fiction. On my end, I found the discussion and breadth of knowledge fascinating–thanks to Cheryl for thinking of me, and to Mike and Jon for being such awesome people.
(there were some technical glitches which resulted in much swearing at BT, but nothing that should spoil your enjoyment of the show).
The rest of the issue is equally intriguing, with looks at new crime/spec fic merges, interviews with Ian McDonald and C.E Murphy, and lots of other appetising features.
Meanwhile, I shall go back to my stir-fried beef with onions (lots of onions leftover after a rather disastrous buy, had to do something with them…)