Tag: xuya

Some of the references in the names of Xuya mindships

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Some of the references in the names of Xuya mindships

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 :)

NB: In On a Red Station, Drifting, of course all the stations are named after the Three Blessings in Vietnamese/Chinese: Longevity, Prosper(ity) and Felicity (Good Fortune).

“Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight” in Clarkesworld Magazine

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“Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight” in Clarkesworld Magazine

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).

Author’s notes here.

“A Slow Unfurling of Truth” in Carbide Tipped Pens

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“A Slow Unfurling of Truth” in Carbide Tipped Pens

Just a quick note/reminder that my novelette “A Slow Unfurling of Truth” is now available for sale, as is the rest of Eric Choi’s and Ben Bova’s hard SF anthology Carbide-Tipped Pens. It’s a Xuxa story about my field of expertise (well, OK, I have many such. But what I graduated in was Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, with a strong focus on probabilities). If you want to know how to do robust authentification when changing bodies, look no further :)

(also, wow that TOC)

First draft!

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First draft!

(well, second, really. The rewrite pushed it from a slight 6k to a solid 7k words. With thanks to fabulous betas Victor Fernando Campo and Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, who didn’t blink at the quick turnaround time and provided very valuable insight on what wasn’t working so well with it)

I settled on “Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight” as the title; and here’s a snippet:

Green tea: green tea is made from steamed or lightly dried tea leaves. The brew is light, with a pleasant, grassy taste. Do not over-steep it, lest it become bitter.

#

After the funeral, Quang Tu walked back to his compartment, and sat down alone, staring sightlessly at the slow ballet of bots cleaning the small room–the metal walls pristine already, with every trace of Mother’s presence or of her numerous mourners scrubbed away. He’d shut down the communal network–couldn’t bear to see the potted summaries of Mother’s life, the endlessly looping vids of the funeral procession, the hundred thousand bystanders gathered at the grave site to say goodbye, vultures feasting on the flesh of the grieving–they hadn’t known her, they hadn’t cared–and all their offerings of flowers were worth as much as the insurances of the Embroidered Guard.

Yes, it has tea!

(picture: Tea leaves steeping in a zhong čaj by Wikimol, used under a CC-BY-SA2.5, via Wikimedia Commons)

Print edition of On a Red Station Drifting

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Print edition of On a Red Station Drifting

In related news: there will be a print edition of On a Red Station, Drifting, published through Createspace. I haven’t publicised it because I’ve been sorting out admin stuff, but here’s the cover, courtesy of Rhiannon Rasmussen-Silverstein (and many many thanks to Colin F Barnes, who in addition to giving me tons of advice on self-publishing, covers and print publishing, also did my interior design).

Hopefully by MIRCon I can sign copies of it ^^

ETA: it’s live! Go buy it from amazon [US|UK|Fr].

On a Red Station, Drifting, in Spanish

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On a Red Station, Drifting, in Spanish

Pretty pretty cover (link here if you’re reading the LJ/DW mirrors).

Upcoming from Fata Libelli, end of the year. The artist, Omar Moreno, is also working on a cover for the Xuya collection, “El Ciclo de Xuya”.

PS: I’m not *quite* back online full time. The household has caught the crud, and we have a few RL problems (scheduling issues with the snakelet, our childminder and the H. Nothing serious!) which means this blog will get toned down even more than usual while we sort them out. Posts this week thanks to WordPress automatic scheduler ^^

WIP snippet, because I feel like it

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There was a sound, on the edge of sleep: Suu Nuoc wasn’t sure if it was a bell and a drum calling for enlightenment; or the tactics-master sounding the call to arms; in that breathless instant–hanging like a bead of blood from a sword’s blade–that marked the boundary between the stylised life of the court and the confused, lawless fury of the battlefield.

Aka, “Aliette writes a really ambitious novella that might unexpectedly turn into a novel” (I really hope not. Over 40k but below 70k is really a bad length for fiction). It’s a loose sort of sequel to On a Red Station, Drifting, with some of the same characters making guest appearances (basically set in the Imperial Court eighty years after the ending of the novella).

Since we’re travelling light (hahaha), I’ve left my research books at home, but I thought I’d recommend:

-Vietnam History: Stories retold for a new generation, Hien Vo, Chat Dang. Ok, here’s the deal. You emphatically will not get a history from this book–the authors aren’t historians, and it’s not a scholarly dissection of various motives and sources. However, what you will get is the kind of stories my grandma tells me, the “folklore”, or history as it’s perceived by the people who aren’t formally trained. It’s biased, of course; I wouldn’t necessarily agree with everything (particularly in the colonial era); but it’s a nice springboard for learning more about the major figures of folklore. As a bonus, it has a freak amount of the Vietnamese equivalents to Chinese deities and Chinese historical figures, which saves me the trouble of going through Wikipedia armed with a meagre command of the language…
-1587, a year of no particular significance: the Ming Dynasty in Decline, Ray Huang: I really like this book for its portrayal of court life in the tail end of the Ming dynasty. Really handy for those court intrigue bits ^^
-Monarchy and Colonialism in Vietnam: 1875-1925, The Anh Nguyen: I’m still halfway through it. It’s really hard to stomach, for obvious reasons (the sheer arrogance of the colonialists and the total lack of comprehension of the Nguyễn court of what they’re really up against, for starters; also, the slow encroachment of loss of sovereignty even as the colonial empire starts tightening up is heartbreaking). It turns out to not really pertain to the novella, so I’ll be going through it at a more restrained pace…

“The Waiting Stars” up for a Locus Award

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Meant to post about this earlier, but ran into a few website problems (now fixed, thank God, but had a pretty unfunny 24 hours on Thursday where I seriously contemplated complicated tech manoeuvres).
Very pleased to announce that “The Waiting Stars” is a finalist for the 2014 Locus Awards in the “Best Novelette” category. Many thanks to everyone who voted for it! (also, wow. The other people on the ballot kind of make me want to crawl up somewhere and hide).

Also, a very nice writeup of the story over at Tor.com by Niall Alexander.
The full list of finalists is as follows:

SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL

  • MaddAddam, Margaret Atwood (McClelland & Stewart; Bloomsbury; Talese)
  • Abaddon’s Gate, James S.A. Corey (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • The Best of All Possible Worlds, Karen Lord (Del Rey; Jo Fletcher UK)
  • Shaman, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • Neptune’s Brood, Charles Stross (Ace; Orbit UK)

FANTASY NOVEL

  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman (Morrow; Headline Review)
  • NOS4A2, Joe Hill (Morrow; Gollancz as NOS4R2)
  • River of Stars, Guy Gavriel Kay (Roc; Viking Canada; HarperCollins UK)
  • Doctor Sleep, Stephen King (Scribner; Hodder & Stoughton)
  • The Republic of Thieves, Scott Lynch (Del Rey; Gollancz)

YOUNG ADULT BOOK

  • Zombie Baseball Beatdown, Paolo Bacigalupi (Little, Brown)
  • The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Holly Black (Little, Brown; Indigo)
  • Homeland, Cory Doctorow (Tor Teen; Titan)
  • The Summer Prince, Alaya Dawn Johnson (Levine)
  • The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two, Catherynne M. Valente (Feiwel and Friends)

FIRST NOVEL

  • The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic, Emily Croy Barker (Dorman)
  • The Golden City, J. Kathleen Cheney (Roc)
  • Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar (Small Beer)
  • The Golem and the Jinni, Helene Wecker (Harper)

NOVELLA

  • Wakulla Springs”, Andy Duncan & Ellen Klages (Tor.com 10/2/13)
  • “Black Helicopters”, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Subterranean)
  • “The Princess and the Queen”, George R.R. Martin (Dangerous Women)
  • “Precious Mental”, Robert Reed (Asimov’s 6/13)
  • “Six-Gun Snow White”, Catherynne M. Valente (Subterranean)

NOVELETTE

  • “The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling”, Ted Chiang (Subterranean Fall ’13)
  • “The Waiting Stars”, Aliette de Bodard (The Other Half of the Sky)
  • “A Terror”, Jeffrey Ford (Tor.com 7/24/13)
  • “The Sleeper and the Spindle”, Neil Gaiman (Rags and Bones)
  • “The Prayer of Ninety Cats”, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Subterranean Spring ’13)

SHORT STORY

  • “Some Desperado”, Joe Abercrombie (Dangerous Women)
  • “The Science of Herself”, Karen Joy Fowler (The Science of Herself)
  • “The Road of Needles”, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Once Upon a Time: New Fairy Tales)
  • “A Brief History of the Trans-Pacific Tunnel”, Ken Liu (F&SF 1-2/13)
  • “The Dead Sea-Bottom Scrolls”, Howard Waldrop (Old Mars)

ANTHOLOGY

  • Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells, Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling, eds. (Tor)
  • The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual Collection, Gardner Dozois, ed. (St. Martin’s Griffin; Robinson as The Mammoth Book of Best New SF 26)
  • Unnatural Creatures, Neil Gaiman & Maria Dahvana Headley, eds. (Harper; Bloomsbury)
  • Old Mars, George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois, eds. (Bantam)
  • The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume Seven, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Night Shade)

COLLECTION

  • The Best of Joe Haldeman, Joe Haldeman (Subterranean)
  • The Ape’s Wife and Other Stories, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Subterranean)
  • Kabu Kabu, Nnedi Okorafor (Prime)
  • The Bread We Eat in Dreams, Catherynne M. Valente (Subterranean)
  • The Best of Connie Willis, Connie Willis (Del Rey)

MAGAZINE

  • Asimov’s
  • Clarkesworld
  • F&SF
  • Subterranean
  • Tor.com

PUBLISHER

  • Angry Robot
  • Orbit
  • Small Beer
  • Subterranean
  • Tor Books

EDITOR

  • John Joseph Adams
  • Ellen Datlow
  • Gardner Dozois
  • Jonathan Strahan
  • Ann & Jeff VanderMeer

ARTIST

  • Bob Eggleton
  • John Picacio
  • Shaun Tan
  • Charles Vess
  • Michael Whelan

NON-FICTION

  • Here Be Dragons: Exploring Fantasy Maps and Settings, Stefan Ekman (Wesleyan)
  • Strange Matings: Science Fiction, Feminism, African American Voices, and Octavia E. Butler, Rebecca J. Holden & Nisi Shawl, eds. (Aqueduct)
  • The Man From Mars: Ray Palmer’s Amazing Pulp Journey, Fred Nadis (Tarcher)
  • Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction, Jeff VanderMeer (Abrams Image)
  • Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture, Ytasha L. Womack (Lawrence Hill)

ART BOOK

  • Hannes Bok, Hannes Bok: A Life in Illustration, Joseph Wrzos, ed. (Centipede)
  • Margaret Brundage, The Alluring Art of Margaret Brundage, Stephen D. Korshak & J. David Spurlock, eds. (Vanguard)
  • Spectrum 20: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, Cathy Fenner & Arnie Fenner, eds. (Underwood)
  • Maurice Sendak, Maurice Sendak: A Celebration of the Artist and His Work, Justin G. Schiller, Dennis M.V. David & Leonard S. Marcus, eds. (Abrams)
  • Shaun Tan, Rules of Summer (Hachette Australia; Hodder Children’s; Levine ’14)

May Locus reviews

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Rich Horton:

Aliette de Bodard’s “The Breath of War” has a really neat science-fantasy premise: women in this world breathe people into life from stone, people who then become their companions and are necessary to breathe life, in turn, into children. Rechan is a somewhat rebellious woman, who abandoned her stone brother in the mountains as war broke out – and now that the war is over she climbs back to the place she left him. There’s a secret, of course: the true nature of the Stoneperson she gave life to, and it’s an interesting secret leading to a moving resolution. This, I suppose, is science fantasy at its purest: a rational-seeming world with mostly SFnal imagery, with a thoroughly implausible, but very fruitful, central conceit.

Gardner Dozois:

The best story in this issue is probably Aliette de Bodard’s “The Days of the War, As Red As Blood, As Dark As Bile”, another in her long series of Xuya stories, taking place in the far-future of an alternate world where a high-tech conflict is going on between spacefaring Mayan and Chinese empires. This one is a direct sequel to her 2013 novella ‘‘On a Red Station, Drifting’’, taking place on an embattled and somewhat rundown space station whose inhabitants are faced with the prospect of evacuating in the imminent threat of an advancing alien fleet. It centers on a young girl struggling against but finally being forced to accept a peculiar kind of apotheosis; the scene where refugees are trying to escape the station during an attack is quite harrowing, so be warned.

*happy writer* (and a shout-out to Benjanun Sriduangkaew, who gets called an “exciting new writer” and gets her story “Autodidact” recommended by Rich Horton. It is excellent, you should go read it–Benjanun is a finalist for the Campbell Award for Best New Writer this year, and stories like this are an excellent showcase as to why). Meanwhile, I shall go back to knocking my head against the wall to work out my novel ending.

“Immersion” to be reprinted in Mammoth Book of SF story by women

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“Immersion” to be reprinted in Mammoth Book of SF story by women

Quite pleased to announce that my short story “Immersion” will be reprinted in Alex Dally MarFarlane’s Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women. Will you just look at that cover and at that TOC? Very honoured to be part of this.

TOC:
“Girl Hours” by Sofia Samatar
“Excerpt from a Letter by a Social-realist Aswang” by Kristin Mandigma
“Somadeva: A Sky River Sutra” by Vandana Singh
“The Queen of Erewhon” by Lucy Sussex
“Tomorrow Is Saint Valentine’s Day” by Tori Truslow
“Spider the Artist” by Nnedi Okorafor
“The Science of Herself” by Karen Joy Fowler
“The Other Graces” by Alice Sola Kim
“Boojum” by Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette
“The Eleven Holy Numbers of the Mechanical Soul” by Natalia Theodoridou
“Mountain Ways” by Ursula K. Le Guin
“Tan-Tan and Dry Bone” by Nalo Hopkinson
“The Four Generations of Chang E” by Zen Cho
“Stay Thy Flight” by Élisabeth Vonarburg
“Astrophilia” by Carrie Vaughn
“Invisible Planets” by Hao Jingfang
“On the Leitmotif of the Trickster Constellation in Northern Hemispheric Star Charts, Post-Apocalypse” by Nicole Kornher-Stace
“Valentines” by Shira Lipkin
“Dancing in the Shadow of the Once” by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz
“Ej-Es” by Nancy Kress
“The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees” by E. Lily Yu
“The Death of Sugar Daddy” by Toiya Kristen Finley
“Enyo-Enyo” by Kameron Hurley
“Semiramis” by Genevieve Valentine
“Immersion” by Aliette de Bodard
“Down the Wall” by Greer Gilman
“Sing” by Karin Tidbeck
“Good Boy” by Nisi Shawl
“The Second Card of the Major Arcana” by Thoraiya Dyer
“A Short Encyclopedia of Lunar Seas” by Ekaterina Sedia
“Vector” by Benjanun Sriduangkaew
“Concerning the Unchecked Growth of Cities” by Angélica Gorodischer
“The Radiant Car Thy Sparrows Drew” by Catherynne M. Valente