Tag: xuya

Drafts, Nebulas and ARCs of House of Shattered Wings

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Have been up to a number of things (including baking and preparing for the upcoming Nebula Awards, aka “eep, my first over-the-pond flight in 2 years! [1]). BTW, I don’t know how much I can publicy say about that, but there’ll be shiny book-related stuff at the Nebulas, so if brace yourself if you’re attending :p (also me in a Gothic tailcoat, looking snazzy. And jetlagged).

Not much book stuff, but I’ve been focusing on shorts: answering proofreader’s queries to the upcoming “The Citadel of Weeping Pearls” (in the Oct/Nov. issue of Asimov’s (the short version of this is that one should never put the simu-ghosts of 24 dead emperors in the same story unless one is prepared to do a lot *more* work to keep them straight and separate), and writing a couple new pieces!

Among them is this one, which is, er, mostly a retelling of this legend as a Xuya story (it’s always fascinated me. Mostly because I can’t imagine wasting away on an obsession, I guess).

Snippet:

In Da Trang’s nightmares, Pearl is always leaving­­–darting away from him, towards the inexorable maw of the Sun’s gravity, going into a tighter and tighter orbit until no trace of it remains­­–he’s always reaching out, sending a ship, a swarm of bots­­–calling upon the remoras to move, sleek and deadly and yet too agonisingly slow; to do anything, to save what they can.

Too late. Too late.

Yes, there are remoras. And crabs. And er. Angst. A lot of angst :)

Also, a brief reminder that today is the last day for getting a signed ARC of The House of Shattered Wings, my Gothic dark fantasy of a devastated Paris, fallen angels and political intrigues (and dead bodies, because this is a Bodard book :p): enter here!

[1] I think of it as prep for this summer, where I’ll be flying to Spokane on a *much* longer journey aka 3 connecting flights and 17 hours of zombie-inducing state…

Sale: “The Citadel of Weeping Pearls” to Asimov’s

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Sale: “The Citadel of Weeping Pearls” to Asimov’s

Quite pleased to announce I’ve sold my novella “The Citadel of Weeping Pearls” to Asimov’s for their Oct/Nov 2015 issue, aka “Xuya meets time-travel”. More info (including rough cover copy) here.

It’s about the same length as On a Red Station, Drifting, so more of a short novel, really (34k words); with four POV characters and a fairly complex plot that includes an entire imperial court, thirty-two dead emperors emulated on complex hardware, and a science laboratory in a derelict tea-house; and a lot of familial relations and moral quandaries. Basically, if you liked On a Red Station, Drifting, you’ll probably love this one (and it has a cameo from Linh, too!). And if you didn’t like it–it’s a way more ambitious piece with a bigger scope, so maybe more to your taste *g*

This blog will now lapse back into darkness while I sort out my childcare and my copy edits simultaneously (hint: neither of them are particularly efficient…)

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)