Tag: yoon ha lee

Awards eligibility and recs post

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Awards eligibility and recs post

He, what would you know, it’s January again (aka, wow, where did all the time go, and arggggggg I am so late on things!). The main thing I published in 2015 was my novel (I know, kind of hard to miss :p), The House of Shattered Wings, aka magical intrigues, deadly creatures and elusive wonders in a decadent turn-of-the-century Paris ravaged by a magical war.

It won a British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Novel, as well as being on the Locus Recommended Reading List for 2015. It also got starred reviews from Publishers’ Weekly and Library Journal. It’s eligible for the Hugos.

I can’t provide a copy of the complete text, but I have put together a short sampler of the first three chapters: bits and pieces of this have appeared online, but this is the first time that you can actually read all of it (I think? The kindle sampler is shorter than this, ending mid-chapter two). You can download it here in EPUB, MOBI, or PDF (if you need DOC or RTF, drop me a line via the contact form, and I’ll be quite happy to provide a copy. I just am not a big fan of putting Word formats online–too easy to modify them by mistake…).

If you came here wanting whole stories (which I can understand!), I do have a Xuya short story online, “Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight”, which won a British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Short Fiction, and  is at Clarkesworld (and is getting reprinted in Dozois’s Year’s Best). You can also download EPUB or MOBI.

And if anyone is interested and a Hugo or Nebula voter, contact me and I’d be quite happy to email you a copy of my novella “The Citadel of Weeping Pearls”, which appeared in Asimov’s Oct/Nov and is now a tad hard to find.

And now for the bulk of this, aka, the stuff that I read from 2015 and want to recommend. (this list is a slightly modified and expanded version of one I wrote for the Book Smugglers. I would urge you to go read it: these recs for 2015 are more up to date, but the Book Smugglers post also has my 2016 TBR pile, and it really looks awesome. I made a slight headstart on said TBR pile thanks to friends, and so far I haven’t been disappointed!).

Short stories
“Variations on an Apple”, Yoon Ha Lee (Tor.com, October). It’s no secret that I love Yoon Ha Lee’s stuff, and this clever retelling of the Trojan war is no exception. Tackles mathematics, desire, and the consequences of decisions that aren’t always wisely made. Also, Illium and Helen are both awesome in different ways.

“Milagroso”, Isabel Yap (Tor.com, August). In a future where food is grown in labs and always perfect, there is still room for the miracles of saints… By turns exuberant and heartbreaking, this is a story of what we take for granted, how we seek to protect our children, and the price we pay.

“The Star Maiden”, Rokshani Chokshi. Tala’s grandmother used to be a star maiden, annd tells her granddaughter stories of longing for the sky. But Tala grows up and starts questioning the veracity of the story–and becomes ashamed of her grandmother’s oddness. There’s nothing really surprising in this one, but it’s very very well done (as in I broke down and cried at the end), and encapsulates the heartache of growing up.

“The Monkey House”, Tade Thompson (Omenana, March). The narrator returns to work after a breakdown–and finds that everything is *almost* normal. I love the sense of creeping unease of this one, the feeling that everything looks almost quite right (and that 1% “not right” that is downright unsettling). I’m not usually much of a reader for horror or dark, but this is perfect.

“If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler”, by Xia Jia (Clarkesworld, Nov). I love Xia Jia’s stuff, and this short story about a poet and her legacy–and how people handle it in the age of the internet and social media–is lovely and sharp.

“City of Salt”, Arkady Martine, (Strange Horizons, March). This one has stuck around in my head since I read it: the story of a man who comes back to a deserted city, to face the woman he once knew and what she has become… Poetic and elegiac in all the best ways.

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Awards eligibility and awards recommendations

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Awards eligibility and awards recommendations

Wow, it’s that time of year again (seriously, where did 2013 go?). I didn’t publish a whole lot in 2013: my favourite piece is “The Waiting Stars”, which originally appeared in Athena Andreadis’s and Kay Holt’s The Other Half of the Sky (published in April 2013). It was picked for Gardner Dozois in his Year’s Best, recommended by Ken Liu and Ada Hoffman (and singled out for praise by Rich Horton in his Locus review). It’s my Xuya space opera story, which has killer drones, signal processing and a lot of mindships 🙂

You can find it online here, and also in EPUB, MOBI (Kindle) and PDF format (if you need DOC or RTF, drop me a line via the contact form, and I’ll be quite happy to provide a copy. I just am not a big fan of putting Word formats online–too easy to modify them by mistake…). It’s eligible for the Hugos and Nebulas (in the novelette category), and for the BSFA Awards as well.

Now for the less selfish part of this post: the stuff I really liked from last year (a fair warning that a lot of the people involved are acquaintances or friends–that said, I wouldn’t recommend their stories if I didn’t genuinely like them and think them award worthy).

Short stories:

“Silent Bridge, Pale Cascade” by Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Clarkesworld December 2013. A woman comes back from the dead to deal with her former spouse. Awesome world building, crunchy thoughts on history and the manipulation of public and private record, and tantalising hints of a larger gender fluid society. I’m jealous.

-“Of Alternate Adventures and Memory” by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, Clarkesworld December 2013. The son of a former metal woman returns to the city of her birth, and must decide what to do with his inheritance. I was surprised this was a short story, because reading it I thought this was much longer: there’s so much packed into–thoughts on difference, on memory, on what is worth preserving. And as always, gorgeous prose.

“The Knight of Chains, The Deuce of Stars” by Yoon Ha Lee. OK, so it’s always hard to pick a favourite Yoon Ha Lee story, but this was the one that most blew me away this year. I had the privilege of writing the introduction to the short story collection Conservation of Shadows, and regret that this wasn’t included in it. In a tower that holds all the games in the world, a woman who was once admiral in an unwinnable war comes to defy the Guardian for the ultimate game… Gorgeous prose, sharp observations and great ideas.

EDIT: -“Balik Kampung” by Zen Cho (in Solaris’s The End of the Road, available from Zen if you request it) is a beautiful tale of ghosts in modern-day Malaysia, New Year’s Eve and returning home.

Novelettes:

“The Litigation Master and the Monkey King” by Ken Liu, Lightspeed Magazine, August 2013. Pretty sure Ken will be on the ballot without my signal boosting, but I really liked this story of an Ancient Chinese litigation master, his relation with the legendary Monkey King, and the suppression and preservation of historical record.

Boat in Shadows, Crossing by Tori Truslow, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, January 2013. You know that feeling you get when you read a fantasy book? That crunchy feeling that it’s a real place that happens to look nothing like our world? Truslow nails it from the get go. That it’s a story about gender and gender fluidity–and festivals, and gods–only makes it more appealing.

Novellas:

EDIT: -“Yseul’s Lexicon” by Yoon Ha Lee (published in her collection Conservation of Shadows): magic, language and the cost of erasure. Awesome.
“Burning Girls” by Veronica Schanoes. Found out about this one too late for the Nebulas, so it’s fortunate it got on the final ballot without me. A great tale of immigration, family and dangerous pacts with demons, all steeped in vivid period detail.

Novels:

The Bone Flower Throne, by T.L. Morganfield, Panverse Publishing. T.L. Morganfield brilliantly brings to life Ancient Mexico in Toltec times, in a brilliant retelling of the myth of Quetzalcoatl that focuses on his sister. This reads like Mists of Avalon in Ancient Mexico: I love the focus on women and on what they have to do to survive, and the characters are very strongly drawn (TW for incest though–hardly avoidable as it’s in the original myth…).

Best Fan Artist:

-Ninni Aalto, who did the art for much of the Helsinki bid. See an example of her work here. And her blog is here.

Best Editor (Short Form)

-Jon Oliver, for his work as editor of the Solaris anthologies. For once that Worldcon is in the UK, I think it’d be awesome if more UK editors were recognised. Solaris puts out great books, and Jon is very good at putting together cutting-edge and diverse anthologies like The End of the Road. 

Campbell Award:

Benjanun Sriduangkaew. She’s burst all over the SFF scene this year, with stories in BCS, Clarkesworld and various anthologies, and I really think she deserves a Campbell nomination. Her universes are intricate looks at gender fluidity and gender roles; her prose makes me ultra jealous; and I’m so looking forward to the day when she releases a longer work (I understand there’s a space opera novella in the works, so maybe I don’t have to wait quite so long!). Stories of hers worth reading: I already mentioned “Silent Bridge, Pale Cascade”, but if fantasy is more your thing, her “The Crows Her Dragon’s Gate” was absolutely awesome.  And her “The Bees Her Heart, the Hives Her Belly” (not available online at the moment, you’ll have to buy Clorkwork Phoenix 4) was a reviewer favourite this year.

ETA: nominate for Hugos here and Nebulas here.

Ye obligatory eligibility post, plus asking for story recommendations

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So, since everyone is doing it, the obligatory awards eligibility post…

I only published three original pieces of short fiction this year, and of these the one that has the most visibility is this one (it got noticed in Rich Horton’s year-end summary of Asimov’s, among other things):

-“Shipbirth”, published in the February 2011 issue of Asimov’s, best described as “Aztecs in space”. Eligible in the short story category. If you’re interested, I’ve put it online here (it’s in EPUB and MOBI format as well, for ereaders).

On a not-so-selfish note, meanwhile, here’s the stuff I read this year that was awesome:
Short stories:
-Nancy Fulda, “Movement” (Asimov’s March issue). OK, I’m biased. I read an early draft of this and loved it. But Lois Tilton and Jason Sanford also think it’s a great story, so I’m not the only one. It’s in the point of view of a child with temporal autism and a unique outlook on life–but what happens when her parents want to cure her of her “disease”?
-Yoon Ha Lee, “Ghostweight” (Clarkesworld, January 2011). I’m a big Yoon Ha Lee fan, and this story is awesome. It’s about a woman (and an entire people) who carry the souls of the dead, and how far she’s willing to go to get revenge against the empire that destroyed her home. It’s also about origami, and war-kites, and change. Wonderful from beginning to end.
-Ferrett Steimetz, “Run, Bacri Says” (Asimov’s October 2011). The premise is goofy (what if you could save your life like in videogames, and then rewind to the save point); the story is anything but, taking the reader along with it, and raising hard questions about the worth of actions. Good, in a very disturbing kind of way. And also recommended by Lois Tilton.
-Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, “Return to Paraiso” (Realms of Fantasy, October 2011). A wonderful piece, set in a fantastical version of the Philippines, with a rebel returning to her home in a cage, and the effect she has on the community. Chockful of detail, with a strong voice reminiscent of the best magical realists. Track it online and read it, you won’t regret it. Plus, it has an awesome illustration.

Novella:
-“The Man Who Ended History: a Documentary”, Ken Liu (available online here at Ken’s website, originally published in Panverse Three). Ken had a lot of very good stories this year, but this one is my favourite (narrow tie between this and “Paper Menagerie in F&SF, though). It deals with a novel method of observing history–about what this means for memory, for the victims of atrocities and their descendants, and for history as a discipline. It’s a harrowing look at a dark episode in the history of Asia, too, and will definitely make you think.

Novel:
Zoo City, Lauren Beukes. It won the Clarke Award, and deservedly so–a rich thriller set in a world where criminals acquire an animal familiar who gives them supernatural power, the novel follows Zinzi December through Johannesburg and the titular slum–and her attempts to make sense of the mysterious disappearance of a singer. Bursting at the seams with wonderful world-building and a sharp eye for details and voice, this should make final ballots if there’s any justice.

Campbell:
-Zen Cho (qian on LJ) is eligible for the Campbell! You should totally read her Malaysian-vampire novelette, “The House of Aunts” in Giganotosaurus, and her short story (?) about lion dancers and exorcisms, “起狮,行礼 (Rising Lion—The Lion Bows)” in Strange Horizons.

Other than that… I haven’t been reading much short fiction or recent novels lately. What’s out there that’s award-worthy? I still have ten days (for the BSFA), and a couple of months (for the Hugos and Nebulas) to catch up on stuff… Any recs much appreciated (feel free to plug yourself, too). Thanks in advance!

ETA: Ken’s novella is actually available on his website (thanks to Dario Ciriello for the link). Go check it out!

Beneath Ceaseless Skies’ Second Anniversary

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The awesome Scott H. Andrews has reminded me that tomorrow marks the second anniversary of Beneath Ceaseless Skies‘ launch.
I always have a soft spot for BCS: not only did they publish a fair amount of my fiction, they also fill in the hole between plot-driven fantasy and more serious stuff. The prose is pretty, but it doesn’t get in the way of the story. And I’ve yet to find a bad story in there. Scott publishes a great variety of stuff, from Old West to Eighteenth-Century Paris, from China to Medieval London–and there’s bound to be something you enjoy in there.
If you’re just dipping in, may I suggest checking out “The Isthmus Variation” by Kris Millering (creepy as heck, perfectly paced in its reveals), or Yoon Ha Lee’s “The Territorialist” (awesome world building and beautiful prose), among the more recent offerings?
And, of course, there’s the anniversary double issue, which boasts Richard Parks and Tony Pi in its table of contents.