Pleased to announce my Xuya short story “A Hundred and Seventy Storms” will be published in Uncanny Magazine. Mindship and perihelial storms on a particularly unpleasant planet. This is the story for which I brainstormed important life milestones on Facebook–many thanks to everyone who answered, and especially Kari Sperring for coming up with the “huge climatic event” that inspired this story. Thanks as well to Stephanie Burgis who helped me fix the ending.
Also, I hadn’t actually thought I’d ever dust off Kepler’s Laws for short fiction :p (as in actually jotting down numbers and doing calculations. I’ve used them for rough estimates but never actually done proper maths with them)
This is the room where The Snow like a Dancer dies, year by year and piece by piece.
When they wheel in the cradle where she rests, she always thinks–for a bare, suspended moment–that it will be all right, that it will all end well–and then nausea tightens around her, and the white and stark walls seem to press down on her, unbearably sharp, a faint memory of Third Aunt and Cousin Lua asleep, and the incessant noise of machinery monitoring her, drips and feeds hooked into her broken, disconnected limbs.
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…)
Once upon a time, in a far, far away galaxy, I began working on this odd little project. It had started as a urban fantasy set in 21st century Paris, where families of magicians held the reins of power in every domain from banking to building. Then I couldn’t make it work, because the worldbuilding wasn’t clicking with me. I wrote perhaps three chapters of it before it became painfully clear that my heart wasn’t in it.
So I nuked Paris.
Well, sort of. I made up a Great Magicians’ War, comparable in scale to WWI: a war that devastated Paris, making Notre-Dame an empty shell, the Seine black with ashes and dust; and the gardens and beautiful parks into fields of rubble. I set the action back several decades, to have a technology level equivalent to the Belle Époque with magic; and I added Fallen angels, whose breath and bones and flesh are the living source of magic; and whose power forms the backbone for a network of quasi-feudal Houses who rule over the wreck of Paris. And, hum, because it’s me, I added an extant colonial empire, a press-ganged, angry Vietnamese boy who’s more than he seems; Lucifer Morningstar (because you can’t have a story about Fallen angels without Morningstar); and entirely too many dead bodies.
In short, I mashed so many things together that it started looking a bit like the Frankenstein monster right before the lightning hit; but my fabulous agency (John Berlyne and his partner John Wordsworth) didn’t blink (at least, not too much!), and duly sent out my little novel, called The House of Shattered Wings. And lo and behold, the awesome Gillian Redfearn of Gollancz picked it up, along with a sequel. To say that I’m thrilled is an understatement: Gollancz is a superb publisher, and their list includes many friends of mine—I can’t wait to see where this goes.
In HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS, Paris’s streets are lined with haunted ruins, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell and the Seine runs black with ashes and rubble. De Bodard’s rich storytelling brings three different voices together: a naive but powerful Fallen angel, an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction, and a young man wielding spells from the Far East.
Release is slated for August 2015. You can pre-order here at amazon or Waterstones if you want a shiny hardcover (I’ll work out other vendors later, promise. I don’t need to tell you how crucial pre-orders are to a book’s success–so get in early, get in strong, and make this a big big success). If you don’t feel like pre-ordering right now, no worries. There’ll be plenty of opportunities :p
ETA: and here‘s a fresh new page devoted to the book, with more detailed copy.
More on the book when I have normal (ha! Who am I kidding) non-zero energy levels.
(picture credits: Kirkstall Abbey by Rick Harrison. Used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License).
Pleased to announce I’ve sold “The Dust Queen” to Jonathan Strahan’s upcoming anthology Reach for Infinity. The full table of contents is here; quite pleased to be sharing with Al Reynolds, Hannu Rajaniemi, and Pat Cadigan, among other luminaries of the genre.
Many thanks for this are due to a sharp-eyed team of critters: Mary Robinette Kowal, Daniel Franklin, Max Edwards, and Joe Iriarte; and also to Ken Liu and Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, who took a look at my very different first version of this and gave me plenty of ideas for the rewrite.
More info here on the anthology, and a snippet from the story here.
Very pleased to announce I’ve sold my story “The Breath of War” to Scott H. Andrews at Beneath Ceaseless Skies, for the special science-fantasy month in March. It will be in good company, since contributors include Yoon Ha Lee, Rachel Sobel, and Seth Dickinson, who had couple amazing pieces in BCS and in Clarkesworld last year.
I’ve always loved reading science-fantasy, so it was really nice to be able to write a story in that sub genre. Involves quite a bunch of pregnancy scenes–because obviously we don’t have enough pregnant women in SF!–spaceships, and a rather peculiar form of rock carving, loosely inspired from Vietnamese jade carving and a legend about carving a dragon… Many thanks to Daniel Franklin for assuring me the thing wasn’t irretrievably broken (and for answering in record time).
More info here, including a snippet. Sort of set in the Xuya universe, I guess, though I’m damned if there’s a rational scientific explanation for the happenings on the planet Voc (then again, I’m a writer, I suspect I could always make one up).
The cover art I show is the one for the issue of BCS, a piece called “Sojourn” by Philippine artist Ferdinand Dumago Ladera.
On a more personal level, I go back to work on Monday–part time at first and then almost full-time. It’s probably going to be very weird, as I haven’t been into work since mid-July…
It’s been a while since I had that news, actually, but quite pleased to announce that I’ve sold my novelette “The Frost on Jade Buds” to Ian Whates’ Solaris Rising 3. The book should be out by Loncon 3, and hopefully there’ll be some sort of launch event around then.
“The Frost on Jade Buds” is set in the Xuya universe, in an asteroid belt on the edge of the Dai Viet Empire; and it deals with the aftermath of a terrible war, and the fallout from the powerful weapons employed then. Very loosely inspired by the use of Agent Orange and land mines in the Vietnamese/American war, which are still a problem today.
As usual, many thanks on this one to Ken Liu and Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, who had fantastic comments to help me straighten out my first draft.
I’ve sold it to Subterranean Online for a future issue. Many thanks to Yanni Kuznia for the invitation, and to Gareth L Powell and Rochita Loenen-Ruiz for the feedback (extra thanks to Rochita for putting up with my total absence of a brain). It’s set in the Xuya continuity, some time after On a Red Station, Drifting (and even has a returning minor character from that novel). Features mindships (of course), the Four Saintly Beasts, and the Vietnamese concept of “duyên” (wonderfully economical concept, a headache to translate into English though!). Also, I actually wrote this while feeding the snakelet nonstop, which is probably worth a zillion achievement points all by itself…
And because good news obviously don’t come alone… Please to announce that I’ve sold my Xuya story “The Weight of a Blessing” to Clarkesworld. I started this while on the Rainy Writers’ Workshop in Brittany, and had a long… reflexion period to basically come to the conclusion I needed to take a baseball bat to my existing scenes and change the existing structure to better reflect the plot arc. This is part of my “Vietnamese in space” series with the Rong people (the same as in “Immersion”). It’s also, er, a somewhat angry story about colonialism, cultural legacies and virtual realities. Should be in the March issue of Clarkesworld.
Many thanks to Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, Tricia Sullivan, and the WIB writers’ groups (Dario Ciriello, Traci Morganfield, Juliette Wade, Keyan Bowes, Genevieve Williams) for their sharp eyes and wonderful advice.
On her third visit to Sarah—on the last occasion that she sees her daughter, even if it is only in V-space—Minh Ha says nothing. There are no words left, no message of comfort that she could give her.
Instead, she takes Sarah’s hand, holds it tight until the last of the warmth has leached from her body into her daughter’s—and braces herself for the future.
Even in the visitors’ V-space, Sarah looked awful—thin and wasted and so ethereal that Minh Ha wanted to take her daughter home and ply her with rich dish after rich dish to bring some fat back on her bones. But, of course, it was too late for that—had been too late ever since the much publicised arrest and the even more publicised trial, all the grandstanding that had brought a taste of bile in Minh Ha’s throat.
Andy Cox let me know that he was buying my magical realism piece “The Angel at the Heart of the Rain” for publication in a future issue of Interzone. Always happy to be published in this magazine 🙂
Many thanks to Dom Conlon, Scott Kennedy, Christina Vasilevski and Glen Mehn for the crits–and to the usual suspects Rochita Loenen-Ruiz and Tricia Sullivan for the invaluable encouragement and feedback.
At first, you believe it is only a matter of time until your aunt joins you. You huddle in a small flat with your younger sister Huong and two other refugees, washing rice that smells only faintly of jasmine, cutting ginger that has grown hard and tasteless in the cupboards where it was hoarded like treasures–and you think of a home so far out of your reach it might be on another planet.
On the phone, your aunt’s voice is breezy, telling you not to worry–that she’ll find a visa and a plane ticket, that she knows someone who knows someone who can give her a hand with the formalities of the High Commission for Refugees. Behind her, you hear the dull thud of bombs falling like rain on a tin roof–the same sound that swells and roars within your dreams until you wake up in a room that feels deathly silent.