Tag: sale

Sale: “The Angel at the Heart of the Rain” to Interzone


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.

Sale: “Slow Unfurling of Truth” to Carbide-Tipped Pens


Pleased to announce my novelette “A Slow Unfurling of Truth” has sold to Carbide Tipped Pensa forthcoming Tor anthology of hard SF short fiction. Many many thanks on this one to the marvellous Rochita Loenen-Ruiz and Tricia Sullivan, for reading it at the last minute, encouraging me to persevere with it, and their sound advice about writing & life.

It’s set in the Xuya continuity, on an isolated planet called Tài Mệnh which has developed a rather… unorthodox method for testing people’s identities and credentials. The brief for Carbide Tipped Pens was to centre the story around a given science: I picked something I’m exceedingly familiar with, probabilities and applied mathematics. Expect… way too many probability distributions and goodness-of-fit tests, a mindship-human partnership, and funky things with memory encryption and advanced cyphers (also, the usual family/postcolonial/food preoccupations, plus bonus references to The Tale of  Kiều 🙂 )


Huong Giang was putting away her trays of instruments when Thoi walked into the room. “Elder sister.” He was out of breath, his youthful face flushed with what seemed like anger or trepidation: Thoi had been in his body for less than a year, and he was sometimes hard to read.

But, new body or not, he still should have known better. “Thoi, you’re not meant to come here,” Huong Giang said. “I made it clear–“

“I know,” Thoi said. “But you need to come, elder sister. Now.” And, after a pause that was rife with implications– “There’s a man that has come here to Celestial Spires–a Galactic.”

The Other Half of the Sky TOC


Athena Andreadis has announced the TOC of her feminist space opera anthology The Other Half of the Sky:

Athena Andreadis, Introduction

Melissa Scott, “Finders”
Alexander Jablokov, “Bad Day on Boscobel”
Nisi Shawl, “In Colors Everywhere”
Sue Lange, “Mission of Greed”
Vandana Singh, “Sailing the Antarsa”
Joan Slonczewski, “Landfall”
Terry Boren, “This Alakie and the Death of Dima”
Aliette de Bodard, “The Waiting Stars”
Ken Liu, “The Shape of Thought”
Alex Dally MacFarlane, “Under Falna’s Mask”
Martha Wells, “Mimesis”
Kelly Jennings, “Velocity’s Ghost”
C. W. Johnson, “Exit, Interrupted”
Cat Rambo, “Dagger and Mask”
Christine Lucas, “Ouroboros”
Jack McDevitt, “Cathedral”

Very pleased to be part of this awesome lineup! Mine is… er, weird, and involves Xuyan mindships, a Vietnamese rescue squad and homicidal nanobots. You can read samples from all the stories below, courtesy of Kate Sullivan:


Also, I went back to my Vietnamese lessons with Mom and managed to get through three entire sentences without being corrected in anything! (yes, it seems measly. However, to pronounce Vietnamese words without screwing up requires quite a fair bit of training)

Can haz shiny planets aka Solaris 1-5


Some of you might remember that snippet from my WIP I posted a while back? It was a snippet of character work I’d planned to shelve, but in the face of the enthusiasm I turned it into a short story, “The Two Sisters in Exile”, which was about Mind-ships and countries at war, and inciting incidents (as Rochita was saying, it’s actually a very 9/11 story, though I hadn’t realised it at the time). It’s set in the Xuya continuity, in that developing bit of space that has two factions of Imperial Vietmam cohabit rather uneasily.

And, er, I sold said short story to Ian Whates for Solaris Rising 1.5, an ebook anthology that will be out this summer. Will you just look at that cover. (also, at the names. Wow. Rather nice company to say the least). Shiny planets! (I usually don’t do planets, so I seldom get that kind of cover 🙂 )

My thanks to everyone who took a look at it on OWW–Christine Lucas, Merrilee Faber, Larry Pinaire, Chris Behrsin, Justin Tyme, Darryl Knickrehm, and Oliver Buckram–and to the inimitable Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, whose critiques are always fabulous. Also, many thanks to the entire crew of VD10 for making this possible–I cleaned it up, returned the crits during the workshop, and submitted it shortly afterwards.

Chicks Unravel Time, aka I watch old Doctor Who


Very pleased to announce my essay on Doctor Who, “Invisible Women, Bikinis and Yellowface: Minorities in the Fourteenth Season of Doctor Who”, will appear in the anthology Chicks Unravel Time, alongside luminaries like Diana Galbadon, Martha Wells and Seanan McGuire. Many thanks to Deborah Stanish and L.M. Myles for the invite, and for the fact-checking. The anthology is now up for preorder on Amazon, if you’re so inclined.

The sister book to the 2011 Hugo Award-winning Chicks Dig Time Lords…

In Chicks Unravel Time, editors Deborah Stanish (Whedonistas) and L.M. Myles bring together a host of award-winning female writers, media professionals and scientists to examine each season of new and classicDoctor Who from their unique perspectives.

Diana Gabaldon discusses how Jamie McCrimmon inspired her best-selling Outlander series, and Barbara Hambly (Benjamin January Mysteries) examines the delicate balance of rebooting a TV show. Seanan McGuire (Toby Daye series) reveals the power and pain of waiting in Series 5, and Una McCormack (The King’s Dragon) argues that Sylvester McCoy’s final year of Doctor Who is the show’s best season ever.

Other contributors include Juliet E. McKenna (Einarrin series), Tansy Rayner Roberts (Power and Majesty), Sarah Lotz (The Mall), Martha Wells (The Cloud Roads), Joan Frances Turner (Dust), Rachel Swirsky (“Fields of Gold”) and Aliette de Bodard (Obsidian and Blood series).

In case you have doubts: yes, this isn’t an entirely nice essay. Some of the eps were a good load of fun (particularly the one on Gallifrey, which had a nice plot in addition to awesome costumes), but Season 14 unfortunately included the infamous “Talons of Weng Chiang”, aka OMG. I’d been warned was full of fail, but hadn’t expected to be quite *that* bad. Watching it was pretty much like watching a train wreck in progress. Guess we can say it’s a product of its time (considering TV shows of the time on British TV, you can actually argue it’s more advanced, which is kind of scary), but I’m really glad we don’t live in those times anymore…

A few upcoming publications, and a reminder


A few cool news: first, I’ve put together an ebook sampler for my fiction. The idea isn’t to do a short story collection (or even to make money!), but simply to allow people to discover my stuff by browsing through their Kindles and other reading devices. The thing is called Scattered Among Strange Worlds, and regroups my Clarkesworld Chinese/Vietnamese diaspora in space story “Scattered Across the River of Heaven” and my IGMS apocalyptic mermaid tale “Exodus Tides”. Due to exclusivities, etc., it will be available end of July (or possibly a bit later if I have to fight to upload a book on amazon…). Price should be the lowest I’m allowed to set, so 99 cents?

The cover and ebook design is by the ultra amazing Patrick Samphire, who recently launched his own ebook cover and ebook design business over at 50secondsnorth. He blogs about the design and the choices he had to make here, on his blog.

Isn’t it fabulous? Many thanks to Patrick, who’s got a very sharp eye for what works for books covers, and does absolutely freaking gorgeous stuff (and his rates are pretty darn affordable, too). You know you want an ebook this summer 😀

Also, my Chinese-y story “Under Heaven” will be available in Electric Velocipede issue 24, in which I share a TOC with Ken Liu (then again, who doesn’t share a TOC with the ever-prolific Ken? 🙂 ) and Ann Leckie. You can find the full list of stories here, and their publication date should be available soon.

Finally, I’ve sold my short story “Ship’s Brother”, set in the Xuya continuity, to Interzone for their next or after-next issue. Featuring a ship named after a fairytale character (Mị Nương, aka The Fisherman’s Song. If you’re read the fairytale, you’ll know why). Many thanks to Chris Kastensmidt and the ever-awesome Rochita Loenen-Ruiz for reading it and offering very cogent suggestions!


You never liked your sister.

I know you tried your best; that you would stay awake at night thinking on filial piety and family duty; praying to your ancestors and the bodhisattva Quan Am to find strength; but that it would always come back to that core of dark thoughts within you, that fundamental fright you carried with you like a yin shadow in your heart.

I know, of course, where it started. I took you to the ship–because I had no choice, because Khi Phach was away on some merchant trip to the Twenty-Third Planet–because you were a quiet and well-behaved son, and the birth-master would have attendants to take care of you. You had just turned eight–had stayed up all night for Tet, and shaken your head at your uncles’ red envelopes, telling me you were no longer a child and didn’t need money for toys and sweets.

In other news, packing for Romania in a bit of a panic. More later, but a small reminder you can find me in Bucharest Friday 17:00, at the Calderon Cultural Center, 39, Jean-Louis Calderon Street, sector 2, for the Society of Romanian Science Fiction’s ProspectArt meeting. I’ll be interviewed by the tireless Cristian Tamas, and will read from “Immersion”, a full two weeks before it’s published in Clarkesworld!

Sale: “Immersion” to Clarkesworld


OK, now that I’ve done the edits… Pleased to announce I’ve sold my Villa Diodati story “Immersion” to Clarkesworld for their June issue. It’s… er… my rant against globalisation, beauty standards and the uses and abuses of tourism and expatriation in non-Western countries. Also, it has a plot that centres around a Vietnamese restaurant and a dish of lemongrass chicken 🙂

Thanks go to the Villa Diodati crew (Ruth Nestvold, Sylvia Spruck Wigley, Floris M Kleijne, Stephen Gaskell, John Olsen, Nancy Fulda); to Glen Mehn for volunteering to read it even after I told him it was unkind to White males; and, above and always, to Rochita Loenen-Ruiz for inspiring this and so many other things in my life.


In the morning, you’re no longer quite sure who you are.

You stand in front of the mirror—it shifts and trembles, reflecting only what you want to see—eyes that feel too wide, skin that feels too pale, an odd, distant smell wafting from the compartment’s ambient system that is neither incense nor garlic, but something else, something elusive that you once knew.

You’re dressed, already—not on your skin, but outside, where it matters, your avatar sporting blue and black and gold, the stylish clothes of a well-travelled, well-connected woman. For a moment, as you turn away from the mirror, the glass shimmers out of focus; and another woman in a dull silk gown stares back at you: smaller, squatter and in every way diminished—a stranger, a distant memory that has ceased to have any meaning.

(also, wow. Remain very very amazed at Clarkesworld’s response times. I think Neil is a robot)

Morning bleariness


The bleariness is mostly a ref. to doing Vietnamese early in the morning, which always makes me feel inadequate as a language learner (but offset by the fact that I think I’m getting somewhere with the latest short story brainstorming, yay!).

However… this is also offset by the fact that I’ve sold two short stories–one sale I think I can’t announce yet, and the other… Sheila Williams let me know she was taking “Starsong” for Asimov’s. Doing the Snoopy dance here. Many thanks to the November 2010 Villa Diodati crew for reading the first version of this (Ruth Nestvold, John Olsen, Jeff Spock, Steve Gaskell, Ben Rosenbaum, Nancy Fulda, and Christian Walker); and for my last-minute awesomely fast beta-readers (Mark Hünken, Tricia Sullivan, Chris Kastensmidt, and Kate Elliott [1]). You guys all rock.

This is the Xuya story with the Flower Wars in space (and, in a bit of an Easter egg, the origin story of the Minds, my ship-bound AIs borne in human wombs–though it will take many, many decades of work before the incident described in “Starsong” leads to the creation of Minds).

In other news, I just discovered I’m a little under halfway through the Vietnamese lesson book. I certainly don’t feel halfway proficient, but I have faith…

Back to brainstorming a story. See you guys later…

[1] The market I had in mind originally for this (and which set the punitive deadline) turned out not to be a match for the story, so I emailed it to Sheila.

Numbers Quartet in Daily Science Fiction


So, now that it’s official…

Back in July, the awesome Stephen Gaskell got Nancy Fulda, Benjamin Rosenbaum and me together, and convinced out to collaborate on The Numbers Quartet. The idea was to use a similar format as The Alphabet Quartet published in Daily Science Fiction, but using numbers instead of letters as prompts: we have stories based on pi, the golden ratio, the speed of light… We wrote twelve of them all in all; and we sold the resulting compendium to Daily Science Fiction, where the pieces will appear, starting in January (one piece every week, 12 in all).

Mine form a loose trilogy of pieces set in Việt Nam’s three great cities (Hà Nội, Huế, Sài Gòn, from North to South, and inspired respectively by Euler’s number e, Boltzmann’s constant k, and the speed of light c). I wrote them all in August, back when we were travelling over the US and having fun at Worldcon; thank God they were flashes… Mostly near-future SF (with a softer edge for one of them). They should be published starting from February: the ordering of stories mean I’m not in the first four pieces, but you can check out Nancy’s, Steve’s and Ben’s pieces starting January 4th.

Sale: Scattered Along the River of Heaven to Clarkesworld


Wow, that was fast… Neil Clarke is taking “Scattered Along the River of Heaven” for the January issue of Clarkesworld. I feel… a little awed? I’ve been trying to break into Clarkesworld ever since it came into being (back when Nick Mamatas was still editor); and now it’s happened.

This is the story with pseudo-Chinese poems, colonialism and language that I was talking about earlier, the one where writing the last scene actually wrung me dry. It’s been knocking around my head for a while, ever since Aimé Césaire died: I wanted to write a story about poetry and language and decolonisation and national identity. It took me four years to find the words, and I ended up throwing a lot of personal stuff in it (much more than really makes me comfortable); but I’m proud of it, though a little fearful that it’s not going to be up to scratch. We shall see…

The revised snippet from the beginning (didn’t do much beyond touching it up)

I grieve to think of the stars
Our ancestors our gods
Scattered like hairpin wounds
Along the River of Heaven
So tell me
Is it fitting that I spend my days here
A guest in those dark, forlorn halls?

This is the first poem Xu Anshi gave to us; the first memory she shared with us for safekeeping. It is the first one that she composed in High Mheng—which had been and remains a debased language, a blend between that of the San-Tay foreigners, and that of the Mheng, Anshi’s own people.

Many thanks to everyone who took a look at it on OWW and helped me hammer it into shape: Oliver Buckram, L.K. Pinaire and David Kernot. And to the H, who liked it in spite of not understanding the ending at all 🙂 (I fixed that part; now it should make sense for everyone).

January also marks the publication of another piece in which I had a part; but I don’t think I’m not allowed yet to reveal where and when. Watch this page for updates.