Thursday, February 26, 2015

Fast Fiction: A Sedate Escape

My friend Patricia posted a challenge to a writing group I'm part of:
What does your past or future Malaysia look like, 50-60 years from today? Write it as a story or a poem, both works.
Bonus Points: If your character(s) speak in Manglish or variations thereof
Double Bonus Points: If your setting has magic/future tech
Triple Bonus Points: If it's Malaysia in outer space WITHOUT referencing politics 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Moving from Mainstream Reading

The other day, K. Tempest Bradford posted a challenge to XOJane: Stop reading straight white cis male authors for a year! Typically, people are up in arms because how can they stop reading their straight white cis male favs! And how dare anyone tell readers what to read! And isn't excluding people based on their identity discriminatory anyway! But this challenge comes from a very particular place. In much of the English-language reading world, most of the authors who get the most attention tend to be straight white cis men, especially in the science fiction fantasy world. In trying to read widely, and read what the mainstream rates the most highly, it's easy to fall into a trap of reading the same type of writer, over and over again.

As Silvia Moreno-Garcia points out, narrowing one's reading to particular themes, lists, and kinds of authors is actually a very normal and useful exercise. In English degrees, you will have classes like "Writers of the 18th  Century" or "Literature of the Fin de Siecle" or "Women Writers." My own English Hons. degree demanded that students take a particular range of courses that ensured we read a corpus in each century from the 16th onward, and took specialized seminars besides (the ones I took were on "Democratic Individualism" and the aforementioned "Women Writers"). It was a very valuable education; I learned about how writing trends shifted and reflected the norms and changes of the society that it was written in. Each century has its zeitgeist, captured by the literature of the time.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Jupiter Ascending Movie Recap!

Recently, I went to see Jupiter Ascending, and right now I can't think of a more wonderful movie to have experienced in theaters! Perhaps the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. But Jupiter Ascending isn't an adaptation, except one of the imagination, especially of the young imagination when we were busy creating impossible characters that people told us were unrealistic.

It was so fun, my fan buddy Jeanne and I had to recap it! We included as much detail as possible, and added commentary. Jeanne's commentary is in blue, mine is purple! Read the first half of the recap at her blog!

This recap will be long, and image-heavy, so you've been warned! Without further ado, ACT II:

Friday, February 6, 2015

Table of Contents & Cover for The Sea Is Ours!

Sometime around this time last year, I sent out a call for submissions to The Sea Is Ours: Tales of Steampunk Southeast Asia. Over the next few months, my co-editor Joyce Chng and I would receive many submissions. Many didn't make the first cut. A few got past, but eventually we could not use them. We were eventually left with twelve stories, with various levels of editing work required, each unique. After that it was a matter of deciding their order, and then getting a cover.

I approached Khor Shing Yin, an artist I found through Tumblr, who, it turned out, is Malaysian-Chinese, although she's spent most of her life in the States. We met briefly at San Diego Comic Con 2014, and more recently last August in Los Angeles. For SDCC, I made a frantic last-minute request for her to make up a promotional postcard that I could bring to raise awareness of the anthology. The result was the following: 

I was elated! It was based off a photograph of a street in Melaka, with the kind of architecture one might see in many SEAsian cities. Also, there was food! Shing also works with very delicate watercolours, very different from the other kinds of art that Rosarium, my publisher, featured in their catalog. 

When the manuscript was finalized, we needed a cover, and I asked her to re-visit the postcard again, update it a bit more, and thus: 

The food stall remains, as did the streetway. But how we have even more of a glimpse into the worlds that The Sea Is Ours will offer! Without further ado, I present to you the table of contents: 

"On The Consequence of Sound" - Timothy Dimacali
"Chasing Volcanoes" - Marilag Angway
"Ordained" - L. L. Hill
"The Last Aswang" - Alessa Hinlo
"Life Under Glass" - Nghi Vo
"Between Severed Souls" - Paolo Chikiamco
"The Unmaking of the Cuadro Amoroso" - Kate Osias
"Working Woman" - Olivia Ho
"Spider Here" - Robert Liow
"The Chamber of Souls" - zm quynh
"Petrified" - Ivanna Mendels
"The Insects and Women Sing Together" - Pear Nuallak

Several of these writers are no strangers to publishing, and I am pleased to introduce some new writers to the scene! They are all very talented and worked very hard, and I am proud to say that I am their editor. 

I will post more details on ordering and the Kickstarter as they come!