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CYBERPUNK: MALAYSIA Call for Submissions

18 Oct

I’m super excited about this!

Cyberpunk Malaysia Call for Entries

I’m editing a Malaysian cyberpunk anthology for Fixi Novo, who also published SPIRITS ABROAD. For people who can’t do images, the Call for Entries is at the end of this post, under the cut.

Backstory

Amir posted about how he came to decide to do a cyberpunk anthology on Facebook: Amir’s Facebook post. Very cute! The originator actually provided a list of examples of the genre, so here it is in case you find it helpful:

Blade Runner, Total Recall, Johnny Mnemonic, The Matrix, Akira, Cowboy Bebop, Neo-Tokyo, Dredd

Amir decided pretty quickly, because on the same day, 14 August, I received an email from him asking if I’d like to edit a cyberpunk anthology. I was at Loncon, gearing up for a long weekend of approx. 9,000 panels, while also doing my bazillionth revision of a novel and drowning in work from actual job. I’ve never edited anything other than school magazines, plus I am not super familiar with the genre. I was like omg ////o\\\\

But the answer was yes, definitely. Of course la!

Working with Fixi is very humbling. You spend a couple of days crafting a perfectly balanced call for entries and then Amir says, “Can you cut it down? It needs to fit on Instagram.” And he removes your full stop after your ellipsis!

What I’m looking for

I read a review the other day that made me realise, with shock, that cyberpunk is kind of retro. I hadn’t quite registered that Neuromancer was literally published before I was born. The Matrix was made within living memory, of course, but even so, that was 15 years ago!

But the more I thought about it the more ideal it felt. It’s an old genre that is forward-looking, which is perfect in a weird way for a modern society suffused with nostalgia for an imagined ideal past. It’s all about living inside the Internet and being owned by corporations, which is maybe not an entirely inaccurate description of urban Malaysiana. It also works, obviously, because it’s basically KL NOIR 5 … NOW WITH SPACESHIPS!

So what am I looking for? I’m looking for stories (or creative non-fiction) that explore what cyberpunk can reveal about Malaysia (or vice versa). Stories that show convincingly what Cowboy Bebop would be like if it was set in Alor Setar. No black leather trenchcoats (too hot la), and if we could skip the tired sexism that is so often a hallmark of noir, that would be great. I’d be happy to read both stories that inhabited and played with the tropes of the genre, and stories that tried to do something new with those tropes.

Because cyberpunk was what people thought about the future, and a lot of it was produced in what is now the past, it got stuff wrong. It is an incomplete vision. I’m really interested in what the cyberpunk of now would look like — now that we really do live in the Internet and corporations own our souls. (You could write about separatist farmers! I would love to publish a cyberpunk story that was all about separatist farmers.)

So: cities, systems, cool outfits, robotic or bioengineered enhancements, near-future technology, fighting against The Man. Maybe even optimism? Maybe even that.

[...]

The annual awards eligibility post, plus other things

6 Jan

I really didn’t want to make this post this year, which probably means I should. >_< But first, links to other people’s posts!

Aliette de Bodard has done her usual round-up including excellent Asian SFF by other people as well herself. Check out her links and download a free novelette at her post: Awards eligibility and awards recommendations.

Ken Liu has also got a fabulously comprehensive post linking to his favourite (mostly short) fiction of the year, plus his own eligible work (which includes two stories about litigators!): Nominating Stories for Awards.

Short stories I’ve had published this year:

Love in the Time of Utopia in Issue #1 of LONTAR, ed. Jason Erik Lundberg and Kristine Ong Muslim, Math Paper Press (September 2013). 6,200 words.

“You’re missing out. At least love is available to everybody, high station or low. It’s the one thing you can get without having to sit exam.”

The Fish Bowl in The Alchemy Press Book of Urban Mythic, ed. Jan Edwards and Jenny Barber, Alchemy Press (November 2013). 5,600 words.

The koi’s mouth opened and closed, an intermittent surprised O. Its white skin was so smooth it seemed scaleless. It would feel like silken tofu if you touched it. Seen from above, the fish’s one eye looked heavy-lidded and wise.

“Are you a magical fish or a door-to-door salesman?” Su Yin whispered.

Balik Kampung (Going Back) in End of the Road, ed. Jonathan Oliver, Solaris Books (December 2013). 4,700 words.

Hungry ghosts were the spirits of the unfortunate, unlamented dead: those who were killed violently; who died burdened by unfulfilled longings; who had been greedy or ungenerous in life; who were forgotten by their living. It was obvious to Lydia which category she fell into.

These are all eligible in the short story category, and I’d be happy to provide copies to anyone who’d like to read them for awards — just comment with your email address, or email me. No obligation to nominate after reading, obviously!

(There were two more — Jebat Dies in Esquire Malaysia and Double-Blind in Fixi Novo’s Love in Penang (ed. Anna Tan) — but the first is Hang Tuah fanfic and the second is a totally non-speculative love story, so they don’t really count for these purposes.)

If you have had things published that are eligible, and you are dithering over whether to make this sort of post or not — do it. Do it even if you don’t think anyone reads your blog or follows your Twitter account who even votes for this kind of thing. Do it even if making the post makes you cringe. My blog doesn’t get a lot of pageviews, but I am absolutely certain that I wouldn’t have got the Campbell nomination if I hadn’t made this post last year.

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I am going to piggyback off this post to post about two more things!

For some reason Fixi always gotta publish all its calls for submissions in pictorial form. Their English-language imprint is now seeking short stories and creative non-fiction of 2,000-5,000 words for a new anthology called Lost in Putrajaya. Deadline 28 February. See the call for submissions here.

If I were a better and braver writer I would venture out of my comfort zone and write hardbitten crime stories and political satire to submit to Fixi’s English-language anthologies. Sadly I am a wimp + lazy, so I don’t! You should do it for me.

Also, if you go to Google.com.my today, it has a picture of beloved filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad which makes me all misty-eyed — like her work itself. She would’ve been 56 years old today (going by Malaysian time la). Faster go! The art is lovely.

Propaganda, the personal, and two calls for submissions

2 Apr

There’s been much justified indignation on my Facebook feed of late over Asmara Songsang, an absurdly embarrassing anti-LGBT musical produced with government money. I found Alia Ali’s review of the musical Oh, Inverted World useful — it includes pictures of the production as well as a synopsis of what could generously be called the plot.

Asmara Songsang, written and directed by Rahman Adam, is about the lives of the LGBT community encapsulated into a neat little microcosm. Three friends, who identify themselves as Nazirah, Latipah and Karim, lead a gang of queer delinquents. Headquartered in a public park conveniently situated between neighborhood homes and the mosque, they throw raucous parties that last through the night, fuelled by really loud music, substance abuse and casual sexual encounters.

(Obviously, don’t read the review if you don’t feel like reading about rampant homophobia!)

There’s some interesting discussion in the comments about whether the “objective” approach Alia is trying for in her review succeeds (she lists “good points” as well as “bad points”, though she clearly disapproves of the premise of the musical and says so). Personally I don’t think people like Rahman Adam, or agendas like his, deserve to be engaged with on their own terms, but from a tactical perspective I can see why Alia adopted the tack she took.

Coming at broadly the same subject from the opposite side, I liked Cris Beam’s discussion of their novel I Am J, about a trans* teenager: My transgender novel is too personal to be propaganda.

… literature, at its best, doesn’t live in this world of agendas and witch hunts, as tools for any side’s political purpose. Literature and its readers are in an alternate realm, and they’ll continue to meet in this quieter place.

MOTHERSHIP: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond is seeking submissions of original and reprinted genre material by, for and/or about persons of colour (not only stories that would count as Afrofuturism!). They’re interested in all flavours of speculative fiction and slipstream, and will take stories of any length from flashfic to novelettes. I understand it’s intended that contributors will eventually be paid, though there will be no advance. It looks like a really cool project — and the editors are non-white, which is still unusual in these days of cool anthologies seeking to collect the stories of those traditionally passed over. I’m pondering whether I’ve got anything suitable to send in, but in the meantime you should submit!

And Fixi Novo are still seeking submissions for their new anthology Love in Penang. The deadline is 30 April and they want love stories of all kinds set in Penang.

A cornucopia of fabulousness

19 Dec

King of All Cosmos bolster held up by me

We have a new roomie here in the House of Cho & Co! He is a gift from my spouse, who is a gentil parfait knight if there ever was one (mmm, parfait). He would be good for cosplaying with, only there are no eye holes. ONLY DREADFUL LASER EYES OF DOOM.

King of All Cosmos bolster chillin' on the sofa

This picture gives you a better idea of His Majesty’s vivid manly colouring. He talks when you hit his nose! Also when you hug him (he is very huggable), or accidentally sit on him. He doesn’t currently show up on Penguinotic Designs, but that is where we got him from, and I agree with that one reviewer who said: “They said money doesn’t buy you happiness. They were wrong.”

*

Here is an Economist article about population trends in Britain:

Those who define themselves as “white British” now make up just 81% of the population, down from 88% in 2001, when the last census was conducted. … In 2001 fully 45% of the minority population of England and Wales lived in London. Now, they are more spread out.

(Admittedly that is not the sexiest quote I could have chosen, but I found it interesting.)

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Stupefying Stories is seeking material by 2013 Campbell-qualifying authors for inclusion in an awards pre-reading anthology. Check out the call for submissions for details. They’re only seeking reprints, and are not paying. The anthology will be available as a free download from 1 February through the end of April 2013.

Even if you don’t want to supply fiction for inclusion in the anthology, it’s probably worth getting in touch if you qualify, as they plan to include a full list of known, eligible candidates and details of their eligibility in the finished volume. If you think you might be eligible but aren’t sure, check out the Writertopia Campbell Award page and the Eligibility FAQ in particular (it’s slightly out of date but I assume is accurate if you move all the dates one year up).

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Amir Muhammad’s pulp press Fixi is launching an English-language line, Fixi Novo: see manifesto and call for submissions. They’re seeking pulp novels (“crime, horror, sci-fi and so on”) and are interested in the “urban reality of Malaysia”. (Not as serious as it sounds — well, you can tell from their manifesto, but also Fixi’s Malay-language catalogue includes the novel Zombijaya. Rough translation of the back cover blurb: “Welcome to Malaysia. A country rich with Eastern tradition. But what happens when its people are suddenly surrounded by zombies?“)

Fixi Novo is also seeking short stories between 2,000 and 5,000 words on the theme “KL Noir” for an anthology. Details on their Facebook page. (All Malaysian presses seem to operate primarily out of Facebook — don’t ask me why!)