Apparitions

Cooler Lumpur Festival 2015

I enjoyed my brief jetlagged experience of Cooler Lumpur last year, so I’m looking forward to it this year! I may be less jetlagged — maybe. But since I’m not doing any heavy lifting this time around, maybe I’ll have the energy to actually go to the events I’m not on myself!

Here’s what I’m up to.

 

Everything I Know In Life I Learnt From Science Fiction
Date: 13 June 2015 (Saturday)
Time: 11.30 am – 12.30 pm
Venue: Black Box, Publika Kuala Lumpur
Speakers: Ian McDonald, James Smythe, Ian Doescher
Moderator: Zen Cho

Reading science fiction is a lot like watching a magic trick. It requires a willingness on your part to be fooled. It requires the suspension of disbelief. It requires you to allow for the possibility of the impossible. And when our literary defenses are down like that, it is no surprise that science fiction is among those few genres of writing that affect us most powerfully as readers. In this session, four incredible science fiction authors talk about the dangerous ideas contained in genre fiction and the crucial role they play in helping us understand ourselves and our place in the universe.

I’ll be moderating a panel on science fiction. I’ve got lots of interesting questions (I say one la) — it should be a good discussion!

 

Cyberpunk: Malaysia launch
Date: 13 June 2015 (Saturday)
Time: 6.00 pm – 7.00 pm
Venue: White Box, Publika Kuala Lumpur

There is some question whether the book will actually be printed by the time of the launch, but fortunately in this era of tablets and smartphones, that is no reason why the authors may not do their readings. I will be lounging at the back of the room, swelling with editorial pride.

 

I’m hoping to see lots of people there. Give me a shout if you’ll be going! You can check out the full programme on their website, and/or have a look at the individual events on Facebook.

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Cyberpunk: Malaysia, Malaysian writing, SFF

CYBERPUNK: MALAYSIA Table of Contents

I’m really excited to finally be able to talk about the Table of Contents for CYBERPUNK: MALAYSIA! Here’s the line-up:

“Underneath Her Tudung” by Angeline Woon
“Codes” by Anna Tan
“Personal” by Sharmilla Ganesan
“Attack of the Spambots” by Terence Toh
“ONE HUNDRED YEARS: Machine” by Rafil Elyas
“What The Andromaid Reads at Night” by Ted Mahsun
“KAKAK” by William Tham Wai Liang
“The Wall That Wasn’t A Wall” by Kris Williamson
“The Twins” by Adiwijaya Iskandar
“October 11” by Chin Ai-May
“Undercover in Tanah Firdaus” by Syamsuriatina Ishak writing as Tina Isaacs
“Unusual Suspects” by Tariq Kamal
“The White Mask” by Zedeck Siew
“Extracts from DMZINE #13 (January 2115)” by Foo Sek Han

So there are a number of Fixi stalwarts in the list, but this is also the first SF story sale for some of the writers, and the first fiction sale for at least one. Which is awesome!

It was really tough winnowing down the 100 odd submissions to this final selection, and there were great stories that I ultimately wasn’t able to include for fairly random reasons. I did a first slush read and narrowed the list down to a group of “maybes” that ended up being the length of two novels. And then I had to refine that down to “yeses plus maybes that are really very close to yes, but I need to think more about how the stories fit together”, which eventually went through the fire to become the final ToC. So by now I have read every story that has ended up in the anthology 5-6 times each, and I’m not sick of them yet — which I think is a good sign!

(I was also the pickiest editor Fixi has probably ever had, and can only be grateful to the authors for not telling me to bleep off, but instead doing sterling work on their stories.)

Recurring themes in the anthology: the war of the rich on the poor, religion (duh), moral policing, migrant labour, the multiple purposes of art, cities. It’s a very urban anthology; it’s a very Malaysian anthology. It’s skeptical but it’s also optimistic. I think people will enjoy reading it. I hope they find it as entertaining and heartening as I did, pulling it together.

It’s launching at the Cooler Lumpur Festival, whose theme this year is Dangerous Ideas — quite zhun because the anthology is full of dangerous ideas. The festival’s taking place this year from 12-14 June and I’m going to be doing a couple of things for them, and will of course be turning up to the launch if jet lag permits. So do come if you are around, and come say hello!

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Books, Malaysian writing, My Stories, SFF, Writing

SPIRITS ABROAD – Cover reveal

So if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook (or worst of all, BOTH), you will have seen this plenty of times, but I am super excited about it and will not rest till I have posted it on every Internet outlet possible. I may start printing it off and sticking it to lamp-posts.

For lo! I have a cover!

SPIRITS ABROAD cover - woman's face with eyes shut and a frangipani in the middle of her forehead

Back copy

“If you live near the jungle, you will realise that what is real and what is not real is not always clear. In the forest there is not a big gap between the two.”

A Datin recalls her romance with an orang bunian. A teenage pontianak struggles to balance homework, bossy aunties, first love, and eating people. An earth spirit gets entangled in protracted negotiations with an annoying landlord, and Chang E spins off into outer space, the ultimate metaphor for the Chinese diaspora.

Straddling the worlds of the mundane and the magical, SPIRITS ABROAD collects 10 science fiction and fantasy stories with a distinctively Malaysian sensibility.

Launch

The book will be out in a week’s time (!) from Fixi Novo, an imprint of Buku Fixi, an indie press I’ve been following with great interest since it was started up by the confusingly multi-talented Amir Muhammad. Fixi has taken off in a huge way since its early days, and I am thrilled to be published with them.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the launch will be at Whitebox @ Publika, starting at 5 pm on Saturday 21st: the Facebook event has more details. Fellow Malaysian SF author Ee Leen Lee will also be launching her book, 13 MOONS. It should be good! Do come if you are in KL. (Must BYO spirits, though.)

How you can get ahold of the book

Because a couple of people asked — the paperback will be available for purchase on Amazon US if you’re outside Malaysia. I’ll put up a link when it’s up. I’ll also be selling/giving away a few once I get ahold of my author copies, and I’ll be happy to ship those anywhere in the world.

Plus, I’m planning to release an ebook version soon, which will probably have extra stories. \o/ I’d also like to include other extras, though I can’t think of anything just this minute. What sort of extras would you like to see? Maybe I’ll do a “DVD commentary” (do people still do these for fic?), or an interview or something. (I will interview … MYSELF)

Anyway! I don’t expect to shift that many copies of the ebook, but I just want to make sure any readers outside Malaysia can get ahold of the book easily if they want it (and TBH, to the extent that I have readers, the overwhelming majority of them are outside Malaysia). If you’re inside Malaysia, though, it’ll be super easy to get — order from the website (not yet la, after launch only can), or in stores.

Full Table of Contents below the cut!

Continue reading

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Apparitions

The Cooler Lumpur Festival

In just over a week’s time I’m going to be back in Malaysia! \o/ I haven’t been home in more than a year. It feels like it’s been DECADES. I am super excited.

I’ll be appearing at #FAST: The Cooler Lumpur Festival, a multidisciplinary arts festival that’s all about ideas. And hashtags. Hashtag ideas!

Programme items I’ll be on:

FIXI NOVO Book Launch
Saturday, 21 June 2014
5.00 pm – 6.30 pm
White Box @ Publika
Facebook event: Fixi Novo Double Book Launch

Fixi Novo will be launching my first book, Spirits Abroad, which collects 10 short stories including three new stories that have never been published anywhere yet ever. !!!

There will also be another awesome Malaysian author launching a book at this event. More details to come soon!

The Age of Creativity
Saturday, 21 June 2014
8.00 pm – 9.00 pm
Black Box @ Publika
Facebook event: The Age of Creativity panel

Do we have enough fresh, new, and unique ideas to continue to push the boundaries of literature and music and film? Is everything derivative? Whatever happened to originality? Is it something altogether unattainable in this day and age? A discussion on what – if anything – is lacking in the world of the arts. A discussion on whether such creative doomsaying is premature.

Panelists: Gary Thomas, Ian Casocot, Zen Cho
Moderator: Lee Chwi Lynn

This is a really interesting topic, and ties in with the thing I’m on the next evening in a totally unplanned way —

“Inspiration, Influence and Interaction” Writing Workshop
Sunday, 22 Jun 2014
6.30 pm – 9.30 pm It’ll probably be more like 8.30 pm, to be honest. People will be tired and hungry!
Interpr8 Art Space, Publika
Facebook event: Writing workshop

Writing is often viewed as a solitary activity, but nobody creates in a vacuum. Writers are influenced not only by the books they read, but by art, movies, pop culture, politics and their peers. In this workshop participants will discuss their artistic influences, generate ideas, and consider how to draw upon existing works and ideas in their creative practice to produce work that is distinctively their own.

Tickets are available at www.tix.my (RM20 online; RM25 at the door).

I am also running a writing workshop! I’m hoping it’ll be a fun conversation with lots of noodling about ideas and writing of little snippets and so on and so forth. #Faster sign up! Ahhh, I kill myself.

You can see the full programme here. Let me know if you’re going to be there!

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