Apparitions, Conventions, Cyberpunk: Malaysia, Sorcerer to the Crown, Spirits Abroad

Nine Worlds 2015 update + book preorders

Nine Worldzzzz

On top of my three panels and a reading, I’ll now also be on Paul Cornell’s Only A Moment quiz panel on Saturday night at Nine Worlds. It’s a take-off of a well-known British radio and TV show. You’re supposed to talk for one minute on a topic given to you without hesitation, deviation or repetition. Those are my three greatest strengths in conversation! Updated full schedule here — do come and watch my inevitable downfall.

Thanks to everyone who’s ordered copies of SPIRITS ABROAD and CYBERPUNK: MALAYSIA for receipt at Nine Worlds. I’ll be there from Friday and will try to set aside some time per day to just sit in the lobby or another easy-to-find public area with the books, so people can come pick them up from me. I’ll say where I am on Twitter, so keep an eye on that. I’ll also contact pre-orderers directly.

The books will be available in the dealers’ room for those who haven’t pre-ordered. Each will come with a SORCERER TO THE CROWN postcard inside it, like this:

A photo posted by Zen (@zenaldehyde) on

I haven’t got that many of these, but if you catch me at the con and would like a postcard, just ask — I might have a few left!

Sorcerer to the Crown limited first editions

Fabulous first edition bookshop Goldsboro Books is going to be stocking a limited edition of SORCERER TO THE CROWN! It will be hardcover, signed and numbered and will have SPRAYED EDGES. (If you don’t know what sprayed edges are, this great Hodderscape post on the physical make-up of a book will tell you.)

I have to say that I am personally a practical ebook/mass market paperback sort of person: small, affordable, portable paperbacks are the books I grew up on, and I’ve only started buying hardcovers recently to support people I know. It’s kind of dumb because I then end up not reading them, since my only real reading time nowadays is on my commute and I am already mean enough to my back and shoulders, not to haul around the sort of tome my friends and acquaintances produce. (THANKS, KEN LIU.)

But it is very exciting to think that SORCERER will have sprayed edges, and having seen the cover proof, I can tell you with confidence that the book is going to be a beautiful object — whatever you think of its contents! There will be only 250 copies of the limited edition. You can pre-order one here.

Apparitions, Conventions, Cyberpunk: Malaysia, Sorcerer to the Crown, Spirits Abroad


I am going to have copies of the super rare and totally awesome SPIRITS ABROAD and CYBERPUNK: MALAYSIA paperbacks at Nine Worlds! A few of them are already reserved:


I KNEW I was going to find a retrospective excuse for having bought these incredibly cute post-it notes at Daiso.


And here’s what CYBERPUNK: MALAYSIA looks like in the flesh. Shiny and chrome!

I’m hoping the books will be available at the Nine Worlds dealers’ room, but I don’t know yet if I’ll be able to arrange that. However, you can place an order for the books now and/or buy them from me directly at the con!

I am selling the books for £5.00 each, and I am happy to sign and personalise them for you. You can even ask me to do a doodle! I can only draw friendly elephants, though. Also, there will be ultra secret, super exclusive SORCERER TO THE CROWN swag, which I will totally give you FOR FREE. (I mean, I don’t want to inflate expectations. It’s just stationery. But I think it’s going to be nice stationery!)

If you think you’d like to buy them from me in person, I will beg you now to bring a £5 note if at all possible. Of course, it’s easiest if you pre-order using the form below — that will enable me to put aside a copy for you, as stocks are limited. And also it means I don’t have scrounge up £5 bills!


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Conventions, Spirits Abroad

SPIRITS ABROAD at Nine Worlds and Loncon

As you probably already know (because I can’t stop parping on about it), I’ll be at Nine Worlds and Loncon this summer. So will my book!


Nine Worlds

You’ll be able to pick up SPIRITS ABROAD at the ALL OF THE BOOKS Indie table in the dealers’ room.


SPIRITS ABROAD will be available at the Big Green Bookshop stall in the Dealers’ Zone (thanks to Yen Ooi for the tip!).

SPIRITS ABROAD isn’t super easily available outside Malaysia, and it’s currently out of stock on Amazon — so if you’d like a copy and are coming to either of these cons, dropping by the dealers’ room is a straightforward way of picking one up.

Of course, you can pre-order a copy directly from me instead. That means I’ll reserve a signed book for you and will track you down ONE WAY OR ANOTHER during the con.

Apparitions, Conventions

Nine Worlds 2013 con report: Part 2

My first panel was at 10 am on the second day of Nine Worlds, and the noble Katy said she would attend, so a whole group of us ended up peeling ourselves off our beds (our lovely, lovely beds) at a disgusting hour of the morning to set off for the con. But because there were so many of us we took a cab, which was great! Since I/my friends have now used it multiple times I can recommend Airport Fare with reasonable confidence: I came across them when they put a card through my door; I passed the details cheerfully on to colorblue when she asked about airport transfers, and then freaked out when her parents booked them. Because what if they sucked???

But they did not suck, and £35 is very reasonable for a four-seater cab from Heathrow to North London, if you are looking for airport transfers. The online form is not super flexible, but they were perfectly happy to pick us up at the Renaissance and do two drop-offs for the price when we called.

Anyway, con report: The Two Towers! I dunno if it will stretch to a trilogy. Let’s write this and see!

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Apparitions, Conventions

Nine Worlds 2013 con report: Part 1

I am kind of embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t … really … looking forward to Nine Worlds? It is not because it didn’t sound cool. I am just really lazy! And Heathrow is so far away, and I had found myself signed up for four panels and a reading, and nearly all those panels involved Real People™, and I wasn’t going to KNOW anybody, and it was going to be like WorldCon ‘07 when everybody thought I was Japanese but it’s not like I could hang out with the Japanese fans since I don’t, y’know, speak any Japanese, and it was going to be like Wiscon only without my friends, who were the best part, and mrr mrr mrr mrr mrr.

But um, it was actually awesome! It was super awesome! A large part was because I did have friends, since happydork (hereinafter referred to as “Katy”) decided to come about a week before, and I cheerfully attached myself to her coat-tails and met all her nice friends. And I was really impressed — by the organisation, because I never noticed it, which is surely kind of astounding for a con in its first year; by the number of non-binary-gender-conforming fans and fans with disabilities (though fewer of the latter, IIRC); by the sense, with the audiences of the panels I attended, that there was a significant number of people there who valued the things I valued.

With the last thing, I don’t just mean social justice issues, which are, of course, super important — but you know, the fact that I could basically sit on a panel of editors and published authors and ramble on about the amazing ‘90s fanfic I read as a teenager, and have multiple people say/Tweet in response: OMG, RIGHT???? At a con not solely dedicated to fanfic, in a track not about fanfic? AWESOME.

And you know, it was not perfect: for one thing, I am gender-conforming and not disabled and omnivorous and extroverted and not overly bothered by crowds and all these things that make cons not as stressful for me as they are for other people; for another, stuff still happened to make one raise a quizzical eyebrow. But I think it says something about Nine Worlds that it was the first time I’ve been in a geek space in the UK and felt so comfortable. (Don’t get me wrong, it would have been even lovelier to see more non-white fans around — there were a number, but I got to recognising the others since there weren’t that many of us. It took real effort not to go up to all of them and creep on them. “You have melanin too! BE MY FRIEND @_@”)

But the word that keeps coming up on Twitter is “safe”. It definitely felt that to me.

So — huge congrats and thanks to the con organisers for formulating and expressing their commitment to diversity and inclusivity so effectively. I am sorry I didn’t believe it was going to be so awesome! orz

On to the detailed con report! … The Fellowship of the Ring. Continue reading

Apparitions, Conventions

Nine Worlds panels what I am on

Nine Worlds is this weekend! OMG, I am so unprepared. As at Wiscon, I plan to make it through my panels on pure charm, i.e. I intend to smile a lot and laugh at everyone’s jokes.

After I painstakingly extracted the details of my programme, I realised I could’ve just linked to my Lanyrd profile. That wasn’t very clever of me. Oh well! My comments in italics below.



Cake or Death? Plot, Pacing & Character Death. With Cake.
5:00pm to 6:15pm, George I, Renaissance
Zen Cho, Paul Cornell, Charles Stross, Liz de Jager, Marcus Gipps (mod)

Some authors want to be nice to their characters, some don’t. And some just murder them all. Come celebrate the opening of the Nine Worlds Books track with tea and cake, and a discussion on writing conflict, danger and character death with some of science fiction and fantasy’s finest authors.

I don’t think many authors murder ALL their characters, do they? I am not actually sure what this panel is about, but there is going to be tea and cake! This is very comforting because you feel that even if you are not interesting, at least the audience has already been rewarded for participation with cake.



Heroes vs. Villains: The Debate
10:00am to 11:15am, George I, Renaissance
Kate Griffin, Stan Nicholls, Zen Cho, Anne Perry (mod), Adrian Tchaikovsky

We kick off Saturday with the ultimate showdown: heroes vs. villains! Two authors argue that villains are the best, two argue for heroes, the audience decides once and for all. Who will it be? Katniss or Catwoman? Frodo or Darth Vader? Starks or Lannisters? There will be room for audience members to speak on the floor, so come prepared to shout, argue and scream for your favourite side.

I am supposed to be arguing for villains but am trying to swap for heroes. If I seem particularly unconvinced on Saturday, you know why!

New Goggles: Diversity in Steampunk
1:30pm to 2:45pm, Britannia, Renaissance
Zen Cho, Alex Dally MacFarlane (mod), Maki Yamazaki, Sam Kelly

‘Anachrotech’ genres like Steampunk give writers, makers, and musicians a chance to tinker with the past, resulting in, at best, a way to reclaim and subvert popular historical narratives and tropes; at worst, a nostalgia that uncritically repeats those tropes. Let’s trade in those rose-tinted monocles for new goggles, and discuss the importance of queering and diversifying the genre.

I feel very unqualified regarding steampunk. /o\ But nostalgia and Anglophilia and reclamation of tropes and historical narratives are all things I can talk about!

New Voices Slam Session: Saturday Edition
10:15pm to 11:30pm, Lobby Room, Renaissance
Den Patrick, Zen Cho, Francis Knight, Tade Thompson, Paul Cornell, Tom Pollock, Laura Eve, Snorri Kristjansson, Benedict Jacka, Catherine Banner

Your chance to listen to short readings from nine more of science fiction and fantasy’s most promising new authors. Bring your drinks, bring your friends, contrast and compare these authors to Friday’s authors, but not too loudly.

We each only have five minutes to fill, thank goodness. I am dithering between my Monkey King story, which would be super fun to read but won’t be available in full till 2015, and Prudence and the Dragon, which is fun to read, a very London story, and available to read online if people are intrigued by the reading — but I’ve done it for a reading once before. Hm, now I’ve put it that way it seems pretty obvious that I should do Prudence. But Monkey King is so fun!



Racefail 101
11:45am to 1:00pm, George I, Renaissance
Zen Cho, Tade Thompson, Anne Perry (mod), Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, Stephanie Saulter

Our panellists discuss colonialism, xenophobia and racism in science fiction and fantasy, recommending the best works discussing these issues as well as discussing the problems we face in writing and reading SFF, and what we can do about them.

I have been promised that we do not need to talk about Racefail ’09. It will be cool to be on a panel with Rochita!


I am starting to get excited about this, particularly as the con makes an explicit commitment to diversity and inclusiveness. And the cute logo doesn’t hurt …. Let me know if you are going and we should hang out!

Apparitions, Conventions

Nine Worlds

So I’m going to be at Nine Worlds next month! If you haven’t heard of it, Nine Worlds is a cool new con in London with a huge and diverse list of guests, and tracks for all kinds of things. I have to say its having lots of different tracks does make it feel more reflective of the fandom spaces I inhabit — the straight-up SFF cons I’ve been to felt a bit, um, old to me, and very different from my previous experience of fandom, but knitting and cosplay and fanfic and Harry Potter meta? Sounds like fandom to me!

Of course, we’ll have to wait and see what the con actually feels like. But the draft programme is out if you’d like to have a look. I’m on panels on the All The Books and Queer Fandom tracks, and will also be doing a reading (eep!). The con’s from 9-11 August, which is a bit sad because on that very weekend I was going to go for a Books by Asian Authors book club meeting for Tan Twan Eng’s The Garden of Evening Mists. Which would’ve been killing two birds with one stone — I’ve been meaning to read Tan Twan Eng for a while but not got around to it (The Gift of Rain is staring at me reproachfully from my book shelf at this very moment), and also I want to meet new people and new people who are interested in Asian authors are quite likely to share my interests.

Of course, a geekfest is probably just as likely to put me in the path of new people who share my interests. We shall see!