One month in for the year, folks. Hope everyone’s still doing all right.
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Me? I’m doing great—‘cause I can finally update this list.
TALES FROM A TINY ROOM: a short genre fiction collection.
MR MEMPHIS: a supernatural wuxia/ western comic.
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That’s right. In case you missed the last edition, I’ve got a new short story coming out in March 2020.
Published in the third issue of the retro(ish) sci-fi magazine, INFINITE WORLDS, “To Ashes” is a sideways sequel to “Satay”, my contribution to LONTAR #10. And, yeah, you can read both stories independent of each other (but of course I’ll encourage you to get ‘em both).
Both stories are set in a post-apocalyptic Singapore, where a massive flood’s submerged the country. They revolve around the survivors who’ve made the remains of Marina Bay Sands their new home—and dubbed it Three Towers.
This whole “Three Towers-verse” (yes, I’m coining it now) started off as an idea that I had for a novel. I wrote “Satay” to see if the world had legs beyond just a concept in my head. I wrote “To Ashes” as a way to deal with my own frustrations with work at the time and how those frustrations messed with my sense of self. It just so happened to fit nicely into the same world.
I’m almost definitely gonna re-visit the Three Towers-verse again (maybe just Towers-verse? I don’t know…). Whether it’s another short story or I’m finally ready to take a crack at that novel, I’m not sure right now.
(The inspiration for this concept, by the way, came from a couple of pieces I’d read about The Tower of David, a real-life high-rise slum in Caracas, Venezuela.)
What else is going on?
I won’t bog you down with numbers, but the podcast has been doing pretty well across a variety of platforms. Kyle, Paul and I met up recently to discuss the future of GHOST MAPS, and HANTU in general, and we’re all pretty happy with the plans we have for the year ahead.
It’s been a struggle to get the the prose half of PROJECT: CUSTODIAN done. In case you’ve forgotten (you probably have), CUSTODIAN is a new project with Benjamin Chee that’s similar to what we did with MR MEMPHIS, where I’ll write a short story and Ben will remix it as a comic with a vastly different genre aesthetic. So, with MR MEMPHIS, Ben took my supernatural/ western short story and told it with wuxia visuals.
Anyway, I had most of CUSTODIAN worked out in my head and in my notebook, so I figured that once the actual writing began, it’d be easy peasy. Instead, the story went ahead and kicked my ass throughout most of the Lunar New Year holidays.
It’s frustrating, but it’s frustrating in the best possible way. While I really love it when my stories come together, I’m equally enthralled by the process of making them work. Ben’s been super patient with me, so I’ve put CUSTODIAN on hold for now, but I’ll jump back into it in about a week.
I’ve got at least three appearances coming up in these next two months. Unfortunately, I can’t really say anything just yet. Since I’m sporadically back on Instagram now (and will be back more regularly around the end of the month), I’ll just make the announcement for February there.
I mentioned in the last edition that I’m featured in the Know or Not? Podcast’s two-parter about writing and publishing in Singapore.
I’d previously linked to the first part, which is more about the publishing side of things, so I only make a very brief appearance. (Give it a listen though for an enlightening interview with Kenny Leck, the boss man of BooksActually and Math Paper Press.) The second part’s gone online since then, and focuses on writers, so I’m in there a fair bit more, with folks like Gwee Li Sui, Jocelyn Suarez, Gerrie Lim and Charmaine Leung.
I’ve been reducing the number of books and comics on my shelf to about half of what it was before. Part of the reason for this is that I’m now sharing a room with my partner and our cat, so it pays to be a bit more practical with space, but also, I look at my shelf and I realise that a solid half of those books are there because some arbitrary consensus says that They Should Be There.
And it's not that I hate those books (though, for the life of me, I can't remember the contents of quite a few of them), but that they're a reflection of what I thought I should be and not who I actually am now.
I'm glad I read them, but they need to make space for more stuff from my friends and fellow authors from Math Paper Press, more female authors and authors of colour and LGBTQ authors, more works from beyond the realms of sci-fi 'cause I spent so much time in one genre that, ironically, I did the one thing that sci-fi discourages: I boxed myself in.
On a related note, I’ve been pretty good at sticking to my resolution of reading thirty-six books of at least 200 pages each this year. And what a seriously fantastic selection for January.
A piece on the staggering number of women that Isaac Asimov groped or generally harassed, and why that needs to be talked about as much as his contributions to sci-fi.
That Blade Runner game from 1997 has finally been re-released. I’m not much of a gamer, but I absolutely loved this point-and-click. I might just get this and re-play it, when I’ve got a bit more time on my hands.
Once again, here’s where you can buy my books.
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See you again at the end of the month.