The Mark – Inspirations, Gratitudes

A couple of months ago, I clicked into the Aurealis Awards website to check out the shortlist for 2019. To my utter amazement, my psychological horror story, The Mark, was amongst the nominations for Best Horror Short Story.

The Mark is my second publication. In June 2018, I toddled along to the Emerging Writers’ Festival in Melbourne, where I came across the Monash University Publishing stand. I chatted rather nervously to one of the editors, Amaryllis, who was lovely. The theme for the next issue of Verge clung to me like a sticky film: uncanny. I loved it. Amaryllis encouraged me to make a submission.

My short story process could perhaps be compared to a ripening fruit. An idea drops into my head, but it’s a formless thing at first: smooth and hard and hidden within itself, like a curled-up bud. Then, one day, with the right dose of sunlight or water, it blossoms, ripens, sheds dried petals, and swells to bursting.

It’s at the bursting part that the words flow best.

For The Mark, the time from seed to overripe fruit was short. The seed was the Capgras delusion: a phenomenon I’ve always found fascinating, complex, and haunting. I wanted to delve into, and wrest back control of, the loneliness, grief, and powerlessness of the underrepresented, marginalised, unseen woman.

At the time, I was inspired by works like The Yellow Wallpaper and Alias Grace, both of which challenged notions of womanhood, social roles, unreliability, and madness. I was also deeply moved by women I’d encountered in my life and my work, who’d experienced subjugation in ways large and small, and crafted their own subtle resistances.

Verge accepted my piece, and it appeared in the anthology in June 2019, alongside a host of experimental, brilliant, uncanny works (I highly, highly recommend the collection). For the acceptance, I’m immensely grateful. For Stephen Downes’ editorial hand, reading recommendations, email discussions about the uncanny, and general encouragement, I’m also extremely thankful.

All in all, I feel very lucky to be on the list next to some very established names in Australian SFFH. I look forward to the results of the Aurealis Awards later this year. And as I feel like I’m still very much at the Starting Tavern of my Meandering Adventures in Writing, I look forward to engaging more with the spec-fic community, reading, squee-ing, learning, and waiting for more crazy idea-seeds to explode in my little, nutty head.

Father’s House – Aurealis #129

My short story, Father’s House, is in Aurealis #129.

Here’s my ‘Story Behind The Story’:

Father’s House sprang from three concepts mashing together unexpectedly in my head. The technology to map and deconstruct the human brain is growing increasingly sophisticated. How long will it be before we try to replicate a human mind in digital form? More importantly, when we do so, how closely can we say it represents the original? At the time I was mulling about this, the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act came into effect in Victoria—and with it, the crucial issue of determining capacity to consent. Finally, this story holds a great deal of personal significance. I was reflecting on the things that parents pass on to their children: stories spoken aloud, and stories so hidden they’re only a vague feeling. Like Henry, we carry pieces of previous generations in us, and we grapple with them throughout our lives.

You can purchase the issue or sign up as a subscriber through the Aurealis website.

Aurealis Awards 2019: Shortlisted!

Greetings, digital ghosts.

Just a little post to announce that my short story, The Mark, has been shortlisted for Best Horror Short Story in the 2019 Aurealis Awards.

 
Wang Yibo dancing on stage with a seductive twirl.
Mood

I’m feeling incredibly privileged and honoured that my second published work is an Aurealis Awards nominee.

Congratulations to all the other finalists: a stellar line-up!

https://aurealisawards.org/2020/03/25/2019-aurealis-awards-shortlist-announcement/

2020

Although the demands of the day job have slowed down my writerly habits over the last six months, 2020 has been off to a wonderful start. At the start of February, my gene-splicing novelette, Jigsaw Chidren, was published in Clarkesworld. A year ago, I would never have imagined that I’d have my first publication in a pro SF&F magazine in the United States!

I’m thrilled to share two further acceptances, both of which have special meaning to me.

Father’s House is slated for publication in the April 2020 issue of Aurealis. This short story toys with the hypotheticals of medical technology, and also draws on my reflections about intergenerational stories and parent-child relationships. I’m over the moon that it has found a home in the Aurealis world!

Mother of the Trenches has been accepted into CSFG’s upcoming anthology, Unnatural Order. This is a wacky, wonderful, tentacled short story with my most experimental structure yet! I had a ball writing it (I was also devouring, at the time, with great fascination, this book–a gift from my brother). I wanted this story to disgust, delight, and challenge our anthropocentric biases. My excitement levels are super high to see this appear in print. Slated for release at WorldCon 2020 in July.

I’m also working on a piece for Black Cranes, an anthology of horror stories by Asian women writers, edited by Lee Murray and Geneve Flynn. Black Cranes is also slated for release at WorldCon, and it’s a project that I’m ridiculously excited to see come together.

And, finally, yes–edits for my novel in progress, Uploading, are plodding along. If only I didn’t have to study for this pesky exam…!

Off to make another coffee.