Jigsaw Children – Clarkesworld

I think I’m reasonably lucky, only having five parents. I guess my donors didn’t have too many risk mutations. Some of my classmates have been spliced together from eight, nine, even twelve donors. I don’t envy them the task of juggling their Chinese New Year dinners.

In 2018, I scribbled an opening line in the back of my diary: ‘I have three mothers and two fathers.’

A few weeks later, I had an unwieldy sci-fi story about gene splicing, mothers, attachment, and identity, set in near-future Hong Kong. It was too long. It had a terrible first title (which I changed, thanks to my writing bud’s feedback).

But I liked Lian’s story. I reworked it. Submitted.

And held my breath.

And screamed a bit (OK, a lot) when I saw the acceptance email.

Jigsaw Children has just been published in Clarkesworld’s February 2020 issue, alongside five other fascinating stories–and that sweet, sweet cover art!

I hope you stop by to hear Lian’s story.

PS. This is my first publication for 2020. There are a couple more things in the works, so do follow, stay tuned, and maybe even drop me a line…we of the writer-hermit folk subsist on little nuggets of feedback!

The Misplaced Giant – AntipodeanSF

Hello, internet!

My flash fiction, The Misplaced Giant, is live!

You can find it online here in Issue 255 of AntipodeanSF, for a limited time.

I dug this wacky little piece out of a folder of buried scribblings from my good ol’ university days, and thought it a perfect fit for a SF/F/H mag from the bottom side of the planet.

I hope you enjoy it.

PS. A narration by yours truly may be forthcoming.

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Update (04/02/2020): The Misplaced Giant is no longer live on the AntiSF website, but you can still read it from the archives.

Brewing…

It’s been quiet on the blog front.

Life, work, and other inevitable mundanities have unfortunately slowed the writing down these past few months. My health has taken a hit, and it has been hard to find the mental and physical energy to work on my creative projects. But I’m hoping to make a slow U-turn, back towards the things that mean the most to me.

I’m delighted to share that the first draft of my novel-in-progress, Uploading, is taking shape. There are now 77,000 wacky, cyberpunky, meandering, feely, technophilic words in there!

This year, I’ve also had two super exciting acceptances. One is a short short story, and the other is a novella. I’ll have more news about these closer to their publication. Stay tuned!

Viva La Novella Shortlist & Excerpt: The Ship of Theseus

Earlier this year, I found out that my near-future, virtual reality, mind/body splitting, Asian-Australian spec-fic novella was shortlisted for Viva La Novella VII.

Needless to say, I had to pinch myself, oh, several hundred times.

If you like the sound of The Ship of Theseus, you can check out an excerpt of it now at Seizure Online. Thanks for reading!

The Mark – Verge Uncanny

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I’m excited to share that my short story, ‘The Mark’, is in Verge Uncanny, published by Monash University and launched yesterday at Readings in the State Library of Victoria as part of the Emerging Writers Festival.

‘The Mark’ is a psychological horror story inspired by the Capgras delusion. It explores themes of womanhood, powerlessness and madness. It’s also a little ode to such works as The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace.

Since receiving my contributor’s copy a couple of weeks ago, I admit I’ve already read it cover to cover. The stories are haunting, rich and imaginative–it’s exciting to get a glimpse of the sort of writing coming out of Melbourne and wider Australia!

You can find a copy at Readings (State Library of Victoria) or online here.

Fathers

Our fathers left their lands to look for better ones.

They left their lands and their loved ones and the lives they had built up around nice jobs and nice houses and the corner-shop snacks of their childhood. They went overseas, often alone at first. Searching for new homes and small money. Trading in the clunky words of a new language, trying not to look the fool. Modern day scouts for their fledgling families.

The weapons of our fathers were moderation and caution. For their families, it was better to have a safety net than an SUV. They learnt to calculate when not to take risks and when to hold their tongues. Because they could not rise in the ranks of a foreign company through youth or charm or eloquence or appearance, they learnt to put their heads down and swallow racism and work hard and complain little.

They weathered anxiety so that we would not have to. They absorbed worry, turned it over and over silently, wore it down. Buried it deep, heaped it over with other things. Traded their dreams for their children’s.

Our fathers put their cultural memories into a little box that they brought with them to the new land, and sometimes opened. The children laughed, thinking that there was no use for such things in this new, loud, opportunistic place. We dismissed their wariness, not knowing that it allowed us to survive, and ventured bravely forth into the world, believing it is ours.

How to be a Woman

Keep trying your hardest to be a Woman.

Look after your appearance. People will disregard you if you’re unattractive. Doubly so if you’re fat. Ensure you apply anti-wrinkle products. Age is inversely correlated with relevance.

Don’t be too emotional. If you do get upset, quickly minimise it by attributing it to your hormones. But don’t be too aloof, either. Women should be warm, not cold.

Always have a prepared answer for the questions:
1. When do you want to have kids?
2. How many kids do you want to have?

Laugh genially at jokes about women belonging in the kitchen. You must have a sense of humour, even if it’s not funny.

Be relaxed enough to be ‘one of the blokes’. Be savvy enough to be ‘one of the girls’.

Work bloody hard for that promotion, to make up for the fact that you may need to take maternity leave, or drop to part-time, or you’re just not as tall and white and relatable and impressive as the dude who used to be your colleague.

Remember that your time isn’t yours. Apart from work, remember the other important things. Keep your house modern and enviable: a steady stream of candles, cushions and kitchen appliances are helpful. It’s advisable to have a repertoire of signature dishes ready to whip out in front of unexpected guests. Of course, if you have kids, that comes first.

Know how to apply make-up so that you look like you’re not wearing make-up.

Drink wine, but not too much (drunks aren’t attractive). Read, but not too much (nerds aren’t attractive). Exercise, but not too much (bodybuilders aren’t attractive).

Curate your Instagram.

Don’t be an expert. Always be ready to receive an explanation from a Man. Bonus points if you smile and nod a lot.