The Novel is DONE

It’s done. 123,566 words and I typed THE END on my space opera noir novel.

After 91 days, it’s finally, finally done.

It was done last Thursday, but I’d written 6,000 words that night and I didn’t want to see another keyboard for a weekend at least. But now I’m happy to announce that it’s done and finished.

The first draft, that is. It’s going to take a mountain of effort to unscramble that mess and knock it into something resembling a coherent narrative.

But it’s done.

I feel like Uma Thurman from Kill Bill, standing above the restaurant dojo of Crippling Self Doubt and seeing all the defeated brain weasels on the bloody floor and saying, “All your words are belong to me”.

I wrote everyday for over three months. Every single day. Even the day where I had a ten-hour shift and went out in the evening, even if it was 100 words before collapsing asleep. I kept chiseling away to get the end result.

I absolutely love this novel. After my last project burned me out I had to write exactly what I wanted to write. Genre tends or hot-off-the-press type work be damned. I wanted to take a shot at writing a murder mystery in the deepest reaches of space, with a strong sense of space opera exuberance, and I did.

My plan is to write up a sketchy synopsis of the novel, as well as a detailed list of things that need to be fixed. But I’ll be taking a bit of a break. After a few weeks I’ll try my hand at a short or two, polish up an ugly draft that I’ve got sitting around, maybe do some nonfiction, and then it’s time for revision. A lot of revision.

But for now, I need to clear my mind and take a mini-holiday. After writing almost 125k in 91 days, I think I’ve earned it.

And I’m going to try my best not to think about just how much it sucks and needs work. Wish me luck!

 

Translations Destroy Podcasts on StarShipSofa! (Not really)

So. Something’s been brewing behind the scenes at StarShipSofa. Something we’re sure you’ll all be excited about.

But some backstory first.

It goes without saying that all of us at the District of Wonders welcome stories from all over the globe. We’re an international podcast, and naturally interested in finding stories published in another language. With English-speaking (particularly American) stories dominating the market – and understandably so – it can be quite difficult to get work translated from another language into English to reach a wider audience, and even harder to find them once they have. We have authors such as Andrzej Sapkowski and Cixin Liu rising to popularity, but for the vast majority of non-English authors it’s maddeningly hard to shatter that language barrier and find an audience they deserve.

So I’m doing something about that.

Starting soon, StarShipSofa will be playing one whole month’s worth of stories translated from other languages as part of our Translations Month Special. These four stories are diverse in content and sub-genre as they are in country of origin. Ranging from cyberpunk to time travel to transgressive dystopian, our stories come from France, Japan, Russia, and China. The table of contents are below:

 

  • “The Smog Society” by Chen Qiufan, translated by Ken Liu and Carmen Yiling Yan (translated from Chinese).
  • “Sense of Wonder 2.0” by Laurent Queyssi‏, translated by Edward Gauvin (translated from French).
  • “White Curtain” by Pavel Amnuel, translated by Anatoly Belilovsky (translated from Russian).
  • “Violation of the TrueNet Security Act” by Taiyo Fuji, translated by Jim Hubbert (translated from Japanese).

 

Half of these were picked up directly from slush, the other half were procured with assistance from John Joseph Adams and the team at Skyboat Media. A big thank you to them.

This project has been a long time in the making. We’re looking very much to bringing these incredible stories to you, showcasing the international diversity of science-fiction and the different favours that each country specializes in. And of course, we’re always open to broadening our horizons and welcome both more translated stories, and authors and narrators from all territories. But for now, I hope you enjoy what’s on tap this month and all the stories to come.

If you like our stories and the work we’re doing, please consider making a donation on Patreon. Every bit helps to cover our server costs and work towards becoming a paying market. The District of Wonders has adapted and published over a thousand stories over a decade-long period, and with your help we’ll go for another decade yet.  The link is here: https://www.patreon.com/districtofwonders

As always, let us know what you think of this project and the stories on Facebook, Twitter or email. And please, enjoy this special Translations Month, coming soon to your earholes in a podcast near you.

 

 

Sales to China and audio!

I’m late to the party on this one, but I thought I’d announce it on  my blog anyway.

My story, “The Galaxy’s Cube” which was originally published at  Abyss & Apex, has gotten two reprints sales. The first in audio to The Overcast, which is a fantastic venue in of itself (you’re all listening, right?)

The second is to Science Fiction World. If they’re unfamiliar to you, it’s because they’re a magazine in China, with a one million plus readership. They bought the distribution and translation rights to my story and are translating it into Chinese as I write this. Which is…huge.

220px-sfworld

When I first started writing, getting just a very eyeballs on my work would have been promising. Now potentially over a million people will be reading this story, and in another language on the other side of the world.

So you could say I’m pretty chuffed.

I’ll be getting contributor copies, and I’ll post ’em when they arrive. Until then you’ll have to suffice with the English version.

 

I’m destroying Science-fiction at Lightspeed Magazine: Cover reveal (amoung other things)

Most of you probably already know this, but earlier this year I had an essay published as part of Lightspeed’s People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction. It wasn’t an easy thing to write; I had to dunk my head back into some rather sweet slash sour memories, but I’m glad I did. I felt I something to contribute, namely to the (arguably imperialistic) term people of colour. After having my voice drowned out by Americans telling me what to think and assuming that their standards and cultures are somehow applicable to the rest of the world, I had the opportunity to say something through the official channels. And say something I did. Just not as passive-aggressive  and ham-fisted as those last two sentences.

My editor, Sunil Patel, did an ace job with both my essay and all of them as a whole. The essays had a fantastic response, from folks like Neil Gaiman, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Diana Pho, amoung hundreds of others. I saw people say that said my essay had left them speechless and the essays as a whole made them cry. I’m particularly pleased with that, but particularly the latter.

And it’s not even out yet.

But that’s going to change soon, because team Lightspeed just unveiled the cover and the ToC. Feast your eyes on this sucker.

Lightspeed_73_June_2016

Yeah. Pretty incredible. I’m in this. In a print copy of this. And it’s going to sit on my shelf. And I’m in it. And I’m in it.

And I’m not the only one. My ToC mates include Samuel Delany, Octiva E. Butler, Sofia Samatar, Steven Barnes (Star Wars novelist), Vandana Singh, Daniel H. Wilson (Robopocalypse), Aliette de Bodard, Ken Liu, and almost 100 other amazing writers.

This issue is part of a much larger group known as the Destroy issues. And guess who else is part of them? Chuck Palahniuk – the author of a little known novel cum film called Fight Club. And then there’s Jessica Sharzer, the producer of American Horror Story. And there’s more: Gemma Files, Pat Cadigan, Joyce Carol Oates, Tanith Lee, Christopher Barzak, Kameron Hurley, Carrie Vaughn, Seanan McGuire, Edmée Pardo, David Gerrold…

The list literally just keeps going on and on and on. And they haven’t even announced the ToCs for the last two anthologies. Everytime I think about how I’m part of thThere’s hundreds of voices in the destroy projects. You won’t agree with all of them, or even like any of all. But there’s something there for everyone. And if you wanna pre-order People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction you can do that. Right over here. You know you want to.

The full ToC is over here. Much destroying. Such quality. Very explosive. Wow.

Original Short Stories (edited by Nalo Hopkinson & Kristine Ong Muslim)

  • A Good Home by Karin Lowachee
  • Depot 256 by Lisa Allen-Agostini
  • Salto Mortal by Nick T. Chan
  • Digital Medicine by Brian K. Hudson
  • The Red Thread by Sofia Samatar
  • Wilson’s Singularity by Terence Taylor
  • Fifty Shades of Grays by Steven Barnes
  • Omoshango by Dayo Ntwari
  • Firebird by Isha Karki
  • As Long as it Takes to Make the World by Gabriela Santiago

Original Flash Fiction (edited by Berit Ellingsen)

  • An Offertory to Our Drowned Gods by Teresa Naval
  • Other Metamorphoses by Fabio Fernandes
  • Breathe Deep, Breathe Free by Jennifer Marie Brissett
  • Morning Cravings by Nin Harris
  • The Peacemaker by T.S. Bazelli
  • Binaries by S.B. Divya
  • Chocolate Milkshake Number 314 by Caroline M. Yoachim
  • Four And Twenty Blackbirds by JY Yang
  • A Handful Of Dal by Naru Dames Sundar
  • Hiranyagarbha by Kevin Jared Hosein

Reprint Fiction (selected by Nisi Shawl)

  • The Evening and the Morning and the Night by Octavia E. Butler
  • Double Time by John Chu
  • Delhi by Vandana Singh
  • 1965 by Edmée Pardo
  • Empire Star by Samuel R. Delany

Author Spotlights (edited by Arley Sorg)

  • Karin Lowachee
  • Lisa Allen-Agostini
  • Nick T. Chan
  • Brian K. Hudson
  • Sofia Samatar
  • Terence Taylor
  • Steven Barnes
  • Dayo Ntwari
  • Isha Karki
  • Gabriela Santiago
  • John Chu
  • Vandana Singh
  • Edmée Pardo

Nonfiction (edited by Grace Dillon)

  • Because Some of Us Survived by Samantha L. Taylor
  • Doing Dhalgren by Terence Taylor
  • The Thunderbird’s Path by Misha Nogha
  • Music Medicine by Zainab Amadahy
  • Interview: Daniel H. Wilson by Grace L. Dillon
  • Book Reviews: June 2016 by Sunil Patel
  • Artists Gallery by Alan Bao, Odera Igbokwe, Sonia Liao, Christopher Park, Pugeroni, Tanna Tucker, Melanie Ujimori, Victoria Ying

Excerpt (presented by Tor Books)

  • Infomocracy by Malka Older

Personal Essays (edited by Sunil Patel)

Illustrations (art direction by Henry Lien)

  • Victoria Ying—A Good Home by Karin Lowachee
  • Alan Bao—Salto Mortal by Nick T. Chan
  • Pugletto—Fifty Shades of Grays by Steven Barnes
  • Sonia Liao—Wilson’s Singularity by Terence Taylor
  • Melanie Ujimori—The Red Thread by Sofia Samatar
  • Odera Igbokwe—Double Time by John Chu
  • Christopher Park—Delhi by Vandana Singh
  • Tanna Tucker—Hiranyagarbha by Kevin Jared Hosein

Podcasts (produced by Vikas Adam)

  • A Good Home by Karin Lowachee
  • Salto Mortal by Nick T. Chan
  • Fifty Shades of Grays by Steven Barnes
  • Wilson’s Singularity by Terence Taylor
  • The Red Thread by Sofia Samatar
  • Double Time by John Chu
  • Delhi by Vandana Singh
  • Hiranyagarbha by Kevin Jared Hosein

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

vv

The Galaxy’s Cube out in Abyss and Apex!

Well, this is certainly overdue. But no matter: my short story “The Galaxy’s Cube” went live at Abyss & Apex for their 58th issue, Q2 2016. It takes place on a Thailand-inspired colony world – there’s a strong biopunk favour, lavish descriptions of haunting cities, dormant AIs, relationships and the sense of wonder and sorrow. It’s also a bit of a love letter to the choatic, beautiful sprawling mess that is Bangkok, Thailand and the wonderful people who reside there. I’ve lived in the place and visited it more than a dozen times and I’ve never had a bad experience.

I wrote this story back in late 2014 or so. It gave me hell at the time of writing, I had no idea where I was going with it, what I’d do, how it would turn out, etc. But I pressed on, finished it, and sold it to Abyss & Apex very quickly. A&A have published work by  Aliette de Bodard, Marie Brennan, Rae Carson, J. N.K. Jemisin, Will McIntosh C. J. Cherryh,  Paul Di Filippo, Jay Lake,  Tim Pratt, and others, so it’s an honour to appear in their pages. So far it’s gotten pretty good reviews, including one in SF Revu where they called it a “fantastic, heartfelt story.”

It’s not perfect of course, considering I wrote it a year and a half ago, but I think it’s one of my better stories, and I feel it’s one of those stories that I “leveled up” with. Considering that they only publish 20 or so stories a year, and frequently get Honourable Mentions in the Year’s Best, I’m pretty happy to be in their pages. Many thanks to  my editors Wendy and Tonya who pushed for it to be the leading story of the issue.

So yes. Sit back and go to a future Thai colony and do let me know what you think of the story. You can find it online for free here.

ce_6vx-ukaaskjp

Tales to Terrify, Rabid Puppies, Hugos, oh my!

I normally don’t talk about topical subjects here. I figure there’s enough of that stuff floating on the interwebz as it is and I don’t want to rally my voice to that pot. But this time I’ve been drawn into it. We all have.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’d have heard about the Puppies, especially of the Rabid variety. If you haven’t heard of them, best to keep it that way. Abandon all hope yet who continue reading.

7438681a

I’m not going to go into that now – enough ink and pixels have been spilled in just that. No, I’m going to talk about something else, something that concerns me and the whole team at District of Wonders.

Tales to Terrify, our horror podcast, earned itself a Hugo nomination.

It was on the Puppy slate.

The Rabid Puppy slate.

Yeah.

There’s a lot of stuff going on about the nominations, the places/people on the slate, and if it’s worth withdrawing solely based on the fact that these items were on the slates. George R. R. Martin nails it brilliant over on his blog where he says that withdrawing is the absolutely last thing anyone should do. It’ll give a certain glorified troll power and one sane person wants to do that.

On that same note, sending a Noah Ward (no-award, that is) nuke to anything on the slate as well? Also insane. Because Mad Max: Fury Road, Star Wars, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, etc, were on the slate, it means we should punish them with a No Award, even though we’d have voted for them anyway? Beyond insane. Again, John Scazli, George R. R. Martin and others nail this far better than I ever could, check out their words on the matter.

But coming back to Tales to Terrify, the entire team has found ourselves in a very difficult position, none more so than Stephen, Scott, Philip and Laura. We’re in the middle of a mud fight we didn’t know we’d be dragged into. And it sucks.

But something has got to be done.

We’ve written out a letter for Tales to Terrify, distancing ourselves from the Rabid Puppies and their mangy jaws. You can find it over here. Please give it a read and share it around. It’s important people know we’re not a part of this mess and that we had no idea we were on the slate.

I’m not going to lie when I say this wasn’t easy. All the editors at Tales to Terrify were gutted – Stephen wasn’t able to sleep last night and Scott mentioned that he felt like he’d been kicked in the stomach. We hate the fact that we’ve been caught up in this. But we’re not going to pull out. It’s not about us. It’s not about hiding in a corner and waiting for it all to blow over. It’s about fandom as a whole. It’s about telling the Rabid Puppies that their bullying tactics are not okay. That we’re not going to dance to their tune. If we withdrew, we’d be telling them that they can do this every year and to everyone.

It’s a long, bitter and bumpy road ahead, and every bit helps. We’re prepared for the criticism, the smearing, and negative attention and whatever else comes with it. Because we refuse to give Day an inch and because we want to play it straight. Whatever happens, we’re standing our ground. We feel we’ve got something of worth going over at Tales to Terrify, and we’re not going to let the Rabid Puppies ruin that. We owe it to fandom. We owe it to the hundreds of authors, narrators, editors and fans we’ve had the privilege of having on the show. We want their work and their contributions to mean something. We’re not letting Day and his band of semi-literate misfits destroy that.

Sympathies to anyone and everyone caught up in this nonsense. It sucks harder than a baby whale. Amoung other things.

Stiff drinks all around.

Words and words and words, starting a new project

For those of you who’ve been following my tweets recently, I’m neck deep in a new project. Not a new short story, a new novel. I finished my YA epic Slavic fantasy about a month back. I took a short break before thinking about what I was going to do next. I didn’t want to jump into edits straight away – me and my YA fantasy didn’t have a very good relationship in the last third of the book. We needed, need, time away from each other. In a couple of months I’ll come back and start hacking away at it with an axe.

But until then I needed something else. I’ve had this idea boiling in the basement of my skull for quite some time, but didn’t have the backstory to support it. I took a few days to flesh it out, do some outlining, then threw myself into writing. No side projects, no short stories, no editing. Nothing. Just words words words.

I stated that book two and a half weeks ago, about 18 days. Right now it’s sitting at 19,000 words. That’s my part time job at the moment. Butt in chair, pouring my mind on the keyboard and screen. No inspiration quotes, no #amwriting hashtags on twitter, no in-the-zone yoga mind experiments.

Just black words on white paper.

My minimum target is 1,000 words per day, not including plot outlining, world-building, and running off to jot down some cool idea. And so far I’m not doing too badly. I know where my characters are going, where they’ve come from, and (most) of the world around them. I can’t say much about the project, but it’s a space opera crossed with a murder mystery. It’s not YA either, my first adult book since my first rubbish attempt at writing a SF/F when I was in highschool.

I’m not thinking about how to sell it, how to pitch it, if the current market is good for it, nothing. I’m just having fun and getting that work down. It’s hard sometimes, and I hate every sodding word on the sodding page, but I’m doing it. It’s going to be one ugly half-breed when it’s done (coming from a half-breed), but it’ll be done.

One of the worst things I ever did was let my YA fantasy sit and rot for whole months at a time over a stretch of one year and three months while I was finishing university. It grew old and stale, and even now it’s in desperate need of a scrub up and tweaking. So I’m not making that mistake here. I’m living and breathing this world and this world alone, and it’s pouring out of me fast.

By this time next week I hope to be at 26,000 words, perhaps a little more. By the time this is over my fingers are going to be worn down to the bone and my brain having gone through a deep fat fryer, but no one said this job was meant to be easy.

‘Until then….