Book Release: Where the Stars Rise and Asian Science-fiction

It’s not been a bad year, writing wise, but having so much on means I get my attention split between projects. But even so, I’ve always been focused on this one project ever since I was asked to contribute towards it. And almost two years later, it’s out!

Where The Stars Rise: Asian Science Fiction & Fantasy is exactly what it sounds like: an anthology that focuses on Asian science-fiction and fantasy, exploring Asian cultures, themes, language, histories and futures. Being from a background Lebanese background, not usually a culture typically associated with Asia like Japan or China, I went for I knew everyone else wouldn’t be writing. So I wrote a spacepunk story set in Turkey, because I could.17352543_10155107326431575_1699043594855734950_n

The dataSultan of Streets and Stars is about Bohdi, young programmer of AIs (dubbed djinn) who’s had to skip Earth when a nasty accident resulting in the death of dozens puts rich-as-hell Arab gangsters on his tail, believing him responsible. Only, Mr. Bohdi is in debt to a dangerous alien bounty hunter, who wants the djinn for himself. And things get…messy.

It was a pleasure to combine cutting-edge technology and cool ideas with Middle-Eastern culture and history. Computer viruses are named are monsters from Islamic mythology, starships are fashioned like Phoenician ships, and tech-centres are constructed like Ottoman buildings. And food. Lots of baklava and lokum. When I build a world, I want it to inhabit every sensibility and every character aspect, and I think I achieved that here.

There’s so few good depictions of Asian cultures, and especially Middle-Eastern cultures, so I’m very proud of this story, and happy it’s in this anthology. And I’m even happier it’s doing so, so well. Here’s some reviews:

“. . . this collection is essential for anyone interested in the diverse and engaging possibilities of fantasy and science fiction.” — Booklist (American Library Association)

“. . . this fascinating collection addresses issues of immigration, dual cultures, and ethnic issues through genre devices such as ghosts, steampunk robots, and planetary exploration. Sf readers looking to discover new voices will enjoy this volume that reflects the eclecticism of Asian culture.” — Library Journal

“This anthology was good, with the majority of the stories being either good or very good page-turners.” — Tangent

And then it gets even better, because two of my favourite authors provided blurbs.

“A wealth of stories running the gamut from poignant to mind-blowing, rewarding journeys both faraway and familiar.”
— Aliette de Bodard, Nebula Award-winning author of the Dominion of the Fallen saga

Where the Stars Rise is a hell of a lot of fun. Great writers, magnificent storytelling, and worlds I wanted to spend a lot more time in—no matter how dangerous they were. I had a blast reading it.” — Rob Boffard, author of the Outer Earth series (Tracer, Zero-G, Impact)

And then there’s some select quotes from Bloggers and Goodreads reviews:


The complexities of the stories and the characters and the stories will delight readers, but they will also elicit a reaction all too familiar to book lovers everywhere: the stories will leave readers wanting much, much more. I recommend Where the Stars Rise and also encourage this new subset of science fiction and fantasy. – Ekta R. Garg, from The Write Edge


There are historicals, futuristic, space settings, fantasies, Sci-Fi, with male and female protagonists of all ages. I learned about different counties and times and events. I traveled to the moon and other planets. Some stories are funny, some are sad, some have happy endings and others were bittersweet but I’d be willing to bet that readers with even a passing interest in these genres would find a few to appeal and many to enjoy. Overall, a B+- Dear Author Reviews


There are some truly standout pieces; Memoriam by Priya Sridhar, Back to Myan by Regina Kanyu Wang, and The dataSultan of Streets and Stars, by Jeremy Szal were amazing for me. There are many more well written stories included, but just these three alone are worth the price of the anthology.  – NonStop Reader

So people are very much enjoying this anthology, and you will, too. It’s important to boost diverse voices and to support projects that cover international cultures and worlds that are left outside of the mainstream. If you’re interested in Asian cultures, this one is essential.

The website and full retailer list is here. But you can grab it from Bookdepository for free delivery worldwide. Or ask your bookstore to order it in. And do remember to leave a review on Goodreads and Amazon. It helps. A lot. More than you think.

 

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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StarShipSofa Submission: Closed and Submissions Update

Hey everyone,

So now submissions for StarShipSofa are closed. Please do not send me any further submissions, and any sent will be deleted unread. I hate having to do this, so please don’t make me do it.

But anyway, thank you so much to everyone who submitted. I’m not going to disclose how many I got, but let’s just say that I received enough stories to last StarShipSofa for several years. Several, several years, in fact. So obviously this means I’ve got a massive wealth of stories to choose from and I’m looking forward to it.

But it’s going to take some time. More than I anticipated.

By my count, I got at least twenty stories of the novella-ish length. That’s around 15-20k of words each, multiplied by twenty. That’s easily the size of one of the longer A Song of Ice and Fire books, and that doesn’t include the other submissions, many of which are pretty damn long in their own right. But I’m not complaining: I asked for long submissions and I got ’em. But it’s going to take some time to read through them all.

Am I going to finish all these beasts? No. But I will definitely read for as long as I can, as a writer myself I know that the ending can make or break a story, and I’m not one to read a couple of paragraphs and instantly smash the big ol’ red reject button. But there does come a point when I’m prettttty sure I’m not going to pick this story up. But a lot of the time I can’t justify an answer unless I’ve gotten to the end, or near it. So please, be patient with me and I’ll have an answer for you sooner or later.

That’s it for now. Thank you all again for allowing me to consider your stories.

– Jeremy Szal