The Great Edit

I’ve been working away on edits for the novel based on the editorial letter. It feels a bit like I just did another NaNoWriMo for December — the edits were grueling, but I think the result is a novel that is at least 30% better than before.

Plus, I now have a wiki that goes into some depth regarding the geography, culture, language, mythology, characters, and other similar details about the world. This ought to come in handy for book 2, even if creating it was a rather daunting undertaking. (Lesson learned: should have done this from the start instead of just writing some loose “notes.” This is one of the many things different in the process of writing a novel compared to a short story.)

We’ll see if readers agree with my assessment … in another year. The lead times for publishing are incredible, aren’t they?

The Novel(s)

So, I have big news. I sold three novels and a collection of short stories to Simon & Schuster’s new, yet-to-be-named genre imprint.

You can read the full press release here at io9.

As the press release says, the first book in the series, The Chrysanthemum and the Dandelion,

… follows Kuni Garu, a charming bandit, and Mata Zyndu, the son of a deposed duke. At first, the two seem like polar opposites. Yet, in the uprising against the emperor, they quickly become the best of friends after a series of adventures. The scope of the series is epic, involving gods, massive armies, diverse cultures, multiple plotlines, numerous characters, politics, war, courtly intrigue, and love.

Continue reading

World Scholar’s Cup

The World Scholar’s Cup, a world-wide academic team-based competition for teens that celebrates learning (think Academic Decathlon), invited me to their Tournament of Champions at Yale today.

I was there to talk to the students about “The Paper Menagerie” — they had read it as one of the resources to be used in their debates and essays. It was really cool meeting the students: bright, eager, and very insightful with their questions and criticisms. I felt like I learned quite a bit about myself and about the story after hearing from them. These young people were having a great time while also honing their academic skills — it was impressive as hell to see and hear them at work.

Daniel Berdichevsky, the founder of WSC, is a pretty amazing individual (go read his bio), and I think his vision for what WSC can do for students around the world is very inspiring. Jeremy, Zac, Grace, and other WSC coordinators (I didn’t write all the names down in time) were all really kind, generous, and brilliant, and everyone exuded positive energy.

It’s heartening to see this kind of positive work being done in the world.

I had about half an hour at one point free, and I popped in at the Peabody Museum of Natural History because this is where the world’s only “Brontosaurus” is located. (Read the plaque for why I used quotes.)


Brontosaurus explanation

Award Nomination Season

It’s time to nominate for awards for fiction published in the past year. I’ve started to post my thoughts on stories I liked here, along with a short list of stories by me that are eligible for nominations. I’ll be adding to this list over time as I’m just getting underway to read seriously for award nominations.

WSFA Small Press Award

I’m amazed and honored to say that my story, “Good Hunting,” published by Strange Horizons, has won WSFA Small Press Award for Short Fiction! This was one of my favorite stories I wrote last year, and I’m really glad to see readers responding to it.

According to the Washington Science Fiction Association web site:

The award honors the efforts of small press publishers in providing a critical venue for short fiction in the area of speculative fiction. The award showcases the best original short fiction published by small presses in the previous year. An unusual feature of the selection process is that all voting is done with the identity of the author hidden so that the final choice is based solely on the quality of the story.

The award was announced at Capclave tonight. Since I wasn’t able to attend this year, my friend Jamie Rubin very graciously agreed to accept for me. Here’s the speech I wrote for him:

Receiving this award for “Good Hunting” is an incredible honor for me. Thank you, thank you so much.

“Good Hunting” is a story about transformation. Sometimes, it’s necessary to change oneself to survive in a new environment; sometimes, it’s necessary to reconstruct traditions to adapt to new circumstances; occasionally, it’s worthwhile to give everything you have to remake the world.

I first began writing because I didn’t like the stories I was reading and wanted to tell different ones. As writers, we inherit certain narratives and tropes and genres, and if we feel unsatisfied with them, it is our responsibility to transform them into something better.

“Good Hunting” was born because I didn’t like a certain kind of narrative. And there’s nothing that makes me more joyous to hear that my changes pleased you.

Thank you!


So I just found out that I won a Hugo for “Mono no aware.”

First of all, congrats to all the winners and nominees. I’m so proud to be in your ranks.

And thank you, everyone who voted for me. I’m speechless. It’s a tremendous honor, and I’m really, really grateful.

A special thanks to my friend Alex Shvartsman, who accepted for me. I hope you had fun at the parties, Alex!

Read! Singapore

I’ll be going to Singapore from 9/1 to 9/9 as part of the National Library Board of Singapore’s Read! Singapore initiative to encourage community reading and discussions on a selected story.

I’m incredibly honored that “The Paper Menagerie” has been chosen for this initiative.

You can see a full listing of my appearances in Singapore here. There will be other talks and interviews as well: I’m scheduled pretty tight :)

Although Lisa is from Singapore, I’ve never been there, so this is a very exciting opportunity. I can’t wait to experience the city and meet readers and writers there — some of whom I’ve only known through Twitter and Facebook.

But I will have to miss WorldCon as a result. So let me congratulate all the Hugo nominees and winners in advance. You’re all amazing, and I wish I can be there to cheer you on.

Fan Art

So, I’ve just gotten my first piece of fan art!

Artist Iryna Lazerka (of the Russian-language magazine Kosmoport) heard me talking about “silkpunk” and came up with the following cool picture. Thank you, Iryna!

Now, to be sure, the novel in my world actually wouldn’t quite look like this. Though the plot and some of the cultural elements are inspired by East Asian traditions, the world Lisa and I imagined doesn’t look like “magical China” at all. The intent is to not model the world closely on any real world culture. The architecture, clothing, etc., would all be so different that most observers would not consider them even vaguely “Asian.” However, if you know a lot about Asian culture and history, bits of the story and the philosophy of the characters would conjure up faint echoes.

Xia Jia Wins an Honorable Mention in SFF Translation Awards

“A Hundred Ghosts Parade Tonight,” by my friend Xia Jia, and translated by me, has won an Honorable Mention in the 2013 Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Awards!

I loved this story, and it’s great to see Xia Jia getting some recognition. I think she’s one of the best contemporary Chinese speculative fiction writers. I’m proud to have had a chance to work with her.

She’s also a skilled translator on her own, having translated my “The Man Who Ended History” into Chinese. I think her translation is superior to my own original in many ways. She’ll also have a story in Neil Clarke’s upcoming Upgraded cyborg anthology. (The story is amazing, and I cried while translating it.)

I also talked about translating Xia Jia’s story for Clarkesworld: “Gathered in Translation”.