The Veiled Shanghai

I have a story coming out in an anthology of speculative fiction inspired by Oz: Oz Reimagined: New Tales from the Emerald City and Beyond, edited by John Joseph Adams and Douglas Cohen. You can pre-order the anthology from Amazon here.

The anthology features work from Theodora Goss, Kat Howard, Seanan McGuire, Rachel Swirsky, Robin Wasserman, and Jane Yolen, among others. I’m really proud to be in such company.

Even better, each of the stories from the anthology will be available as a Kindle single, and the talented and amazing Galen Dara has provided an illustration/cover for each. The cover for my contribution, “The Veiled Shanghai,” is lovely:

And you can pre-order the single here.

“The Veiled Shanghai” is a steampunk fantasy set at the time of the May Fourth Movement in colonial Shanghai. Dorothy and her ragtag team must find the Great Oz, save a revolution, and defeat the Wicked Warlord of the West.

The May Fourth Movement defined much of what it means to be “Chinese” in the modern era (culture, language, the legacy of colonialism, the struggle for freedom, etc.). Almost a century later, I still feel a keen sense of connection to those men and women because the revolution in many ways continues to this day.

This story is, in a sense, written to honor them.

It’s surprising to me that many in the west do not understand the complicated feelings that the Chinese had (and still do) about the colonial legacy of places like Shanghai and Hong Kong. Some readers of the story expressed surprise at the (apparently) conflicted feelings that my Chinese characters show towards their status as colonial subjects.

I suppose the colonial experience, intuitive to me, is not so intuitive to many who have never lived in a society shaped by it. It’s not a simple matter of being “anti-West” when one is opposed to being colonized. Indeed, the May Fourth movement was very much a “pro-West” movement while also being an anti-colonial movement.

I suppose that’s also why stories like this one are important to me, for I hope through them I can capture some sense of that complexity in our experience as historical subjects.

Oh, I’m also going to be doing a reading of this story for the New York Review of Science Fiction with Jim Freund. It will be on March 6, 7:00 PM, at the Soho Gallery for Digital Art. More info here. Robin Wasserman will also be reading her story. Hope to see you there!