Tag Archives: fantasy

Cover Reveal for The Grace of Kings

At long last, the cover for The Grace of Kings can be revealed!

Sam Weber, the cover artist, did an amazing job. I think it looks gorgeous.

Publication date: 4/7/2015.

You can read about Saga’s launch titles (works by Lee Kelly, Genevieve Valentine, Zachary Brown, and me) here.

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 The Novel(s)

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.

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!

World Fantasy Award

Over the weekend, “The Paper Menagerie” won the World Fantasy Award. Jonathan Strahan told me that it’s the first piece of fiction to win all three of the Nebula, the Hugo, and the World Fantasy Award.

Seems impossible to believe…

Thank you, and congratulations to all the nominees and winners!

Gordon Van Gelder, who was going to accept the award for me, had to leave to catch his flight. So David Levine very graciously accepted in his place. I still haven’t seen the award yet, but there’s a place reserved for it on my shelves.

Here’s what I had to say in my acceptance speech:

I’ve always thought of fantasy as literature that literalizes metaphors. That is what I tried to do in “The Paper Menagerie,” and I’m grateful to the many readers who have found the metaphor effective and this story to their liking. The reaction has been far more than I ever expected, and indeed, overwhelming.

I wish my grandmother had lived to see me win this award. She was the one who taught me origami as a child, and I’ll always remember the first time I saw her blowing into one of her paper creations, seeming to bring it to life.

I also want to thank my editor, Gordon Van Gelder, for making the story better, and my wife Lisa, without whom none of my successes would have been possible.

Thank you, everyone.

A few more items of “The Paper Menagerie”-related news. The British Origami Society reprinted the story in the October issue of their member magazine, and Dennis Walker, the editor, sent me a beautiful origami tiger.

Paper Tiger

And finally, io9 reprinted “The Paper Menagerie” today (read), and I’ve literally never received so many tweets about any story.

This story has gone further than I ever dared to hope. Thank you, readers and fellow writers. This means so much to me.

The Chronicles of European Heroes

Oh my God. I am reading the coolest book ever.

Ma Boyong, one of my favorite Chinese authors, has written a wuxia novel featuring European elements: The Chronicles of European Heroes (《欧罗巴英雄记》). Yes, this is a wuxia novel in which heroes use the “Templar Crucifix Sword Fighting Technique” and Christian monks heal people by balancing aqueous and igneous humors, a novel with xiake and magic and wandering poets and quotes from books by ancient sages like Hippocrates.

I never would have thought such a thing possible. But here I am, reading it. I feel like a kid on Christmas with a smile on my face the whole time.

This is the most creative thing I’ve ever seen. I wish I had even a little bit of Ma’s brilliance.