SHORT FICTION

Pre-2017 I was primarily known as a short story writer, having had more than two dozen pieces of short or flash fiction come out over the course of two years. If you are looking for something of mine to read, and only have time for one or two, may I suggest something from this handpicked selection of stories? I am quite fond of these, and people have said quite nice things about them as well.

The Blood That Pulses In The Veins Of One

They are cutting you out of me, these creatures in their sealed white suits. Piece by piece their knives and curiosity are divorcing the gifts you have given me from the gifts I have prepared for you. Gone is the eye that gazed out over the cyan–purple sunset on Taurus 4. Severed are the muscles of the forearm which sculpted your old flesh into masterpieces. A gap yawns where once was the tongue that tasted your rich adventures.

Immortal alien cannibals. Sort of like Doctor Who meets Hannibal: two television series that actually really did not need to be crossed over in any way. And yet here we are. Content warning for gore and violence.

(Uncanny, May  2016)

Secondhand Bodies

I have bad genes. My mother’s mother had a round face and a body that bulged like a beehive, a victim of bad metabolism that spared my mother but resurfaced in me, her wayward daughter. Much as clinicians have tried to iron out the kinks in my DNA, each body they generate still goes soft and gelatinous within months. This is my fourth body since I turned twenty. Nothing sticks, not diets, not exercise. Only overhauls.

In her quest for the perfect body, Agatha agrees to give hers up in an illegal swap with a stranger, Maryam. Things get complicated when Agatha develops feelings for Maryam, and decides she’d be better off living under Agatha’s patronage. Content warning for fatphobia, racism, and gendered slurs.

(Lightspeed, Jan 2016)

Tiger Baby

Sometimes, not always, she forgets she is human. Especially on mornings like this, with her mind’s eye still burning bright, breathing forests of the night. The taste of her true form lingers: not this body with its rock of pain nestling in between neck and shoulder and the blood pounding in the head and the rancid feel of its dry mouth. Feli closes her eyes, hoping to slip back into the wonderful light darkness, into her true flesh, dread hands dread feet running across warm concrete, searching, singing, wind sluicing through striped fur as she streaks through the neighbourhood.

Since she was a child, Felicity has dreamed of being tiger-kind. Her conviction in this has not waned, not even as she tumbles towards middle-aged mediocrity: lonely, single, with no career to speak of. Yet she knows that something lurks beneath the thin layer of human skin.

(Originally from Singaporean anthology In The Belly Of The Cat, reprinted Lackington’s Winter 2015 issue)

Patterns Of A Murmuration, In Billions Of Data Points

Our mother is dead, murdered, blood seared and flesh rendered, her blackened bones lying in a yellow bag on a steel mortuary table somewhere we don’t know. The Right will not tell. After the flames and radiation had freed the sports stadium from their embrace, the Right were the first on the disaster scene, and it was their ambulances that took the remains away to some Central hospital that the Left has no access to.

Starling is an AI, created by one of the experimental military arms of the Left. When one of their mothers is killed in a stadium disaster that they suspect is a terrorist attack, Starling will risk everything to uncover the truth.

(Clarkesworld, Sept 2014)

Storytelling For The Night Clerk

You are most aware of building-think in bad weather. The night brought with it a tropical depression, Typhoon Senti, but all you note of its howling winds and bullets of rain are the data readings collected by the National Archive Complex. [PRESSURE 70KPA HUMIDITY 90% TEMPERATURE 28C CONDITIONS WITHIN OP PARAS] Rain puddles at the lobby entrance; it’s human memory that compares the camera feed to patterns of coffee creeping across kitchen tiles from a mug dropped by disease-ravaged hands. Building-think only checks the hermetic sealing on the lobby doors.

Wei En is the Night Clerk, a cybernetically-enhanced guard who patrols the National Archive Complex plugged into the building’s AI system. On the night of a heavy storm, the building is broken into by a desperate figure.

(Strange Horizons, June 2014)

Forthcoming:

Here are the stories you can look forward to in the near(ish) future!

 

Small Bones, Glittership, Jan 2017

A Burner Of Sins, in the Elements: Fire comic anthology (Beyond Press, 2017)

Auspicium Melioris Aevi, Uncanny, forthcoming issue

Glass Lights, in The Djinn Falls In Love (Solaris, March 2017)

但愿人长久, Tor.com (Summer 2017)

THE RED THREADS OF FORTUNE and THE BLACK TIDES OF HEAVEN, novella duology from Tor.com Publishing, August 2017

And for the completionists, here’s everything that I’ve ever had out (more or less), in chronological order:

2016:

Secondhand Bodies, Lightspeed (January 2016)

Her Majesty’s Lamborghini And The Girl With The Fishtank, LONTAR #6 (April 2016)

The Blood That Pulses In The Veins Of One in Uncanny Magazine (May  2016)

Four And Twenty Blackbirds in Lightspeed’s POC Destroy SF special edition (June 2016)

Transfers To Connecting Flights in An Alphabet of Embers (ed Rose Lemberg, Stone Bird Press, fall 2016)

Before The Storm Hits, sub-Q magazine, August 2016

The Beachings, The Sockdolager, Fall 2016

Ya-ya Papayareprint in The Extinction Event (ed Jared Shurin, Jurassic London, Fall 2016)

Pocket Cities in In Transit  (ed Zhang Ruihe & Yu-Mei Balasinghamchow, Math Paper Press, Nov 2016)

2015:

Cold Hands And The Smell Of Salt in Daily Science Fiction (Jan 23)

Tiger Baby reprinted in Lackington’s (Winter 2015 issue)

  • Featured by the lovely Amal on Rich And Strange on tor.com
  • Reprinted in the Apex Book of World SF #4 (ed. Mahvesh Murad, Apex Books)

 A Sister’s Weight In Stone in Apex #72 (May 2015)

RED IS THE COLOUR OF MOTHER DIRT in Athena’s Daughters, Vol 2  (anthology, Silence In The Library publishing)

Re: (For CEO’s Approval) Text for 10th anniversary exhibition for Operation Springclean in Bahamut Journal Vol 1

Letter From An Artist To A Thousand Future Versions Of Her Wife, Lightspeed Queers Destroy Science Fiction! Special Issue

A House Of Anxious Spiders, The Dark, Issue 9 (August 2015)

Temporary Saints, Fireside , Issue 28 (October 2015)

Song Of The Krakenmaid, Lackington’s (Fall 2015 issue)

2014:

Storytelling For The Night Clerk in Strange Horizons (June 16)

Harvestfruit in Crossed Genres, for their Flash Fiction issue (July)

Patterns Of A Murmuration, In Billions Of Data Points in Clarkesworld #96 (September)

  • Recommended by Lois Tilton in her review
  • Reprinted in The Best New Singaporean Short Stories, Vol 2 (ed. Jason Lundberg, Epigram Books)

 Mothers’ Day  in LONTAR #3

2013:

Old Domes  in We See A Different Frontier (ed Fabio Fernandes and Djibril al-Ayad, Futurefire.net Publishing)

Tiger Baby in The Belly Of The Cat (ed Stephanie Ye, Math Paper Press)

Earlier:

Carrier Signal (2010)  2nd place in Crossed Genres‘ Science In My Fiction contest.

Captain Bells And The Sovereign State Of Discordia (2011),  in The Steampowered Globe, edited by Rosemary Lim & Maisarah bte Abu Samah (pub: Two Trees), reprinted in Ann Vandermeer’s Steampunk III: Steampunk Revolution anthology in 2012

No Cars Go (2012) in Fish Eats Lion, edited by Jason Erik Lundberg (pub: Math Paper Press)