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.

Waiting On A Bright Moon

It’s the scream that alerts you. You didn’t see the body come in, didn’t witness its ungainly, sprawling materialisation through the white of the portal. When you lift your voice in concert with your song-sister on the originworld, the act consumes you. 怒发冲冠、凭栏处。You are in rapture. You see nothing and hear nothing but the music your twinned voices produce. 抬望眼、仰天长啸、壮怀激烈。Your existence dissolves from the throat outwards while you deform the shape of the universe: 三十功名尘与土、八千里路云和月。You are no longer a person, but ansible, transmitting matter and energy across light-years through your song.

Xin is an ansible, using her song magic to connect the originworld of the Imperial Authority and its far-flung colonies— a role that is forced upon magically-gifted women “of a certain closeness”. When a dead body comes through her portal at a time of growing rebellion, Xin is drawn deep into a station-wide conspiracy along with Ouyang Suqing, one of the station’s mysterious, high-ranking starmages.

(Tor.com, July 2017)

Auspicium Melioris Aevi 

The Harry Lees were so numerous they almost ran out of nicknames for themselves. Kuan Yew and Senior Minister and Lao Lee and Ah Gong. The forty-seventh new Harry Lee went by MM Lee, MM short for Minister Mentor. He rubbed the back of his neck. “I thought I screwed up. I hesitated too long before asking. But he let me go anyway.” 

The fiftieth new Harry Lee bent over to touch his toes, and said nothing.

In the not-too-distant future, the Academy grows clones of long-gone world leaders like heirloom tomatoes, training them and sending them out to dispense sage advice to the current set of world leaders. Close to graduation, the fiftieth clone of Harry Lee Kuan Yew has decided he wants to buck the system. But will the system let him?

(Uncanny, January 2017)

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)

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)

THE LATEST READS:

These are the stories I’ve had out in 2017.

Small Bones, Glittership (January 2017)

Auspicium Melioris Aevi, Uncanny Magazine, Issue 15 (January 2017)

Glass Lights, in The Djinn Falls In Love & Other Stories (ed Mahvesh Murad & Jared Shurin, Solaris, March 2017)

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

Waiting on A Bright Moon, Tor.com (July 2017)

And for the completionists, here’s everything else 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)
  • Reprinted in The New Voices of Fantasy (ed. Peter S. Beagle & Jacob Weisman, Tachyon Publications)

 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)