Friday, April 19, 2019

The Way of the Pulps

A few days ago, I had the privilege of reading the synopsis of a trilogy being written by a fellow Singaporean. It was an honest-to-goodness Sword and Planet story, like Star Wars crossed with Final Fantasy. Holy warrior maidens, mind-altering magics, political intrigue, interstellar travel and warfare, it was like reading a revival of an old school pulp story. It had incredible potential.
Which is why it will never be published in Singapore.
I'm not exaggerating. The writer had shopped the first book in his trilogy to several Singaporean publishers. Only one responded, and he said that there was no market for science fiction in Singapore.
His tale affirms my stance: the Way of the Pulps is the only way for me.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

A Thirst for Beauty

For a published writer, I realize I don't read a lot of fiction.
Between my work and my other responsibilities, I don't have a lot of spare time. A not-insignificant fraction of that time is usually spent chasing down avenues of research related to my current story. What little reading time I do have left is stolen from train rides, mindless chores, the odd half hour before bed.
Reading time is extremely precious to me. And I won't waste it reading trash.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Dungeon Samurai Vol. 1 Cover Reveal!

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It is my great pleasure to announce that the cover of my Dungeon Samurai Vol. 1: Kamikaze is complete!
Dungeon Samurai Vol. 1 will hit shelves in May, as planned. Kickstarter backers will receive their copies at least 2 weeks before the official release date. Volumes 2 and 3 will be published in June and July respectively.
In case you're wondering what it's about, please see the description below:
Yamada Yuuki is an ordinary Japanese college student with an extraordinary hobby: the classical martial art of Kukishin-ryu. Until one fateful day when a demon rips through the fabric of space-time, abducts everyone in his dojo, and transports them to another world.
To return home, Yamada and his friends must join forces with other displaced humans to conquer the dungeon that runs through the heart of the world. Standing in their way are endless hordes of bloodthirsty monsters and countless traps. Armed only with steel, faith and guts, they must battle their way through the winding catacombs to confront the demon waiting on the bottom floor.
Yamada was once a student. Now he must become a samurai.
I'm excited to see this project to fruition, and I look forward to your support when it is finally published.
Cheah Git San Red.jpg
In the meantime, if you want a book you can buy and read now, check out HOLLOW CITY exclusively on Amazon. It's the tale of a superpowered cop forced to become a vigilante after he's abandoned by his superiors; with a price on his head, he must battle gangsters and supervillains while staying one step ahead of the law. Fans of superhero stories and police procedurals will love this.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

HOLLOW CITY is live!

Super powered cop Adam Song has dedicated his life to the law. In the military and the police force, Adam ruthlessly protects the innocent.
But this time he’s killed the wrong bad guy. Now the local drug lord’s son is dead, and the boss is out for Adam’s blood. Even his secret identity won’t keep him safe. The police department hangs him out to dry, his years of exemplary service forgotten. Adam must take justice into his own hands to keep his family safe.
Because Adam is a Song. And Songs take care of their own. No matter the cost.
When does justice become murder? And just how far will he go to protect his clan?
It is my great pleasure to announce the publication of my latest novel, Hollow City, Book 1 of the Song of Karma series.
Song of Karma combines superpowers with firepower, tactics and technology, ninja and noir in Silver Empire's Heroes Unleashed universe. Adam Song is the Punisher combined with Daredevil, with the training and the weaponry to take on the hardest of the hardcore villains who walk the world. Once a cop, he must now become a vigilante.
But even he can't escape his karma.
It was a blast writing this novel, and I hope you enjoy the future installments in the series.
Cheah Git San Red.jpg

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Mechanical Versus Mythical Magic

Corey McCleeryAlexander HelleneXavier LastraRawle Nyanzi and Misha Barnett recently opined on the de-mythologicisation of magic in contemporary fantasy. All five pieces are worth a read, but the thesis running through the heart of the conversation is that de-mythologicisation robs the mystery from magic in contemporary fantasy, making it feel empty. Comparing the works of the pulp-era grandmasters and many contemporary writers, I'm inclined to agree.

Modern fantasy revels in showing off magic systems. From arcane engineering to divine petitions to litRPG rulesets, magic in many modern fantasy stories are built on mechanics and principles that are well-understood by magic-users and revealed to the audience. In these stories, magic is no longer about the upending of the rules of the physical world, the injection of chaos into an otherwise orderly and familiar world, or a climactic event that shapes the story. It is treated as a tool like any other, to be used by appropriately-trained characters to achieve their goals. What was once the province of grand mythology is reduced to mundane activity.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Writing Faith in Fiction

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It is fashionable in modern SFF to denigrate religion as oppressive and outdated superstition. Priests are corrupt hypocrites, gods are dead or evil or both, religious doctrine is a lie -- and the worst offender is always Christianity in fantasy dress. Science fiction goes one step further, portraying technologically advanced societies that have outgrown religion -- including Christianity. Alternatively, religion is treated as window dressing, or as an afterthought plastered on to the setting.
Such derogatory or half-hearted portrayals of religion undermine the genre.
A key element of science fiction and fantasy is awe and wonder. The writer evokes this feeling by portraying an organic world and a cosmology much larger than the characters, and by extension the readers. Drawing upon religion and mythology is a powerful and time-tested method of achieving this.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Red River Part 13


Dewdrop World

One can’t challenge an Executive Assistant Director of the PSB without consequences.
Mere minutes after Pearce left, a barrage of orders came down from above. The mission was declared complete, with all operational duties handed over to the Riveria field office and local ESWAT team. All STS operators would catch the first flight back to Babylon. Team Black Watch would be suspended and placed on administrative leave to support a post-shooting investigation by the Office of Professional Standards and Ethics.
After every mission, if an STS operator fired shots, there would always be a post-shooting investigation. But unlike regular law enforcement agencies, STS operators weren’t pulled off the line during the investigation. Their operational tempo and small numbers simply couldn’t support it. What investigations OPSE performed for the STS never took longer than a week, rarely longer than a day or two, long enough to establish that, yes, the operators faced extraordinary threats in an extraordinary environment, yes, the operators were required to employ dynamic tactics and specialist weapons to meet these threats, yes, the operators acted within policy.
It took a major fuck up to be suspended.
And the Black Watch did not fuck up.