Flash Fiction: Eight Characters

eight characters

Eight Characters is a flash fiction I wrote that was published in Daily Science Fiction in January of this year, based on the 八字 system. You can check it out here (x). 八字 (bazi) or literally: eight characters is a Chinese astrological concept where it’s believed you can calculate your destiny based on the hour, day, month, and year of your birth. A lot of people still take it very seriously. That’s the thing about culture, I guess. Some things you just don’t even see as superstition. I’ve been told as well never to let anyone know the hour of your birth, because that would give them power over you, quite like how a lot of Western fantasy tropes involve “true names” as a source of power.

A liminal aside: my mum once did the calculation for my brother and me. We’re both lucky, she told me excitedly. I already knew that. We were lucky to be born to our parents, who love us, who live where they did, with good jobs, in a country with one of the best universal healthcare systems in the world, which deeply valued education, where the best high schools were free if you could make the grade. Lucky that libraries were everywhere, where my high school library in an all girls’ school had Terry Pratchett, Janny Wurts, Douglas Adams and a lot more, my first serious introduction into SF&F. Lucky that the police in our country weren’t something to be feared, that guns were something that we only saw on TV. Luck is a strange thing. I try to spread it around in the small ways that I can.

Story Stats

Submitted: 30 Aug 2018
Shortlisted: 13 Sep 2018
Accepted: 31 Oct 2018
Contract Signed: 19 Nov 2018
Published: January 2019