It's a book birthday! My new dystopian SF&F novella, CRADLE AND GRAVE, has been released into the wilds, along with Leigh Harlen's QUEENS OF NOISE. You can pick them up (here) if you haven't. Read them if they're your kind of thing: if you like games like Fallout or worlds like Metro 2033, you might like this little dystopian survival-horror biopunk adventure. And check out how well that gorgeous moody cover by Y.C. Yang tesselates! Huge thank you to friends and family who've supported my writing so far, and to the Neon Hemlock editor, Dave, who's been working hard on all the books.
They're available in both physical and ebook forms, and you can also pick up some themed candles from the Neon Hemlock store. Will be looking forward to my QUEENS OF NOISE read, and there will likely be upcoming promo events.
R E V I E W S
“Anya Ow gives us a hallucinatory fever dream that entices the reader to puzzle out its many alien facets and a setting grounded firmly in deep characters and lived-in world building. Cradle and Grave is a tour de force of astounding body horror and a heartbreaking transhuman narrative. It is simply perfect.”
—Jordan Shiveley, Dread Singles
“Anya Ow’s Cradle and Grave is a taunt, stunningly imaginative addition to post-apocalyptic literature. I was hooked from page one by Lien and a world that walks the fine line between body horror and biopunk with ease. Ow has an incredible talent for descriptions that draw an entire picture in just a few words, be it of the monsters that hunt the protagonists on their journey or a tender relationship.”
—Lina Rather, author of Sisters of the Vast Black
“Get in, losers, we’re going to the Scab! The imaginative, climate-devastated world of Cradle and Grave drives you forward on a Fury Road cutting through Annihilation’s Area X.”
—Kellan Szpara, author of Docile
And a recent favourite, as seen on Twitter :
Meanwhile in Australia
It does feel a little odd to be releasing a dystopian novel in the middle of what feels like a dystopian apocalypse. Things have escalated rapidly around the world. As I write this, Melbourne's now in a Stage 3 lockdown, moving to 4. Most of us are working from home – if we have work at all. The panic buying in Australia has eased a little, at least, and it looks as though Victoria is starting to flatten the curve. It's been scary watching what's happening elsewhere in the world. It'll get better, I hope. Stay safe everyone.
Meanwhile in Singapore
Has anyone had any luck getting their Asian Dads not to go to the hawker centre for bak chor mee / play golf / see their kaki for kopi? Interested parties need to know. Not that Asian Dads tend to listen to their daughters, in my experience.
Nice to see that bubble tea and bak kwa remain essential in Singapore though. 😂
I've been a bit out of it life-wise the past few weeks. Russ has had suspected IBD for years and has been living on a couple of different vet diets. His pancreatic levels increased dramatically anyway, and he's had to have a biopsy to see if it was IBD or cancer. Thankfully it definitely is moderate IBD, so now he's on various medications that hopefully won't make him diabetic on top of everything, and will be seeing the vet again in a month or so for a post-biopsy check-up.
It's been a scary few weeks trying to find something new that he'd eat that won't trigger his allergies. Trialling yet another vet diet right now, which was fine for the first day but now seems to nauseate him. Going to try yet another diet soon after this. Watching his weight swing up and down has been scary and stressful. Vet clinics and hospitals are working at half capacity due to the crisis, and they've been flat out.
I suspect he's been stealing Pascal's food, which is what might have been causing the worsening IBD. He's too clever for those $150 microchip feeders. Have blockaded Pascal's into a corner and fiddled with the release timing, hopefully, that helps. Will update in a month, hoping for the best on his medication.
In the meantime, did you know that vet bandages are super sticky? Spent 2-3 hours trying to get Russ' bandages off using a combination of bribes, begging, and olive oil. Oil everywhere, but the bandages are off. He does not enjoy the Cone of Shame, though, and has made a pointed display of his dislike by whacking me in the face with it at 6 am. Revenge is best served in the ugly hours of the morning, in his opinion.
This is not the kind of game I would normally be interested in. I like SF&F games with a healthy amount of storyline, character development, and applied violence. Animal Crossing is a mostly soothing, very easygoing game of island development and interior design. It is technically SF&F I guess, what with its interest-free raccoon loans and affordable home ownership. It's been good for my anxiety these past few weeks. It's also completely eaten all the time I usually sink into my reading or writing. And yes, despite recs from friends, I've been playing it like a power gamer. Habits are hard to break.
The game is weirdly hilarious. It's hard to evict your fellow villagers, for example. Campaigns of cruelty apparently no longer work. Complaints don't work. The villager who offered to leave on my island was the villager I paid the most attention to. Apparently, the only surefire way to get a particular villager out is to use an amiibo card. Well done, Nintendo, for creating a villager black market trade on eBay that's rapidly going off the rails. I saw this the other day:
Anyway, if you're looking for a calming game to play during these dark times, I recommend Animal Crossing. Just be careful who you invite. I would like Buck off my island now, please.
What I'm Reading
There have been a few book releases that I was looking forward to for years (such as NK Jemisin's latest) but I confess I haven't devoured them like usual. I read a lot during my commutes, which is no longer a thing, and all the furor with Russ hasn't put me in the best frame of mind to read. Here are the books I've read and enjoyed in March:
|False Value / Ben Aaronovitch||The Rivers of London series has always been an entertaining urban fantasy police crime read, and False Value continues broadly along those lines. Fun reading as always.|
|Ormeshadow / Priya Sharma||A gorgeously moody read about family and family betrayals, sheep, dragons, and family histories.|
|The Haunting of Tram Car 015 / P. Djèlí Clark||Now this is the sort of alt-history urban fantasy I love to read. Colourful, intricate, funny, and full of energy, this djinn alt-Egypt novella is a must-read for lovers of urban fantasy.|
|Labyrinth Lost / Zoraida Córdova||More urban fantasy, this time a YA bruja bisexual adventure story. Loved the worldbuilding and the intensely interlocked way family played a part in the story. Great magic system.|
Had a couple of short story acceptances pop up over the last few weeks, which hopefully will appear later this year for your reading pleasure. Still trying to get back into the swing of writing right now, though. Things have knocked me for a loop, and I'm taking things slow for now. Hope everyone's holding up as well as can be expected. Best of luck.