Questioning the Paradigms

Tue 20 Mar 2018 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Ambiguity Machines coverThis weekend Vandana Singh was interviewed on the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy Podcast, which is featured on Wired. Although it has an odd title which doesn’t really fit the book or author (this is an author who whenever I talk to her she is always juggling 3 different tasks), it’s well worth a listen to try and catch up on some of Vandana’s thinking about the world, Arctic ice, the universe, and writing.

Since it came out last month Vandana’s first North American collection, Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories is shooting like a rocket through the sky and it’s looking increasingly likely that we’ll have to send it to back to the printer — always a cause for celebration! I am pretty optimistic when it comes to print runs:

Spreadsheets: There are 273 preorders for this title that publishes in 62 days.
Me: Everyone’s doing Just-in-Time Ordering these days. Let’s print 5,000!

And sometimes that means going over, oops, and even yet, sometimes the world is hungrier for a book than I expected. In which case everyone from the printer to the distributor to the bookstore to the author will be delighted — except for that period when it’s out of stock at the distributor, hmm.

The reviews have been pouring in from newspapers and magazines large and small:

“There’s a wonderful discordance between the cool, reflective quality of Singh’s prose and the colorful imagery and powerful longing in her narratives” (Washington Post) | “The capstone to this hopeful, enriching collection is the small masterpiece ‘Requiem.'”(Wall Street Journal) | “Rich, dense, and balanced.” (Tor.com) | “Singh’s compassionate imagination and storytelling talents are here clearly on display.” (Intergalactic Medicine Show) | “Singh underscores the ultimate point that stories make the world and the universe has a place for all of them.”(Woven Tale Press) | “Full of risky experiments that turn out beautifully: colorful, emotionally resonant, and consistently entertaining.” (Publishers Weekly [starred review])

And this review by Aditya Desai on Aerogram is particularly fascinating:

Singh is laying the groundwork attempt to re-write the plots of Chosen Ones, dystopian governments, and self-actualizing hero tropes common to Western literature, where the quest for “the meaning of life” is often seeking a single endpoint, an origin. Singh’s characters wish only to know for the sake of knowing. Life isn’t defined by linear time, it is the richness of experience.

And there’s be more reviews coming along soon.

Kelly and I have known Vandana and admired her writing for many years. One of her early stories, “The Woman Who Thought She Was a Planet, was published in an anthology Kelly edited, Trampoline. Occasionally we’d run into Vandana at Readercon or at a Boston event and we’d talk about a collection but I don’t think it was until 2015 that I actually got Vandana to send us some stories.

A total bonus of publishing this book has been the reading the two essays Vandana wrote on the intersection of her work as a physics professor and her writing, one for Tor and one for Powell’s. Climate change is a semi-regular cause of personal despair, and these thorough and thoughtful essays are useful bulwarks against that.

You can read some of Vandana’s stories here: Life-pod · Wake-Rider · Ruminations in an Alien Tongue · Ambiguity Machines: An Examination; listen to Vandana on PW Radio with Rose Fox; or read an interview by Kylie Korsnack in the Los Angeles Review of Books: Transcending Boundaries, and of course pick up the book (or DRM-free ebook) here.



Ambiguity Machines Giveaway

Tue 12 Dec 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Now that Am*zonGoodreads has gotten a good amount of data on readers and giveaways, in January they’re going to start charging between $100 and $600 to run these so this will be among the last we do. But, hey, put your name in the hat to get an advance print galley of Ambiguity Machines now!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Ambiguity Machines by Vandana Singh

Ambiguity Machines

by Vandana Singh

Giveaway ends December 19, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway



Singh the Rising Star

Mon 11 Dec 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Who doesn’t like the letter “S”? Where would English plural words be without it*? What lovely sounds this post title makes — and can’t you just hear the implied semi-colon, a la “Singh: the Rising Star”? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe a comma? A semi-colon? Nothing at all?!

Anyway, the latest anyway in a line of 10,000, besides Publishers Weekly including it in their Top 10 SF, Fantasy & Horror Spring 2018 Announcements(!), Library Journal gave Vandana Singh’s forthcoming collection a very strong review in their December 1 issue**:

“In “Wake Rider,” a young woman faces death in different forms as she also contemplates the possibilities of her life. In “Oblivion: A Journey,” a long-held need for revenge keeps the protagonist striving for life beyond death until the realization sets in that mortality may be the only relief. The heroine of “Requiem” travels to Alaska a year after her aunt’s disappearance, seeking answers. All of the stories here feature characters who are trying to discover the nature of their existence and how their lives connect others. VERDICT Rising star Singh draws on her Indian roots and physics background to bring her first North American collection to readers. Admirers of literary sf will want to read this.”

* Answers on a postcard to the usual address, thank ee kindly!
** Also in that issue: their review of The Invisible Valley.



Luminous and Compassionate

Wed 18 Oct 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Ambiguity Machines cover - click to view full sizeYoon Ha Lee, author of Ninefox Gambit, just finished reading Vandana Singh’s forthcoming collection Ambiguity Machines and says of it:

“Ranging in scale from the smallest life to far-ranging interplanetary adventures, and drawing upon both science and mythology, Vandana Singh’s stories are luminous and compassionate.”

You can read the title story on Tor.com. I just went over the proofread copy of the book with Vandana and it is such a fun book — if your idea of fun is Vandana’s unique thread of science fiction, which, of course it is! Or will be. Just wait and see, what a book. The book ends with a huge new story, “Requiem” set in Alaska with whales and drilling and global warming and a missing scientist.

Between “Requiem”, Christopher Rowe’s “The Border State” and Sofia Samatar’s “Fallow,” we have had a run of amazing original novellas.



Vandana Singh Defies Expectations

Mon 3 Jul 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Ambiguity Machines coverSays multiple award-winner Ken Liu, one of the first readers of Vandana’s forthcoming collection Ambiguity Machines and Other Machines:

“Singh defies expectation with every exquisite turn of phrase. She gives you strange, powerful visions that move the heart and challenge the mind.”
– Ken Liu, author of The Grace of Kings and The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories



A New Collection from Vandana Singh

Wed 17 May 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Ambiguity Machines coverI am delighted to announce that we will publish Vandana Singh‘s first US collection Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories in February of 2018. The title story, Ambiguity Machines: An Examination, can be found on Tor.com.

Long ago when the world was young and we had published just four books in two years (woah, slow down there young fellow!), we published an anthology edited by Kelly, Trampoline, which included an early story of Vandana’s, “The Woman Who Thought She Was a Planet.” That story went on to be the title story of Vandana’s first collection which was published by Zubaan/Penguin India. Vandana is also the author of two novellas published by Aqueduct Press, two books for children, and she co-edited with Anil Menon the anthology Breaking the Bow: Speculative Fiction Inspired by the Ramayana. Outside of writing fiction, Vandana, as she so neatly says, professes physics and follows her interests in climate science.

Ambiguity Machines is a book full of big ideas (big isn’t a big enough word for them . . . maybe: ginormous ideas of unusual size) and people. One of the best parts of getting this book ready for the light of day was when Vandana emailed in a story that will appear in the book for the first time, “Requiem.” It’s a story of a woman who goes searching for her aunt who has gone missing in Alaska. It’s a page turner, deep and rich, with a streak of very cheering and surprising scientific optimism.

The cover isn’t final, c’est la vie, but it will be beautiful! You can pre-order the book here.