May 18, 2015

Behind the Scenes on "The Crimson Sands of Huo Xing"

I recently had the pleasure of having one of my short stories published by the great people at Evil Girlfriend Media. Jennifer Brozek is a wonderful, sympathetic editor, and I'm delighted to be a part of the kick-@$$ery being promoted at EGM.

My story "The Crimson Sands of Huo Xing" appears as part of their ongoing EGM shorts series. As I've mentioned before, I'm the sort of person who loves DVD extras and the like, so here are a few thoughts on my story.

First of all, the title. Huo Xing is the Chinese name for the planet Mars. My story is meant to be an homage of sorts to Edgar Rice Burroughs, though with some Cordwainer Smith and perhaps Chris Roberson thrown in. My one major difficulty with Roberson's otherwise excellent Celestial Empire series is that the series doesn't feel Chinese enough to me.

I hope I respond to that criticism of Roberson in my own story by drawing from the wuxia genre in "Crimson Sands," and especially the proto-wuxia novel Water Margins. Water Margins is also the inspiration for the opening quatrain. As happens in many early Chinese novels, the quatrain is meant to summarize the story we're about to read.

"The Crimson Sands of Huo Xing" is haiku fiction not only because of the role the quatrain plays but also in the use of suggestion. Names like Tai Shan Station and the cursed blade Yaomi Chi are meant to evoke a story world greater than the short text of the story. I'll leave it up to you to determine how well I succeeded.

Take the time to read "Crimson Sands" and let me know what you think. And support the great folks at EGM!!