Immersion Editor #1 Interview – Allan Cho3 min read

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Immersion: An Asian Anthology of Love, Fantasy, and Speculative Fiction is a special anthology book project between Ricepaper and Dark Helix Press which is open to submission from February 15, 2018 – December 31, 2018 (extended).

The anthology editors are Allan Cho (AlliterAsian: Twenty Years of Ricepaper Magazine), JF Garrard (Trump: Utopia or Dystopia, The Undead Sorceress) and William Tham (Kings of Petaling Street). Each editor was interviewed to introduce their roles and to give some insight into what they hope to see from submissions: February 15 post – Allan Cho, March 1 post – JF Garrard, March 17 post – William Tham.

This post shares the musings of Allan Cho, enjoy!

Ricepaper Magazine (RM):  Can you give a brief into to yourself and your role at Ricepaper Magazine/ACWW?

Allan Cho (AC): My name is Allan Cho, the Editor-in-Chief of Ricepaper magazine.  I am a co-editor of the anthology AlliterAsian: Twenty Years of Ricepaper Magazine.

RM: What attracted you to the Immersion project? What do you hope to accomplish?

AC: In 2015, the LiterASIAN festival had speculative and science fiction as its theme, and there was a lot of interest and buzz generated.  While it featured a number of great authors books, there was a sense from the community that it’s still too new an area of writing that writers of Asian descent were not entirely comfortable or experienced enough in writing. Yet, when I see Ted Chiang’s Arrival adapted to a Hollywood blockbuster or Liu Cixing’s Three Body Problem winning the Nebula award, I’m further inspired that there’s real potential in the writing community to unearth a new generation of storytellers. Good writing should be fun and playful, and not hindered by real-world problems such as taxes, parking tickets, and doctor’s appointments. Why can’t our heroes walk through walls, time-travel through hypnosis, or fortune-tell through computers? Anything is possible in the world of speculative fiction, and I think we will showcase to the world a whole new generation of writers through this anthology.

RM: Are there particular genres or types of stories you wish to see?

AC:  I would love to see history and science fused together to enrich my own understanding of the real and the unreal. One of my favourite writers growing up in Canada is the Hong Kong novelist Ni Kuang, who was a contemporary of Jin Yong. My mother would regale me of stories from the Wisely Series, which were Chinese adventure-science fiction novels whose protagonist is a Bruce Wayne-meets-Sherlock Holmes-like individual, Wai See-Lei, who encounter strange aliens hidden in talking cats and old men who build staircases that led to outer space. Although Ni stopped writing in 1999, his stories have generated a multitude of television and film adaptations, and solidly embedded into the consciousness of Chinese science fiction across the world.

RM: Is there anything you don’t want to see?

AC:  I hope not to see any recycled plots or “fetishes” about Asia.  I think we can do without them.

RM: Any tips for writers in general?

AC:  Be persistent in your final draft.  Good writing takes time, it’s a craft.  Even if you think you have the story, don’t rush to submit it right away.  Sleep on it, and continue to hone and refine your piece.   In a short story, the plot is the key.   My mentor Jim Wong-Chu once advised me to read every O. Henry story as it can be an effective way to learning how to tell a concise yet impactful narrative in a limited amount of words.   And guess what?   I’m still reading!  




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