Thursday, April 18, 2024

6 Books with Eliza Chan

Eliza Chan is a Scottish-born speculative fiction author.  Her short fiction has been published in The Dark, Podcastle, Fantasy Magazine and The Best of British Fantasy. Her debut novel Fathomfolk —inspired by mythology, ESEAN cities and diaspora feels— was published by Orbit in February 2024.

Today she tells us about her Six Books:

1. What book are you currently reading?

I'm currently reading Hannah Kaner's Godkiller, an absolutely gripping, explosive epic fantasy that is unlike anything I've read before. It's giving me American Gods meet The Witcher vibes at the moment but I'm early on.

2. What upcoming book are you really excited about?

Suyi Davies Okungbowa's new novella Lost Ark Dreaming is on my radar. It has a similar premise to my book, with post-climate change semi-flooded towers, but Okungbowa's is based in West Africa and has comps to Snowpiercer. It sounds like exactly my jam.

3. Is there a book that you're currently itching to reread?

Having recently watched Dune Part Two, I'm itching to reread the whole Dune series to see if it stands up to the test of time. The desert setting and the science fantasy aspects are still fairly rare even though the genre has developed a lot since then.

4. How about a book you've changed your mind about over time--either positively or negatively?

The Anne McCaffrey Dragonriders of Pern books had a massive impact on me as a teen, with their strong female leads and, more importantly, dragons. The romance in them has not aged well at all, though. There's quite a lot of dubious consent (read that as severe lack of consent) as well as unhealthy power dynamics in the main relationships. I'm not sure I can recommend or reread them in good conscience apart from Dragonsong and Dragonsinger because they thankfully have no romance in them at all.

5. What's one book that has had a lasting impact on your writing style?

Cheating a bit, but it would be Ken Liu's The Paper Menagerie and other stories, short story collection. Liu has a way of taking a concept, a part of history or mythology, and asking a series of questions around it to make the reader think. For example, The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary examines our obsession with seeing things before we believe them in this internet age, whilst Good Hunting is about nine-tailed foxes but also colonisation. His writing gave me permission to layer multiple meanings in a narrative, to strive for writing that asks difficult questions, even if there is no easy answer.

6. What's your latest book, and why is it awesome?

My debut adult fantasy novel Fathomfolk is what if the Little Mermaid was a pissed-off immigrant in a semi-flooded East- and Southeast-Asian-inspired cityscape, and it was never about the love of a man; it was for love of her home. It looks at prejudice, discrimination, class and the cost of change, through the lens of a myriad of disparate sea folk including kappas, kelpies, water dragons and mermaids. It's my love letter to multicultural cities and all their problems, but in a fantastical setting. It's out now from Orbit.

Thank you, Eliza!

POSTED BY: Paul Weimer. Ubiquitous in Shadow, but I'm just this guy, you know? @princejvstin.