The Chaos of Balance–Kenneth Kao

A man searching for a balanced life has many stories.

Asian Americans in Fiction

So, recently finished writing a pretty messed up story with some heavy themes.  I think it’s a good story.  But I did feel like I was navigating a land mine.  I had issues of incest, pedophilia, personhood and individuality, anorexia, and love/flawed humanity.  Big stuff all in one short story.  In a Horror piece, nonetheless.

I was frustrated because I had to cut out some good twists because of the length of the piece, already outside the range of commonly accepted stories at Pro Markets.  But, oh well.  This story, like many of the stories I write, ends up feeling like it could be a novel of its own.  Someday I might come back to this and novelize it, but because it is a niche market, I’m investing my time in a different story for now.

Too many stories, too little time.  Aggh.  But, on the plus side, I was lucky enough to help critique a story by Ken Liu—a writer I have immense respect for.  I’m a big proponent of diversity, and I feel as if the Asian culture especially in SF/F is underplayed.  I want more Asian novelists out there in the genre, and as much of a picky issue as it is to some people—this goes back to my childhood.  I grew up in a place and an age where being Asian meant being bullied.  I was nearly the only Asian kid in my elementary school, and because of that, I felt different; I was treated different; I had to either believe that I was something special or something hateful.  Thank God for Fiction, because the books I read nearly always showed me that different people are special.  I wouldn’t be where I am now without the identity that SFF gave me, the lessons to struggle and to find meaning of your own by walking out of the box—to be proud of who I am even if you’re beat up and teased for having slant eyes.

Thank goodness for genre fiction, except that none of those stories seemed to be about Chinese people.  To this day, the only stories I’ve read about being Chinese or Asian American in a white culture is outside SFF.  Maybe I’m not well read enough.  Maybe I’m missing some obvious books. Maybe I’m no longer in the loop.  But whatever the reason, even if it isn’t specifically about racial identity, I just want to see more of us in the field.  It’s important to me.

It feels petty.

But it would mean so much to me as one of the still few Asian American authors out there to see our rise in the field.  Be it a deep rooted childhood trauma issue, or a random obsession, for now I’m gonna be following every Asian SFF author I can find and stick to them like glue.

Cheers.

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This entry was posted on August 9, 2012 by in Writing and tagged , , , , , .
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