Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Yoon Ha Lee

A Korean-American sf/f writer who received a B.A. in math from Cornell University and an M.A. in math education from Stanford University, Yoon Ha Lee finds it a source of continual delight that math can be mined for story ideas. Lee’s novel Ninefox Gambit won the Locus Award for best first novel, and was a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, and Clarke awards; its sequels, Raven Stratagem and Revenant Gun, were also Hugo finalists. His middle grade space opera Dragon Pearl won the Mythopoeic Award for Children’s Literature and the Locus Award for best YA novel, and was a New York Times bestseller. Lee’s short fiction has appeared in publications such as Tor.com, Clarkesworld Magazine, and Audubon Magazine, as well as several year’s best anthologies.

Lee’s hobbies include composing music, art, and destroying the reader. He lives in Louisiana with his husband and an extremely lazy catten.

Lee's new novel is Fox Snare.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. His reply:
I’m reading a few things right now, but the current standouts are:

S. L. Huang’s The Water Outlaws, a delightful genderspun take on the Chinese classic novel Water Margin (I have not read that one). Larger-than-life adventure, martial arts, and wuxia-style magic and derring-do! I am especially taken with the way the monk Lu Da is introduced: among other things, she was expelled for missing curfew 173 times due to drunkenness.

C. J. Cherryh’s Heavy Time, which is part of her long-running Alliance-Union universe. So far it’s a claustrophobically tense thriller through the viewpoint of two spacers who rescue the survivor of a ruined starship that may be the key to a terrible secret. It’s followed by Hellburner, which I am told raises the stakes even more. If I’m honest, I’m also reading to find out what the heck it is strategist/captain Conrad Mazian, who I met in Cherryh’s Downbelow Station, does in Hellburner!

I was lucky enough that Django Wexler sent me an ARC of his book How to Become the Dark Lord and Die Trying (forthcoming May 21, 2024), which is a delightful take on portal fantasy (or isekai if you like Japanese light novels/manga/anime). The villain protagonist, Davi, is stuck in a Groundhog Day-like time loop, which she uses to her advantage to defy a shitty Chosen One destiny and claw her way to the winning side. I am on Team Davi forever! Also because I don’t want her to destroy me for opposing her!

(Maybe I can sic Master Arms Instructor Lin Chong, Conrad Mazian, and Dark Lord Davi on each other and run away in the confusion? That’s my strategy, because I am a gigantic coward…)
Visit Yoon Ha Lee's website.

The Page 69 Test: Revenant Gun.

My Book, The Movie: Ninefox Gambit.

Q&A with Yoon Ha Lee.

The Page 69 Test: Fox Snare.

--Marshal Zeringue