John Chu

writer, improviser, microprocessor designer, translator, podcast narrator

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What I published and some of what I read in 2019

So, it’s that time of year again. This year I published three short stories. In publication order:

  • “Beyond the El” at on January 16, 2019. (short story)

    Connor is a food crafter just getting back into the business after his mother’s death. To cope with his grief, Connor spends day after day recreating her potstickers, but they are never quite what he remembers. To move on with his life, he will have to confront his past.

  • “Probabilitea” at Uncanny Magazine in the May/June 2019 issue. (short story)

    She’s a harried graduate student with the ability to alter chance. He’s a big, affable goof with the literal power of life and death. Together, they repair the machinery of civilization!

    Seriously, Katie has a choice ahead of her. She can follow in her father’s footsteps and do great good as a physical manifestation of Order and Chaos, but can she deal with parental expectations...

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My schedule for ReaderCon 2019

My reading is at Friday at 3:00PM. Show up and hear me read a still-unpublished story about robots, a minor god of death, and ice dancing!

Recent Nonfiction Essay Club: “Decolonizing the Imagination” by Zetta Elliott
John Chu, Darcie Little Badger, Kate Nepveu (mod), Vandana Singh, Cadwell Turnbull
Fri 12:00 PM, Salon A
In her essay “Decolonizing the Imagination,” published in Horn Book Magazine and on their website, Zetta Elliott wrote of the challenge in crafting portal fantasies and time travel stories that partook as much of her heritage as of the colonial literature she grew up reading as a mixed-race girl in Canada. This discussion will consider the questions raised by her essay, including, “Can time and space be shaped by an author to satisfy needs left unfulfilled by an unjust reality?”

Reading: John Chu
Fri 3:00 PM, Salon C

Translation and Embedded Assumptions

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My schedule for ReaderCon 2017

I’ve just gotten back from teaching Clarion West. Three days at work then I go to ReaderCon. (Yes, I planned poorly.)

As usual, ReaderCon has put me on a bunch of really interesting panels that I’m looking forward to. My reading this year is Saturday at 2:30pm. Come hear me read a story that’s actually finished, copy-edited and published. It’s also I think one of the best things I’ve written. (Last year, what I read was literally what I’d written several days before. I think it’s become one of the best things I’ve written but it wasn’t at that form then.)

Friday July 14

1:00 PM    6    A Golden Age of Asian Speculative Literature in English. John Chu, Neil Clarke, Liz Gorinsky, Caroline M. Yoachim. There’s a growing body of English-language speculative works by writers from Asian and South Asian cultures—works in translation from writers working in Asian languages, and works written...

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2016, so that was a year that happened…

The year in review post this year is going to be atypical.

First, I’ll point out that my bibliography is always up-to-date with respect to my original fiction. If you ever find yourself thinking, “Hey, I wonder what original fiction John Chu has published?” that’s where you go to get that question answered.

Honestly, 2016 was not an amazing year for me in terms actually getting any writing done. For reasons not worth getting to, original fiction basically couldn’t happen for the first half of the year. I spent the second half of the year pulling things back together from the first half and working on something which may or may not be one or more of the following:

  1. A novella
  2. The first section of a mosaic novel
  3. The first few chapters of a (non-mosaic) novel

Anyway, I finished the draft on New Year’s Eve (so, now, I can honestly say I finished a piece of original fiction in 2016)...

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MidAmeriCon II, I’ll be there!

I’m going to be at MidAmeriCon II (aka the 74th WorldCon) in Kansas City from August 17-21 and I will be on programming. Here is what I’m scheduled for:

Your Character Ate What

Thursday 17:00 - 18:00, 2504B (Kansas City Convention Center)

A Hollywood-Squares style game that will challenge your memory, your appetite, and your constitution at the same time.

Fran Wilde (M) , Elizabeth Bear, Scott Lynch, Max Gladstone, Esther Friesner, John Chu

Reading: John Chu

Friday 10:30 - 10:57, 2202 (Readings) (Kansas City Convention Center)
(Yes, the reading runs to 10:57 because I have a panel at 11am.)

I’ll be reading… something. It’ll almost surely be something unpublished. Show up! What I read can be a surprise to the both of us.

John Chu

Privilege of Beauty in Film & Television

Friday 11:00 - 12:00, 2206 (Kansas City Convention Center)

While characters in novels aren’t always...

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My schedule for ReaderCon 2016

I’ll be at ReaderCon from July 7th-10th. This year, they’ve moved to Quincy, MA. It should be a fun con. They’ve put me on a bunch of panels, plus I have a reading:

Thursday July 07

8:00 PM    5    Living in the Future. John Chu, Barbara Krasnoff (moderator), Andrea Phillips, Tom Purdom, Terence Taylor. Today, if we’re going to see another person, we have cellphones to instantly communicate with that person, and maps on the cellphones to help us find our agreed-upon location. Twenty years ago we would have had to phone each other on landlines, pick a restaurant in advance or agree to meet at a landmark known to both of us. Five hundred years ago we wouldn’t have had watches on our persons, so even keeping to the correct time of the appointment would have been difficult–how would we even know when the agreed-upon time of our meeting arrived? Our panelists will discuss some of the...

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My Boskone schedule

Because I’m a little behind, I’m just posting my Boskone schedule now. Yes, Boskone starts today. I’m staying at the con hotel, so I should be around even when I don’t have a panel. Looking forward to seeing everyone!

Tales from the Silk Road: Nonwestern Speculative Fiction Literature

Friday 18:00 - 18:50, Burroughs (Westin)

From the Silk Road to silkpunk and everything in between, Asian speculative fiction has become an important segment of the market. However, many readers in the U.S. are still fairly unfamiliar with its depth and breadth of literary offerings. What is available? Whom should you be reading? What can we look forward to in the next year?

Alexander Jablokov (M),Ken Liu, Wesley Chu, John Chu, Michael Swanwick

Writing: Dialog

Friday 19:00 - 19:50, Harbor II (Westin)

“No one talks that way!”
“I do.”
“Well, okay, but your characters aren’t all you. How about writing...

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Stuff I want people to read

Well, we’re in the heart of the silly season. The Nebula (nominated and voted on by the members of SFWA) closes its nomination phase on February 15th. The Hugos (nominated by the members of, Sasquan, MidAmeriCon II, and WorldCon 75, and voted on by the members of MidAmeriCon II) closes its nomination phase on March 31st. (I guess this means that, this year, the Hugo nominations will not be announced at EasterCon.)

I’m being snarky when I call it the silly season, but I’m being sincere when I point out that the nomination process only works when lots of people nominate the work that they have read and loved. No one person has read the entire field. All of us, however, have read the entire field together in aggregate. The more people who nominate, the more likely that we will get a final ballot that represents what we love.

That said, what follows is a list of works that I’ve read that I...

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My Arisia schedule

[It just occurred to me that I’m probably supposed to write a “what writing things happened in 2015” post. The short answer is that my bibliography is up-to-date.]

My schedule at Arisia:

7:00pm Friday in Faneuil

Genre Fiction in Translation

Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem, translated by Ken Liu, won the Hugo for Best Novel. Clarkesworld’s recent foray into translating Chinese SF has brought some well deserved attention to the vibrant body of stories in that country. Haikasoru has made a name for itself translating works from Japanese, and has recently published SF stories translated from Spanish. What possibilities do we see in translation of other cultures’ SF? How might this change the landscape of the genre?

Crystal Huff (m), John Chu, Morgan Crooks, Ken Liu, Sarah Weintraub

10:00am Saturday in Bullfinch

Constructing Languages

Many SF/F worlds have their own languages...

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Finding Your Slot at Moozvine

This is how the pitch goes:

Moozvine is a publishing platform where readers pay what they like for stories on their website. Some stories are immediately released for free. Others have two weeks to hit a pledge target. If the story hits the target, the pledges are collected then the story is release for free to everyone. Writers like Nancy Fulda, Thomas Olde Heuvelt, Lawrence Schoen, and Will McIntosh have placed their stories on their website.

Finding Your Slot is original to Moozvine. It has a funding target of $820 and a deadline of November 6th. Since it’s such a hard SF story, I’m weirdly amused that the deadline will hit during World Fantasy Convention.

If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if I sat down to write a classic hard SF problem story that actually makes use of my PhD in Computer Engineering, this is the story where you find out. Augmented humans! Failed network...

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