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“A fine collection of short stories by a writer worth learning about. ‘The Boy, the Swordfish, the Bleeding Island’ is a wonderful alternate history tale, just to pick one from many that are fascinating.”
—Samuel R. Delany, SFWA Grand Master and celebrated author of Dhalgren and the Return to Nevèrÿon series
Winner of the 2019 Singapore Book Awards for Best Literary Work
A man learns that all the animals at the Zoo are robots. A secret terminal in Changi Airport caters to the gods. A prince falls in love with a crocodile. A concubine is lost in time. The island of Singapore disappears.
These are the exquisitely strange tales of Lion City, the first collection of short fiction by award-winning poet and playwright Ng Yi-Sheng. Infused with myth, magical realism and contemporary sci-fi, each of these tales invites the reader to see this city-state in a new and darkly fabulous light.
“Beyond succinct speculative re-imaginings and cultural subversions, these stories cut to the quick of fragile relationships and the tired assumptions about what we tell ourselves regarding our hyper-modern paradise.”
—Cyril Wong, Singapore Literature Prize-winning author of Unmarked Treasure
“Ng Yi-Sheng’s surreal and intoxicating imagination is on full display in Lion City, taking readers on a breathtaking tour of secret places above, below, and beyond the Singapore of his dreams. At times lyrical and quiet, majestic and oracular, but always powerful, these stories brim with nuanced observations of people in a crisis of identity, at a crossroads culturally and geographically, seeking definition in the comfort of the past and the promise of the future. This mesmerising collection is the opening salvo of a startling and important voice in contemporary Singaporean fiction.”
—Dean Francis Alfar, Palanca Grand Prize-winning author of Salamanca and A Field Guide to the Roads of Manila
“Combining the dark fairytale visions of Neil Gaiman and Intan Paramaditha with the deadpan wit of Etgar Keret, Lion City is a wildly imaginative collection of stories centred around the past, present and future trajectories of Singaporean consciousness. Ng Yi-Sheng is a natural storyteller full of insight and humour.”
—Sharlene Teo, author of Ponti
“Lion City’s short sharp shocks of short stories surprise and delight in equal measure; always conceptually arresting and beautifully executed. Wonderful.”
—Lavie Tidhar, World Fantasy Award-winning author of Osama and A Man Lies Dreaming
“Dazzlingly original, wickedly inventive.”
—Amanda Lee Koe, multi-award-winning author of Ministry of Moral Panic
"Wildly inventive, constantly surprising, Lion City, a collection of short stories by Ng Yi-Sheng, puts many familiar myths through the wringer and turns them on their head. What emerges is an intoxicating blend of stories that transport the readers to literally new realms of imagination."
—William Phuan, arts administrator, in "My Book of the Year 2019", Singapore Unbound
"Being a big of science fiction and not much of a fan of Singapore, I see Ng Yi-Sheng's collection of short stories in Lion City as the perfect publication for me. He's done amazingly well at capturing the imagination of this 22nd Century Neo-Taoist!"
—Seelan Palay, artist, in "My Book of the Year 2018", Singapore Unbound
"This collection takes apart the tropes trumpeted ad infinitum about Singapore - the Lion City, gone from fishing village to having great food and a world-class airport - and reveals the magic of myth that underpins them all. The stories, with their subtle explorations of colonialism, capitalism and alienation, are delightful and discomfiting in equal measure. [...] Ng shows not just keen awareness of the existing canons of genre, but a blithe faith that Singapore belongs in these canons. This clever, colourful collection certainly makes a good case for that."
—Olivia Ho, Straits Times
About the Author
Ng Yi-Sheng is a poet, fictionist, playwright, journalist and activist. He is the second-youngest winner of the Singapore Literature Prize, which he received for his debut poetry collection, last boy (2006). His publications also include a spiritual sequel to that work, called A Book of Hims (2017); a compilation of his best spoken-word pieces, Loud Poems for a Very Obliging Audience (2016); the bestselling non-fiction book, SQ21: Singapore Queers in the 21st Century (2006); and a novelisation of the Singapore gangster movie, Eating Air (2008). He also co-edited GASPP: A Gay Anthology of Singapore Poetry and Prose (2010) and Eastern Heathens: An Anthology of Subverted Asian Folklore (2013). He recently completed his MA from the University of East Anglia’s creative writing programme. Lion City is his first fiction collection.
Size: 198 x 129mm
Published: October 2018