16. Cyberpunk!

Before anything, I have this to recommend for your reading pleasure:


I’ve been developing a few ideas for a speculative fiction short over the last one week or so, and I finally noticed this particular genre that has been sitting at the back of my head, waiting for me to approach it in my own time.

Cyberpunk! It’s like someone decided to create a literary genre completely devoted to things that Joseph Ng finds to be extremely cool – robots, cybernetics, high technology, antiheroes, mega corporations, hardboiled detectives, spies, moral dilemmas, and a general air of dark grittiness. It’s like noir (which is super cool by itself), but with TECHNOLOGY!

Neo-noir is the way to go.

Here’s a little excerpt from what I’ve been writing over the past two days. If all goes well, you’ll be seeing these words in a speculative fiction anthology come 2014.

(and also because I really need to find some way to make up for the word count today)

Here it goes:

Three hours now in the Bar K and my head feels like a smoking, shorted circuit. The swell of the ambient bass seems to fill the spaces between my ears. How the hell is it that we are able to upload living minds into computers, but haven’t figured out an on/off switch for our own ears? My eyes water, and the pressure that has been slowly building up between my eyes feel like they could cave my skull in.

I wish it actually does.

I stand up. My insides feel gooey, like it’s full of sludge. Four months breathing in the city’s fumes hasn’t done anything for my health. When all of this is done, I swear I’m taking a goddamn vacation to the south, with or without any money. My head feels like lead. My legs feel like lead. Any part of me that doesn’t feel like lead feels like hot tar.

I somehow manage to stumble outside, and the rain pelts me like a wake-up slap from God Himself.

They said that the weather in Hong Kong is better than the weather in Beijing. Wrong, wrong, wrong. At least back in Beijing, the pollution was kind of diluted, spread out over the face of the land. If Beijing was a dirty fish pond, Hong Kong’s a vacuum-sealed can of sardines. I spit the chemical rain out of my mouth before putting my mask on. The taste of strawberries lingers on my tongue and the insides of my lips.

The inside of the mask isn’t exactly Shangri-La either. It’s humid inside, smells like moldy furniture, and your view of the outside world basically gets narrowed down to two peepholes. And especially in Hong Kong, people instantly know who you are by the mask you wear. Still, if you didn’t want you face to melt right off your bones by the end of the week, you’d best keep your mask on.


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