10 reads for July
THE MESSIAH VIRUS
By Meihan Boey
Math Paper Press/ Paperback/ 102 pages/ $19 before GST/ Books Kinokuniya and BooksActually
Boey, known mostly for her work in comics, turns her pen to space opera with this novella set in a colonised universe run by the Empress, the operating system of a vast civilisation.
When the Empress is disabled by a virus called the Messiah, a little girl with psionic powers recruits a famous courtesan, a cyborg karung guni trader and an insane engineer to help her save humanity.
SIGNS OF LIFE
By O Thiam Chin
Math Paper Press/ Paperback/ 176 pages/ $19 before GST/ Books Kinokuniya and BooksActually
In O’s sixth collection of 12 short stories, a mysterious force terrorises schoolgirls at a campfire; a couple try to conceive in a post-apocalyptic world; and actors in a horror movie discover the special effects are less fake than they seem.
THE LIGHTS THAT FIND US
By Anittha Thanabalan
Epigram Books/ Paperback/ 194 pages/$18.90 before GST/Major bookstores, Huggs-Epigram Coffee Bookshop and epigrambooks.sg
This debut novel, which was shortlisted for the Epigram Books Fiction Prize, puts a Singapore twist on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
Shreya made a mistake at Deepavali two years ago that tore her family apart. During this year’s celebrations, she is visited by three celestial beings who want to help her right her wrongs.
BENG BENG REVOLUTION
By Lu Huiyi
Epigram Books/ Paperback/ 218 pages/ $18.90 before GST/ Major bookstores, Huggs-Epigram Coffee Bookshop and epigrambooks.sg
Another finalist for the Epigram Books Fiction Prize, Lu’s dystopian debut is set in a steampunk Singapore where oil and gas have run out and bureaucratic red tape tangles with post-apocalyptic violence.
Brothers Beng Hock and Beng Huat – who would really prefer to be called Archibald – are trying to get by in a crumbling shanty-town behind what used to be City Hall MRT station, while Beng Hock discovers a power growing inside him and struggles to control it.
INTERPRETER OF WINDS
By Fairoz Ahmad
Ethos Books/ Paperback/ 104 pages/ $10 before GST/ Books Kinokuniya, Huggs-Epigram Coffee Bookshop and Wardah Books
The fourth book in Ethos’ Orbit series of slender reads is a quartet of magic-touched stories, from the dream-like title tale in which a dog who desires to be Muslim converses with a camel who pursues errant words in the desert, to the story of a witch’s murder in Dutch-occupied Java.
MR KIASU IN SINGAPORE HISTORY
By Johnny Lau
Shogakukan Asia/Paperback/ 128 pages/ $12.90/ Major bookstores
Mr Kiasu, the iconic home-grown cartoon character who is afraid to lose out, observes tumultuous events and meets characters from Singapore’s history, including Sir Stamford Raffles and Sang Nila Utama, in this anthology by Lau and eight artists.
FAMILY AND POPULATION IN ASIA
Edited by Wei Jun Jean Yeung and Tang Leng Leng
Focus Publishing/ Paperback/ 200 pages/ $16.05/Times, Books Kinokuniya and Union Book
This collection of 30 essays spans issues on children, marriage, fertility and gender, from how to age successfully to the role fathers play in a child’s upbringing. These are based on research by the National University of Singapore’s Centre for Family and Population Research associates. The book includes a foreword by Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
SEVEN HUNDRED YEARS: A HISTORY OF SINGAPORE
By Kwa Chong Guan, Derek Heng, Peter Borschberg and Tan Tai Yong
Paperback/ 314 pages/ $37.45/Major bookstores
This revamp of a 2009 book, A 700-Year History: From Early Emporium To World City, updates the earlier text for the Singapore Bicentennial. It is the only single volume to cover 700 years of Singapore history and represents 30 to 40 years of collective research.
National University of Singapore Associate Professor Borschberg joins the original trio of historians who authored the first edition.
By PN Balji
Marshall Cavendish/ Paperback/ 196 pages/$23/ Major bookstores and Huggs-Epigram Coffee Bookshop
Balji, a veteran journalist and editor who has worked at five newspapers, including The Straits Times, The New Paper (TNP) and Today, gives the inside scoop on his newsroom experiences and what went on behind the headlines.
He opens up on his time in tabloid journalism, brushes with the Government and the infamous “Toh Chin Chye Affair”, in which TNP erroneously reported that former deputy prime minister Toh Chin Chye had been arrested in connection with a hit-and-run accident.
THE STREAMING MEDIA GUIDE
By Michael D’Oliveiro
Routledge/ Hardback/ 152 pages/ $62.40/ Books Kinokuniya
Singapore-based media executive d’Oliveiro aims to demystify streaming media – such as Spotify, YouTube and Netflix – for business professionals.
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