Malaysian author Zen Cho bags Hugo sci-fi award for best novelette

Malaysian author Zen Cho has chalked up several wins in the science fiction genre. — Picture by Darren Johnson/IDJ Photography via ZenCho.org
Malaysian author Zen Cho has chalked up several wins in the science fiction genre. — Picture by Darren Johnson/IDJ Photography via ZenCho.org

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 19 — Malaysian-born author Zen Cho has won the prestigious Hugo award, arguably the premier prize for the best work in science fiction. 

The novelette titled If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again, was published at the B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog on November last year.

She received the award at a ceremony during the 77th World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) in Dublin, Ireland, on August 18. 

According to the blog, the novelette tells a story of an Imugi (a lesser dragon) who goes on a journey to attain the form of a full-fledged dragon and gain entry to the gates of heaven. Along the way, the Imugi meets a girl who accompanies the lesser dragon on its journey. 

The prestigious award is named after Hugo Gernsback, who founded the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories, and who is considered one of the “fathers” of the science fiction genre. 

Literary works are eligible for an award if they were published in the prior calendar year, or translated into English in the prior calendar year.

Responding to her win, Cho tweeted her heartfelt gratitude to her fans.

“Thank you to everyone for the kind congratulations. I cannot answer your tweets personally because my mentions have been murdered by happy fanfic writers celebrating their 0.000001% of a Hugo,” she said.

Cho, who now resides in the UK, had beaten five other authors for the prize.

They are The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections by Tina Connolly, Nine Last Days on Planet Earth by Daryl Gregory, The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander, The Thing About Ghost Stories by Naomi Kritzer and When We Were Starless by Simone Heller.

A Crawford Award-winning author, Cho has produced two novels, Sorcerer to the Crown and The True Queen, both published by Ace (US) and Macmillan (the UK and Commonwealth).

Cho was also named Best Newcomer at the British Fantasy Award in 2016.  

She had also authored a short story collection titled Spirits Abroad, and edited an anthology called Cyberpunk: Malaysia which was both published by Buku Fixi.

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