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Book Review: Birth, or the Exquisite Sound of One Hand Falling Off a Turnip Truck by S.T. Gulik

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It all started with the Divine Disturbance on April 12, 2148, Some musicians revealed their alien forms at a public park and melded into a god form. The unleashed psychic energy caused weird phenomenon such as the dead rising and humans evolving into, well, better humans who could heal amazingly fast.

But all that really has very little to do with this novel. Even the zombies just function as mobile props. Sometimes they are shot at and sometimes they carry messages for secret agents. The role of zombies in this novel could easily be replaced by carrier pigeons really.

So don’t go expecting Birth to be just another apocalypse zombie novel. This is a novel about humans killing one another. Oh no, it’s not as boring as it sounds! When I say “humans”, I mean sewer-dwelling mutants with super strength and surgically enhanced surface-dwelling nerds. It’s as bloody and gory as it gets. Birth is, after all, set in a world where damsels get killed and shoplifters get sent to the chipper.

And Maxwell Quick? Don’t expect him to be yet another good-looking, strong and intelligent hero with good intentions to save the world. He doesn’t work out, drinks like a fish and is currently missing both his kidneys. And he has never saved a damsel in distress either. He just uses them for sex, the bastard.

As for his intentions… He was forced into helping the “good guys” (whoever they are) save the world from the “bad guys” (whoever they are).

It can get kinda confusing, sorting out the good from the bad.

If you like morally ambivalent drama, bastard anti-heroes and government conspiracies hatched in sewers, then you might enjoy Birth by S.T. Gulik. Birth and its sequel, Sex, can be purchased via links from the author’s website.

Loh Teck Yong

P.S.: To better enjoy this novel, please do read the glossary of terms BEFORE reading the actual novel. It can get frustrating at first, trying to figure out what is what and who is who.

 

 

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Help Me Become The First Security Guard Writer In Singapore!

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WHO AM I?

Hi, my name is Loh Teck Yong, a security guard who’s trying to  make it as a professional writer.

Here’s a brief summary of my work history.

I received my first assignment as a security guard way back in 1999, and continued to work in the industry over the next few years. Between 2003 and 2009, I took a long break from security work but finally succumbed to financial pressure some time during the latter half of 2009, and once again mired myself in the industry. I have been working as a security guard (on an on-and-off basis) ever since.

WHAT IS GUARDS GONE WILD!?

A few years ago, I realised that it would be a shame if those stories about my adventures in the private security industry were left to rot by the wayside of memory lane. So I started writing and those collected anecdotes became Guards Gone Wild!.

I sent the completed manuscript to 4 publishers based in Singapore on the 21st December, 2015. As of today, I have been rejected by all 4 of them. Well, exposing the dirty and underhanded going-ons in the private security industry is not exactly a profitable (or healthy) endeavour, so I can understand why the established publishers turned away from me.

And because Singapore has a very small literary market with very few publishers, I shall not waste any more time trying to get published the usual way.

If I want to get my stories out there, I have to do it myself. Through self-publication.

WHY HELP ME?

But self-publication without the support of an established publisher is going to be a difficult and costly endeavour. A noob writer going down this road will have to do and pay for everything himself. Looking for a book cover designer. Paying the book cover designer. Looking for a layout artist. Paying the layout artist. Looking for a copy editor. Paying the copy editor. And so on and so forth. That’s why I need your help to fulfil my dream of becoming a published writer.

Right now, as far as I know, there isn’t any security guard in Singapore who has published a work memoir so, if I succeed with your help, I will become the first security guard writer in Singapore! Help me make literary history!

And help yourself too.

Because in my book, I detailed accounts of various scams perpetrated by security agencies and their guards. The WYSIWYG, Merry-Go-Round and 24-hour Marathon. What are they and how do they affect YOU, the recipient of their service? Also included are stories of bullying and abuses that goes on behind the professional facade of the industry. If you live in a condominium that employs private security, or if your job requires you to interact with security guards on a regular basis, then this book will be a helpful addition to your library

To make a donation or find out more about my crowdfunding campaign, please head over to my crowdfunding page at Pozible:

https://pozible.com/project/help-a-security-guard

To Work Or To Write

That is the question. According to many writers, it is difficult to do both.

“I walked eight to 12 miles each day, carrying a heavy satchel. I actually liked being drained that way, as if each piece of paper I put in a mailbox represented a small packet of my own energy. But at the end of the day, there wasn’t anything left for Second Book. I had the stamina to do the job and come home and recover from doing the job and then go do it some more the next day.”

Excerpt from I Published My Debut Novel to Critical Acclaim—and Then I Promptly Went Broke

And I can empathise with Merritt Tierce, the author of the above-mentioned article, all too well.  I couldn’t do it either, working and writing at the same time. When I started working on Guards Gone Wild! I was also working as a security guard at the same time and, just like Merritt, I had no energy left at the end of a work day for any kind of creative work. Read the rest of this entry

A Question About Crowdfunding

I need some feedback regarding my crowdfunding campaign.

Because there’s a possibility that I may fail to raise the targeted sum, I wish to have a way to return the donations to the donors.

And there’s the free limited edition postcard offer. To send the postcard to the donors, I will need their mailing address.

For Paypal users, there’s no issue. I can use the Paypal Return button. And they can include their address in their email to my Paypal address. So that’s convenient.

HOWEVER, for those doing internet banking, how am I supposed to know their bank account number (for the purpose of refunding donations) or their mailing address? Read the rest of this entry

Why Not Lulu?

A lot of people have asked me:

“Why not use Lulu or some other print-on-demand site to publish your book?”

If I have to give a short answer, then it would be:

“Because I don’t want to.”

But I don’t want to leave it at that because that would be rude to the people who are offering me their sincere advice. So I will tell the long version of the story.

I do not want to use a print-on-demand publisher like Lulu because of the following reasons. Read the rest of this entry

The Last Rejection

I have really bad news.

Publisher #3, the final publisher I was counting on, just wrote to me. They have decided to reject my manuscript.

“We have taken much time to consider your story and its potential, and regret to inform you that we will not take it on for publication.”

They are a little kinder than the other 3 publishers, namely #1, #2 and #4. Because Publisher #3, wrote a long paragraph explaining why they decided to reject my manuscript. I will not share the entire email here however, because that would just make me look petty and sore about getting rejected.

Anyway, it looks like I have to use crowdfunding to raise the money to publish Guards Gone Wild! and try to sell it myself.

For such an endeavor, should I set up a separate bank and Paypal account or use my current accounts? Advice and tips welcomed.

Teck Y. Loh

Rejection Letter #2

I just received my second rejection letter from a publisher.

“Unfortunately, the piece is not for us and we will not be publishing your book.”

That’s from Publisher #4.

Two down and two more chances left. I was already rejected by Publisher #1 last month, so I hope I will receive a favourable response from either Publisher #2 or #3.

Teck Y. Loh