Category Archives: Contact With Shadow

HELLO SXSW!

If you are at SXSW, this is the blog post you would likely be most interested in: http://www.blacksteps.tv/wall-clouding/ onwARd! Stephen Black .....an interview with SB during SXSW ......SB onstage at MIT (DeAR in the headlights remix)...... ..........MUSIC! 3how!on CDBABY!........ ............VIDEO ROCKNROLL MEMORIES........... ..................................3how.... ...a story about 3how..... However... these books are now discounted on Amazon, during SXSW... On Amazon: i ate tiong bahru Fires Furikake Bali Wave Ghost Ipoh: 88 iPhone Photographs by Bubiko Foodtour Obama Search Words Alphabet Spikes Flame Magnet red dot SAD Hello, and welcome to the world of Book Merah. Here you will find our latest publications, as well as our classics. Although we have not yet started any organized publicity or marketing campaigns, we are very fortunate to be connecting with readers around the world. Now, to celebrate the Hong Kong Book Fair, we are giving away, or discounting, all that is Book Merah, with two exceptions. Amazon does not allow us to discount the i ate tiong bahru audio book, and Contact With Shadow is supporting the mission of our friends at Unglue. minimalist book cover i ate tiong bahru is a bestseller in Singapore.

The classic coffee mug reborn with a pop art, postmodern touch.

I ATE TIONG BAHRU IS IN A DISCOUNT CAMPAIGN ON AMAZON until JULY 29. The Sooner You Buy, the More You Save! Fires is a collection of poems by Cyril Wong. There is now a discount on Fires!
photography as part of book cover design

a photograph of a dancer on a farm, the title and the author's name

Furikake: a collectrion of short stories, all containing a reference to furikake, which is a Japanese rice seasoning. Some of the stories are spicy, some are tasteless, some are a fusion of East and West and Clementi, a community in Singapore. Furikake... now on sale!
Publishing Magnates

Stephen Black, Book Merah CEO/author, with Stuart Rankin, Chairman of The Dundercats Multimedia Group.

black and white book covers Bali Wave Ghost: reading it is like surfing through the mind of a character who is both guilt-ridden and hedonistic. A portrait of contemporary life in Bali; a meditation on the times we live in. Kinda romantic as well. Bali Wave Ghost... Free download! The basis for perhaps the world's first AR photo exhibition. These photos capture the spirit of Ipoh; especially its food culture. Ipoh: 88 iPhone Photographs by Bubiko Foodtour, now a free download. Fact-based fiction about the 44th President of the United States. Includes stories about his time in Jakarta, Hawaii, Chicago and New York City. Obama Search Words now on sale.

ebook now available on Amazon

As of this moment, this book only has stories about AR in it. However i the next few days, there will be essays about VR, and some surprises. After you buy this, send me an email so as to get the updates, free of charge. Yes, this is an experiment; trying to see if I can use Amazon as a basis for a cross between subscriptions and crowdfunding. Ultimately this will be a compilation of my experiences and stories as a digital nomad. Alphabet Spikes... FREE
lance from Secret Donut World

Flame Magnet is go!
Art by David Severn

Flame Magnet! Another experiment... short stories, and the start of a long adventure. Send me your email and you'll receive the new stories, free of charge, of course. Flame Magnet is priceless 'til July 24!
minimal book covers

red dot SAD (Stories Art, Digitalia 2002-2017) book by Stephen Black

My own art experiences, as well as pieces that were written for magazines or fellow artists. Another project in which I will update this periodically; send me your email to get the updated version. To give you an example of art in Singapore, take a look at this. red dot SAD THANKS FOR YOUR INTEREST IN BOOK MERAH! Bubiko says hi! Bubiko's food adventures.. Aroi mak Mak!

Stephen Black: 72 hour Facebook Live Broadcast

THE BROADCAST IS HERE.

HELLO

Augmented Reality,art, Southeast Asian food, Bubiko Foodtour, VR, music, haikus, photographs, videos, unusualness... and discussions, readings from, and free downloads of, EBOOKS! The broadcast starts at 3PM September 30, Malaysia time, ends on Monday, October 2 at 3PM Malaysia time.

Until October 2, these ebooks are free downloads on Amazon:

Obama Search Words

Furikake

Fires by Cyril Wong

i ate tiong bahru (a paper copy is available at naiise)

Bali Wave Ghost

Flame Magnet

red dot SAD

Ipoh

Contact With Shadow is not a free download, but if you are interested in the future of book distribution, you should know about Unglue.

There is an audiobook version of i ate tiong bahru, narrated by Mirai Booth-Ong. And, this is 3how's debut album.

Bubiko Foodtour is AR's first superstar.

Base of operations: the Abby Hotel in Ipoh, Malaysia.

Thank you: Hock Moon Hiong BBQ meat and Jewellery Design and Management International School

If you are here because you are interested in my AR-related startup ideas, this post gives you an overview.

FWIW, I will soon have stories on Popularium and ElevenAsia

I am writing this 30 hours after the marathon went live.On one hand my blog views are double what they usually are. On the other hand, there haven't been many viewers. That is OK. I didn't do any pre-publicity, I am not paying Facebook to blast the event and there are no costs, other than my time. I hope that towards the end of the 72 hours there are more viewers. For now, I can only say if you visit the FB live page, say hi.

Here is an email I've sent out to friends and associates:

Hello everyone... I hope the weekend is a good one for you.

Just to short note to say that I am doing a live FB broadcast from Ipoh-for 72 hours. I started Friday at 3, will finish at 3 on Monday. The camera I am using isn't very good, the audio is so-so, the internet is slow and I am silhouetted during the daytime. Perfect!

Actually I am learning a lot, and my blog is seeing a nice amount of action. The free ebooks are trickling out of Amazon. I can see clicks on my blog posts about my AR startup plans. Yesterday I was interviewed by a reporter from the Malay Mail.

Anyhoo...stop by and chat with the silhouette... and meet Secret Donut World, the Doughbots and steamboatbubikofoodtourwillie. http://www.blacksteps.tv/stephen-black-72-hour-facebook-live-broadcast/

onwARd,

Steve

This was the schedule for Friday...

FRIDAY

3pm Ipoh (3AM NYC)8AM London

Son Mn Chinese Lantern Exhibition

4:30-5:30 Ipoh(4:30-5:30AM NYC)9:30-10:30 AM London

reading from Obama Search Words

5:30-6:15 Ipoh

Ipoh food adventures

6:15-7PM Ipoh

Ipoh evening tour

7pm(7AM NYC)12PM London

Bubiko: Adventures in Photoshop at Thanas Wedding Photography

9pm(9am NYC)2pm London

Ipoh Evening food adventures

9-10 Ipoh

Free ebooks introduction

10pm(10am NYC)3pm London

Stephen Black and VR

11pm(11am NYC)4pm London

Stephen Black startup ideas

12am(12pm NYC)5pm Lon

Stephen Black and AR

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 30, 2017 (in Ipoh)

coming soon!

everything

You are probably here because you received a piece of paper from me.   HELLO   I am writing this on Thursday, November 24....  a very full day. Probably on Sunday I can come back and fill this page full of descriptions and links about my projects. For now... SPOKEN at www.gallery.sg this was created with Eugene Soh and is full of art and writing. It requires a 10 meg download, which is free. Beach Road You'll need a VR viewing device to see this short film which was featured at the 2015 Brisbane Film Festival and nominated for Best Experimental Film at the 2016 Las Vegas VR Fest. Descriptions of my books including videos and reviews. Please consider taking a look at my crowdfunding projects for a Tiong Bahru poster AND a book on the way that technology has affected cinematography. And, scattered throughout this blog are posts about art, post full of photography, short stories and posts about all kinds of things.   THANKS FOR STOPPING BY!   Stephen Black    

ebooks by Stephen Black and Cyril Wong

Parts of this post are  outdated, but the information about the books is current. (mainly :))It was first written to celebrate a crowdfunding success on Zingohub.... The i ate tiong bahru glassware  crowdfunding campaign went 30% over target in the first three days... and  ended at 175%- well over target! i ate tiong bahru  A national bestseller in Singapore, iatb is a collection of short stories about Tiong Bahru, a community living in an estate composed of uniquely styled Art Deco buildings. "Unlike anything else I've read.""Black's love letter is one of the best introductions to a country and a state  that you might read" Art Review Asia. More reviews here. I Ate Tiong Bahru book cover Free download from Amazon on November 13,2016.
If you are an art collector, an adventurous reader and a drinker of caffeinated beverages, YOUR DREAM HAS COME TRUE...(click to join the club)
Obama Search Words Stephen Black's first book; dynamic, it captures Barack Obama in a style like no other. Free download from Amazon on November 13, 2016. osw-cover Obama Search Words was once enrolled in an Unglue campaign. Here is the video produced for that. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo-4cmUQubA Furikake Japanese rice seasonings, love and a look at life in Clementi, a small town in Singapore. Free download from Amazon on November 13, 2016
photography as part of book cover design

a photograph of a dancer on a farm, the title and the author's name

Bali Wave Ghost "a mad work of genius", Richard E. Lewis, author of the bestseller Bones of the Dark Moon, a novel set amidst the horrific killings in Bali during the Sixties. Free download from Amazon on November 13, 2016
black and white book covers

Proposed cover for Bali Wave Ghost, the latest book by Stephen Black

Fires by Cyril Wong, who is a Singapore Literature Prize-winning poet, fictionist and critic.Free download from Amazon on November 13, 2016
Red chairs, cyril wong and FIRES

George Parel's design is clean and eye-catching

Flame Magnet- Do not download this book unless you are adventurous. This isn't something you read, it's the start of a lifelong journey. Free download from Amazon on November 13, 2016
lance from Secret Donut World

Flame magnet is go!
Art by David Severn

Contact With Shadow....not free, but becoming unglued! Check out the video as well as a photo exhibition. CWS is an undiscovered classic, full of melancholic swirling laments about lost love. amidst exquisite descriptions of Singapore. Also includes plenty of references to history and little-known baked goods. Contact With Shadow bookmerahatgmaildotcom
Book Merah titles in a free ebook giveaway

Book Merah titles in a free ebook giveaway

..the end... here, however, is an email which I am sending, in various forms, to everyone on my email mailing list... HELLO
Just letting you know that I am starting a new book about Tiong Bahru, this one emphasizing photography. The working title is Tiong Bahru Time.... Here is a brief blog post about it.
And... the i ate tiong bahru glassware crowdfunding project is in the final countdown...less than 24 hours to go!
Finally, there will be another free giveaway of Book Merah ebooks....check here.
As you may know, I Ate Tiong Bahru has sold 2000 copies. It is a bestseller!
All the best and see you in Tiong Bahru!
Onward,
Stephen Black

BOOK MERAH BOOK GIVEAWAY

Hello... To see me bray like a donkey as I briefly describe the books, click here. To see an informative interview shot in Bali, click here. For complete descriptions of the books being given away, click here. The schedule.... FIRES Red chairs, cyril wong and FIRES free downloads over for now... ........................................ FURIKAKE photography as part of book cover designiron fire riceballs and red thumbkway All the free days have passed... ........................................ I ATE TIONG BAHRUIATB_front in Singapore, available at Booktique, Naiise and Books Actually ............................................ OBAMA SEARCH WORDS Obama Search Words by Stephen Black free downloads over! ................................ BALI WAVE GHOST black and white book covers  Free downloads on Amazon: September 27,28 and 29.   Interactive Fiction...Go to the site to find PICASSO IN THE RAIN! https://ifcomp.org/   I ATE TIONG BAHRU AUDIOBOOK SAMPLE  Video interview about the books   Kickstarter coming soon!! Thank you for stopping by... Drop a line! And, honest reviews on Amazon or Goodreads are always appreciated! THANKS   Stephen Black

Book Merah 2015

Book Merah was established by Stephen Black in 2007. Book Merah publishes ebooks, books and art portfolios. Authors include Stephen Black and Cyril Wong. Project discussions are now underway with Sylvie Chandra Nalini Paluselli, who is working on a book about indigenous spiritual practices in Bali and Bernard Harrison, part of the team that created the stunning Singapore Zoo. Finally, Book Merah will be working on a historical novel with novelist/chef Ezio Barbero. Other Book Merah projects include:
minimalist book cover

I Ate Tiong Bahru by Stephen Black

Soon to be an audio book voiced by Mirai Booth-Ong, the paperback version of I Ate Tiong Bahru has become as Singaporean cult classic, one soon to become an official best-seller. More info on IATB here.
Michael Bunker! CRASHING men, children and metal.

Michael Bunker's classic. Terminator meets Anne Frank.

USA Today bestselling author Michael Bunker and Stephen Black join forces! Scooby Doo meets Asian film noir with a dash of Herman Hesse. A slapstick detective story set in the underworld of Singapore, featuring dozens of donuts, questionable personal hygiene and almost no full frontal nudity...what more do you want? Michael Bunker is a reasonable man who lives off the grid. He created the genre known as Amish science fiction. Michael also wrote a remarkable book called Hugh Howie Must Die in thirty hours. If you want to know more about one of the most interesting writers around, click here.
Bali Wave Ghost

"a mad work of genius" Richard E. Lewis, author of Bones of the Dark Moon

"For three years, this book has been the center of my professional life. It is about Bali, love, crime and how the morning light makes a bowl of rice look magical... I have attempted to create an experience, not just tell a story."-Stephen Black There are several posts related to Bali Wave Ghost on this blog, including samples like this.
Virtual gallery curators at the opening of their exhibition

Stephen Black and Eugene Soh, the men behind SPOKEN.

SPOKEN is a phenomenon of virtual reality, creative writing and art. The eclectic group of creative people involved include Stelarc, Xu Xi, Sjon, Yasumasa Morimura, Carla Bonollo and The Lagos 2060 group. To visit the gallery, click here. (There is a small download.) This blog has many posts related to SPOKEN furikake Samples from Furikake can be found here. Five star Amazon review: "Tourists don't know where they've been, travellers don't know where they're going." Paul Theroux Furikake is a book inspired by a mixture of spices, a dry Japanese condiment meant to be sprinkled on top of rice. Nine tales set in the Far East, mainly Singapore, linked by a different declination of furikake, like a recipe book full of savoury ingredients. ... this is a truly enjoyable reading, between a memoir and a travel diary in which one can easily recognize fragments of oneself. There's a recurring theme, the literary device of a story within a story; excerpts in form of well-thumbed photocopies of Paul Theroux's The Happy Isles of Oceania offer a refreshing, creative view on the narrator's fictional life. Perspective and lack of perspective become key elements, the past is constantly reinterpreted in order to form an ever changing frame. The tales compose a very intense narrative, sometimes humorous (Writing Furikake, Furikake on Facebook), others nostalgic (Puccini liked it on ham, Who will bite my head) or euphoric (Variety is the spice of life); in any case a human comedy that won't leave you indifferent.
Obama Search Words by Stephen Black

Extracts from Obama Search Words can be found here.

With documentary-style short stories and interviews, Obama Search Words captures the spirit of one of the most exciting campaigns in American political history, as well as scenes from Barack Obama's life.The book also touches upon the work of civil rights leaders such as Philip Randolph and Dr. Martin Luther King. With charts, original and historic photographs, Obama Search Words vividly captures the life and times of one of the most dynamic politicians of our times.  On Amazon.
 
Red chairs, cyril wong and FIRES

An ebook of poetry by award-winning Singaporean poet Cyril Wong. Available on Amazon.

Contact With Shadow in quotes book cover

Printing history and romance collide in this novel by Stephen Black. And...this book is coming UNGLUED!

red and black text, Palatino bold

graphic about the cover of To Eat Tiong Bahru, the sequel to I Ate Tiong Bahru

Much work has been done on the sequel to I Ate Tiong Bahru. Considering a crowdfunding campaign... A sample of the writing is here.

I would probably go see Stephen Black at the 2015 Singapore Writers Festival

A Facebook event page has been created. If you would like to see SB at the 2015 Singapore Writers Festival, check out this page. THANKS The Singapore literary scene is very small but dynamic. The National Book Development Council, the Arts Council,the National Heritage Board, the Economic Development Board, the Singapore Memory Project and other agencies have funded numerous books, projects and events. Publishers like Epigram, Ethos and Monsoon are "punching above their weight" and creating international interest in Singapore as they also succeed within the country itself. As an artist/writer based on the island since 2002, I have been fortunate to interact with all of these companies and organizations, as well as individuals involved with the art and business of writing. I write now to raise the possibility of me, Stephen Black, appearing at the 2015 Singapore Writers Festival.I cannot deny that I will benefit but equally important, if not more so, is the fact that my inclusion will, within Singapore and beyond, recognize and further validate self-publishing. With each passing day there are more examples of self-published books successfully connecting with people, like this. Has the SWF recognized any self-published authors? "Self-publishing is the future" is not true: ask Jane Austen. Or Proust. I humbly propose the following notes for the Singapore Writers Festival's consideration. 1. Relevancy to the SWF's stated theme; to "have a strong focus on Singapore authors and themes". Nearly all of my books are related to Singapore and its history, especially I Ate Tiong Bahru. Three years in the making, I Ate Tiong Bahru was completely self-funded. Full of first-hand observations about life in Tiong Bahru, as well as original research and interviews, IATB is likely to become a Singapore bestseller (2000 print copies sold) in 2015. This despite a nearly anonymous cover with no blurbs or eye-catching illustration. "... the anecdotal tales you have recorded jump back at me through time. It is a rare occasion when I get the opportunity to meet someone who is so dedicated to writing up the heritage of the area with stories from the street." Donald Wyatt, resident of Tiong Bahru since 1942 minimalist book cover Stephen Black's musings of Singapore's most famous neighborhood are at once whimsical,nostalgic and humorous. From stories about local delicacies to "Soymilk Blues" (sung to Johnny Cash's famous song), I Ate Tiong Bahru is a must-read for gourmets, architects, historians and just about anyone who wishes to learn more about this evolving neighborhood. -5 star review on Amazon 2. The projects of Book Merah (the name of my book "incubator") represent an important aspect of the zeitgeist of the publishing world.  Obama Search Words, written and produced in Clement,i was very likely the first ebook produced in Singapore to be sold on Amazon. Contact With Shadow, a novel packed with historical information about the Armenian Street/Fort Canning area was probably the first Singapore-based project on Kickstarter. Contact With Shadow is now featured on Unglue-it, a revolutionary site devoted to the creation of free ebooks. Furikake, which has the "ugliest cover on Amazon" was written in 2007, and is set in the area near West Coast Park.The sequel to I Ate Tiong Bahru is near completion. The book, called To Eat Tiong Bahru, may be crowd-fundedFires, by Singapore Literature Prize Winner Cyril Wong was most likely the first book by a Singaporean poet to appear on Kindle. 3. As far as being Singaporean, I have held  a newborn baby in Mount Elizabeth Hospital and twice watched the sad machinery at Mandai. I've lived on Emerald Hill Road,in Hougang, in Clementi, Boon Lay and the Mitre Hotel. I have had a company, an employment pass and a huge variety of uniquely Singaporean life experiences. I probably had SARS. I survived a Singaporean Chinese wedding. 4. FWIW 1: Singapore Biennale text with Michael Lee, as well as other contributions to Michael Lee's text projects. Contributing writer to Singapore Architect magazine, producing articles on a wide range of topics including the Red Dot Museum, the works of Amanda Heng, Art Stage Singapore and more. 5. FWIW 2 I have been invited to speak at Hubud on January 8. I've presented at various gatherings and conferences, including TEDx Youth in Singapore. Acted  in Boo Jun Feng's Changi Murals. Have held a newborn baby at Mount Elizabeth, suffered through weddings and twice watched the sad machinery out in Mandai. 6. SPOKEN, created with Singaporean Eugene Soh, not only features a variety of international artists including Stelarc and Yasumasa Morimura, but Singaporeans Vincent Leow and Godwin Koay. Writers include Sjon (SWF 203), Xu Xi (Man Booker Prize nominee and other talented writers from a wide range of countries, from China to Nigeria, from Turkey to London.
Two people discussing something

 at Booktique

7. Being in the SWF would give me another opportunity to thank BooksActuallyBooktique and my very  supportive production team members. 8. It would be an honor and a privilege to meet some of the people who have bought I Ate Tiong Bahru and/or received the free ebook version. Thank you all  in advance for your time and consideration.This may seem like self-promotion. It is, but part of the reality of being independent is understanding the fact that if you don't do it, no one will.  

Stephen Black at Booktique PRESS CONFERENCE (writer video info @ bottom of post)

PRESS RELEASE

           

CONTACT: Anthony Waugh Koh waughak@gmail.com

CONTACT WITH SHADOW ON UNGLUE

  Overview

Artist/writer Stephen Black, a Singapore-based American launches a campaign to create a free ebook with the internationally recognized Unglue it organization. The book, entitled Contact With Shadow, is a contemporary love story filled with references to Singapore’s history.

Additionally, Stephen Black, with Eugene Soh, is now working on Spoken, a dynamic mashup of virtual reality, curated artworks and short stories. Although the project originates in Singapore, the launch will take place in Brooklyn later this summer.

 

Who: Stephen Black

What: Press Conference and/or opportunity to schedule an interview before June

Where: Boutique, Dhoby Ghaut, Cathay Building, next to Starbucks

When: Monday June 2, 1-10 PM OR by appointment until June 8

Note: ebook copies of Contact With Shadow for press review available upon request

 

About Stephen Black

A multidisciplinarian who has lived in Paris, Tokyo, Bali, Hong Kong, NYC and Singapore, Stephen Black’s creative journey has been diverse. Besides authoring articles, art criticism and novels, he has an extensive record  as an artist working with photography and video. In 2007 he created Book Merah to facilitate the production and distribution of books, ebooks, music and art. Titles include Fires by Cyril Wong,as well as Furikake, Obama Search Words, Bali Wave Ghost and I Ate Tiong Bahru.

 

About the Press Conference on Monday/other interview opportunities

From 1-10 PM on June 2 at Booktique, Stephen Black will be informally meeting fellow writers and members of the  press.To request a fixed time, contact Anthony at waughak@gmail.com

To request an interview any time before June 8, email preferred day/time to bookmerah@gmail.com.

 

About Contact With Shadow

“It's a double pleasure to read this wonderful scrapbook of historical facts and metafictions. First, there's the joy of gleaning nuggets of knowledge about Singapore and the printed word hitherto unknown; and second, there's the childlike wonder of never knowing what Stephen Black has in store for us on the next page.”

Ng Yi-Sheng, Singapore Literature Prizewinner

 

A Cambridge research student comes to Singapore to research the history of printing. His wife, however, dies unexpectedly and his attempts at writing become a mix of focused research and an impassioned sense of loss. A bureaucratic “assistant” and an alcoholic movie producer are further challenges to his sanity.

About Unglue

Unglue is dedicated to working with authors, libraries and a committed group of supporters to create free ebooks. Combining crowdfunding with a revolutionary approach to ebooks, Unglue has been featured on the TechCrunch and Wired websites, in addition to many others specializing in ebooks and technology.

These images and others are available on request: Contact With Shadow IATB_05_100513_cover (1) Steve and Eugene In gallerysg square crop SB Portrait by Lek

........................END PRESS RELEASE...................................

Writers and lovers of good books have a new resource center in Singapore. Booktique opens tonight!

I will be in Booktique on Monday, June 2. There I will informally launch the Contact With Shadow ungluing campaign. I also hope to informally chat with anyone who wants to discuss writing, art and ebooks.

SB at Booktique 2SB at Booktique 1 There may be a surprise or two. Also, I will be happy to explain SPOKEN, an upcoming project combing short stories, virtual reality and an exciting groupof artists. I am excited to be working with Eugene Soh, That Dude From Singapore. Eugene is the artist/visionary who created Singapore's first 3D virtual gallery.  http://gallery.sg/

SBbooktiquebackground

>>>>>>>>>>>>>the following is only for the MONDAY WRITERS PROJECT<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Hi!

OK..we are doing informal short interviews... The idea is that you answer one question at a time, with time in between questions to review your notes. Simple, right?

Here are some questions...we will likely add a few more, so please check this space on Sunday night or better, Monday before you come down. Please send a bio and a jpeg with your name to bookmerah@gmail.com ALSO... send links to anything you have online.

1. Please introduce yourself and say the names of the books you have written.

2. What is the book about? (To be repeated for each book.)

3. Please read a few paragraphs from your book. (Yes, you need to bring a copy of your book(s).

4. The advantages of being a writer in Singapore.

5. The challenges of being a writer in Singapore.

6. Your thoughts on paper books versus ebooks.

7. Where are your books available? Website? Blog?

8. Next book/writing project?

9. Please think of a question you want us to ask you.

Please thank Lorraine Koh, the author of POP ROCK LOVE for volunteering to make this happen.

AND... Doug Schwarz is an author  who is helping other authors.

Take a look at these questions.

If you are interested in, get in touch with Doug.

SEE YOU MONDAY!

Contact With Shadow

CONTACT WITH SHADOW is coming unglued!  (Unglueing is a new development in book distribution)

CONTACT WITH SHADOW

Full of grief, Singaporean history, printing press lore and sweet memories of love, to read Contact With Shadow is to experience loss-- and redemption. The story: a Cambridge research student comes to Singapore to learn about the island's pre-Linotype printing history. His wife, an amateur chef, is killed by lightning. Overwhelmed with a sense of loss, he struggles to write his thesis. More often than not, his words are about the woman he loved. A bureaucratic "assistant" enters the picture, as does a Hollywood producer... Contact With Shadow is an experience, not just a reading experience.

"It's a double pleasure to read this... First, there's the joy of gleaning nuggets of knowledge about Singapore and the printed word hitherto unknown; and second, there's the childlike wonder of never knowing what Stephen Black has in store for us on the next page."

~ Ng Yi-Sheng

2008 Winner of the Singapore Literature Prize

The cover was created by Debbie Ding and Shazanah Hassan.

There was once an exhibition about Contact With Shadow at the WOODS IN THE BOOKS Bookshop (Singapore)

WRITING SAMPLES

It grew from the ground and the grass punched her and the metal on her sandals sparked. Her jeans opened as I watched her hair change. My wife was in the air. Her mouth distorted as the muscles around her eyes bulged and creased. The brightness disappeared. Still in the air, her fingers stretched as though someone’d yanked a wire in her arm. She fell and I ran to her in the sound of the bang. I touched her lips.

I feel this project is my lifework. I mourn the loss of the handwritten letter as well as all of the handcrafted printing machinery created before the Age of Linotype.

Sentosa... A Malay word meaning ‘tranquil’. In the interview it is mentioned that the Sarkies brothers, who were Armenian, used the name Sentosa for their house on Bukit Timah Road. The Sarkies Brothers are most famous for having established Raffles Hotel.

‘Sentosa’ is now associated with the island resort on the west coast of Singapore.

The original name of Sentosa Island was Pulau Belakang Mati, which, literally translated, means “island behind death.” During WWII, Japanese soldiers killed innocent civilians on the islands’ beaches. The name was changed to Sentosa in 1972.

One of our saints, St. Mesrop, founded our alphabet, in 450. Jon refers to Grabar, the Armenian language. Examples of the Grabar alphabet can be found inside the Armenian Church.

There’s some jazz on the hi-fi and everyone’s on the verandah. Helen’s beautiful in her strapless dress and her cheeks are glowing and this will be even better than drunken Bugis with its balconies full of bouncing transsexual breasts. This will be better than the blue movie at Maxine’s birthday party. “A pervert!" Helen says again. “Leather and shoes!”

Dr. Jack knew how to communicate with the future and he was obviously using a code. About two hundred years ago he sent a message on its way to me.

Additionally, the movie and related enterprises are projected to generate ten thousand employment opportunities and underscore Singapore’s commitment to becoming a global hub for the media arts.

In 2005 a movie by the name of Helvetica appeared. In the title sequence the word Helvetica is created by a ‘compositor’. Although the sequence shows only a single word being printed, one does get a sense of the steps involved in composition. The movie accomplishes its task and, honestly, I am really not upset that my opinion was not asked for. Nor was I contacted about being interviewed.

On the clear walls of the staircase are names and short phrases or stories written in the Ultralight Normal 6.6 version of Helvetica.** I try to ignore the hideous font and read the content. The phrases are specific to Singapore, yet universal: “We love Poly Campus more than Princess Mary Barracks... why must a big happy family be broken up?”

Plantin’s legendary studio was the Silicon Valley of 16th Europe, full of elegance and the world’s most sophisticated ink measuring and application technologies. Now, thankfully, it is a museum. We went. We held hands, her heart racing like mine. The drawings were there — Garamond’s original drawings**!The 380 drawings that Claude Garamond brought to life! The drawings are a monument, a landmark in the evolution of European printing and civilization! Garamond’s font of 1540, the masterpiece he created for King Francois!

We finally left the Sri Lankans and found a bus back to Boon Lay. We laughed upon seeing the Cambridge Industrial Park on Pioneer Road. On the train she told me about a new food she was creating. Two people will sit at a table with a very large glass tray between them. The tray will hold a liquid food and in the liquid will be floating white foods. Each person will use a dark sauce to write words on the white food. The staff will then turn on hidden fans to move the white foods, as if they are sailing, or floating like icebergs. Iceword ballet is what I am calling it.

We finally got home and went to sleep and now I’m waking up and she is not here. Forever.

By this time Prince Drtad had matured enough to become King Drtad. King Drtad tortured Greg in a number of unspeakable and unprintable ways and then threw him into Khor Virab, that deep dungeon I mentioned earlier. Ouch! Big ouch! And talk about being in the dark! Ow! Although Christianity had been underground since it began, it was now officially outlawed. Rebel stuff. It was considered a great threat to the state and the pagan world. “Death to Christians and their Christian helpers.” That’s what King Drtad said. In Armenian. OK, technically not Armenian, but the language that pre-dated Armenian.

Ultimately, revolutions are about no one in particular: they are ultimately the anonymous implementation of policies; just as certain caterpillars display a fierce false face to distract predators while the real face eats undisturbed.

Snappy postmodern writing has a new name and its name is Stephen Blake.Contact With Shadow meshes landscape with wordscape, creating a poetic conceptual work with the seriousness of historical nonfiction, the excitement of good travel writing and the tragedy of a romance novel… as well as something about ZZ Top!? AA Loh, architect (Hoffman Institute medallion Winner, 2005)

Plotless and pointless, CSW wanders “forever” in search of a theme. In Singapore, where the “action” takes place, is mindless self-indulgence punishable by caning? Chiaki Williams, International Finance Gazette

Tasty. Moody. Inky. Funny.

Amy Kennedy, www.endswithy.com

A postmodern hall of mirrors reflecting immense research and not much else.

Vincent Yamada, New York Chimes Book Review

Normal wear and tear also resulted in broken letters. Sometimes the pieces of type were not locked in properly and they met the paper at an angle; if they didn’t break, they may have been flattened or bent. Pages were printed one at a time, which meant that a small number of letters were used repeatedly, increasing the chances of breakage.

Letters were used well past their prime. The line of full stops following my w, for example, looks like a row of crumbling black cookies. The line does not look like this: ....................

We’d just arrived. It was very late and we were jetlagged and we didn’t have much Singapore money. We made rice with olive oil and furikake and used coffee cups to drink a small bottle of 7-11 wine. Dessert was a mango, eaten by candlelight. I told her about the Tamil king who was given a magic mango, one that would make him immortal. He served it to his favorite poet.

When she read, whether it was in bed, on a train or beneath a tree, the world became perfect. Sometimes she read words and made them into food.

CONTACT WITH SHADOW is coming unglued!
CONTACT WITH SHADOW is coming unglued!