Excerpt: ‘Stars, Bright as Light’ by Joyce Chng

One of my favorite parts of publishing a new anthology is introducing the authors and their stories here on The Insignia Series blog.

The just-released Insignia: Asian Science Fiction anthology has 8 diverse tales of body-swapping, tech hacking and stealing, inter-dimensional relationships, and, a ghost story!

The first excerpt is from the first story in the anthology: Joyce Chng’s ‘Stars, Bright as Light’.

Joyce Chng has been with The Insignia Series from the beginning, and has contributed a wonderful ‘cyber-punkish’ (her word!) YA story set in futuristic Singapore.



‘Stars, Bright as Light’ by Joyce Chng


Ma was not at home when I returned from school. She worked part-time at the supermarket as a cashier.

She had left a plate of fried rice on the table. I had a few spoonfuls and some water before I went back to my room. Ma had cleaned up and thrown away the clutter. Thank you, Ma, I thought. She had done so much for me: for example, I needed her to shower me, as I wasn’t as mobile and agile as before. My disease was progressive. It was only about two years ago when the paralysis reached up to my hips and my legs weakened, forcing me to use a motorized wheelchair. I wanted so badly to be independent. Kids my age were hanging out and going to parties, but I couldn’t go out without a parent anymore.

I completed my homework. Writing was beginning to frustrate me. I couldn’t hold the pen for long as my fingers would shake and cramp up.  That was why I loved the simpath game. Ma hesitated at first when I wanted to install the connector ports but acquiesced after the sales representative showed us the benefits of this virtual reality combat game.

As a pilot of a war robot, you battle robots. You need no physical controls, only the power of your thoughts and will. As you progress in the game, you attain different Grades. The highest will be Grade Five. We have uploaded anti-hacking programs and firewalls to protect our players. An in-game death doesn’t mean real-life death. Players will also earn in-game credits that can be translated into real currencies. Rest assured, auntie, she will be fine.


Joyce Chng’s Author Page

Insignia: Asian Science Fiction Page (Insignia Vol.5.)



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