Pimping – Tom Cho’s Look Who’s Morphing…but wait, there’s more

I’ve been meaning to pimp this for a while now, not that Tom’s fab new work needs any momentum from me, given it has already garnered a bunch of publicity in its first few weeks out in the real world.

I’m reproducing the blurb from the publisher’s site below:


Look Who’s MorphingTom Cho. Giramondo Publishing, 2009.

Look Who’s Morphing is a collection of bizarre, funny, often menacing fictions in which, along with his extended family, the central character undergoes a series of transformations, shape-shifting through figures drawn from film and television, music clips and video games, porn flicks and comics. He is Godzilla, a Muppet, and Whitney Houston’s bodyguard; the Fonz, a robot, a Ford Bronco 4×4 – and, as a climax, a Gulliver-sized cock rock singer, played upon by an adoring troupe of sexy Lilliputians in short skirts and sailor suits and cheerleader outfits.

Within these fantasies there is a deep intellectual and emotional engagement, a fundamental questioning of the nature of identity, and the way it constructs itself in a world dominated by the images of popular culture. Influenced by the young adult book series Sweet Valley High, Tom Cho began writing fiction in his mid-teens. His stories have appeared in many publications in Australia and overseas, and he has performed at festivals around the country, including in the award-winning show Hello Kitty, which combined literature with power ballads. He is currently completing a doctorate at Deakin University. His work can be found at www.tomcho.com.

You can read a range of recent reviews HERE, and find ways to get your hands on the book HERE.


I’ve been a fan of Tom’s work for a while now, and got to know him from his zine-ing days with Sweet Valley High (which I still miss, btw. No pressure, Tom, but now you have that PhD ousted…). I think we first ‘met’ online at the asian-australian_discuss group and only saw each other face-to-face when I moved to Melbourne in 2004. Since then, we’ve worked together on various things, including Peril. We’ve also braved ASAL (AustLit), ASAA (Asian Studies), and other stray academic conferences. Getting to know Tom has been super-fun, and he’s one of those people who I always wish I saw more often.

Seeing his first book out and about, with the amazingly striking cover pic by Owen Leong, is truly satisfying. First, I can now point people to a hardcopy object rather than do the ‘go see his website for excerpts’-patter and, second, it’s just great to see Tom’s hard, wonderful, uber-considered work in the public domain. As you’ll see if you go to his website, Look Who’s Morphing already has nationwide launches lined up (thus far: Melbourne, Sydney, Perth), and Tom is giving talks and readings around the ridges as well (including the Sydney Writers’ Festival [SWF: 18-24 May 2009] – it’s going to be tough hangin’ with the likes of Kazuo, I’m sure).

So, public and resounding congrats on the new book, Tom! Remember the little people, eh?


On a related note:

I was excited to see in one of Tom’s site updates that Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre is holding several sessions during the SWF focused on Asian Australian writing and authors.

They include:

  • Writing Asia (featuring Brian Castro, Tom Cho, Merlinda Bobis, Nick Jose + Adam Aitken)
  • Triple Identities (featuring Subramani, Satendra Nandan, Devleena Ghosh + Seona Smiles)
  • Love, Honour, Sacrifice (featuring Chi Vu, Hoa Pham, Khoa Do, Ivor Indyk + Nathalie Nguyen)

[Writers bolded are part of the AASRN, which I convene]

If you’re in Sydney for SWF (or other nefarious reasons), scoot along and support some great talent! Wish I could be there, too!

ALSO – last bit of pimpage for this post:

Peril Issue #7 will be launched at SWF by Annette Shun Wah. Check out the full details HERE.


2 thoughts on “Pimping – Tom Cho’s Look Who’s Morphing…but wait, there’s more

  1. Tom 05/05/2009 / 9:34 am

    >Thanks for the pimpage and congrats, Tseen. Hadn’t pictured myself hangin’ with Kazuo at the Sydney Writers’ Fest. But I had pictured myself at the zine fair, and I wish I could pass my book off as a zine and sell it there. “It’s a zine, but thicker than usual and not printed via a photocopier.” As for your suggestion that I remember the little people, until I’m in one of those “in conversation with” things at writers’ festivals, I’m keepin’ it real and still being Jenny from the block.

  2. tseen 06/05/2009 / 5:02 am

    >I look forward to seeing those drastically airbrushed photos of you when you are touted as “In conversation with…” – preferably wearing Buddy Holly specs-frames + posed against a backdrop of weighty tomes. 🙂

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