"In this busy, dusty world, having accomplished nothing, I suddenly recalled all the girls I had known, considering each in turn, and it dawned on me that all of them surpassed me in behaviour and understanding; that I ,shameful to say for all my masculine dignity, fell short of the gentler sex." - from the Dream of Red Mansion.
One of the main things I do before planning a story is to narrow down on these 'selected works'. For 'Hot Spring', the first in the series of Godfrey and Chucky's adventures, I spent two months 'drawing out the essence' from the Chinese classic 'Dream of Red Mansion'. Since this revered classic had a common theme with my story idea, I wanted to make sure that I don't write a scene only to discover it had been done before. Both my story and "Dream of Red Mansion" deals with the growing up phase of a young boy in an affluent household. In both stories, the young boy is uneasy with his father and fascinated by his aunt. The adolescent is also discovering his conflicting feelings for two of his female friends. But enough of the similarities for now.
The original work has 120 chapters and about 2500 pages. I have the English translation from Foreign Languages Press. I remember taking 6 months to finish reading this, and I was sure I didn't want to write something of that length. So I did a summary of the timeless work, which helped me to remember some of the major plot themes I had read before. You have to know how something is approached traditionally, before you can give it a twist, don't you?
In short, the Dream of Red Mansions describes the slow decay of the esteemed Jia family, and how the young heir Jia Baoyu awakens to spiritual discovery. Stripped bare of all details, the classic is about a boy living in a large house with plenty of women.
On the other hand, in 'Hot Spring', the Gao family is prospering, and the story is about how they overcome a threat to their business. There is still the wonderful dynamic of a young boy living with many beautiful women in the hotel and at school. On top of that, the Gao family hotel hosts wealthy tourists Godfrey and Chucky, and even assists them on the adventure. The hotel's name, Red Jade Palace Hotel, is an allusion to the classic novel, and provides an extra layer of amusement for its fans.
Doing the summaries beforehand can really help an author to plan out the story well, and ensure there is no unwanted repetition with a more famous cultural work. For my second book I am already summarizing the films that I hope to pay homage to. The same applies when a TV series or a video game inspired your writing passion. If you want to read a fresh, innovative novel inspired by 'Dream of Red Mansions', you should definitely catch your copy of 'Hot Spring' at Kobo books.
The Wonderful Times of Godfrey and Chucky: Hot Spring
Godfrey is young, wealthy and able-bodied. He has all the women you can imagine, and unbelievably deep pockets. But Godfrey wants more. His Great Greatness wants to rid the world of a menacing scourge, and restore what is truly superior to an elevated position. Why would anyone stop him? Who could possibly stop him?
Chucky arrives as the new assistant, and tries to perform every duty that is handed to him. What challenges for a dull servant! Look at him muddling through! With passports of exclusive privilege, the two adventurers make a splash in tropical Langkawi, where the water is blue and the girls are brown. Then they rendezvous with the locals in Singapore, where pleasures are plentiful and multicolored. Food and money are found in piles. Life in a global city should be, possibly, one of uninterrupted leisure…shouldn’t it?
Desire is a seductively red piece of jade, which resides even in our dreams.
"I am a healthy, strong and sexy male with a life, most of it sex life." - Godfrey Mann
"I did not know how to reply, since the words were difficult to speak." - Chucky
Inspired by English and Japanese gardens, Daitoku Daiichi is committed to sharing scenes of beauty with his readers. He hopes that through the mansion-like device of the novel, he can host a tea party to serve his readers exotic delights. In the day, he is a tutor, essayist, gourmet and world traveler. People somehow love to share their secrets with him, and he wants use his gifts of perception to tell innovative stories.
Giveaway: 5 e-copies of The Wonderful Times of Godfrey and Chucky: Hot Spring
Hot Spring Excerpts
Godfrey and Chucky discover a great way to fly.
Just like Master Gawd’s fast car, this big bird-like thing has seatbelts. We watched a TV program where the Singapore Airlines girls, called SIA girls, showed us how to evacuate in the event of an emergency. I looked around and noticed that very few people were paying attention to the TV program, and my master himself was alternating his gaze between the dinner menu and the SIA girls that walked down the aisle. From the behavior of my fellow passengers, I could only conclude that air emergencies did not happen very frequently, so I felt reassured. They sound quite scary, these emergencies.
My master proclaimed, “They should have given us bigger seats, don’t you think. There’s just barely enough space for me to stretch my legs. What if one of those hot girls comes to sit on my lap?” He slouched forward and wiggled his feet.
“They seem to be busy standing up and walking about to get us things, master,” I replied, trying to defend the air servants.
“We might even have been short-changed, Chucky. Look at this picture,” said master, pointing to the Krisflyer magazine. “They got these first-class seats where you can like, lie down and roll about. That’s the way it should be, don’t you think?”
“Yes, master. I guess they only have it for the bigger planes.”
“They gave us a small plane, Chucky. This sucks.”
I was feeling a little upset because my master was not too satisfied with our business class seats. It is very important that servants work hard for the sake of higher authorities. I was actually quite happy that we could get tickets just like that with our credit card, but I did not dare to mention it to my master in case he would get angry. Usually when I book the train in the Eastern Heaven, I have to make reservations beforehand.
Now, I was expecting this to be an unpleasant flight for my master, but it turned out that things went the other way. The SIA ladies started to walk down the aisle and gave us these strange-looking black things wrapped in a see-through bag. There was one lady on Master’s aisle, wearing the interesting dress with the shape of the female body and hair rolled up into a bun with a neat, shiny side-parting. There was one lady on my aisle too, wearing the same interesting dress with the shape of the female body and hair rolled up into a bun with a neat, shiny side-parting. Both had a mild smile on their faces and were walking down the aisles at about the same speed. When the lady walking down Master Gawd’s aisle met Master Gawd, her smile widened and she started talking a lot in a loud voice. Master Gawd greeted her and introduced himself as ‘Great Godfrey’, and she chuckled and introduced herself as ‘Mindy Wong’. Master mentioned that it was his ‘first time on your wonderful airline’ and she proceeded to explain to Master that she was giving him headsets for entertainment and that her beautiful dress was called the Sarong Kebaya. Her English pronunciation was not the most clear and I think I might have heard ‘headsex’ but I probably was mistaken. From my master’s reaction and smiling face, the lady must have been quite beautiful and pleasing to his taste.
When the lady walking down my aisle met me, her already-thin smile almost vanished. She took out a yellow piece of headset and passed it to me in silence before moving on really quickly. The yellow headset felt a little tight as I spread it around my ears. I was fumbling about with the controls while Master Gawd was already fully plugged in and flipping through the channels. Then the most mysterious thing happened: the same SIA girl whom I saw just a short while ago comes down the aisle once again. This time she looked at me, with the same face as before, and spoke:
“I’m sorry sir, my colleague just now gave you the wrong headset, which is for children. Here is the correct one.” She passed me a black headset just like the one everybody else had.
I am blinking my eyes looking at this same SIA girl who I saw moments ago. I think the take-off is making me imagine things, don’t you think?
“Is there anything else I can get you, sir?”
“Sorry…I mean no. Well, I don’t know, it’s my first time. Never mind.” I stammered.
The colleague who looked the same as the same-looking colleague I met before, walked off briskly, leaving me to my confusion. Perhaps this is what the ancient sages call ‘mystery of mysteries’.
When I was going to the washroom, the curtain happened to be drawn and down the aisle I noticed a whole new area to the aircraft with many people inside. The seats looked smaller than ours, and every seat had someone in it. They were being served by a male steward, and when I asked him what this area was, he stared at me with a confused look, and replied “This is economy class, sir.” I felt somewhat relieved that I was not the only confused man on the aircraft. This economy class seems to be quite popular though.
Our dinner was served to us in small boxes. Master Gawd exchanged many words and glances with Mindy. I was not used to the descent to Changi Airport, so I threw up into the throw-up bag. I felt a bit embarrassed, but Master Gawd did not seem to mind.