Thursday, September 27, 2007

Gloss Girl

Gloss Girl (whose secret identity is here) sent me an email about the ongoing discussion on Philippine Speculative Fiction, and, like others, she has her opinions. She allowed me to quote her:
"The comments raised sound suspiciously familiar to the debates regarding gay literature (if you're a straight person writing about gay characters, does that still make it gay lit?); and film vs digital (if you shoot a film with a videocam, does that still make it a film?); both old, passe topics. I think this debate, no matter how infuriating, is essential as part of the growth of genre in a formerly realism lit-based society.
My two cents: I'm Filipino. My ancestors may have chinky eyes and a penchant for noodles but I grew up in the Philippines and identify myself with this and not my grandparents' home country. By citizenship, I am Filipino. If China and the Philippines were to go to war, whose side do you think I'd be on? Whether I write about my being Chinese-Filipino, about Martians invading the Earth, about an invented fantasy land, about aswangs, kapres, and tikbalangs, about a hungry Hungarian vampire craving Hungarian sausages set in Budapest, I think it would still be classified as Fil. Spec. Fic. I hate labels and I don't like it that people needlessly pick at something just because it doesn't fit this or that category. The glory of speculative fiction lies in its, well, speculative nature. To box it in with all sorts of name-calling just detracts from what it was supposed to do in the first place: set us free. In the end, all I want is for us to be proud of our fiction, under whatever name. Personally, if I were forced at gunpoint (or by the discontinuation of my favorite lip gloss) to pick a label to work under, I would like that my work be called 'fabulous'.
Ay, di na pala two cents. :P "
She also points to S.P. Somtow, a Thai-American science-fiction and horror writer (who is also a musical composer), who writes about, among other things, vampires and werewolves, and has received acclaim for such, with little, if any, reference or mention of his Thai background. I haven't read his books, but as far as Gloss Girl knows, his fiction, deemed by her as American, does not reflect a need or guilt to write Thai (though he has written a grand opera, "Ayodhya", a retelling of Thailand's national epic, the Ramayana, in modern terms).

Gloss Girl's more than two cents.

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