Friday, October 26, 2007

The Doppler Effect

The Doppler Effect sees a similarity between the discussion and what Margaret Atwood went through. He writes about it in this post.

Updated links here.


Read Or Die has announced some writing workshops in the coming months. Some top Philippine authors will be involved in these workshops, which are free and open to the public. For those who want to go, take note of the schedules.

New Worlds 5 will push through tomorrow at the Glorietta Mall in Makati, according to New Worlds Alliance P.R.O. Rej Layug and organizer Tobito Abad. This includes the scheduled Writer's Forum from 2:30-4:00 p.m. at the Glorietta Activity Center.

Soledad's Sister

I apologize for not blogging for a while. I still have to blog about my visit to Ateneo High School and the last Litcritters Session at Serendra where PGS3 stories were discussed. Work's a killer. But I will blog about it as soon as I've got the time.

But I do have to blog about this, even with just this short entry. Sir Butch Dalisay's book, Soledad's Sister, was shortlisted for the 2007 Man Asian Literary Prize. Exciting news! Sir Butch has helped make people aware of PGS in a big way, and I am hoping that come November 10, 2007, he'll end up holding the prize! Congratulations, sir Butch!

Friday, October 19, 2007

PGS on Jam 88.3

Thank you very much to DJ Lana of Jam 88.3 for graciously hosting PGS on her hour-long radio show, Shelve It! It was fun going on-air again--this time with Miggy Escaño, author of Tuko--to talk about PGS, reading, and writing. Much thanks too to Charles Tan for recording and transcribing the show.

I was at Ateneo High School yesterday too with some writers, and will blog about that as soon as some of my time frees up.

Previous on-air PGS radio interviews:
NU 107.5
Mellow 94.7

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Interview on Jam 88.3

There will be a feature and interview on October 18, 2007, on the radio station Jam 88.3, for PGS. It will be from 8 to 9 in the evening. I'll be there, on-air, with PGS contributor Miggy Escaño, author of the cover story for PGS3, Tuko. Hope you have the time to tune-in and listen!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Announcements (Updated)

Contributor to PGS1 and Xavier School Creative Writing Club Moderator Vin Simbulan has a story, "Silverio And The Eidolon", published in the October 13, 2007 issue of The Philippines Free Press (controversial personage Benjamin Abalos on the cover).

Tin Mandigma (whose story was announced here and has received positive comments here, where someone called her a "literary Manny Pacquiao") has announced some upcoming Read Or Die events. These include writing workshops, comics symposiums, and more.

Nikki and Dean Alfar have posted their choices for Philippine Speculative Fiction, Volume 3. Among them are PGS contributors Yvette Tan, Elyss Punsalan, Mia Tijam, Joseph Nacino, Andrew Drilon, Apol Lejano-Massebieau, Charles Tan, and Alexander Marcos Osias (along with some other writers who have expressed interest to have their stories published in PGS in the future, much to my delight).

The Manila Litcritters Open Session on October 20, 2007 at A Different Bookstore Serendra will tackle three stories from PGS3, as I've mentioned in the latter part of the post here. It's open to everyone, so please do come. Copies of PGS3 are available for sale there, or you can get your copy early at any of our partner distributors.

Anton Makes Conclusions

Controversy At The World's Biggest Book Fair

World's Biggest Book Fair Stirs Cultural Spat In Spain.

Something to do with the language used in writing, and naturally, politics isn't far behind such an issue.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Words They Use

My daughters have used a lot, words which, when they've uttered them, have taken me by surprise, shocking me into laughter, or dismay, or complete incredulity. I think this is something all parents go through, but I feel particularly sensitive to this because of my love for words.

This evening, it was my four-year-old's turn to surprise me into hysterical laughter.

She's different from her Atsi*, my four-year-old. Where my eldest is a bit of a rough-and-tumble type, whose favorite color is blue, who prefers pants to skirts and action-cartoons to cutesy shows, my second daughter adores the color pink, likes to wear clips, beads, bracelets, necklaces and make-up, and wants to spend her TV time watching Barbie Fairytopia. Where Atsi has thought of becoming a fireman, a policeman, a doctor, a lawyer, an architect, etc., Sho-be** has been very clear, adamant even, that she wants to grow up to become a ballerina (displaying a pirouette with each announcement).

I spent the early evening doing a bit of arts-and-crafts with my four-year old while my eight-year old studied for an exam. She was engrossed in her work, cutting some paper into a shape that only she could make sense of, coloring it with crayons and pentel pens, dabbing pink glitter-glue all over it, while I "assisted" her by handing her the implements as she asked for them, like a nurse helping a surgeon in the operating room.

"It's done!" she announced when she was finished.

"Wonderful!" I said. "Um, what is it, dear?"

"It's a cat!" She held it up to me.

"It's beautiful! It's excellent! It's terrific!"

"No it's not Daddy," she said, and I believe I heard derision in her voice at all my adjectives. "It's FABULOUS!"

I paused for a few seconds before collapsing on the floor in a heap, and it was all my eldest could do to get me to stop laughing so she could concentrate on her schoolwork.

"Hellooo! I'm trying to study here!" she raised her voice at me. "Could you please keep it down?"

Of course, I couldn't.

*Atsi - Hokkien word for eldest sister, Ate in Filipino.
**Sho-be - Hokkien word for youngest sister.

The Cat Provides A Summary

Banzai Cat summarizes what has happened so far: Trying To Get The Last Word In First.

Updated links here.

Write Here, Write Now (Plus A Suggestion)

(I'm not sure...wasn't there a song with lyrics like those?)

Still on Philippine Speculative Fiction, Notes From The Peanut Gallery encourages us to Write Here, Write Now.

The discussions have all been informative and in-depth, and I will continue to update the links here as long as there are people still blogging about it (and as long as I am informed about them, so please let me know if something new comes up).

May I suggest something, though? In addition to following the suggestion in the link above to write some more, what say we bring up examples of stories that we like (or not) that may (or may not) fall under "Philippine" fiction, speculative or realist? That way, we can discuss the body of work that we know of and have read. Perhaps that will help us appreciate more the work that is being produced, help us grow in our reading versatility, and for those of us who tell stories, help us grow too in our writing. I'd gladly make a new entry linking all the discussions about stories written by Filipinos. Anyone want to start an online something about Nick Joaquin's "May Day Eve"? Or N.V.M. Gonzales's "Children Of The Ash-Covered Loam"? Or how about more recent tales, like "Y" by Sharmaine Galve, "The 101st Michael" by K. Osias, or "Insomnia" by Joseph Nacino? Talking about stories that have been written and published can only broaden our understanding of what's already out there.

Or something like this, for example: on October 20, 2007 at 4 p.m., the members of the Manila Litcritters will be hosting at A Different Bookstore, Serendra, a critique session for three stories from PGS3. These stories are "Twinspeak" by Elyss Punsalan, "Tuko" by Miggy Escaño, and "The Devil Is In The Details" by Charles Tan. The session is open to the public, so please feel free to come and share your thoughts on their stories. Discuss characterization, plot, setting, dialogue, and all the other elements that go into a story, and how they were handled by these Pinoy authors. Share what you liked or what you didn't like from their tales, or if you prefer, you can just listen in. Just make sure you grab a copy of PGS3 and read their stories before going so you know what's being talked about! (PGS3 will be available at A Different Bookstore on the day itself, in case you want to get one, by the way).

Monday, October 08, 2007

Nowhere Near Done

Bhex of the Philippine Speculative Fiction blog has put up her latest post--quite a long one, and one which addresses specific points made by others--on the speculative fiction discussion: "Filipino" Spec. Fic.: We're Nowhere Near Done Talking About This.

Updated links here.

The Spy In The Sandwich

From a Litcritter in Dumaguete, The Spy In the Sandwich gives his take on the discussion: The Filipino-ness In Our Literature.

All the updated links I could find are here.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

My Life As A Bed

Another member of Litcritters Manila makes a clear statement on his blog, My Life As A Bed: Release The Elves!

Updated links here.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Musings From Davao (Updated)

Dominique Cimafranca of Sketches Of A Village Idiot Savant shares his musings from Davao: Filipino Science Fiction, Part 1. If there's a Part 1, there's going to be a part 2 (except if it's Mel Brooks's History Of The World Part 1; all together now: "It's good to be the king!"). I'll update this as soon as Dominique posts part 2.

Updates: Filipino Science Fiction, Part 1, 2, 3.

Updated links here.

With Much Thanks, and A Lame Short-short Christmas Story

Thank you very much to all those who submitted genre stories for the special PGS Holiday issue, due out early December this year (*crosses fingers*). Upon a first, cursory reading, they all seem wonderfully imaginative, and we promise we'll get back to you quickly so we can hit the presses as soon as possible. There were a few stragglers that sent in their work a day after the deadline, but in the spirit of the tardy Fourth Magi, we'll take them in too. Again, thank you very much!

To all the stragglers: you're lucky I have a special fondness for the Fourth Magi, not because I'm always late like he is, but because way before I even knew of his existence or tale--which was also made into a movie, by the way--I told my own version of it to my religion teacher as an irreverent high-schooler:

The Fourth Magi (or The First Christmas Dinner)

The Fourth Magi was running late, as usual ("You did tell him we'd leave before dawn, right?"), so much so that the other three got pissed off and left ahead. They were kind enough to leave him a note tacked to a fig tree: "Dear slowpoke, just follow the star--even you can do that, can't you?".

So of course when he finally set off after them he did his best to catch up, first spurring his camel on with kind words and encouragement ("You can do it you magnificent, mighty beast! We'll catch up with those jerks, we will!"), then with invectives and insults ("Hurry up! Move faster you son of a..a...camel! Or I'll trade you in for a second-hand hookah!"). But by the time he got to the manger in Bethlehem all flustered and bothered and in a rush, the Heavenly Host were done with the first Christmas carols (without pay, tambourines, or synthesizers) and were back in Heaven; the other three Magi were done giving away the first set of white-elephant Christmas gifts (except for the gold) and had already left for home; Joseph, Mary, the Baby Jesus, and the family donkey were on their way to Egypt to escape Herod's wrath; and even the shepherds had gone to bed, leaving him alone with just a few insomniac sheep.

The Fourth Magi tore his beard out in frustration. "Why am I always late?" he screamed to the sky. "It's your fault!" he shouted at his camel, who gave him a baleful look. He brought out his gift for the Baby Jesus, cooking herbs and spices (What is it with these Magi? What would a baby do with frankincense, myrrh, and cooking herbs and spices? But the gold's all right; gold's good for everyone!), and was about to hurl them to the wind when one of the insomniac sheep bleated.

"Baah," it said.

"Oh he**, why not?" the Fourth Magi said. So with an urgent need to vent, and being practical if not punctual, he butchered the sheep, started a fire, and had lamb chops seasoned in herbs and spices for the first Christmas dinner.

My religion teacher was far from amused, and thought it was lame, even for me ("That's not very funny," she said, but I thought otherwise). My only excuse is I was still in high-school at the time, but even up to now I still chuckle whenever I remember her expression after I told her this story.

So, thanks again to all who sent in their Christmas stories, and look out for the PGS Holiday issue soon!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Anton Continues To Expound

Anton, thanks to the prodding of Banzai Cat, has made another entry: More Details On Speculative Fiction.

He includes links to a chart and a diagram.

Updated links here.

What Would Bram Stoker Say?

Here's an article over at Time Magazine: Baring Fangs Over Dracula's Castle.

From the speculative horror of the novel to the very realist world of lawsuits, contracts, and politics.

(Picture: Bran Castle, in Transylvania, Romania. More popularly known as Dracula's Castle).

Thursday, October 04, 2007

A Commentary On The Current State Of The American Short Story

Stephen King has an article in the September 30, 2007 issue of The New York Times, "What Ails The Short Story". He makes some interesting observations. His conclusion?

"So — American short story alive? Check. American short story well? Sorry, no, can’t say so. Current condition stable, but apt to deteriorate in the years ahead."

Ellen Datlow, co-editor of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, responds here: "What Stephen King Thinks About The State of The Short Story. Her point?

"His comments especially trouble me because nowhere does Mr. King mention the continually entertaining and fertile grounds from which he sprung—science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Yes, the short story (mainstream and genre) is suffering from a lack of visibility, but entertaining and literate short fiction is indeed being published —just check out some of the original anthologies and magazines regularly publishing literature of the fantastic, such as The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Fantasy Magazine, Subterranean Magazine, Cemetery Dance."

Thanks to Charles Tan for letting me know about this.

What Book Are You?

You're Ulysses!

by James Joyce

Most people are convinced that you don't make any sense, but compared
to what else you could say, what you're saying now makes tons of sense. What people do
understand about you is your vulgarity, which has convinced people that you are at once
brilliant and repugnant. Meanwhile you are content to wander around aimlessly, taking in
the sights and sounds of the city. What you see is vast, almost limitless, and brings you
additional fame. When no one is looking, you dream of being a Greek folk hero.
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Good grief! Ulysses! That's one book I can't get far through, so you can imagine my surprise when that came up. I tried to vary my answers, came up with other titles like Alice In Wonderland, Lolita, and The Mists Of Avalon, but none of those answers were as honest as the first time I went through the questions. And lo and behold...I get James Joyce!

"Brilliant and repugnant" at the same time? I don't know whether to laugh or cry!

And a "Greek folk hero"? I always saw myself as one of the side characters, like the shepherd, the oracle, the soothsayer, or something like that. You get to see how the story plays out without risking getting killed in the adventure (then you can write about it afterward). Let me put it another way: if I were a character in the Batman comic, I think I'd like to be Alfred, his butler! You get to stay home (in a mansion with all the luxurious accoutrements, no less); work only when the boss is home (which is rare); and you get to complain about his insane activities to his face too. And chances are that mansion is going to have a well-stocked library also.

Naah. We shouldn't take this seriously. This is just for fun. Right?

Good luck with your choices, folks! Leave a comment here and let us know what books came out for you!

(I apologize if the font size comes out big on your monitors; for some reason, I can't change the font size from what the Book Quiz gave me to copy-and-paste).

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

More Points To Consider

A newly-written batch of insights: Anton makes definite and clear judgments, drawing the lines clearly as to his thoughts versus some of the other arguments raised earlier: Philippine Speculative Fiction: Points to Consider; Other Points To Consider Parts 1, 2, 3, 4; and More Details On Speculative Fiction.

Updated links here.

More On Science Fiction

In addition to this post, which highlighted some earlier entries on science-fiction, there are two more now: Feasibility Studies and If All The Stars Were Suns: The Layman's Sci-Fi.

Accidents Happen Writes A Love Letter

Accidents Happen, the blog of Palanca winner F.H. Batacan, who is the author of Smaller And Smaller Circles, shares her thoughts in this entry, A Love Letter To Susan, about the ongoing discussion, but this time through what she knows of the mystery/crime genre. Thanks, Ichi! Updated links here. Much thanks to Philippine Star columnist and another Palanca winner, Exie Abola, for the heads-up about Ichi's post.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Words Of Our Prayers

Over at Zen In Darkness, I chanced upon an entry, Feast Of The Guardian Angels. It's a short reflection on words and what they mean to us, and how they channel our expressions, especially when we use them to pray.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Updated Links

Links here on the ongoing discussion on Pinoy Speculative Fiction have been updated to reflect the following:

Laughter At The Fringes Of Sanity
urges us to Write Something Filipino, Man.

Bhex of the Philippine Speculative Fiction blog posts the other entries she found on the web about Pinoy Speculative Fiction.

Excerpt From A Letter By A Social-Realist Aswang

Kristin Mandigma's story, as we have mentioned here, is now up on Clarkesworld Magazine. That's the cover for Issue 13 on the left, and that's her name beside Lisa Mantchev's. Read it here!

(In fact, one could consider--if one chose to read something between the lines--that Tin's story is her further contribution to the current discussion on Philippine Speculative Fiction.)

Congratulations again, Tin!