Saturday, February 28, 2009

"More Than True", A Declaration

More Than True's Part 1 post now has a Part 2: A Declaration [Up The (Main)stream Without A Paddle (Part 2)]. And boy, has he declared himself, ever (er, no, I don't mean it that way). An excerpt:

Come the 28th, two things happen: first – despite whatever odd jobs I may need to pull to keep from having to mooch off my wife - my primary vocation, my primary occupation will be that of a writer. I have an urban fantasy novel that needs finishing.

Second, I set about trying to establish a publishing house. A digital publishing house, with a special place for novel length Philippine Speculative Fiction.

The other week I attended a seminar on Publishing in Cyberspace, sponsored by the National Book Development Board (NBDB), in partnership with the Book Development Association Of The Philippines (which I heard of at Philippine Genre Stories). The publishers in attendance were affable, intelligent sorts, but many of the representatives seemed to be at a loss with regards to the full potential of the Internet (with the exception of those who sent younger representatives). This shouldn’t come as a surprise – many big US publishers seem to flounder a bit in the ebook realm.

Yet, the ebook market is here, and it's steadily growing. Lots of people all over the world already read reams of stories online, on their computers - just look at how popular fanfic is. Mobile devices that can read ebooks will only become more prevalent: the iPhone has apps like Stanza – which is free – which can read most ebook formats (though there are some formatting issues) and can receive files via wifi. The Kindle 2 has just been released, and late this year/early next year, the plastic logic reader might finally come out. In a year where traditional publishing struggled, Ebook sales increased - by quite a bit.

Back at the local level, at the Publishing in Cyberspace conference, a representative from yehey revealed some telling numbers: around 27 million internet users in the country, 83% of whom were part of a social network (1st in the world); 90% of whom have perused blogs. Even just limiting ourselves to the Philippines, there are a lot of eyes on the internet, a lot of people before whom we can display our works. I think there’s an audience here for genre fiction: look at the number of people who flock to the SFF section of Fully Booked – the people from all social classes who splurge on complete collections of the works of Rowling and Meyer; the number of fans drawn by Neil Gaiman whenever he’s in town; the droves who descend upon Komikon; even the popularity of story-intensive RPGs.

There’s room for growth in this market I think. As I said last post, I think there would be a market for homegrown SFF novels and serials… These are the type of stories I’ve always loved to read. These are the type of books that create not only readers, but FANS. Let’s go make some.
There’s a lot of work to be done yet: a business plan to make, investors to convince, bandwidth to purchase, editors and codemonkeys to hire, marketing strategies to figure out. It will be hard work. It may fail horribly – but if it does, I hope others will learn from my errors and push forward.

But for now, I am throwing my hat in the ring. I am 29 years old and from now on I’m setting out to cross out quite a few things from my list of potential mid-life regrets. If I don’t end up contributing anything to the development of Philippine Speculative Fiction… well, at least no one will be able to tell me I didn’t try.

I’m betting on us – us as readers, us as writers. If you like the odds – or, hell, if you don’t like them but want to spite them anyway, then welcome aboard.

Let’s do this.

Click here to read the whole post.

Hey, hey, hey! Good luck, More Than True! I really hope you make this (and given my past posts, I'm thinking of the same for PGS).

More Than True is Paolo Chikiamco, author of "Homer's Child" from PGS3.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Book Launch: A Time For Dragons

Philippine Speculative Fiction IV is launching at the end of February, and near the end of March is the launch of A Time For Dragons:

Join the book launch of A Time for Dragons (Anvil Publishing), edited by Vincent Simbulan, March 29, 2009 (Sunday), 3:00 pm, Shangri-la Mall Grand Atrium. This book is a collection of new dragon stories by Filipino authors to present the dragon in new and inventive ways, and renew and refresh the dragon for a more sophisticated and mature audience. Don’t miss the parade of dragons at the launch in Shangri-la Mall.

The anthology's editor is also the author of "Wail Of The Sun" from PGS1, and "The Last Stand Of Aurundar" from PGS4.

How do you like this for symmetry? Something's happening at or near the end of the next three months: the launch of Philippine Speculative Fiction IV at the end of February, the launch of a Time For Dragons near the end of March, and the deadline for the Palanca Awards at the end of April. Makes for easy recall.

Is The Writing On The Wall For Print?

Two of my recent entries--Can Newspapers Survive? and Can Comics Survive?--as well as my previous links on the same subject, and my posts about The Kindle and e-reading, have given me much food-for-thought.

Science-fiction has been the harbinger for some of mankind's technological advancements: Jules Verne foretold the submarine in his story, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. Isaac Asimov did the same with the Internet via his Multivac creation. There were numerous stories about cloning even before Dolly the Sheep came to be. Arthur Clarke talked about satellites way before mankind launched all those space stations orbiting the Earth, floating above our heads. Through their stories and their characters, these authors explored how their concepts and ideas affected mankind.

But with the speed of technological advancement, we don't need science-fiction stories to see how and where things go, and how we're affected. Within our lifetimes, we can identify the movement of technology in the different fields that play a part in our daily lives.

Music: Believe it or not I still remember 8-tracks, the precursor of the cassette tape (there, I've gone and dated myself again). My father had an 8-track player in his blue, 2-door Chevy, a huge car whose backseat was as big as a hotel bed for one person. Its partner was not the vinyl record, but spool players (one disc of rolled up tape about the size of a frisbee rolling into another, with the reader inbetween, sort of like a massive cassette tape); my father still owns one--and it still works--as does my father-in-law, who tried to pass his on to me when they were cleaning their house out last January, and which I politely declined. These were replaced by the cassette tape and the Walkman, and we know where these inventions are now: In museums. The vinyl record is making a comeback, thanks to the popularity of DJ's, but for a while people were sounding its death knell. And now, these same people are playing taps for the compact disc, thanks to downloadable digital music files like mp3's.

Video: Betamax vs. VHS is so old news, right? VHS won, right? And their greatest contribution to mankind is not just the comfort of watching movies in our own homes and at our own times, but easy-to-watch porn, right? Well, where's the VHS player now? I still own one, but I think I'm in the minority. Many of my friends my age or older don't have theirs anymore. The VHS was replaced by the VCD. And where is the VCD today? Same place as the Walkman, in the museum (though some places still sell them, I believe). Its popular life lasted much shorter than cassette tapes did. DVD's may still be in use today, but can you see a time when they'll be replaced by digital video files, or smaller discs encoded with new technology? I can. And porn? Just use a search engine and get your fill.

Communication: I remember being so amazed by my family's first push-button telephone. It beeped musically whenever you pressed the numbers, and had a cute electronic ring, much more fun to use than our old, black, rotary-dial phone that was as heavy as a bowling ball (the lighter ones, of course, but still, a bowling ball). Where are these push button phones now? (You know where). Heck, where are landlines now? True, they're still in use, but landline revenues have either declined or plateaued, replaced by mobile technology, VOIP, and internet communication programs. Do you still remember when owning a cellphone, those that were as large as a schoolkid's lunchbox, was a luxury? The cheapest cellphone today outperforms those lunchboxes, have personalized ringtones, and can take pictures, to boot. And let's not get into pagers. I threw mine away a long time ago, and the product has gone back to being a niche product for doctors, the segment for which it was originally meant for.

Given all this, and this latest bit of news about a 150-year-old newspaper closing down, it's easy to see where printed material may be heading.

I can foresee a time when The Kindle and other e-readers will go from being black-and-white to full color, and when that time comes, they will be able to serve up not only text, but full color images. Magazines and comics can then be sold digitally, just like music and video files are right now. Currently, e-Readers are an early-adapter's product, but remember, lunchbox cellphones were the same too; now, candy-bar and clamshell cells are everywhere. Laptops used to be rare, yet today their sales (and that of Netbooks) are growing while desktop sales have evened out. Even the first generation iPod, the one that was just 5 gig in capacity, was also an early-adapter's product. Today, mp3 players are more common than discarded candy wrappers in a big city.

Once a certain measure of popularity, ease of use, and economies of scale are reached, e-Readers may become quite the common item. Let me put it this way: If Apple starts making e-Readers (the iRead?), and they do so with the same elegance of design and simplicity of use that defines the iPod, don't you think this product will sell? Amazon's Kindle, for example, already has backorders, and for an early-adapter product, that's pretty good.

Maybe saying "the writing's on the wall" for print is too harsh. After all, there is something to be said for holding the actual physical product and flipping pages while reading. Perhaps, like landlines, physically printed material such as books will still exist, but just within a steady and stable plateau. Nonetheless, I still believe technology is bit-by-bit making its mark on the printed word.

Hey, I like actual books as much as the next bibliophile, thank you very much; but the idea of being able to carry hundreds, perhaps thousands of books, in a small device that can be conveniently brought anywhere, certainly has its appeal.

Want A Life? Read A Book!

Here's an article by Maria Isabel Garcia, Philippine Star writer, entitled, Want A Life? Read A Book! from her De Rerum Natura column:

Folks, it has been scientifically confirmed: you read in order to live. Those words attributed to novelist Gustav Flaubert are often seen printed in quaint bookmarks or publishing house signs. Now, they have also been seen in your brains.

You guessed it. Scientists looked inside the brains of people who were asked to read stories and they found that whatever they read, their brains showed they were processing it in parts as if they were doing it in real life. In other words, the subjects were simulating the scenes they were reading, in their minds.

The lead author of the study is Nicole Speer, while among his co-authors was Jeffrey M. Zacks, associate professor of Washington University in St. Louis. Their study appears in the next issue of the journal Psychological Science. In the study, they scanned the brains of people in fMRI machines while asking them to read four stories of about 1,500 words culled from a 1940s’ book about the daily tasks of a young boy named Raymond. Because the participants are not allowed to move while in the fMRI machine, they did not use an actual book but used a computer screen to display one word at a time. Each participant took about 40 minutes to finish.

I listened to Dr. Zacks’ interview in NPR. He said that this proves that when you read a scene, it is “significantly like being there.” This finding gives us back the power of the original virtual reality we each are endowed with: our imagination. It has been proven before that when you imagine an object, your brain part lights up for that image as if you were looking at the real thing so that an imagined apple and a real apple are eerily the same apple — neurologically. This study extends it to even animated scenes so that the motor parts of the brain are activated when the text states an action scene and other scenes evoking visual, smell and tastes also summoned the “real” in their brains.

I was especially struck by what Dr. Zack said about language. He said that we always think that “virtual reality is something that involves fancy computers and helmets and gadgets” but now with these findings, we see that “language itself is a powerful form of virtual reality” that “when we tell each other stories, we can control the perceptual processes that happen in each other’s brains.” This means that you need not play virtual reality games to safely rehearse living! Reading could serve as some sort of mental activity workbook where you are able to go in and out of your many selves safely through language, without the threat of being obligated to don a straightjacket in your size. Through reading, you can put yourselves in several situations and never have them destroy you when you make a wrong move. This gives us some sort of built-in online training for the whole enterprise of living. It also affirms that reading is not a substitute for living but perhaps another side of it, and even serves it.

If I had a bookstore, I would post this everywhere to encourage people to read. Readers and writers have always known this about the power of language. But now science has given us pictures of our own brains to prove it: reading simulates life for real life! Lure them to read and you lure them to live!

* * *

For comments, e-mail

Heh. I'll always be behind reading as a habit.

I'm Paying The Price

This trying to get healthy is really difficult.

I eat because I'm depressed.

I'm depressed because I'm fat.

I'm fat because I eat too much.

Watch out world! This fat man wants to pick a fight!

(Click here for a larger version of the above comic).

Can Comics Survive?

From newspapers to comics: Could Kindle Kill Comics? e-Reading Devices Cloud Future. An excerpt:

As booksellers look toward electronic reading devices as a wave of the future, the new technology could make paper comics a thing of the past.

With the release this month of the Kindle 2, the second generation of Amazon's electronic reading device, the ever-changing face of the publishing industry is bracing for yet another makeover. But the rumor that Apple will enter the market soon is seen by some comic book publishers as a threat to the future of paper comics.

"[Comic books are] a business that is very low margin and very low print run, so if 10 percent of the readers migrate to an e-device, that is going to throw off the economics for 60 percent of the books that are published in this country, and that's probably a low guess," said John Cunningham, DC Comics VP, Advertising. "So it doesn't have to become everybody in the room raising their hands having one to have that have a long-term impact on how the business goes."

Cunningham made the comment at New York Comic Con during a panel about "Selling Good Graphic Novels in a Bad Economy." While the discussion focused mainly on today's economic landscape, publishers soon turned their attention toward future opportunities for publishers to distribute their comic books electronically.

While many comic book publishers are exploring current opportunities on the internet -- including motion comics, online subscription services and webcomics -- the evolution of electronic reading devices may provide a greater long-term impact on the future of paper comics than the traditional computer.

Advertising Age recently reported on the topic, stating that while sales of paper-based graphic novels are up, industry analysts "cast a wary eye at electronic reading devices." And early reviews of Amazon's new Kindle 2 indicate the technology has taken another step forward. As tech guru and journalist Andy Ihnatko says in today's Chicago Sun-Times review of the product, "the Kindle 2 truly nudges the platform forward" is a "viable product."

While the black and white Kindle doesn't currently provide a platform for color comic books, Cunningham said it's only a matter of time until Apple offers their own iTunes-supported reading device for electronic books -- and this time it will have the digital color capabilities of the iPod.

Read the whole article here.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Return Of The Floating Bookstore

The MV Doulos, the ship that carries books for sale, is back in the Philippines. It'll dock in Manila on March 6, 2009. More information here.

Thanks to The Sumatra Woman's Brew, from whom I got this information.

The Launch Of Philippine Speculative Fiction IV

The launch of Philippine Speculative Fiction IV will be on February 28, 2009, 5:30 p.m., at the U-View Theater, Fully Booked High Street, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. It's open to all. Here's the Table Of Contents.

Author J.M. McDermott has described the Philippine speculative fiction scene this way:

In Speculative Fiction, the Philippines is something like the Seattle music scene of 1989. Tons of talented people, all getting their fanbases built and prepped for their crossover into the mainstream consciousness, huddled in their studios and garages, practicing and practicing and playing gigs and playing gigs... In SF, the Philippines is on the cusp of greatness.

Please make time to go. Thanks!

2009 Palanca Awards

The 2009 Palanca Awards officially opens on March 1, 2009. The deadline for submissions is April 30, 2009. The official Palanca website has all the rules and entry forms. More details here. My thanks to The Spy Ate The Sandwich for this information. Good luck to all who are joining this year!

"Something New Comes To Stay" On Breves No Tan Breves

Remember when Zen In Darkness told us about Sergio Gaut Vel Hartman and how he was looking for flash fiction to be translated into Spanish? Well, Zen In Darkness had his piece published, and now Bhex has had her story, "Something New Comes To Stay", published there as well. Congratulations!

Can Newspapers Survive?

I've been following how newspapers have been evolving in today's world because, like I said before, "it might be a sign of where things are heading not just for newspapers, but for many print products." That includes magazines and books.

Here's a new article, Can Newspapers Survive? An excerpt:

As media giants totter, battered by the Internet and the economic crisis, saving the newspapers has become a hot topic. It is richly ironic that the online media, which have both greatly facilitated the work of journalists and expanded their readership, have also left many unemployed. Many are expressing concern that the death of journalism as we know it will leave our culture ill-informed - blogs are good for opinion and fact-checking, but they are no substitute for original reporting - and endanger democracy by removing a vital part of its checks and balances.

The debate revolves around two key questions. One, does society truly need the professional media? Two, how can professional journalism survive in a new media environment?

On the first question, my answer is a resounding, though possibly self-serving "yes." While I am a fan of blogs, I believe they work best when the "mainstream media" and the blogs complement each other. Otherwise, the blogosphere is all too liable to disintegrate into shrill partisan screaming and irresponsible rumor-mongering.

The responsible media do have a vital role to play in a democracy. However, the mainstream media's defenders would do well to acknowledge some of their failings. A recent editorial in The New Republic laments that "press-bashing" - whether from right-wing media critics such as former CBS correspondent Bernard Goldberg, or leftists on the Huffington Post site who accuse the media of conformism - has created a "poisonous atmosphere," undermining the authority of the press.

Click here to read the whole article.

LIRA Poetry Clinic 2009

From my inbox, from Phillip Kimpo, Jr.:

Call for Submissions: LIRA Poetry Clinic 2009

On March 5, the nine new members of Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika, at Anyo (LIRA) will be formally sworn in. Mariane Abuan, Teofilo Catanyag, Perfecto Edilo, Noel Fortun, Deborah Nieto, Willester Robles, Renato Santillan, Natalie Sepe, and Ryan Tanauan are products of the yearly poetry clinic being held by LIRA in pursuit of its mission of championing Filipino poetry.

The newly elected officers of LIRA will also take their oaths alongside the new members. They are Phillip Kimpo Jr. (President), Francisco Monteseña (Vice President), Vivian Limpin (Secretary), Enrique Villasis (Treasurer), and Ynna Abuan (Public Relations Officer).

LIRA is now accepting sign-ups for its next poetry clinic. All those interested must submit one Word Document file containing the following: one-page bio data, ID picture, contact numbers, and five (5) poems in Filipino, to palihan(at)liraonline(dot)org. An envelope containing the requirements may also be dropped off c/o Prof. Vim Nadera at the UP Institute of Creative Writing, 2/F Faculty Center, UP Diliman, 1101 Quezon City. All submissions should be in on or before April 30, 2008.

The regular clinic period is from June to August and will be held every Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM. Classes will continue until December.

Celebrating its 24th anniversary this 2009, LIRA is an organization of poets in Filipino. It was founded by National Artist for Literature Virgilio S. Almario (a.k.a. Rio Alma) in 1985 and counts among its members award-winning poets such as Roberto and Rebecca Añonuevo, Romulo Baquiran Jr., Michael Coroza, Jerry Gracio, Vim Nadera, and Edgar Samar.

For more information about LIRA, visit


Paanyaya para sa LIRA Poetry Clinic 2009

Pormal na manunumpa sa ika-5 ng Marso ang siyam na bagong kasapi ng Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika, at Anyo (LIRA). Naging bahagi sina Mariane Abuan, Teofilo Catanyag, Perfecto Edilo, Noel Fortun, Deborah Nieto, Willester Robles, Renato Santillan, Natalie Sepe, at Ryan Tanauan ng taunang klinikang pampanulaang isinagawa ng LIRA na naglalayong isulong at paunlarin ang panulaang Filipino.

Kasabay nilang manunumpa ang bagong halal na Pamunuan ng LIRA na binubuo nina Phillip Kimpo Jr. (Pangulo), Francisco Monteseña (Pangalawang Pangulo), Vivian Limpin (Kalihim), Enrique Villasis (Ingat-Yaman), at Ynna Abuan (Tagapag-Ugnay).

Bukas nang muli ang LIRA sa mga nais magpatalâ upang lumahok sa klinika. Ang mga regular na klase, Sabado at Linggo mula 9:00 n.u. hanggang 5:00 n.h, ay tatagal mula Hunyo hanggang Agosto, subalit magkakaroon pa rin ng mga klase hanggang Disyembre.

Upang makapagpatala, magpadala ng isang Word Document file na naglalaman ng mga sumusunod: isang pahinang bio-data, ID picture, numero ng telepono, at limang tula sa Filipino sa palihan(at)liraonline(dot)org. Maaari rin mag-iwan ng isang sobreng naglalaman ng mga kailangan sa pigeon hole ni Prof. Vim Nadera sa UP Institute of Creative Writing, 2/F Faculty Center, College of Arts and Letters, UP Diliman. Ang huling araw ng pagpapatalâ ay ang ika-30 ng Abril, 2009.

Ngayong 2009 ay 24 taong gulang na ang LIRA, isang samahan ng mga makatang nagsusulat sa wikang Filipino. Ang LIRA ay itinatag ni Virgilio S. Almario (mas kilala bilang Rio Alma), Pambansang Alagad ng Sining para sa Panitikan, noong 1985, at kinabibilangan ng mga premyadong makata tulad nina Roberto at Rebecca Añonuevo, Romulo Baquiran Jr., Michael Coroza, Jerry Gracio, Vim Nadera, at Edgar Samar.

Para sa dagdag na kaalaman tungkol sa LIRA, magtungo lamang sa

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Study Of Philippine Speculative Fiction In Philippine Contemporary Literature...

I saw this post, A Study Of Philippine Speculative Fiction In Philippine Contemporary Literature As Exemplified In The Novel Salamanca And Nine Supernatural Stories Anthology, over at The Harder It Becomes. Looks like the beginning of an extensive paper, and perhaps an interesting read as well, if the author ever wishes to share it with us. :)

Once Again, It Continues

Heh. And another post on the same topic: Once Again, It Continues, from Wandering Star.

I do think these things are needed, just to help us all understand what's going on. Something IS happening in the local literature scene, we're probably not sure what. The old facing the new, the new facing the old, and not sure what to make of it, not sure what each side wants, for one thing.

And, that's all I'm saying about that, in fear of saying something again.

I'm just this newbie who doesn't know, right?

Brother: (After peering at PGS' post on this) What's that?
EK: (gives basic explanation)
Brother the car guy: But why don't you all just get along? You know, you're all writers!
EK: Um, it's not so simple. It's like...this group of people, they like their cars simple, no-frills...
Brother: Stock?
EK: Yeah. And this group of people like their cars with this and that, that the other group doesn't like...
Brother: "Tricked-out"?
EK: Something like that.
Brother: So why don't you all just agree that you all like cars? And talk about what you like in common?

Um, yeah. That.

Not saying one is this term and the other is the other term, just using analogies.

Up The (Main)stream Without A Paddle (Part 1)

Still on the topic of Philippine Speculative Fiction's "marginalization", we have a post--Up The (Main)stream Without A Paddle (Part 1)--from More Than True. An excerpt:

Both essays are well written and peppered with illustrative examples, so I'll refrain from summarizing (and probably over-simplifying) the arguments of each, but while the keyword in both is "marginalization" that concept needed to be understood in relation to the word "mainstream."

Yet if "mainstream" refers to the prevailing attitudes/preferences of Philippine readers (as opposed to publishers/critics)... I just don't think that they care about whether a story is spec fic or not.

* I've never known anyone who would turn their nose up at a book because it was Philippine Spec Fic. Frankly, I know few Filipinos readers who would turn their nose up any story just because of fantasy or science fictional elements - the level of realism of the story just doesn't seem to be that big of a factor to Philippine readers.

I don't think that the fantastical element of the stories is an obstacle to that however: Putting aside the issue of the vernacular, I think it's just that locally we haven't yet produced the kind of spec fic that readers are accustomed to and look for: the sword and sorcery epics, the serial urban fantasies, the multi-arc space operas.

Click here to read the whole post.

The Marginalization--Or Not--Of Philippine Speculative Fiction

Found two posts discussing whether Philippine Speculative Fiction is marginalized or not: This essay, Is Philippine Speculative Fiction Marginalized?, by The Bibliophile Stalker; and this reaction, My Thoughts On The Marginalization Issue, over at the Philippine Speculative Fiction blog by Bhex.

Excerpts from The Bibliophile Stalker's Essay:

One topic brought up at the recent Philippine International Writers Festival is whether Philippine Speculative Fiction is still marginalized. There are those of the opinion who think that it's not anymore, that it's rather mainstream. I beg to differ.

Philippine Speculative Fiction certainly didn't dictate that it'd be included in that panel. The ones in charge of the festival (which we assume is the "literary center") did. Another thing that if you read the description carefully, it's only Speculative Fiction which is in quotation marks.

And then let's talk about the actual genres discussed. The initial Chick Lit books had an initial print-run of 10,000 books (succeeding ones had more). During the panel discussion, it was mentioned that three Chick Lit books published in Singapore authored by Filipinos made it to the best-seller lists. If it's just economics we're talking about, Chick Lit doesn't seem to be in the margins--at least compared to other genres. The
Philippine Speculative Fiction series apparently has a print-run of 500 books. I estimate a lot of the Fiction (with a capital F) have a print run of 1,000 to 2,000.

Gay literature on the other hand seems more successful than Chick Lit. Ladlad, a Gay fiction anthology, has undergone ten reprints (I don't know what the initial print run was). Even if we're going by modest estimates (1,000 copies), that's still good circulation numbers. It was even noted that publishers are willing to task a risk with gay poetry collections but not general poetry collections.

Clearly, even by those standards, Philippine Speculative Fiction isn't mainstream. Of course "legitimacy" isn't all about print-run numbers. If that were the case, Fiction with all its realist and social-realist agendas shouldn't be the status quo. There are other factors, which includes the support of the academe, the writers of the previous generation, and the publishers. Heck, why would the said genres be lumped together in a panel called Writing Off the Mainstream if that weren't the case? There are a lot of variables involved which can't be pinned down to one cause. I mean if it was solely reduced to quantities sold, then why isn't Chick Lit accepted as literature, at least by the standards of the academia? And in that sense, Philippine horror, which is admittedly a sub-genre of Philippine Speculative Fiction and probably has identical numbers as Chick Lit, not accepted either?

I think some people are mistaking "presence" for acceptance. Philippine Speculative Fiction certainly isn't invisible and doing better than some genres of Philippine literature, but it's hardly what I'd call mainstream or taken seriously by the academia. Are we reduced to such a state that we're fighting over scraps? Local speculative fiction might be on the rise but it's not yet at the point where said writers can make a living off of it, or that it's selling in numbers that's extremely lucrative for publishers. Heck, even international Speculative Fiction isn't accepted by the canonical Literati with authors like Michael Chabon being the exception rather than the norm (and as Matt Cheney
mentioned , those familiar with both Neil Gaiman and Roberto Bolano is ony a small overlap). And if Philippine Speculative Fiction is the de facto reading material in the country, wouldn't the proponents of the movement like Dean Francis Alfar be making a lot of money by now, or failing that, dictating what kind of content Filipinos should be reading?

Excerpts from Bhex's post:

I am grateful - immeasurably grateful - to the local speculative fiction movement because it gives more avenues for speculative fiction in the country, and promotes local talent more than they have ever been promoted in the past. Hell, our realist fiction never had this much air time on the Web, even the most deserving ones!

But there are some things the speculative fiction movement is saying that I don’t find myself fully subscribing to.

As someone who loves science fiction and fantasy, who has seen her English-language speculative work published in local magazines, I have no problem with speculative fiction being billed as “off the mainstream.” I DO have a problem with agreeing that it’s being “marginalized,” because there seems to be a confusion of terms.

In my book, “marginalized” means exclusion. It means never having a shot. It means being shunned, discriminated against and relegated to a level that makes it impossible to catch up with the Joneses. It’s definitely NOT a term I would apply to local speculative fiction, and to be quite honest the way it’s being thrown around sometimes, it sounds like a catchphrase meant to gain sympathy when none is deserved.

Here’s what I’m presenting. By calling yourselves “marginalized,” your movement appears dead set on billing “realist fiction” and the literary standards of the country as anti-speculative fiction. I don’t subscribe to this, and I don’t believe it’s a healthy, productive image to promote. It feels a lot like destroying something just to build yourselves up. And frankly, as Philippine fiction has mostly been cloistered (read: unknown to international publishers) it’s an easy target. You can say anything you want about it and international readers will take your word for it.

We’re struggling to get published and recognized, locally and internationally. All of us, no matter the genre. We’re all struggling to get read. So if you aim to step on other people’s efforts (yes, this includes realism - it counts even if it’s “mainstream”) just to get noticed, please don’t be surprised if you get attacked.

So to Mr. Dean Alfar and the rest - please don’t stop writing. Just write, just get read, just keep publishing, and help our ailing literature grow, give it room to breathe.

You are all awesome people and magnificent writers. But for God’s sake, don’t build yourselves up to be something you’re not. And if there’s anything you’re not, it’s oppressed, especially not now.

This discussion on marginalization came about from one talk held during The International Writer's Festival, the Fictional Showdown. You should listen to it; the exchange gets quite interesting ("dramatically heated" some would say) somewhere in the middle. You can download the recording from a link in this post, where other links to other talks are also provided; much thanks and appreciation to The Bibliophile Stalker for providing these recordings.

So, to which side do you lean more towards, The Bibliophile Stalker's stance, or Bhex's?

Mystery Ends: Agatha Christie's Country Home Opens

Agatha Christie's country home has been opened to the public. One floor of the main house has been turned into a five-bedroom holiday apartment, available for US$3,600.00 a week during the peak season. Would you stay over, if you could?

A bit from the article:

The house has everything an Agatha Christie fan could want — except a body in the library.

The stuccoed Georgian villa where the writer spent her vacations is opening to the public for the first time beginning Saturday after a $7.8 million restoration. Visitors can see the bedroom where Christie slept, the dining room where she entertained, and the drawing room where she thrilled friends with readings from her latest whodunit.

Craftsmen worked for two years to restore the 18th-century home, Greenway, and the rooms are much as they were when Christie lived there, complete with books, papers, boxes of chocolates and bunches of flowers. Even the scratches on the bedroom door made by the family dog remain.

"It does feel very much in a time warp," Robyn Brown, who manages Greenway on behalf of the National Trust heritage group, said Tuesday.

That is exactly the way the trust likes it — the group preserves Britain's historic properties with a rigorous attention to detail. The cream paint in the bedroom and the mushroom-colored library walls are as close as possible to the shades chosen by Christie herself. The sofas and chairs come from her childhood home.

Christie's grandson, Mathew Prichard, said he hoped the renovation would let visitors "feel some of the magic and sense of place that I felt when my family and I spent so much time there in the 1950s and '60s."

Visitors can see Christie's bedroom, with its view of grounds sloping down to the River Dart, the formal dining room and a manuscript room full of Christie first editions.

Can't. Stop. Writing.

Care of Zen In Darkness: Here's a very interesting article--Can't. Stop. Writing.--over at the New York Times, by Geoff Nicholson. An excerpt:

Matters of literary quantity have been much on my mind since a new book of mine was published recently. A fair percentage of the reviews described me as “prolific” or “highly prolific,” in one case “wildly prolific.” Now, I’m not going to argue about the accuracy of this. I’ve published 20 books in 22 years (some quite short), and I’d say that’s not excessive, given that I don’t have a day job. But accurate or not, “prolific” definitely didn’t feel like an unalloyed compliment.

I’ve consoled myself by noting that the “prolific” tag puts me in some good, if otherwise unlikely, company — that of Joyce Carol Oates, for instance (more than 100 books in 45 years). Has anyone in recent decades been able to review her work without mentioning prolificacy? John Updike couldn’t manage it. His review of Oates’s “You Must Remember This” referred to her “astounding productivity,” and suggested she was born a hundred years too late and “needs a lustier audience” of “Victorian word eaters.”

Coming from Updike (60 or so books in 50 years, more if you include all the poetry), this seemed a bit rich. He, if anybody, should have understood. Those who wrote his recent obituaries certainly found it hard to get past the astounding fact that Updike was a writer who actually did a lot of writing. The Associated Press called him “prolific, even compulsive,” and The Los Angeles Times declared, “For better or worse, John Updike produced a nearly endless stream of work.” Not completely endless, then.

Among a younger generation, William T. Vollmann is the poster boy, or whipping boy, for “excessive” literary productivity: 20 or so books in as many years, with his possibly developing carpal tunnel syndrome in the process. And they’re mostly whoppers: an 800-page novel here, a seven-volume study of violence there. “By amassing such a vast bibliography . . . Vollmann has probably denied himself the readership he might other­wise have enjoyed,” James Gibbons once asserted in Bookforum. I’m not sure I follow the logic, but the notion that the more you write the less likely you are to be read is undoubtedly cause for writerly despair.

Gibbons also said, “The truly prolific author, as distinct from the merely respectably productive one, is either a genre writer or a relic.” Undeniably he’s right in identifying prolificacy as a distinction between “popular” and “serious” literature. Prolificacy is not just permitted in genre novelists, it’s insisted upon. If the likes of Dean Koontz, Danielle Steel and James Patterson (you can add your own favorites here) weren’t so prolific, they wouldn’t be nearly so popular. Supply and demand are mutually supportive at the “low” end: copious production thrives on copious consumption. If we start invoking Trollope or Dickens as popular, prolific writers who also have literary respectability, we’re only confirming that there’s something antique about the idea of creating a large body of serious yet popular writing.

Ultimately, we know that all writers do what they can and what they must. Truly extreme productiveness (like its opposite) is beyond the absolute control of the author. For the rest of us, the respectably rather than the manically productive, there are more practical explanations. Partly it’s the freelancer’s conundrum. Anthony Burgess (75 or so books in some 40 years) used to say he never turned down any reasonable offer of work, and very few unreasonable ones. This will be written on many of our graves.

But perhaps the real reason we keep writing is the hope, naïve perhaps, that we’ll make a better job of it next time. Unless you’re a genius or a fool, you realize that everything you write, however “successful,” is always a sort of failure. And so you try again.

Samuel Beckett may seem an unlikely person to quote in this context, but I regularly find myself thinking of a passage from “Worstward Ho.” He isn’t referring specifically to literary production, but his words apply perfectly well. He writes: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” We all do, over and over again, some more prolifically than others.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fiction Is Flourishing In India

Just watched a BBC feature on books, reading, and writing in India. One image I can't shake is that of sidewalk tent-stores selling mountains and mountains of all kinds of books in many languages, with endless passersby browsing, looking for something to read.

The reporter said, and I'm paraphrasing, "There was a time when writers here would rather write something that would win them an award, but now there is a great demand for more popular and general fare as well. People actually ask for stories of crime, or science fiction, but no one is writing them. Publishers here are actually on the lookout for new writers to fill this need." And then they featured a lady who gave up her investment banking career to become a chick-lit writer. Her first book became a best seller, and now she's a full-time writer. She admits that as the publishing industry matures in her country, it will get as competitive as it is in the West.

In my opinion, that's a good thing, because it means more people are reading. This huge appetite for reading among the Indian population will determine what books sell and what stories will be read.

My gosh, a country with a growing readership, all hungry for books!

The Bible Should Be Required Reading For Children, According To A Non-Believer; Plus A Story By A Pinoy Translated Into Spanish

Zen In Darkness sent in this interesting article about a non-believer who believes that the Bible should be required reading for children on the basis that the stories in it are "terrific", and poor knowledge of biblical tales limits understanding of a lot of literary work. An excerpt:

"I'm not a believer." Pleasantries exchanged, this is the first thing Andrew Motion says to me when we meet at his north London flat. So why is he so passionate about the Bible? "Simply because it is full of terrific stories. These stories are primitive. They speak to us about human nature and the recurring patterns of human behaviour."

The poet laureate believes all children should be taught the Bible from an early age. Sadly, he says, many children miss out, and not just on the stories themselves. Poor knowledge of the Bible limits understanding of a whole raft of literary work, from John Milton through to TS Eliot.

"Take any of the metaphysical poets, almost any of the Victorian poets," he says. "Even reading the great romantics like Keats requires you to know things about the Fall, who some of the people in the Bible are, ideas of sinfulness and virtue. It's also essential for Tennyson, Browning and Arnold, and needs to be there in the background of the modernist period. Even a writer like TS Eliot is re-imagining all kind of mythological structures.

"Think of a poem like The Wasteland. You can't get anywhere near it without this kind of knowledge. Yes, you can have a conversation without referring to where these ideas come from, but you can have a much richer one by connecting them to their original sources."

He recalls the first cohort of English literature students he taught at Royal Holloway, where he is now professor of creative writing. "These were all bright students, very hard-working, all with good A-levels, but their knowledge of the great ancient stories was very sketchy. So when the time came to talk about Milton, I found very few knew there had been a civil war. As for the Bible, forget it. They just about knew who Adam and Eve were."

These days, he mainly teaches postgraduate students, but the lack of biblical knowledge still presents difficulties. "Many of my students stumble into vaguely mythological stories in their writing. When I ask them anything about the Bible, they frankly, by and large, don't know. I don't particularly blame them for it. But I do think there is a real problem with the education system that has allowed these great stories to disappear, to fade out of the diet everyone gets at school. It's an essential piece of cultural luggage."

Motion is dismissive of the idea that some parents might object to the notion of Bible studies, or see it as force-feeding children religious ideas. "If people say this is about ramming religion down people's throats, they aren't thinking about it hard enough," he says. "It's more about the power of these words to connect with deep, recurring human truths, and also the story of the influence of that language and those stories."

Neither will he accept the idea that young people might not want to read the Bible, or don't see it as relevant to their lives. It is an idea that clearly irritates him. "Writers don't have any obligation to be relevant. They have an obligation to tell us the deep truth about ourselves."

The quotes in the last two paragraphs got me. *sniff* :D

And still on Zen In Darkness, he was the one who brought to my attention this request for flash fiction, remember? Well, he went and got his piece published and translated into Spanish over at Breves No Tan Breves. You can check it out here. Congratulations!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Rapture Of Fe

I would like to help out a friend, Sulyap Sa Mga Alaala, with his project, a film entitled The Rapture Of Fe, which is planned for Cinemalaya 2009.

Here is the link to his blog entry, and here is the link to the official site of the film. Please help him if you can, even if by just spreading the word. Thanks!

A New Malaysian Science Fiction Movie

From Zen In Darkness, this link: Malaysia's Greatest Science Fiction Auteur Is Back With A Robot Epic. An excerpt:

The best-known Malaysian science fiction filmmaker, Aziz M. Osman, is coming back to the genre after a decade away. He's best known for the 1990s science fiction epics XXY and XXY 2 that "took Malaysia by storm in the 1990s" according to the Straits Times, and now he's making a robot film called CE1, starring Siti Zie, a new Singaporean actress whom Aziz found on Facebook.

Here's another article about the movie.

Any chance we'll see Pinoy movies like this soon?

J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Legend Of Sigurd And Gudrun"

An obscure J.R.R. Tolkien book will be released in a few months, according to this news article:

An early, long-unpublished work by J.R.R. Tolkien is coming out.

"The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun," a thorough reworking in verse of old Norse epics that predates Tolkien's writing of "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, will be published in May by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

According to Houghton, the book will include an introduction by Tolkien and notes by his son, Christopher Tolkien.

J.R.R. Tolkien, whose fantasy novels have sold millions of copies, died in 1973. "The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun" was written in the 1920s and '30s, when the author was teaching at Oxford University.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"So Fedorable": A Local Crime Fiction Blog

Sorry, I'm coming late to the party again. My thanks to to Bhex's Site, from where I got this information:

Kristel Autencio of Read or Die has started a blog for crime fiction: So Fedorable. To mark the launch of the blog, she has also written a column on the kinds of crime fiction, which appeared in the online version of the Manila Bulletin yesterday. An excerpt:
What interested me with the genre is the element of the unknown. From years of being an avid fan, however, I have come to find nuances to the stories that have kept me interested even after the first thrill of the plot twists have subsided. Sympathetic protagonists who always fight for justice in the face of crime and corruption, a grim portrayal of the reality that exists in the streets. Those are the kind of topics I want to write about, a way to articulate my own jumbled thoughts and provide insight to an audience at the same time.
Read the full article in the Manila Bulletin.

If you wish to leave comments, you may do so in
So Fedorable.

A local blog on crime fiction. Very interesting.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

From De Antología's Sergio Gaut Vel Hartman

Zen In Darkness sent me a message saying that Sergio Gaut Vel Hartman from Buenos Aires, Argentina, is interested in meeting and publishing writers from the Philippines. He wants to publish flash fiction (up to 750 words) online, on several blogs.

Sergio Gaut vel Hartman was born in Buenos Aires in 1947. He is a very prolific writer, having published numerous stories in magazines around the world. He is the author of the collection of stories "Cuerpos Descartables", Minotauro (1985). He was creator and director of the magazine Sinergia and later director of the magazine Parsec.

Writers can send stories in English, which will then be translated into Spanish. Zen In Darkness says that they aren't looking for any particular kind of story, which must mean that subject matter is open. From what I understand from the Facebook profile of De Antología, Sergio's project, the selected stories will be of various themes.

From his Facebook profile, Sergio has five blogs: Galería Literaria; Químicamente Impuro; Breves no tan breves; Rafagas, parpadeos; Los cuentos de Lauría y Becerra; and his email address is sergiogvh(at)gmail(dot)com.

Here are two of his online stories, Contaminated People and Russian Dolls.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Day 3 Recordings Of The Philippine Writers Festival

The Bibliophile Stalker has put up his recordings of Day 3 of The Philippine Writers Festival. His Day 1 Recordings are here; however he didn't attend Day 2. If anyone recorded any of the Day 2 talks, please let me know so I can link up. Thanks.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Raymond Chandler: Literary Genius Is All About Hard Work

Sent in by Zen In Darkness, this article written by Robert McCrum of The Guardian: Raymond Chandler: Literary Genius Is All About Hard Work. It's an interesting article, with revealing quotes from Raymond Chandler's letters. Some quotes from the piece:

"I write when I can and don't write when I can't ... "

"The actual writing is what you live for. The rest is something you have to get through in order to arrive at the point."

So, no plot outlines for Chandler. He just goes at it, letting character and situation take him where they will. Famously, he said somewhere that when in doubt you could always bring a man through the door with a gun in his hand. Those are the words of a man writing for The Black Mask, but Chandler's letters have a hardboiled sweetness that also tells us he was an artist at heart.

"When a book reaches a certain intensity of artistic performance it becomes literature," he writes. "That intensity may be a matter of style, situation, character, emotional tone or half a dozen other things. It may also be a perfection of control over the movement of a story similar to the control a great pitcher has over the ball."

You should pay attention to craft, but you can't teach it (whatever the writing schools tell us), and you certainly can't give advice when it comes to words on the page. What you can pass on is a love of reading, and the shining example of a really good book (novel, memoir, or collection of poems).

So, all this from a writer who for a long time had fallen into disrepute and been pooh-poohed by critics and so-called "better-writers"; seems like Chandler-love is now coming back into vogue.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Art Of Feature Writing Workshop (care of The Intersections & Beyond):

Learn how to craft your feature article from idea to finished piece. Organized by the Designed by Words Writers' Workshop slated on February 21 and 28, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Trinity Bldg., T. M. Kalaw Ave., Ermita, Manila.

Click here for more details.

The 48th Dumaguete National Writers Workshop (care of The Spy Ate The Sandwich):

The Dumaguete National Writers Workshop is now accepting applications for the 48th National Writers’ Workshop to be held May 4-15, 2009 in Dumaguete City. This Writers Workshop is offering fifteen fellowships to promising young writers who would like a chance to hone their craft and refine their style. Fellows will be provided housing, a modest stipend, and a subsidy to partially defray costs of their transportation. To be considered, applicants should submit manuscripts in English on or before March 27, 2009 (seven to ten poems; or three to five short stories; or three to five creative non-fiction essays).

Click here for more details.

A Seminar On Publishing In Cyberspace (care of The National Book Development Board):

On February 16, 2009, the National Book Development Board (NBDB), in partnership with the Book Development Association Of The Philippines (BDAP) and the University Of The Philippines Press, will conduct a seminar entitled Publishing In Cyberspace at 2:00 p.m., Pulungan Claro M. Recto Hall, College Of Arts And Letters, U.P. Campus, Diliman, Quezon City. A seminar fee of P200.00 will cover the cost of snacks and conference materials. Slots will be given on a first-come, first-served basis. For confirmation, please call 9209853 or 9293887.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Day 1 Recordings Of The Philippine Writers Festival

The Bibliophile Stalker does one of the things that he he does best and provides us with recordings of the talks he attended on Day 1 of The Philippine Writers Festival. Will he do the same for Day 2 and 3? I hope so, since there are those of us who won't be able to go because of work.

Reminder: Philippine Writers Festival 2009

The festival begins today, and will end on Friday. Click here for the link to the festival details. Thanks!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Kindle 2

I posted about Amazon's Kindle in late 2007 and last year. Here it is, early 2009, and the Kindle 2 is already out. Technology sure moves fast, doesn't it?

The Kindle 2 e-reader can now contain 1,500 books as compared to the old unit's 200, has longer battery life, and believe it or not, can utter text in either a male or female voice; Amazon calls it the "Read-to-me" feature. So you now have a choice to read or to listen.

It also costs US$359.00 (about PhP17,000.00). Pricey.

Read more here.

Monday, February 09, 2009

2008: Year In Philippine Speculative Fiction

I'm still a bit down from my health issues, and I've been searching the internet looking for guidelines on how to get back to feeling physically better. I found this site that says the bare minimum amount needed to exercise to prevent type 2 diabetes is seven minutes a week. Just seven. Hey! Go full out four times a day, 30 seconds each? A schmuck like me can do that! That cheered me up.

I almost became ecstatically happy, forgetting all my negative feelings, when I read this headline saying you can get an orgasm while working out. Whoopee! Talk about the right incentive! Of course, when I get to the site, I find out it only applies to women. Geddemmit! Exercise is sexist!

And then I received an email which truly cheered me up, and it's got nothing to do with exercise. The email linked to a site called Apocalypse Now And Forever, set up by Don, a "dirt-poor kid who subsists mostly on a glossies and playlists diet". This site talks about Philippine Speculative Fiction in 2008, and I'm glad he mentioned Mia Tijam's "Blink, Wake Up" from PGS4 as one of his top choices for the year. Hooray!

Head on over to the site to read his assessment of 2008.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Poetry Workshop At Ayala Museum

Okay, enough of the self-pity from the last post. No mas, no mas. Back to our regular programming. :)

Of Questions And What Ifs... is helping out a friend of his, and asked me to post about a poetry workshop at Ayala Museum:

Ayala Museum and The Filipinas Heritage Library present "Verses and Amorsolo (Berso at Amorsolo)", a four-day English and Filipino poetry workshop inspired by Ayala Museum's contribution to the Amorsolo Retrospective, Amorsolo's Women: Concealed and Revealed.

Click here for more details.

We Interrupt Our Regular Scheduled Broadcast...

...for this special public service announcement.

Well, the ride is over. Not completely over, but pretty much. The halcyon days are done. For me, in any case.

The way I've been eating for the last X years, the same amount of time I've been gloriously inactive and just sitting on my butt, have caught up with me. My blood work sucks, big time. Cholesterol is above normal. Triglycerides are above normal. And oh, glory be, blood sugar too. Why should I be surprised? My lifestyle hasn't been something either a dietician or a gym trainer would be proud of. And the clues were there: waking up in the middle of the night needing to slake some sudden, surprising thirst; tiring out in the middle of the afternoon; losing breath climbing flights of stairs. Still, surprise me it did. The news rocked my world.

So now I've got to adjust what I eat. Not that difficult, really. I like eating anything, so it won't be that hard for me to pile on the veggies the way I did with red meat. I can switch one for the other, easy. What will be difficult will be cutting down on sweets. My sweet tooth is a massive dragon that's going to take a really cool and hefty magic sword to defeat. Sodas, cakes, and ice cream all should come in moderation now. And "moderation" will be defined by the doctor, not by me. Crapola.

I've also got to find time to get moving. I blew my knee out when I was younger, which effectively took me out of regularly playing the game I love most, tennis. I prefer exercising while playing a competitive match, or practicing my ground strokes or volleys, over pumping iron and counting reps, or waiting for time to pass on a treadmill or stationary bike. Looks like I've got to adjust here too. How I wish one could read and lift a barbell at the same time. The distraction of a good book would have been a sure way to make time pass faster.


So where's the public service announcement here?

Simple. Don't let this happen to you.

You sometimes think that you have all the time in the world to take your health for granted, only to look at the clock and discover that, whoops, time's nearly up. Then, whoops again, you see that there are so many things worth not getting tired over. And in keeping with the theme of this blog, which is reading...well, there are all those good books still waiting for you to crack them open, which you can't do if you can't muster the energy to focus on the words and prefer to nap all the time.

Watch out for all that delicious, tasty junk food out there. Too much of that and you'll end up like me. Oh man, I'm going to miss the taste of junk food. Well, not completely. I think I won't be able to avoid indulging every now and then, but it's going to be a taste experienced only once in a blue moon from now on.

And I'm going to have to get used to reeking. Or rather, those around me will have to get used to me reeking. That's what's going to come of long minutes of brisk walking or biking, and mindlessly heaving heavy hunks of metal.

As I said in the previous post, aging is a biotch.

So there. Learn.

Unhappy. Unhappy. Very very very unhappy.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Courtly Vs. Carnal

(Sorry for the absence. Been busy with work and personal matters. Suffice it to say that aging is a biotch. Will get back to blogging regularly once all this passes.)

In the meantime, here's a link care of Zen In Darkness. One quote that grabbed him is:

A commenter, yale09, pointed me to Anne Fadiman’s essay “Never Do That to a Book,” which divides readers into “carnal” and “courtly” lovers:
"Carnal lovers" will mark and dog-ear pages, rip covers or whole chapters etc while "courtly lovers," like yourself, revere their books and leave them untouched.
Which one are you?

Zen In Darkness said that an outline of the Anne Fadiman essay is here, but if anyone has a copy of the full essay, please do share. Thanks!

Monday, February 02, 2009

The Foundling (棄兒) by Crystal Koo

Crystal Koo, author of "The Scent Of Spice" from PGS2, has been busy. She has written a play, The Foundling (棄兒), which will be shown soon in Hong Kong. Click here for more details, including the schedule and stage pictures. Congratulations, Crystal!

Difficult Times For SF Magazines

From Village Idiot Savant:

"Another speculative fiction magazine folds: Realms of Fantasy is ceasing publication. This comes hot on the heels of the announcement that the venerable Fantasy and Science Fiction will be moving from a monthly to a bimonthly schedule, and underscores what a tough environment this is for science fiction and fantasy magazines, all of which have suffered declining circulation for quite some time. This is a real problem, since short fiction is generally where new writers cut their teeth, appearing in print alongside their more famous peers. Given that a one-year subscription costs less than the average video game, those with an interest in science fiction might want to consider buying subscriptions to Asimov's, Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Analog. (Those in the UK might want to add Interzone and/or Black Static and Postscripts as well.)"