Saturday, September 17, 2011

25 Depressing Portraits Of Closed Bookstores

We Are Being Greeted From Canada By Innsmouth Free Press!

Innsmouth Free Press sends us their greetings from Canada, "Found On The Net: Kumusta Ka Lovecraft"! Thank you, at kumusta ka din, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Innsmouth publisher!

The inspiration for this week’s Found on the Net comes courtesy of Kenneth Yu, who tipped us off about a story at Philippine Genre Stories titled “Stars” by Yvette Tan, which is set in Balicasag Island. Kenneth told us it was kinda Lovecraftian and we’ve concluded it likely is.

The appearance of a Filipino Lovecraft tale did not surprise as much as you may think, partially because we published a special themed issue with a stories set around the world, and the Philippines was one of the settings. The “The Hunger Houses” was the first story to arrive from the Philippines but not the last, because the next issue brought us “The Concierto Of Señor Lorenzo”. Finally, Arlene J. Yandug sold us a poem which will appear in Future Lovecraft this December. Other stories from that region have also circulated in the slush, so we’ve had the Philippines connection for a while now.

I’m not sure how the Filipino speculative writing community found us. It’s one of those things that just started happening, though I’d wager it was Charles Tan’s mentions in one of his blog posts that eventually delivered the Filipino writers to our shores. Or maybe it was just a cosmic coincidence.

Either way, it’s a good time to salute our Filipino readers and writers. Kumusta ka?

Hey, everyone, Innsmouth is selling two books (for now), Historical Lovecraft and Candle In The Attic. Please buy their books! Good stuff! They'll probably have more in the future, so do keep on reading and supporting Innsmouth!

PGS Mentioned By Frida Fantastic

I only saw it today, but I'm grateful to Frida Fantastic for mentioning Philippine Genre Stories on her blog as a site where one can find and read speculative fiction. Thanks very much Frida! I appreciate the mention.

I really do hope that more and more people will read PGS online, enjoy and appreciate the work of Pinoy writers.

Thank you again, Frida!

A Tweetathon To Save The Short Story

Neil Gaiman starts a tweetathon to save the short story:

I love short stories. I grew up on them, and the stories that had an effect on me are now encoded into my DNA. Shirley Jackson's "One Ordinary Day With Peanuts" and "The Lottery". Saki's "Sredni Vashtar". WW Jacobs's "The Monkey's Paw". Kipling's "The Gardener". There are heaps of them, and it's love all the way.

For a working writer, this is a silly sort of love. You should write novels. Short stories sell for the price of a good dinner, if you're lucky (and the magazines and anthologies that used to buy them are themselves fading away or gone completely). When they get reprinted they won't cover the taxi fare to get to the dinner. I'm lucky, and have collected my short stories into books that sell well for short-story ­collections, but still only a fraction of the number that my novels sell.

But short stories are the best place for young writers to learn their craft: to try out different voices and techniques, to experiment, to learn. And they're a wonderful place for old writers, when you have an idea that wouldn't make it to novel length, one simple, elegant thing that needs to be said. People like reading short stories. And they like ­listening to short stories.

For years, Radio 4 has supported the short story. Ten-minute stories, professionally read, give writers young and old a chance to make a ­professional sale. Full disclosure: I wrote a short story, "Jerusalem", for them a few years ago, and grew up listening to short stories on Radio 4 and dreaming that one day I'd have a story on there.

Now the station's support for the short story is waning. The Tweetathon we're doing to bring attention to this (each Wednesday for the next five weeks, in association with the Society of Authors, a writer will tweet the first line of a story and tweeters will add the next four sentences to create a short story in 670 characters) may or may not produce great stories: hive minds are excellent news-gatherers and commentators but tend not to produce great art.

All I'm hoping is that it reminds people how much pleasure readers, and listeners, get from short stories, and how much we learn from writing them. If we produce another "The Monkey's Paw" that'll be a bonus.

The Hardest Class In Literature

Someone hacked into the Trinity College, Dublin website and added a new faculty member. This new member presumably is very muscular and knows how to use a heavy sword. An excerpt:

The "Long Room Hub Associate Professor in Hyborian Studies and Tyrant Slaying" has a compelling resume: as well as having "spent several years tethered to the fearsome 'Wheel of Pain', time which he now feels helped provide him with the mental discipline and sado-masochistic proclivities necessary to successfully tackle contemporary critical theory" he has also, apparently, completed a PhD, entitled "To Hear The Lamentation of Their Women: Constructions of Masculinity in Contemporary Zamoran Literature". Anyone considering attending his classes will be interested to note that his courses for 2011/2012 include "The Relevance of Crom in the Modern World", "Theories of Literature", "Vengeance for Beginners", "Deciphering the Riddle of Steel" and "D.H. Lawrence".

Thursday, September 15, 2011

"A Night On Antioch Lane" By Vincent Michael Simbulan

The latest story on Philippine Genre Stories: "A Night On Antioch Lane" by PGS contributor Vincent Michael Simbulan. Guest-edited by Dean Alfar.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Marty McFly's Shoes Are Real!

The self-lacing shoes of Marty McFly from Back To The Future II are real! Sort of...well...good enough!


All proceeds will go to Michael J. Fox's foundation to find a cure for Parkinson's disease.

Friday, September 09, 2011

The 32nd Manila International Book Fair

Just want to plug The 32nd Manila International Book Fair which will be held from September 14-18, 2011, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City.

Readercon will be held on September 14, 2011, 1-6 p.m., Meeting Room 2.

Readercon Filipino Friday Week 5: Hopes And Expectations For The Readercon

(Continuing the Filipino Friday activities as a buildup to Readercon!)

It's the last Friday before Readercon, and the question today is "What do you hope will happen in the Filipino Readercon? What are you expecting from the event?"

Sadly, I won't be able to go, as I'll be out of town for work the entire week. But, I do hope that Readercon will snare new readers among Pinoys, especially younger ones. I hope it will turn them into lifelong readers, bitten by the book bug. I hope that it will make them as enthusiastic as The Filipino Book Bloggers in promoting reading, new people to help spread the fun and importance of literacy. I hope that it will show how important reading is for anyone. I hope that people will appreciate reading in general; fiction or non-fiction; in English, Filipino, or any other language, whether local or international; to read authors and books not just from the usual western sources, or from the Philippines, but also from all other countries; that all this reading will open hearts and minds, to develop more empathy for and understanding of people, and to comprehend how we--no matter where or how we live or what our backgrounds are--can all be so different, can have varied physical appearances, can own interestingly diverse, even divergent, priorities, but to still know that we are all part of a common universal human experience that ties us together.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

A Testimonial To Alienation By Sir Butch Dalisay

Sir Butch Dalisay deals with that essay written by a certain James Soriano with his own, A Testimonial To Alienation. An excerpt:

The real tragedy of the James Soriano episode for me is that despite both the academic and anecdotal evidence, many Filipinos keep clinging to the illusion that only English will save us, and that any proposal to promote Filipino and other Philippine languages in the classroom alongside English is a step back into the jungle.

I’m a professor of English and a former chairman of our English department, but like many Filipino educators, I believe in a bilingual — indeed, a multilingual — policy, not only because it’s nationalistic, but because it works, and is kinder to the child in the long term. I’ve seen how raising children solely in English in the hope of turning them into “globalized” Filipinos can result in producing alienated, socially maimed individuals who can’t relate to their own people and who don’t feel a stake in their own country’s future. When I teach English or such subjects as American Literature, I remind my students that we’re taking up the subject not to try and become Americans, but to become better Filipinos.

I have no problem valuing and promoting English as the language of global business, as something we need to master if we want to make it out there (in this century, we might even be better off studying Chinese); indeed we should master English so it doesn’t master us.

As a creative writer in English, I love the language as a craftsman values his materials. In my own twist on the aesthetic value of writing in another language, I find working with English both challenging and interesting precisely because it can’t possibly fully capture the realities I’m representing — and in that breach lie possibilities for artmaking. When I write in Filipino, I relax, feeling no need to pretend to be anything but myself. (Yes, after half a century of using it, I’m still aware that I’m creating a persona, a social mask, every time I write and speak English.)

James was right when he called himself a “split-level Filipino.” Many of us are, and the sooner we acknowledge it the sooner we can deal with it and even turn it to our advantage. Unfortunately, some of us don’t know it, don’t know what to do about it, or just plain don’t care. That’s far sorrier than an essay gone astray.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Pakinggan Pilipinas Season 2 Episode 1: "A Fishy Tale"

PGS contributor Elyss Punsalan has uploaded her latest podcast on Pakinggan Pilipinas: "A Fishy Tale" by PGS contributor Apol-Lejano-Massebieau. Head on over to listen to her podcast! Congratulations to Apol and Elyss!

Pakinggan Pilipinas Episode 13: "New Toy"

I forgot to blog about Joseph Montecillo's episode on Pakinggan Pilipinas, "New Toy". Better late than never! Here it is! Belated congratulations, Joseph!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Readercon Filipino Friday Week 4: Reading Philippine Literature

(Continuing the Filipino Friday activities as a buildup to Readercon!)

The question for this week is "Do you read Filipino literature, and if so, which books would you recommend?" I admit to a bias with the books/anthologies/collections by Pinoys that I'm going to recommend because the majority of the Pinoys who wrote or edited them are PGS contributors, and most of them are genre. Consider that a disclaimer :D.

Waking The Dead And Other Stories by Yvette Tan
Smaller And Smaller Circles by F.H. Batacan
Philippine Speculative Fiction Volumes 1-6, edited by several PGS contributors over the years (Dean Alfar, Nikki Alfar, Vincent Simbulan, Kate Osias). PSF 7, by the way, will be edited by Kate Osias and Alex Osias.
The Kite Of Stars And Other Stories by Dean Alfar
Heartbreak And Magic by Ian Casocot
A Time For Dragons edited by Vincent Simbulan
Best Of Philippine Speculative Fiction 2009 edited by Charles Tan
Philippine Speculative Fiction Sampler edited by Mia Tijam and Charles Tan
The Farthest Shore edited by Dean Alfar and Joseph Nacino
Demons Of The New Year edited by Karl de Mesa and Joseph Nacino
Diaspora Ad Astra edited by Emil Flores and Joseph Nacino (to go live soon)

There are a number of other genre anthologies, collections, and books published locally, containing stories by both PGS contributors and other writers as well (an example would be Tales Of Fantasy And Enchantment, edited by Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo). I've also read the books of Butch Dalisay (Soledad's Sister, Wash: Only A Bookkeeper, and Killing Time In A Warm Place, etc.) and Charlson Ong (Banyaga and Blue Angel, White Shadow), most of which are realist and not genre, but like I've mentioned in other posts, when I read, I'm not conscious of labels (but I mention it anyway for those who are). I've also read the collection of essays by Carl Javier, The Kobayashi Maru Of Love. The Philippines Graphic and The Philippines Free Press publish short fiction weekly, so one could consider checking out the pieces there. I'm still hoping, too, that Story Philippines will resume publication, whether on paper or online.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

"Triskaidekaturions" by Alexander M. Osias