The landmark 10th volume of the venerable Philippine Speculative Fiction series was launched last 7 May in Manila. Unfortunately I missed this due to life and work commitments.
Congratulations to Dean, Nikki and everyone that made it happen!
PSF 10 contains my alternate history piece “Mene, Thecel, Phares” which is essentially a re-imagining of the Jose Rizal mythos in the vein of Philip K Dick’s “The Man in the High Castle”. This is one of my favorite works. If you get a chance to read my story I would love to ask you readers two very important questions: “If Nations are indeed imagined communities, who does the imagining?” and “What really makes people live and die for their country, unique personal circumstances or some greater force? If so was it really their choice to go down the path they did?”
Here’s a short excerpt:
“That sounds… interesting, if a bit to fantastical for my taste. I am curious as to why you wrote them as Scientific Romances,” the old man asked. “Surely your message would have been more effective as proper, realist fiction?”
“Scientific Romances are as marginalized as my people.” Joseph answered. “Realism is neurotically obsessed with itself. It offers no norms, nothing to reach for. I wanted to get in touch with the masses, the common people who dream about better futures. Scientific Romances are all about possibility, roads that move forward, not those that loop around in navel-gazing eternities.”
“Yet all fiction is permutation. There is always change.”
“Right now all I want is for us to be treated as equals and have proper representation in the Cortes. The masses want revolution and blood. I need a third novel to correct this notion. Violence is never the answer.”
“There is a time and place for everything, even fighting,” the professor insisted. “Your people are already taking your words and shaping their future with their own hands. Why would you change that?”
“What does it matter? I am a dead man, regardless. My two little books have caused great controversy and my life now imitates my art. I am sure to end up like Rizal and face a firing squad. Although, if Benomar’s Hermandad ever found me out, they wouldn’t waste a bullet on an Indio — they would simply break my neck.”
“So stay here,” the professor urged. “Write your other novel. Stay here and at least stay alive. Anyway, the ones who write eventually control the world.”