Where Her Shawl Ends And Her Cat Begins

Deven Philbrick, a writer, essayist and prose editor for the Seattle Review covers “The Infinite Library And Other Stories” for Singapore Unbound:

The distinction between literary and genre fiction has been the topic of much debate in recent years. How the distinction ought to be made and whether the distinction is ultimately useful at all are questions with which many people interested in contemporary fiction are deeply engaged. Although a consensus on the answers certainly does not exist, one significant result of the questions having been posed is a reluctance to dismiss universally so-called genre writers as peddlers of formulaic fictions designed for quick consumption and simple, mass appeal. Science-fiction, for example, is now more than ever taken seriously as literary art. Its potential for imagining alternative realities, for conceiving of other possibilities for organizing a world, makes it a genre with the capacity for profound philosophic investigation. Writers like Samuel R. Delany, Ursula K. Le Guin, Octavia Butler, Thomas Disch, and Joanna Russ are increasingly accepted as towering figures of English-language letters. Victor Fernando Ocampo, author of The Infinite Library and Other Stories, has written a book that puts him among their rank.

Fundamentally, The Infinite Library and Other Stories is a book about possibility, limitation, and the boundary between them. In imagining alternative possibilities and stretching them to the point of snapping, Victor Fernando Ocampo engages in an act of profound political importance, aesthetic significance, and philosophical rigor that is a serious pleasure to ingest. ”

I am so honored and thrilled to get this killer review. I was both stunned and humbled after reading it. You can read the whole review here: Where Her Shawl Ends And Her Cat Begins (which is a line from The Old Blue Notebook, a story which first appeared in Daily Science Fiction).

Thank you to Deven and to Singapore Unbound editor Jee Leong Koh!

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Three Quick Reviews of The Infinite Library And Other Stories

A great big ‘Thank you!” to everyone who has read my book and and an even bigger shout-out to those who have sent me kind words over social media — especially to the three excellent folks below who took the time to write me reviews:

(1) First there is vlogger Rachel Tan who does her Rachel’s Now Reading reviews on Youtube.  You can check out here video here .

If you like her work please follow her on –                                                                      Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/rachel.tan.shiying
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/cobravirus/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/rachel_tan
Tumblr – https://www.tumblr.com/blog/rachelsnowreading

Rachel Reads Review

(2) I am a big fan of Ng Yi-Sheng‘s work, whether it be his poetry, stories, performances or his important advocacy work for LGBTQ issues. Thank you for spending some time to read my stories!

Screenshot_20181020-180607_Facebook(3) Lastly, thank you to the anonymous BooksActually Elf that did the review for “The Infinite Library And Other Stories”.  You can read it here.

BooksActually Review

You can get copies of my book delivered to you by BooksActually here.

SWF WRITER FOCUS: Elaine Chiew interviews Singapore-based Filipino writer Victor Fernando Ocampo

Award-winning writer and editor Elaine Chiew interviewed me last year for her Contemporary Voices column at the Asian Book Blog:

For every writer, once in a rare while, a book comes along and really shakes you up, where (instead of that height/ceiling metaphor) I’d like to say instead, the floor drops on which you thought the legs of fiction stood. Victor Fernando Ocampo’s The Infinite Library and Other Stories did that for me. The ideas that power this collection are not just incredibly imaginative, they also weave a hybrid crossing through magical realism, allegory and science fiction, that ‘synchronicity’ Ocampo mentions in one of his stories. Rendered in prose that bears a unique voice, and also dark subtle humour in surprising turns of phrases, this collection is an invitation to a labyrinth for thought.

You can read the whole interview over at the Asian Books Blog.

“The Infinite Library and Other Stories” was also shortlisted for the Asian Book’s literary award: the Asian Books Blog Book of the Lunar Year. This award highlights books of particular interest in, or especially relevant to, Asia, excluding the Near West / the Middle East.

Thank you to Elaine and to editor Rosie Milne!

Asian Books Blog Award 2

The Official Book Launch of “The Infinite Library And Other Stories”

Another very late post.

The Infinite Library And Other Stories (Math Paper Press 2017) was launched last 7 November, 2017, 8:30 PM at the Gallery II of the ArtsHouse during the Singapore Writer’s Festival.

A second launch event for the general public  was held at 4:00 PM, last 12 December 2017 at Neo Kinokuniya in Singapore.  Thank you to Math Paper Press publisher Kenny Leck for hosting the programme.

Thank you to everyone who attended! “The Infinite Library and Other Stories” is available from BooksActually at 9 Yong Siak St, Singapore 168645 and the Neo Kinokuniya store at Ngee Ann City 391 Orchard Rd, 04-20/20B/20C/20E, Singapore 238872.

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The “Surreal Worlds of Southeast Asia” panel at #WorldCon75

Singapore-based Speculative Fiction author and Lontar Journal founding editor Jason Erik Lundberg moderated a lively panel on Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction at yesterday’s #Worldcon75, with Nebula award- winning author Aliette de Bodard and myself. Like my other panel, this one was quite well attended and we were very happy to see that so many people were interested in Southeast Asian speculative fiction.

Aliette and I did a reading from one of our works and we spent the rest of the time taking questions and recommending many fine SEA authors from the region such as Dean Alfar (Philippines), Zen Cho (Malaysia) and JY Yang (Singapore).

P.S. – I provided a quick sneak peak of my first short story collection “The Infinite Library and Other Stories” during this panel 🙂

Surreal SEA Panel 2017 (1)Surreal SEA Panel 2017 (3)Surreal SEA Panel 2017 (4)Surreal SEA Panel 2017 (5)Screenshot_20170725-104758

My Reading at the Singapore Writer’s Festival 2015

Postscript:  BNSSV2 was reviewed by Angus Whitehead of  Nanyang Technological University, Singapore  in ASIATIC, Volume 11, Number 1, June 2017 and had this to say about this story: “Another dystopian tale is Victor Fernando R. Ocampo’s ambitious long “I am d 1 in 10” which is certainly distinctive, much of it written in SMS format: “THEY R COMING 4 me, my Dev/Null executioners, I got no more tym left so u, dear reader, have 2 fill in the gaps in my story”(39). and seems to successfully nod to the world of social media operating in an ever more constricting and hierarchical climate of fear, while ironically bemoaning via machine the loss of material text, print culture.

I will be reading a short excerpt from my story “I m d 1 in 10” at Epigram’s book launch of the Best New Singapore Stories Volume 2 (edited by Jason Erik Lundberg) at the Singapore Writer’s Festival on Sunday, 1st Nov, 7-8 pm, in the Gallery at The Arts House (1 Old Parliament Lane, Singapore 179429).

Other authors reading include Joshua Ip, Gemma Periera, Jeremy and Tania de Rozario. Please come!

“I m d 1 in 10” is my experimental, epistolary story which I can only term as “Immigrant Speculative Fiction” It’s about what you have to sacrifice to move to “a better country”, it’s about fitting in with the crowd — sometimes at the cost of your soul, and the consequences of living with extreme cognitive dissonance.

It was written with Latin (representing the order of an officially-controlled public language) and an vernacular based on L337, IM and SMS speak, emoticons and a Filipino argot called Jejemon (which is what everyone actually speaks and writes with in private).

BNSSSV2

Here’s a short excerpt:

They r coming 4 me, my Dev/Null executioners, I got no more tym left so u, dear reader, have 2 fill in d gaps in my story. I don’t know who u r, but if u value ur life, LISTEN 2 me.  I’m a dead man talking.

Listen n listen closely.

Life Hack # X: Speak their Latin or die.

I signed up because I want only d best 4 my family” — d@’s d only safe answer if any1 asks u why u’re here. B very careful wot u say n remMbR, always remMbR:  “Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis”. Its best 2 endure w@ u can’t change. Ur f*cking life depends on it. N don’t ever speak ur mind. If u’re a resident of d New Cities, ur mind’s not urs, not anymore. So speak their Latin n b safe.

If they pursue conversation, stick 2 trivial topics. Rhetorical questions can n will give u away. U never know who u’ll be talking 2. Let suspicion breed ur confidence.  In d New Cities, d walls have eyes n every word is twittered by d wind. Speak only every1’s truth. Think b4 u speak, n never ever post what u really feel. HIDE URSELF FIERCE, HIDE URSELF DEEP.

(<_<) = J

“They Called me the Hyacinth Girl” as a QR Code

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I thought about doing something different for my writing today. A Quick Response (QR) Code is a type of matrix barcode designed as a machine-readable optical label. If you have a smartphone, download a barcode scanner and read my flash fiction piece “They Called me the Hyacinth Girl”. This was originally published in book The Ayam Curtain.