Thank you to Singapore’s ArtsScience Museum for featuring me in their Take 5 video series. I talked about how Speculative Fiction in general and Science Fiction, in particular, helps readers build resilience during tough times.
Thank you also to Patricia, Isabella and Sophia for shooting, directing and editing the initial footage. You are the best video crew a guy could have!
“Unable to leave home due to circuit breaker measures or even set foot outside your room due to a home quarantine order? Escape your physical confines through the “uniquely portable magic” of books, as author Stephen King puts it. Here are 10 works of fiction that contain worlds within worlds for you to wander.“
“The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” (1950) by C.S. Lewis
“Neverwhere” (1996) by Neil Gaiman
“Sophia and the Utopia Machine” (2018) by Judith Huang
“His Dark Materials” (1995 to 2000) by Philip Pullman
“Howl’s Moving Castle” (1986) by Diana Wynne Jones
“The Star-Touched Queen” (2016) by Roshani Chokshi
“The Night Circus” (2011) by Erin Morgenstern
“The Eyre Affair” (2001) by Jasper Fforde
“The Infinite Library and Other Stories” (2017, Math Paper Press) by Victor Fernando R. Ocampo
“Neverending Story (1979, translated 1983) by Michael Ende (translated by Ralph Manheim)
Happy to be in such distinguished company. Thank you for including my book!
Between 11 to 13 May, 2020 there will be a sale of all Math Paper Press Titles at BooksActuallyshop.com. Use the code MPP40 when you shop at the online store to get a 40% discount. They deliver internationally.
n.b. Thank you also to Jason Erik Lundberg for the PDF scan above.
THE INFINITE LIBRARY AND OTHER STORIES (2017, Math Paper Press)
Victor Fernando R. Ocampo
This fantastical collection of 17 stories alludes to Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges’s idea of an infinite library that contains every book that could possibly be written. The stories flit from world to world – from an enigmatic map shop to an uprising on a spaceship and to a Bukit Batok housing block where the inhabitants are being slowly but relentlessly transformed into living mathematical equations.
Other Futures is an annual multidisciplinary festival and exhibition that presents speculative visions of the future based in the Netherlands. The conference brings together makers and thinkers from all over the world who use speculative fiction to imagine and build other futures and invites them to share their visions with visitors from diverse walks of life. Like many cons and festivals this year, Other Futures went online because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Last April 11, I gave my first-ever remote lecture which was split into three parts – an Introduction to Asian Science Fiction, sharing my writing process and a short Drabble writing workshop.
For the first 45 minutes, I gave a quick (if woefully condensed) introduction to Asian Science fiction, touching on history as well as significant developments and key writers in (greater) China, Japan, India (+ South Asia) and the Philippines (and SEA).
Afterwards, I shared my writing process for short stories – from how I generate ideas to my tips for publishing. Lastly, we capped it off with a drabble writing workshop for which I gave a critique for those works that were written in English (A drabble is a short work of fiction of precisely one hundred words in length which is much-beloved by Speculative Fiction writers).
You can find a video of the slides I used below.
Thank you so much to the Other Futures team for inviting me and especially to Rochita Loenen-Ruiz for facilitating, translating and generally making magic happen!
Support local bookstores this pandemic quarantine period. They are a treasure to local communities and they need your help more than ever.
Iconic Singapore bookshop Bookactually‘s physical store may be temporarily closed, but let’s continue to support them and their three crazy feline deities online.
Things are not looking very bright for the world right now. The daily cycle of bad news and the challenges of being locked away wear out both our bodies and souls. It is precisely at this time that we need to remember that books can offer a great degree of comfort through the welcome distraction of entertainment, and more importantly, through their accumulated knowledge and wisdom.
Moreover, they also offer hope through dark days. Hope that whatever problems facing us in life, there is a book somewhere that will help deal with it. Until the world reaches a new normal, let’s all ride out this difficult period with a book in hand (or two, or ten).
Copies of the first printing ran out shortly before the 2019 Singapore Writers Festival and the few paperbacks floating around were going for an astonishing USD$35 (SGD$49) each. I am happy to note that you can now buy a brand new copy at the BooksActuallyShop for much less, at only USD$13.35 (SGD$19). If you buy 3 other books, the three cats who run the store, Cake, Pico and Lemon (and their human assistant Kenny Leck) will provide free shipping in Singapore.
“Lovingly spun and told with a keen eye on familial relationships, as well as the inexorable desires of humankind, these stories signal that Ocampo may well be becoming the gold standard in South-east Asian speculative fiction.” – Clara Chow, book review in the Singapore Straits Times.
“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.” – Deven Philbrick, prose editor for the Seattle Review writing for Singapore Unbound
“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.” – Elaine Chew, interview at the Asian Books Blog
Speaking of KidLit, I have finished writing the text for my next illustrated children’s book, The Ocean Above Her. I am now in the process of finalizing the artwork before looking for a publisher. Here’s a sample illustration from Christian Oliver Cruz. This work was done with coffee stains, watercolour wash and ink.
Its funny how after you write a story, it’s actually hard to tell whether it will end up in the bin or if it will have publishing legs. Despite taking me close to a year to write, I was so sure my experimental Leetspeak/SMS/Jejemon story I M D 1 In 10 would never find a home because of its challenging use of language. To my surprise, it was picked up first by The Future Fire (July 2014) and then by the anthology Best Singapore Short Stories (2015). Happy to announce that I seem to have completed a hat trick with Big Echo (an online magazine featuring critical Science Fiction stories) featuring it in their 13th issue (devoted to avante-guard Science Fiction works). Thank you to Robert Penner and editor William Squirrell for including it.
I was surprised to learn that my book, The Infinite Library And Other Stories, was recently featured by the Centre for Strategic Futures on their Recommended Reads site on LinkedIn. The CSF is a think tank under the office of the Prime Minister of Singapore. Thank you so much to Ms Liana Tang, Deputy Head of CSF for her wonderful review!
Fan art is always a wonderful thing. I got a major case of the feels after finding out recently that a Surabaya, Indonesia artist, Aldrich Hezekiah (known on Twitter and DeviantArt as KiaBUGboy) had created a comic book based on my story Blessed Are The Hungry (Apex Magazine Vol. 62, editor Sigrid Ellis). Aldrich is currently pursuing his studies in Digital Art in Singapore. You can see more of his work here.
Thank you so much!
It’s interesting how this story is virtually unknown and unread in the Philippines — despite having been translated into Chinese (by one of the translators for Game of Thrones no less) and read by over a million people. It had received great reviews from places as far away as the US, the UK and New Zealand, and has even been used as resource material by a both a High School literature class in Las Vegas, as well as one of the Clarion workshops.
I really need to get my collection published in Manila. But now that VisPrint is gone, does anyone have any suggestions?
“…what is most striking is that these stories form a continuum of the Filipino diaspora from history into a hopeful future, investigating how separation has affected its members, and how in turn they have affected their host communities. This creates a deep and lingering connection between all the stories in the collection, through aspects of religion, language, time, and literature.”
Literary journalist, architect and P.H.D. student Sandro Lau, writes a great review of two short story collections — my book The Infinite Library And Other Stories, and This Is How You Walk On The Moon, a collection of Speculative Fiction edited by Patricia Karunungan, Samuel Caleb Wee and Wong Wen Pu. You can read the review here.