The Familiar and The Alien

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I greatly enjoyed moderating “The Familiar And The Alien” panel last Sunday, November 4. My amazing speakers included Rachel Heng whose novel “Suicide Club” is set in a near future in New York City where people can live for 300 years; Krishna Udayasankar, a Singapore-based Indian author known for her modern retelling of Mahabharata through her Aryavartha Chronicles; and Kass Morgan, author of “The 100” series (the basis of the eponymous CW TV show).

We discussed how it was the role of writers to introduce readers to new worlds and experiences. But how do we make stories believable without loosing the wonder of the unfamiliar, or wandering into exoticizing?

Thank you #SingaporeWritersFestival 2018; panelists Rachel, Kris and Kass; and everyone who attended the event!

My Schedule for the 2018 Singapore Writers Festival

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The 2018 Singapore Writers Festival is just around the corner.  As both a moderator and a featured writer, I have a lot more events this year than in 2017. Please drop by and say hello.

SCHEDULE

03 Nov, Saturday 8.00pm – 9.30pm (90 minutes) – Break Out: A Gala Reading

  • What: Reading
  • Venue: The Arts House, Gallery II
  • Featuring: Adam Aitken, Maria Galina, Law Lok Man, Louise 羅樂敏, Nina McConigley, Victor Fernando R. Ocampo, Sithuraj Ponraj, Yoko Tawada
  • Moderator: TBC

How does one stay true to one’s identity even as he/she crosses multiple cultures, languages and time zones? Is a person’s voice to be discovered, or a continuum of incremental influences? Whether whipping up new speculative realms or switching between linguistic codes, these writers exemplify the magpie sensibility. Don’t miss this special reading showcasing imaginative wordsmiths.


04 Nov, Sunday 7.00pm – 8.00pm (60 Minutes) – The Familiar and the Alien

  • What: Panel Discussion
  • Venue: The Arts House, Chamber
  • Featuring: Rachel Heng, Kass Morgan, Krishna Udayasankar
  • Moderator: Victor Fernando R. Ocampo

In imagining the future or an alternative reality, a writer must achieve resonance through setting and characterisation. How does one draw in the reader with enough known elements from the real world in order to make it relatable? Kass Morgan creates a dystopic series where Earth has been devastated by a nuclear apocalypse; Rachel Heng sets her novel in a near future in New York City where people can live for 300 years; and Krishna Udayasankar, a Singapore-based Indian author known for her modern retelling of Mahabharata through the novels Govinda, Kaurava and Kurukshetra.


05 Nov, Monday 8.30pm – 9.30pm (60 Minutes) – The Influence of Science Fiction on Modern Science

  • What: Classroom Series
  • Venue: The ArtsHouse, Living Room
  • Featuring: Victor Fernando R. Ocampo

What were the science fiction works that came before modern science? Published in 1818, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has been argued to be the first sci-fi novel. Since then, authors such as Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke have imagined what science could achieve through their writing. In this Classroom Talk, sci-fi author Victor Fernando R. Ocampo explores the relationship between literature and the sciences, and how science fiction has actually inspired, and continues to inspire, the science of today.


08 Nov, Thursday 7:30pm – 8:30 (60 minutes) – LONTAR Retrospective

  • What: Panel Discussion
  • Venue: SWF Bookstore
  • Featuring: Jason Erik Lundberg, Victor Fernando R. Ocampo, Christina Sng
    Moderator: Michelle Martin

BooksActually presents LONTAR Retrospective with Jason Erik Lundberg, Christina Sng, Victor Ocampo.


10 Nov, Saturday 10.30am – 11.30am (60 minutes) – Speculative Fiction as Moral Compass

  • What: Panel Discussion
  • Venue: The ArtsHouse, Blue Room
  • Featuring: Victor Fernando R. Ocampo, Rachel Heng, Nuraliah Norasid
  • Moderator: Khoo Sim Eng

From pursuing immortality to eradicating marginalization, speculative fiction reveals the deepest desires of humankind. How can the genre prompt readers to assess humanity’s moral progress, and to rethink what could be right or wrong? This panel brings together authors across science fiction and fantasy to discuss the potentialities of the genre.


11 Nov, Sunday 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM (90minutes) – Chicken Rice and Adobo: What We Love about the Philippines and Singapore

  • What: Reading and Panel Discussion
  • Venue: HideOut@Funan Showsuite, Junction of Hill Street and High Street. Free Event
  • Featuring: Aaron Lee, Claire Betita de Guzman, Lawrence Ypil, Heng Siok Tian, Felix Cheong and Victor Fernando R. Ocampo
  • Moderator: Eric Tinsay Valles

Description:
Increased trade and cultural exchanges between Singapore and the Philippines have led to shared experiences and stories in prose and poetry. This session continues a literary dialogue that has spawned joint anthologies and readings. Listen to the featured writers read excerpts of their works and join in the fellowship centered on what we love such as comfort food, cultural diversity and a good story.


SWF 2018

The Infinite Library And Other Stories Shortlisted For The 2018 Rubery Award

My book, The Infinite Library And Other Stories has made it to the official shortlist of this year’s prestigious Rubery Awards, the United Kingdom’s equivalent of the Booker Prize for independent, self-published and small press publications.

Victor R. Ocampo, a Filipino living in Singapore, is a clever, skilled writer. His short stories are subtle and demanding, hovering in the space between literary fiction, experimental fiction and cyberpunk.”

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Here Be Dragons at the Internationale Jugendbibliothek in Munich

These two copies of my Romeo Forbes Award-winning children’s book “Here Be Dragons” are on their way to join the collection of the Internationale Jugendbibliothek (The International Youth Library) in Munich, Germany.

Housed in Blutenburg Castle, the IB holds the world’s largest collection of children’s literature, with over 600,000 volumes in 150 languages. I am happy that they will contribute to the representation of works by immigrants in general, and the Filipino diaspora in particular.

Here Be Dragons was published by CANVAS Press in 2015 with illustrations by Jon Jaylo and a Filipino translation by Rhandee Garlitos.

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A New Story in the Quarterly Literature Review of Singapore

Thank you to the editors of the Quarterly Literature Review of Singapore for including my short story “As If We Could Dream Forever” in QLRS’ 17th volume.

Set 150 years in the future, this work deals with the concept of Free Will and using humans as receptacles for AI automation,  teenage angst, and extending National Service to young women.

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This story was inspired by three different, totally unrelated works – the comic book “Planetary” by Warren Ellis, Gregorio Brilliantes award-winning short story “The Cries of  Children on an April Afternoon in the year 1957” and of course,  Goh Poh Seng’s seminal novel “If We dream Too Long ” (from which the title of my story is derived).

As if we Could Dream Forever

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 .

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.

Dune Panel Discussion @ Kult Kafe

Studio and Art Gallery and  Kult Kafe invited Comic Book writer Kelly Bender, visual artist Howie Kim, and myself to discuss our  process for conceiving and building science fiction universes over pizza and beer.  This panel discussion was one  of the companion events to Dune: A Sci-Fi Art Show which featured paintings, prints, virtual reality and projection mapping multi-media works inspired by Frank Herbert’s seminal novel Dune. You can watch a video of the panel Dune.

 

 

Flash Fiction Workshop

Another late post;

I ran a flash fiction workshop late last year which turned out to be a most interesting experience. There were about 12 participants who ranged in age from 12 to 71. Most had not done any serious writing previously. It was great teaching them the fundamentals of story structure and how to provide a complete prose narrative in a very concise and compact format. What I enjoyed the most was discovering the reasons why people wanted to write:

“I have so many stories inside me” – a 71-year old retiree

“I want to be able to communicate better in English.” – a Japanese expat’s housewife

“I want to surprise my girlfriend.” – a college student

“It will help me do my work.” – a business manager

“I want people to know who I am.” – a 12 year old girl.

 

Flash Fiction Workshop 2018

Carrie and the Infinite Library

So apparently, English singer, songwriter, actress, author and vlogger Carrie Hope Fletcher got a copy of my book, The Infinite Library and Other Stories  while she was in Singapore playing Wednesday Adams in the Addams Family musical.

I hope you like my book Carrie! I love your music.

Exceedingly Late Post: The 2017 Singapore Writer’s Festival Wrap-up

It’s almost time for the 2018 Writer’s Festival and I realize that I had never posted my pictures from last year’s run.

Top to bottom, left to right: (1) SWF Opening, (2) Outside the festival grounds, (3) Watching a panels while seated on LKY’s chair,  (4) With Junot Diaz, (5) “Writing between Genre Lines” panel with Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé (moderator), Aliette de Bodard, Jason Erik Lundberg and O Thiam Chin, (6) With Dean Alfar, (7) With Lavie Tidhar, (8) Crab dinner with Aliette, Jason, Nikki, Pat and Dean, (9) Peranakan lunch with Ken Liu, and (10) birthday dinner with Aliette.

Here are some pictures from my panels:

  • The Real Science in Science Fiction – with Shelly Bryant, Kevin Martens Wong, and Dave Chua moderating
    5 Nov, Sun 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
    The Arts House, Living Room
  • A Brave New World: Speculative Fiction in Singapore – with Jon Gresham, Christina Sng , and Gene Tan moderating
    6 Nov, Mon 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
    The Arts House, Chamber

Lastly, check out the special packaging for my book The Infinite Library and Other Stories  which was only available at the festival venue.

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