Here‘s some stuff that I wrote –
Shortlisted for both the United Kingdom’s 2018 International Rubery Book Award for the best books by independent writers, self-published authors, and books published by independent presses, and by the Asian Books Blog for the 2017 Book of the Lunar Year Award.
“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
Available from Bookshop.org and Amazon.com. In Singapore you can purchase a copy at BooksActually and Kinokuniya, or get one online at localbooks.sg. In the United States and Canada you can also get it at Barnes & Noble and other selected bookstores.
Here Be Dragons CANVAS Press, 2015 was the winner of the 2012 Romeo Forbes Children’s Story Writing Competition. It was published in 2015 with Illustrations by Jon Jaylo, and a Filipino translation by Rhandee Garlitos.
- As If We Could Dream Forever, is a near-future SF story. Set 150 years into Singapore’s future, this work deals with Automation, the concept of Free Will, teenage angst and compulsory National Service. This story was inspired by the work of pioneering Singapore novelist and dramatist, Goh Poh Seng, and the Filipino short story writer Gregorio Brilliantes. It first appeared in Vol. 17 No. 1 Jan 2018 of the Quarterly Literary Review of Singapore. You can read it here.
- Father is the Blood, Mother is the Wine, is a “bamboo punk” story set in a Pre-Hispanic Philippines about a young girl and a household god (called an Anito) that hides both the key to an ancient library and a frightening secret. It first full version appeared in LONTAR Volume 9, Autumn 2017. An earlier version also appeared in The Philippines Graphic in March 2017 and in the anthology Steampunk Universe in January 2018 (as a shorter version of the story with a different ending called “My Father Is Made Of Light”).
- Exit Quiapo Station, a Robert Altman-inspired SF story set on a Filipino-run International Space Elevator appeared in Maximum Volume 2: Best New Filipino Fiction in October 2016.
- Infinite Degrees of Freedom, my first YA Story (featuring mythical Sigben monsters on a spaceship), was published in anthology Science Fiction: Filipino Fiction for Young Adults last June 2016. It was later translated into Chinese and appeared in Science Fiction World‘s March 2017 issue.
- Mene, Thecel, Phares, an Alt.history story that may or may not be about Jose Rizal, Freikörperkultur, Uranian Poet-Assassins and Adolph Hitler’s mother was published in Philippine Speculative Fiction Volume X in May, 2016.
- Brother to Space, Sister to Time. my genre-crossing Filipino space opera was published in LONTAR: The Journal of Southeast-Asian Speculative Fiction Volume 6 in May, 2016. On the honorable mention long list by the Best New Singaporean Short Stories: Volume Three.
“Picking a favorite here is impossible for me. But the last story in the collection, Brother to Space, Sister to Time by Filipino author Victor Fernando R. Ocampo, sticks in my mind. It is the most hard-science science fiction story in the collection, taking place, as it does, on the fringes of a black hole; and involving, as it does: time travel, tachyon particles, neural computer interfaces, hyperspace, rickety spaceships, and the whole range of fan-servicing verbal engineering one expects and enjoys. More than anything, “Brother to Space, Sister to Time,” tells the story of three Filipino siblings under stress, with an interstellar backdrop. In the exploration of alternative realities, Ocampo never loses touch with the idea of family and roots, literary and national.” – Eric Norris reviewing LONTAR Volume 6 for Singapore Poetry.
- The Old Blue Notebook, a mystery tale about the Filipino diaspora in the UK and some mysterious men in black appeared in Daily Science Fiction in February, 2016.
- An Excerpt from the Philippine Journal of Archaeology (04 October, 1916), a Lovecraftian metafiction story told in footnotes, first appeared in Likhaan Journal 8 by the U.P. Institute of Creative Writing in December 2014. This story became part of the extended reading list used by English Literature classes of the University of the Philippines.
- Panopticon , a Filipino cyberpunk revenge story, first appeared in Philippine Speculative Fiction Volume 9 in October 2014 (Editors: Andrew Drilon and Charles Tan). A longer version of this story also appeared in the Fixi Novo urban Trilogy Heat, Flesh & Trash in March 2016. Here is a great review by Joel Wijisuria of the Star Malaysia.
“Panopticon, a sci-fi tale of rebirth and punishment by Victor Fernando R. Ocampo weaves an intricate narrative of a man who dies, only to find himself born again, disposed of by a vengeful ex-love, and doomed to repeat over and over. Ocampo’s world is vivid and technicoloured and terrifying. A brilliant read.” – Joel Wijesuria, reviewing the Fixi Novo Anthology Trash for Star Malaysia
- I m d 1 in 10 , my experimental story inspired by Anicius Manlius Severinus Boëthius’ De Consolatione Philosophiae, first appeared in the July 2014 issue of The Future Fire (Editor: Djibril al-Ayad). It was written with Latin, L337, IM and SMS speak, emoticons and a Filipino argot called Jejemon. In 2015 it was anthologized in the Best New Singaporean Short Stories: Volume Two by Epigram Books. It has also been published by the critical SF magazine Big Echo (editor William Squirrell).
“Victor Fernando R. Ocampo’s I m d 1 in 10. What a state-of-the-art kick-in-the-ass for the genre!” – Ernest Hogan writing in The Future Fire.
- Blessed are the Hungry , a Filipino space opera set on a generation ship, first appeared in Apex Magazine issue 62 in July 2014 (Editor: Sigrid Ellis), along with a short interview. Here’s a good review. The work was translated into Mandarin Chinese by Hu Shao Yan (one of the translators for George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire) and was published in the March 2015 volume of Science Fiction World. Kiwi author Olivia Cade included this story in her analysis of Food & Horror: Short Stories and Transformation at Book Smugglers.
“The other standout stories here for me are Blessed are the Hungry, in which Victor Fernando R. Ocampo puts himself pretty firmly on my map of SF authors to watch (read that story and Andrea Johnson’s author interview and tell me I’m wrong)” – Lisa McCurrach reviewing Apex Magazine Issue 62 for Over The Effing Rainbow.
- Entanglement , a gas-lighting SF love story in Seguin, Texas, first appeared in the second volume of LONTAR: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction (Editor: Jason Erik Lundberg, Math Paper Press) in May 2014
- How my Sister Leonora Brought Home a Wife , my SF tribute to the great Manuel E. Arguilla, first appeared in the inaugural issue of Lakeside Circus in March 2014 (Editor: Carrie Cuinn).
- A Secret Map of Shanghai , an allegorical fantasy inspired by Tang Dynasty poetry and Rudyard Kipling’s “The White Man’s Burden”, first appeared in the 18 November 2013 issue of Strange Horizons (Editors:Brit Mandelo, An Owomoyela and Julia Rios). Podcast also available here (Podcast Editor: Anaea Lay) Cited in Lois Tilton’s 2013 Reviews in Review by Locus Magazine. This story also appears in Unconventional Fantasy: A Celebration of Forty Years of the World Fantasy Convention (Editors: Peggy Rae Sapienza and Bill Campbell) in November 2014.
“A Secret Map of Shanghai by Victor Fernando R Ocampo: A symbolic history of the imperialist making of the city and its remaking as a dominant power. The god of Shanghai, having once been formed by his Western dominatrix goddess, is now in the ascendancy. Recommended” – Lois Tilton, reviewing Strange Horizons, November 2013 issue for Locus.
- Synchronicity , my initial stab at Weird Fiction, first appeared in issue #507 of Bewildering Stories online magazine in December 2012 (Editor: Don Webb). It won a Mariner Award in the short story category that same year. This story also appeared on the World SF Blog in May 2013 (Editor: Sarah Newton) and again in Outpouring: Typhoon Yolanda Relief Anthology (Editor: Dean Alfar) in January 2014.
- Big Enough for the Entire Universe , an apocalyptic disaster story set in Singapore, first appeared in the anthology Fish Eats Lion: New Singaporean Speculative Fiction November 2012 (Editor: Jason Erik Lundberg, Math Paper Press). This story was optioned by an award-winning Singaporean film maker. Principle photography was completed. Sadly, the movie remains stalled in post-production due to funding issues. Review
- Resurrection, my first published work of fiction, appeared in the anthology Philippine Speculative Fiction Volume 6, September 2010 (Editors: Nikki Alfar and Kate Osias, Kestrel). It was listed as an honorable mention selection for Ellen Datlow’s “Best Horror of the Year” 2011. Subsequently it was published in e-book format by Flipreads in 2012. An updated version Resurrection 2.0 first appeared in The Philippines Free Press, January 2012 (Editor: Joel M. Toledo). A slightly different version also appeared in the July 2013 edition of Expanded Horizons (Editor: Dash).
- The Book of Red Shadows was a play-by-email interactive story which successfully debuted at the all-digital Singapore Writers Festival from 30 October to 8 November in 2020. It was a serialized narrative in ten parts, which allowed reader/players an option to follow one of two threads at the end of every chapter. Within a certain narrative limit, players and Game masters were able to add elements that would personalize the story and create something unique that could not be played again in the same way. The sole objective was to avoid making plot choices that would end the narrative prematurely, and thus be able to get to as close to the end of the writers original story as possible.
Poetry and Flash Fiction
- To See Infinity Inside The Pages Of A Book flash fiction in LONTAR: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction Volume 10 . A Tamil language translation, முடிவிலியின் இழை appeared in the first issue of Aroo, an online Tamil magazine dedicated to speculative fiction.
- Objets trouvés de Singapour first appeared in Vol. 14 No. 2 of the Quarterly Literature Review of Singapore (April 2015). This was a post-internet experimental poem where the text was mined from Singapore government slogans and local commercial advertising from the last 50 years.
- They Called Me The Hyacinth Girl first appeared in the Flash Fiction anthology The Ayam Curtain in November 2012 (Editors: Joyce Chng and J.Y. Yang, Math Paper Press). Review
Banner artwork by Jon Jaylo from the book “Here be Dragons”