Philippine Speculative Fiction Volume 10 is now Available as an Ebook

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?”

Rizal stamp

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.”

Drizal stamp

Philippine Speculative Fiction Volume 10 is now available on Flipside Books, Weightless Books, Amazon, ITunes, Google Play and Kobo.

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Lontar No. 6 now Available on Print and ebook

Lontar No. 6 (Founding Editor Jason Erik Lundberg; Poetry Editor Kristine Ong Muslim and Comics Editor Adan Jimenez; published by Epigram) became available in print (from Kinokuniya and directly from Epigram Books) from last 27 April, while the DRM-free ebook is available from Weightless Books.

It features works from Ken Liu,  Eka Kurniawan, J Y Yang, Jennifer Anne Champion, Ng Yi-Sheng, comics from Budjette Tan, Alex Arellano & Kajo Baldisimo, as well as some amazing speculative poetry from  Jonel Abellanosa, Ang Si Min, Russ Hoe, Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé, Christina Sng, Sokunthary Svay, Krishna Udayasankar, Brendan Walsh and Marco Yan.

Also part of this volume is my Filipino space-opera/family drama “Brother to Space, Sister to Time” which inspired the cover illustration by Sarah and Schooling.

Check out my Pinterest board for this story.

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Lontar is the only publication that specializes in Speculative Fiction from and about Southeast Asia. It has published work from some of the finest writers of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Speculative Poetry. Please consider a subscription (from Weightless, link above) or supporting them on Patreon.

A relatively new publication, LONTAR nonetheless publishes high-quality works by award-winning authors. Diverse and under-represented characters and settings are a mainstay of LONTAR‘s fiction, opening the genre to fresh themes and voices, and introducing readers to the rich culture and atmosphere of Southeast Asia.” —Tangent Online

 

 

Ambassador of Science Fiction

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With his Excellency, Jaroslav Olsa Jr. Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Philippines and Micronesia

It was a great pleasure to finally meet Ambassador Olsa who is not only a fine diplomat but a keen exponent of Science Fiction was well. He is an acclaimed translator (the Polish classic Limes Interiér), SF editor  (Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, with ), and founding father of the literary SF journal Ikarie. Over the course of our all-too-short dinner he shared with me some of his many, many interesting stories and anecdotes about the genre scene in Europe and his life-long obsession with unearthing world Science Fiction.  In fact I had the privilege of  seeing first hand many obscure Filipino, Singaporean and Malaysian Speculative titles from his collection. I will be adding these authors and titles to my SEA list very soon.

 

 

Catching up.

Update: The “Trash” anthology is now available from Amazon.

It’s been a busy start to the year so I apologize that I haven’t been able to make any updates. Since January I’ve mentored 5 NUS start-ups, put up one of my own, and moved from a Digital Identity company to one deeply involved in Mobile Forensics.

So far I’ve been able to make 4 submissions (fingers crossed) and  several older stories are just now coming out in print. One of my favorites is the publication of the longer version of “Panopticon” which first came out in Philippine Speculative Fiction Volume IX. It will be appearing in Trash (edited by Dean Alfar and Marc de Faoite), one of a trio of Southeast Asian urban anthologies to be launched in London on 11 April by the Malaysian publisher Buku Fixi.

Incidentally, this version includes the Spivak pronouns used  to refer to the incorrigible, gender-fluid business expediter/assassin Pai Kia who appears in a couple of my stories (nb -This is one way to force readers to come to terms with the micro-aggressions of their own gender marking preferences).

Trash

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Here’s a short excerpt:

“Hello again, Mr. Salazar,” Pai Kia greeted cheerily, as I climbed aboard the sleek red aircraft. E was still dressed in Cleopatra Wong’s tight white jump suit. “You clean up very nicely, uncle. I could fancy someone like you.”

I said nothing as our autogiro lifted up towards an indifferent brown sky, past the grid of wires that stretched over the slums like a garrote. The highway in the heavens was teeming with sky jeeps, floating hawker stalls, hover-cyclos, air tuk-tuks and giant advertising dirigibles. The latter’s Holosonic displays bombarded my head with hundreds and thousands of advertisements, factoids and subliminal purchasing suggestions.

I closed my eyes to escape, letting the lights of the airborne traffic blur into hazy constellations. Every few seconds, a small group of vehicles would peel away, puncturing the smoke-choked clouds like dying meteors.

“I don’t get it,” I asked. “If people pay to be here, why does it look like a retro-future dump? It’s like we went back in time, to some old Third World country.”

“Wah Liao, every time the same questions,” Pai Kia said. “Let me tell you all you need to know. Aiyoh, everyone has three possible after-lives. If you’re rich, you stay in the clean, ultra-luxe New Cities. If you’re poor, you just die, end of story. For everyone in-between, if you’re in the know and you’ve got something in the way of credits, you can pay soul-hackers like me to build an afterlife. But hey, as they say — no prawns, fish also can. Do you understand, lah?”

I nodded for some reason, even though eir answer made no sense.

“Of course, your level of comfort, your level of reality, depends on the size of your wallet. Ms. Esperanza has a very big wallet.”

I studied my strange companion, wondering how e really translated behind the HI. Was e even real? I couldn’t tell anymore.”

The Heat, Flesh & Trash set of anthologies will be launched  on April 11, 2016 at  Daunt Books 61 Cheapside, EC2V 6AX London, United Kingdom

Here are details of the books:

HEAT
(244 pages, ISBN 9789670954363, RRP £7.99)
Edited by Khairani Barokka & Ng Yi-Sheng
Featuring work by: Gabriela Lee, Zed Adam Idris, Vina Jie-Min Prasad, Rewat Panpipat (translated by Marcel Barang), Nikki Alfar, Joseph Ng, O Thiam Chin, Christine V. Lao, Alexander Marcos Osias, Catalina Rembuyan, Hồn Du Mục, Maf Deparis & Ivery del Campo, Diyana Mohamad, Peter Zaragoza Mayshle, Lee Ee Leen, Zedeck Siew, Bonnie Etherington and Julie Koh.

FLESH
(232 pages, ISBN 9789670954370, RRP £7.99)
Edited by Cassandra Khaw & Angeline Woon
Featuring work by: Teo Yi Han, Sokunthary Svay, Simon Rowe, Terence Toh,Tina Sim, Yeyet Soriano, Bridgette Ann Rebuca, Ari Abraham, Kate Osias, Nin Harris, Justine Anjanique P. Jordan, Shamala Hinrichsen, Damyanti Biswas, Kenneth Yu, Verena Tay, Joelyn Alexandra, EK Gonzales, Eve Shi and Benjanun Sriduangkaew

TRASH
(228 pages, 9789670954387, RRP £7.99)
Edited by Dean Francis Alfar & Marc de Faoite
Featuring work by: Zedeck Siew, Raymond G. Falgui, Lyana Shah, Dipika Mukherjee, Timothy Marsh, Richard Calayeg Cornelio, Ted Mahsun, Eliza Vitri Handayani, Michael Aaron Gomez, Tilon Sagulu, Alexander Marcos Osias, Nin Harris, Francis Quina, M. SHANmughalingam and Victor Fernando R. Ocampo

 

My Writing Year – 2015

Posted on January 1, 2016

This year went as well as it could for me, writing-wise, as I didn’t really expect to publish much. Last year’s novel is unfortunately still stuck at chapter 4 (I’ve decided to shelve it for a while). The short film based on “Big Enough for the Entire Universe” is still stuck in post-production, with the release date moved to mid-2016. Lastly, the publication dates of six new short stories were also moved from the end of 2015 to 2016.

Despite all of these setbacks there have been couple of highlights:

  • My poem “Objets trouvés de Singapour” appeared in Vol. 14 No. 2 of the Quarterly Literature Review of Singapore last 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. It’s also my first published poem.
  • “An Excerpt from the Philippine Journal of Archaeology (04 October, 1916)” (which first appeared in Likhaan Journal 8 by the U.P. Institute of Creative Writing in December 2014) is now being used as recommended reading material by the University of the Philippine’s Literature program.
  • Blessed are the Hungry” (a Filipino space opera which first appeared in Apex Magazine issue 62, July 2014), was translated into Mandarin Chinese by Hu Shao Yan and was published in the March 2015 volume of Science Fiction World. I have been told that this magazine has close to a million readers, so this story is now probably my most read story ever.
  • I m d 1 in 10”  (my experimental story inspired by Boethius’ De Consolatione Philosophiae which first appeared in the July 2014 issue of The Future Fire) was anthologized in the Best New Singaporean Short Stories: Volume Two by Epigram Books. Plus, I got to talk about my work at a panel in this year’s Singapore Writer’s Festival.

VRO Poster

Best of all, my first children’s book, the Romeo Forbes Award-winning “Here be Dragons” was finally released in 24 August, 2015.  Thank you to Gigo and Canvas, Jon, Rhandee, Danny and everyone who was involved in it’s almost 3-year long production.

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As usual there was not enough time to do all my writing projects. As a result, I have more work-in-progress stuff right now that I have ever had before — including three short stories, two flash pieces, a Line novelette, a Filipino translation and my second children’s book.

I mentioned earlier that the publication dates of six new short stories were delayed to this year. This means that I already have a substantial line-up coming for 2016 without having to do much.

Happy New Year to all my readers and thank you for all your support!

 

Do Something Amazing Today: Support a Good Writer You May Not Know

Update: As the news has become public now, we can say that she has just lost her husband and the father of her children.  We’ve just passed the 8,000 euro mark and continue to be humbled by your generosity and love for Rochita. Please help keep the momentum going so that we can reach our stretch goals!

Clarion West alumnus and British Science Fiction Award nominated Rochita Loenen-Ruiz has done so much to support new and underprivileged writers in the SFF and diaspora communities. She has personally helped me and many other emerging writers with craft, publishing and general-life advice, as well as providing us with her (always) unwavering support — particularly whenever the going got tough.

After I ran into troll trouble last year, I stopped writing. I would have never been able to start again if not for her.

Rochita

Don’t know Rochita? Here are some of her wonderful stories:

 Song of the Body Cartographer published in Philippine Genre Stories June 2012  59 Beads, in Apex Magazine                                                                                      Hi Bugan ya Hi Kinggawan, in Fantasy Magazine

She also writes a column for Strange Horizons on topics like Diversity, Antidotes to Toxicity and the Poetics of Struggle.

Unfortunately Rochita and her family recently suffered a great personal tragedy. It’s time for us — her friends and fellow writers — to give a little back.  Please help anyway you can by donating money, rewards, or by simply spreading the word about our campaign to Raise Funds for Rochita.

Apart from helping a great writer (and all-around wonderful human being) you will get the following rewards:

All donors will gain access to our downloadables microsite which includes a Xuya sampler ebook by Aliette de Bodard and printable coloring sheets by Likhain. As the campaign proceeds we’ll update this with more downloadables.

At the end of the campaign we’ll do a random draw for the following rewards, which have been contributed by their respective authors/publishers:

– Four audiobooks of THE HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS by Aliette de Bodard
– Two signed hardcovers of SORCERER TO THE CROWN by Zen Cho (US edition)
– A signed copy of SERPENTINE by Cindy Pon, with two brush art cards of the winner’s choice
– A one-year SHIMMER subscription (six issues in PDF, EPUB or MOBI)
– A one-year UNCANNY subscription (six issues in PDF, EPUB or MOBI)
– A signed copy each of THE KITE OF STARS and HOW TO TRAVERSE TERRA INCOGNITA by Dean Francis Alfar
– A signed copy of HERE BE DRAGONS by Victor R Ocampo, illustrated by Jon Jaylo
– A book bundle containing FISH EATS LION, LONTAR 2, and AYAM CURTAIN (donated by Victor R Ocampo)
– Three copies each of THE WEIRD, THE TIME TRAVELLER’S ALMANAC, and THE THACKERY T. LAMBSHEAD CABINET OF CURIOSITIES anthologies edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
– A copy of the BEYOND anthology of queer SFF comics edited by Sfé R. Monster and Taneka Stotts (donated by Gabby Reed)
– A signed copy of LIFE THROUGH CELLOPHANE by Gillian Pollack (may be sent via sea mail if shipping outside Australia)
– A signed paperback of MAKING WOLF by Tade Thompson
– 10 ebooks of ALTERNATIVE ALAMAT anthology of stories inspired by Philippine mythology (EPUB and MOBI; donated by Paolo Chikiamco)
– Original art of an ALPHABET OF EMBERS illustration by Likhain (donated by Stone Bird Press)
– A complete ebook set of the ANGELINK books by Lyda Morehouse (in EPUB and MOBI; donated by Cheryl Morgan)

Please check the site for the updated list of rewards. Do something amazing today. Help us Raise Funds for Rochita. Thank you!

My Reading at the Singapore Writer’s Festival 2015

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).

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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