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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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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LONTAR Volume 10: Saying Goodbye To A Southeast Asian Institution

The first volume of LONTAR: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction came out in 2013. Named after “Lontar” (“Rontal” in Filipino), an Indonesian word for a bound palm-leaf manuscript from the fifth century BCE , it was meant to showcase Speculative Fiction writing in its myriad forms from all across Southeast Asia.

I was too late to contribute to its maiden issue, but my story “Entanglement” appeared in Volume 2. Two further works “Brother to Space, Sister to Time” and “Father is the Blood, Mother is the Wine” appeared in Volumes 6 and 9 respectively. Both ended up as the cover stories.

It’s really sad to see LONTAR go. There really isn’t any publication of it’s scope and breadth focused exclusively on Southeast Asia anywhere in the world.

It’s tenth and final issue is double-sized wonder featuring work by Dean Alfar, Vida Cruz, Drewscape,  Joses Ho, Patricia Karuningan, Gabriela Lee, Manish Melwani, Wayne Ree, Lakan Umali, Eliza Victoria, Topaz Winters, Cyril Wong, Kevin Martens Wong, and many others. Founding Editor Jason Erik Lundberg wanted to include the artwork made by award-winning artist Sonny Liew for the my book The Infinite Library and Other Stories.  I wrote a flash fiction piece called “To See Infinity In The Pages Of A Book” to accompany it.

Thank you to Jason, Poetry Editor Kristine Ong Muslim, Comics Editor Adan Jimenez, and publishers Epigram and Math Paper Press (Volumes 1 and 2) for all the hard work.

Let’s hope it won’t be too long before another publication picks up LONTAR’s legacy.

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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 .

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.

An Anito-Punk Tale in the Philippines Graphic and Business Mirror

“Father is the Blood, Mother is the Wine” appeared recently in the Philippines Graphic. You can also read it online at the Business Mirror.  Thank you to Literary Editor Alma Anonas-Carpio and Editor-in-Chief Joel Pablo Salud.

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The Straits Times: Debut collection crammed with ideas

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

So my little book The Infinite Library and Other Stories got a really great review from the Straits Times.  You can read it online here.

This represents one of the major milestones of my writing journey. My very first post on this blog was “I never thought that I would ever get anything published.’ Now I have somehow managed to produce two books — and one of them has been reviewed favorably on Singapore’s major broadsheet.

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Thank you to fellow author Clara Chow and the editors of the Straits Times.