Just sharing my first non-fiction work in a major mainstream literary magazine. I believe that a nascent center for Speculative Fiction has been quietly developing in Southeast Asia. This article provides a round up of the essential anthologies that give a great intro to the works from the region.
This blog post was from last year but I saw it only now. Blogger Eileen Fong of Peregrinate with Me reviews Fish Eats Lion: New Singaporean Speculative Fiction (Edited by Jason Erik Lundberg) and she has some nice words to say about my story “Big Enough for the Entire Universe”.
“Here’s a sneak peak at one of the pages in the book. An extract from Big Enough For the Entire Universe by Victor Fernando R Ocampo. Rather intriguing piece of writing.” – Eileen Fong
Read the book for rest of my story as well as other Singaporean Speculative Fiction works by Stephanie Ye, Ng Yi-Sheng, Ben Slater, Wei Fen Lee, Jeffrey Lim, Shelly Bryant, Ivan Ang, Daryl Yam, Justin Ker, Grace Chia Kraković, JY Yang, Isa Kamari, Noelle de Jesus, Yuen Kit Mun, Marc de Faoite, The Centipede Collective, Carrick Ang, Andrew Cheah, Dave Chua, Tan Ming Tuan and Cyril Wong.
“Fish Eats Lion” is available from the online store of Books Actually and the following venues: Books Kinokuniya (Singapore), Housing Works Bookstore Café (NYC), Shakespeare and Company (Paris), Woolfson & Tay (London), as well as BookMoby and The Booksmith (both in Bangkok) .
Please try to support an independent bookstore if you possibly can. Thank you.
I never thought that I would ever get anything published.
As a kid in Manila all my stories were rejected simply because they were Science Fiction or Fantasy and publishers didn’t want them. The Filipinos that did read the “Literature of the Fantastic” preferred American or European authors due to a lingering colonial mentality and/or because nothing else was actually available. Save for Japanese cartoons, half-forgotten myths and the occasional meanderings of local realist writers into the surreal, there were no Fantasy, Horror or Science Fiction authors in the Philippines (at least none whose works were readily available). There were also no venues to read or to submit such stories.
I stopped writing for a very long time. Over the next few years I finished school, left the country and started a family. But I never stopped hoping I would find writers outside the Western mainstream, authors who would write Speculative Fiction with my voice, my experience and my point of view.
Then something magical happened early in the new millennium. Because of the efforts of people like Dean and Nikki Alfar, their Litcritters crew, Paolo Chikiamco, Joey Nacino, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, Charles Tan, Eliza Victoria, Kenneth Yu and other pioneers, venues like the Philippine Speculative Fiction anthology series, Philippine Genre Stories and Story Philippines started to appear and somehow, in a way I had not expected, Fantastic stories in all of their strange and delicious flavors became accepted, became (comparatively) popular, and most importantly, became respected.
My wife sent one of my stories to Nikki Alfar and Kate Osias without my knowledge (cheeky girl but I love her so). To my great surprise it ended up in PSF volume 6 and I haven’t stopped writing (or submitting) since.
Later on, I discovered that this renaissance of sorts was also happening (with various degrees of success and acceptance) in many parts of the world outside the Western sphere of influence — including my adopted country of Singapore, where I was lucky enough to become part of Fish Eats Lion (Edited by Jason Erik Lundberg) arguably its first compilation of literary Speculative Fiction.
The Literature of the Fantastic in Southeast Asia is breaking out of the shadows and I am so happy to be part of to this evolving landscape. I hope you like my stories (particularly the Science Fiction ones) and I would really love it if you dropped me a line at the comments box below or at vrocampo (at) gmail [dot] com.
Artwork above by Jon Jaylo from the book “Here be Dragons”