Its funny how after you write a story, it’s actually hard to tell whether it will end up in the bin or if it will have publishing legs. Despite taking me close to a year to write, I was so sure my experimental Leetspeak/SMS/Jejemon story I M D 1 In 10 would never find a home because of its challenging use of language. To my surprise, it was picked up first by The Future Fire (July 2014) and then by the anthology Best Singapore Short Stories (2015). Happy to announce that I seem to have completed a hat trick with Big Echo (an online magazine featuring critical Science Fiction stories) featuring it in their 13th issue (devoted to avante-guard Science Fiction works). Thank you to Robert Penner and editor William Squirrell for including it.
Here’s a mini-interview for the editors of #TheFutureFire:
1. What does I m d 1 in 10 mean to you?
“1 m d 1 in 10” is a story about what people (like me) are willing to give up when they move to another country. In essence it explores how migrants trade their identities for things like financial stability, safety and the illusion of greener pastures.
What happens when a future immigration process becomes so brutal and competitive that you have to surrender important things like your control over your children or your own sense of right and wrong just to get in.
I wrote this story as a way of addressing many of my (heretofore unspoken) fears about living where I do now.
2. What attracted you to Speculative Fiction?
Fiction writing is, by definition, “Make Believe”, despite its realist trappings — all of it is speculative to me. I just happen to like mine with space ships and dragons (because space ships and dragons dammit!).
3. When did you learn Latin?
I don’t actually speak Latin.I got interested in it after I fell in love with Umberto Eco’s works. I do, however, collect strange and humorous Latin phrases such as “Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?” (hint: it involves wood chucks and the amount of wood they could conceivably chuck).
4. What are you writing next?
I am currently finishing up another SF Short story that deals with the differences between individual and shared memories. I’ve also started sketching out the outline for a SF novel that I hope to write (….and finish someday).
This epistolary piece is my homage to Consolatio Philosophiae by Boethius as applied to the modern white collar migrant worker. It’s written partly in SMS speak and a Filipino-English argot called Jejemon. I have always been fascinated by how spelling drifts in orthography, particularly when mediated by new communications technologies.
Although it’s not the easiest thing to read (on many levels) and it’s nothing like my previous story from earlier this month, it’s definitely a story that needs to be told.
Looking at the comments on my Twitter (@victorocampo) I am happy that people liked it.
Illustration by Eric Asaris (@MisfitToyArt)