This review was actually posted 5 years ago. I had meant to RT it but for some reason, it got buried under all my other work. I am rectifying this grievous error now.
Thank you so much to Rachel’s Now Reading for your kind words. Please subscribe to her page to get book reviews on a wonderfully eclectic range of reading material.
“This is a book review of Victor Fernando R. Ocampo’s “The Infinite LIbrary and Other Stories”. It’s a book containing 17 speculative fiction short stories somewhat linked together to make a whole.
If you’re a sci-fi fan, this is definitely the book for you. The presence of queer elements helped as I always love an inclusive book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this collection and hope you will too!”
Thank you so much to London-based Malaysian editor, writer, and theatre practitioner Zhui Ning Chang for inviting me to be a guest speaker at Birkbeck, University of London’s Arts Week 2023 yesterday. We had a great conversation about the themes of liminality, displacement and death in my book The Infinite Library and Other Stories, as well as my writing process, and the state of speculative fiction in Southeast Asia today. Thank you also to the very lively audience for all the thoughtful questions.
Thank you to the UST Faculty of Arts & Letters and the UST MaKatha Circle for inviting me to share my writing journey at their ” Roots & Refractions: Bridging MaKatha Traditions” event last 27 February. I really enjoyed interacting with so many young writers.
Keep reading what makes your heart sing. Fill yourself up with all the beauty that life throws your way. And keep writing — because young creatives like you are our best defense against all the terrible and ugly things darkening our reality. Once you realize what this world is worth, you will fight to defend it.
Write a new world for all of us…
Up next, meet Victor Fernando R. Ocampo, a Filipino author of speculative and experimental fiction stories!
A fellow at the Milford Science Fiction Writers’ Conference in the UK and the Cinemalaya Ricky Lee Film Script Writing Workshop in the Philippines, he currently resides in Singapore where he was also a writer-in-residence at the Jalan Besar at Sing Lit Station. His works have been shortlisted for the International Rubery Book Award in 2018, and he won the Romeo Forbes Children’s Story Award in 2012.
Victor’s most recognized stories include:
THE INFINITE LIBRARY AND OTHER STORIES. Three Filipino siblings fighting an enemy that uses words as weapons, sigbin monsters in space, a banned children’s book hiding a secret that could save a doomed generation ship, a slow-motion disaster turning people into living math equations,?! Name it and this book surely has it. Grab this collection of stories that goes beyond what our mind deems possible and be carried away by all its mystical twists and turns.
Grab a copy:
HERE BE DRAGONS. Ever wished to have a map that would make life easier? Well,
Isabella met the perfect guy that makes a map of just about anything! Would she take the risk
“The Easiest Way to Solve a Problem” is a short story about adding the consciousness of expat Filipino PMET workers to a massive corporate AI in Singapore. It appeared last April, 2022 in the book Get Luckier: An Anthology of Philippine and Singapore Writings (Singapore: Squircle Line Press, 2022), edited by Migs Bravo Dutt, Claire Betita de Guzman, Aaron Lee Soon Yong, and Eric Tinsay Valles. – https://www.get-luckier-anthology.com/victor-fernando-r-ocampo
“I m d 1 in 10” , his 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. – http://futurefire.net/2014.30/fiction/imd1in10.html
Immerse yourselves in Victor Ocampo’s works with this playlist!
: Anjellyca Villamayor, and Roanne Aludino
: Chrystal Cariño, Lauren Ainella Tagle, and Sophia Mendoza
“Moreover, some stories explore the world between literary and genre fiction. It’s the best of both worlds, and it’s a noteworthy addition to a meager selection of Filipino sci-fi books.“
I also have a short story, “Infinite Degrees of Freedom” in the first book he discussed, Science Fiction: Filipino Fiction For Young Adults (Quezon City: UP Press, 2016). This work was also translated into Chinese and appeared in Science Fiction World‘s March 2017 issue. The story concerns the rocky relationship between a distant father and his emotionally needy son, programmable matter, guns that fire bolts of electricity, chicharon and a mythical sigben monster loose inside a rickety old spaceship.
I firmly believe in the transformative power of Science Fiction in nation building. As historian Yuvel Noah Harari said: “Today science fiction is the most important artistic genre… It shapes the understanding of the public on things like artificial intelligence and biotechnology, which are likely to change our lives and society more than anything else in the coming decades.”
But we must be conscientious with what we choose to write. The stories we dream up could very well be the bedrock upon which the next generation of Filipinos will build the future.
Join us on Thursday, 14 July 2002 at 07:30-9pm at the Crane Club, 281 Joo Chiat Road (Osprey Room).
Featuring: Laetitia Keok, myself and Monique Truong’s THE SWEETEST FRUITSEventbrite Tickets: $5.00 ($6.32 with taxes and fees)
An imprint of Singapore Unbound, Gaudy Boy publishes Asian authors from around the world. Our growing list includes such terrific writers as Monique Truong, Alfian Sa’at, Lawrence Lacambra Ypil, Victor Fernando R. Ocampo, Jhani Randhawa, Jenifer Sang Eun Park, and Tania De Rozario, among others. Our books have been reviewed in Publishers Weekly and Necessary Fiction; noted in The Paris Review, Poets & Writers, LitHub, Electric Literature, The Millions, Ms. Magazine, TimeOut, ArtsEquator, and Words Without Borders; and long- or shortlisted for The Believer, Lambda Literary, and Association for Asian American Studies awards. Come hear our authors and editors read from their work and talk about publishing with Gaudy Boy.
Victor Fernando R. Ocampo is the author of the International Rubery Book Award-shortlisted The Infinite Library and Other Stories (Math Paper Press, 2017 ; US edition: Gaudy Boy, 2021) and Here be Dragons (Canvas Press, 2015), which won the Romeo Forbes Children’s Story Award in 2012.
Laetitia Keok is a writer and editor from Singapore. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and published in Wildness Journal and Hobart Pulp, amongst others. She edits for Gaudy Boy and Sine Theta Magazine. You can find her at laetitia-k.com
With brilliant sensitivity and an unstinting eye, Monique Truong’s novel The Sweetest Fruits circumnavigates the globe, introducing three unforgettable women separated by geography and culture but connected by their love for the Greek-Irish author Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904). Gaudy Boy’s edition comes with a new afterword by the author.
“Ocampo’s collection is simultaneously a meaningful addition to the genre of speculative fiction and a powerful manifesto laying out the possibilities of Southeast Asian literature.“
Thank you to Elise J. Choi, a copy editor based in Portland, Oregon who “reads science fiction, fantasy, and translated literature to her cat” for writing a great review of my collection, The Infinite Library and Other Stories (1st edition Math Paper Press, 2017; 2nd edition 2020; 3rd edition Gaudy Boy, 2021).
You can read the review at Necessary Fiction here.
“This is a reader’s book through and through, and the final story, a two-page ode to reading, confirms it. “To See Infinity in the Pages of a Book” provides a lovely cap for a work that has reveled in impossible libraries. Sometime in the future, a crack in spacetime reveals an astronaut literally “falling into a good book”:
Inside the singularity, the impossible astronaut is not dead, they are reading. Before they get to that last book they will ever read in their life, there is yet another book that needs to be read. Between that penultimate book and the one they hold in their hand, there is yet another book and another demanding attention. In fact, between the astronaut and Death, there is an endless series of books with no beginning and no end.
The scene is a literary imagining of a mathematical limit, in which a line stretches infinitely toward a value but never quite arrives. Usually it is the writer who achieves a kind of immortality. But Ocampo shifts that power by bestowing it upon his readers. The story closes with the optimistic declaration that “those who fall endlessly into books never die. They are forever reading.” – Elise J. Choi
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.
You can read the whole article at Literary Hub. Thank you to Gaudy Boy (especially Isabel Drake) for facilitating this.
I don’t often get fan art so I am really loving this work! Thank you @priscilla_yamaguchi for imagining this beautiful cover for my flash fiction piece “Too See Infinity In The Pages Of A Book”! This story functions as a coda to my short story collection “The Infinite Library And Other Stories”.
Today, I want to share the artwork that graces the end papers of the North American edition of The Infinite Library and Other Stories. The digital artwork (below) is called “Panopticon”, 2019 and is by Filipino artist Marius Black (@manilaukiyoe), whose work is often inspired by Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblock prints. The end papers actually use the black and white version of this work which you can also see as the new masthead of my author website.
Thank you also to the Pushcart-nominated writer and 2020 Felipe P. De Alba Fellow, Jemma Wei for hosting the event ,and to the wonderful Monique Truong, winner of the 2004 PEN/Robert Bingham Award, and best selling author of The Book of Salt, Bitter in the Mouth, and The Sweetest Fruits for judging the entries to Singapore Unbound‘s first flash fiction contest (the prompt of which was the title of my book). Congratulations to all the winners:
First prize: “A Room with a Point of View,” by Masturah Alatas (Italy).
Second prize: “This Is a Nice Hotel,” by Olivia Djawoto (Singapore).
Third Prize: “Devotion,” by Shuchi (Singapore).
Honorable Mention: “How Fucky Am I To Be Loved,” by Aaric Tan Xiang Yeow (Singapore).
Lastly, thank you to all who submitted entries and to all those who spent their Saturday evening with us!