Wednesday, October 31, 2007

cover studies: psf III

Early next week, we're finalizing the covers and interior pages of Philippine Speculative Fiction III (we're dropping the word "vol." and going with roman numerals) and preparing the package for our printer.

Here are two covers I feel strongly about, for different reasons. As seems to be tradition with these things, the cover does not reflect a particular story. I'm leaning toward the horroresque cover but am very attracted to the other one (in case you can't see it, it's a heart with a top hat).


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Cover 1

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Cover 2

Labels: , ,

derivation of names

For the curious (from some bands on my ipod):

A-Ha - keyboardist Mags Furuholmen chose name as universal expression
Art of Noise - name of Italian futurist manifesto
Bangles - forced to change name from The Bangs due to existing band
B-52s - Southern Us nickname for bouffant hairstyle adopted by its female members
Cure - originally Easy Cure, stock phrase of the day (1976)
Depeche Mode - from a French fashion magazine, meaning 'Fast Fashion'
Devo - from the film 'Truth About De-evolution', Ann Arbor film fest winner
Dexy's Midnight Runners - slang for Dexedrine
Doors - from Aldous Huxlet book 'The Doors of Perception'
Duran Duran - first gig at Barbarella's, named after Jane Fonda film
Echo and the Bunnymen - Echo was nickname of their drum machine
Everything But The Girl - after second-hand furniture shop
Fine Young Cannibals - after Robert Wagner/Natale Wood film
Flock of Seagulls - after 'Jonathan Livingstone Seagull' by Richard Bach
Frankie Goes to Hollywood - headline in Variety about Sinatra moving to Los Angeles
Grateful Dead - from Egyptian Book of the Dead
INXS - orginally named Farriss Brothers after 3 band members, changed to pun on In Excess
Joy Division - Nazi slang for military brothel
Kraftwerk - German for power plant (their synths)
Level 42 - from Douglas Adams' Hitch Hiker's Guide, the answer to the meaning of life
Manhattan Transfer - from books by Jon Dos Passos
Men at Work - from road sign 'Danger: Men at Work'
New Order - after suicide of Ian Curtis, Joy Division became New Order, also a Nazi term
Pet Shop Boys - named for friends who worked in an Ealing pet shop
Psychedelic Furs - from Velvet Underground hit 'Venus in Furs'
REO Speedwagon - from an early make of fire engine, Ransom E. Olds Speedwagon
Roxy Music - from Roxy cinema chain
Scritti Politti - from Italian phrase for 'political writing'
Simply Red - after hair color of lead singer Mick Hucknall
Smiths - suggest anonymity its members are said to have sought
Soft Cell - pun on 'soft sell'
Spandau Ballet - oxymoron to give effect
Supremes - orginally the Primettes as they supported the Primes (Temptations)
Tears for Fears - from Arthur Janov's book on primal theraphy 'Prisoners of Pain'
Thompson Twins - from the Herge's Tintin characters
UB40 - from designation of Unemployment Benefit form


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

on writing the novel

From the good folk of Read or Die:

-Read Or Die and the UP Institute of Creative Writing in cooperation with Powerbooks present the first series of Write Or Die: Writers Write lecture-workshops. The workshops will be held every weekend from November 2007 to February 2008 in different Powerbooks branches and will be moderated by some of the best writers in the country. The purpose of the workshops is to promote the UP Gawad Centennial Likhaan 2008, a special literary prize sponsored by the University of the Philippines as it celebrates its centennial year in 2008.

We would especially like to encourage people who are not professional or academe-based writers to attend the workshops and submit their works for consideration to the Gawad Likhaan. Teachers are welcome to bring their students to the talks. No reservations are needed.

The workshops will have four areas: Fiction (November 2007-December 2007), Non-Fiction (January 2008), and Poetry (February 2008).

The schedule for the Fiction workshops is as follows:

Dean Alfar November 10, 2007Powerbooks Megamall2PM - 4PM
Jun Cruz ReyesNovember 17, 2007Powerbooks Trinoma2PM - 4PM
Amelia Lapena BonifacioNovember 24, 2007Powerbooks Trinoma2PM - 4PM
Charlson OngDecember 1, 2007Powerbooks Trinoma2PM - 4PM

Admission is FREE and open to the public.

For author profiles please visit this page.-

According to the organizers, I will be "talking about the art of writing a prize-winning novel in thirty days." Oooo-kay.

Aside: I was chatting with Jun Reyes at the Ateneo Workshop panel last week and in the course of discussing Philippine folklore and just how spec fic is an organic (and expected) form of telling stories, ended up talking about videoke, cell phones and how technology provides new venes for storytelling. I ended up offering him gift certificates to Red Box, natch.

Labels: ,


Reading/Discussion list:

This week (Open Session at A Different Bookstore, Serendra - Nov 3rd, 4PM):

Klockwerk's Heart by Anna Tambour
The First Sense by Nadine Gordimer
A Tranquil Star by Primo Levi

Next week:

She Found Heaven by Nathan Ballingrud
Beware of Dog by Roald Dahl
The Bird Catcher by SP Somtow
Urdumheim by Michael Swanwick

Last week:

The Blue Cross by GK Chesterton
Finding Beauty by Lisa Goldstein
The Courtship of Kate O'Farrisey by John Morresey
The Little Stranger by Gene Wolfe

Join the LitCritters Group.



I'll be talking about speculative fiction at the 12th Biennial Symposium on the Literatures and Cultures of the Asia Pacific Region. The conference title is a mouthful: Rewor(l)dings: Contestations and Reconfigurations in the Literatures and Cultures of the Asia Pacific Region.

-The Asia Pacific region has been the site of the enthusiastic production of literature and other cultural texts for the last fifty years but many of these productions have so far been just a token presence in the anthologies and scholarship outside the region. Even within the region, knowledge of each other’s literatures and cultures is minimal. Current theories have helped address the imbalance by privileging “Third World” or “postcolonial” texts, by exposing processes of containment, co-optation and mediation, and by suggesting solutions such as retrieval, negotiation and recuperation.

The conference seeks to up the ante by questioning the paradigms that have forced the writer and scholar in this region to retrieve, negotiate and recuperate, contesting the worlding that has relegated the region to the margins. It will explore possibilities of re-mapping culture so that no center has single dominance, and every center retains a fidelity to its people’s history and culture without negating a colonial past or current global imperatives.

Specifically, the conference will explore breaking away from popular paradigms for the creation and analysis of literature and culture. It will review concepts ubiquitously present in current discourse—globalization, for instance, and postcoloniality with its panoply of accompanying terms, such as hybridity, diaspora, dialogic. It will invite new discourses that promote reconfigurations and new visionings, e.g. the creation of “moving”/ “untranslatable” identities, translation as a globalizing force. It will cite regional realities that should inform this new cartography and the ways by which the writers, especially those in the “new” genres, have responded to them. -

And one of these "new" genres is spec fic - so I am happy to have been invited to give my two cents. And listen. And learn.


Monday, October 29, 2007

tales TOC

Firmly within the environs of the realm of the fantastic, "Tales of Fantasy and Enchantment" edited by Cristina Hidalgo (Milflores) hit the shelves before the year ends. Here's the table of contents:

Manananggirrrl by Marivi Soliven Blanco
The Sniffles by Carljoe Javier
Some Kind of Noir by Karl R. De Mesa
A Tidy Little Tale by Jose Claudio B. Guerrero
Graveyard Shift by Andrea L. Peterson
Haunted by Bj A. Patino
The Haunting of Martina Luzuriaga by Vicente Garcia Groyon
Monkey Watching (novel excerpt) by Romina Ma. Gonzalez
Martines by Anna Felicia C. Sanchez
The Stranded Star by Nikki Alfar
The Middle Prince by Dean Francis Alfar
The Sugilanon of Epefania's Heartbreak by Ian Rosales Casocot
Green Girl by Cyan Abad-Jugo
The Gyutou by FH Batacan
Mallina the Lovely by Tara FT Sering
The Other Daughter by Daryll Delgado
Orange by Natasha B. Gamalinda
A Secret Affair with Basti Artadi by Samantha Echavez
War Zone Angel by Emil M. Flores
The Fortune Teller by Gizela M. Gonzlalez

Lots 0f stories I'm dying to read.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, October 28, 2007

personal publishing status

As a working writer, it is important for me to have work published once in a while. I have a few stories coming up the rest of the year and early next year:

Chasing Aurora - Philippine Daily Inquirer
In the Dim Plane - Philippine Genre Stories
Princes of the Sultanate - Story Philippines
The Middle Prince - Tales of Fantasy and Enchantment, ed. by Cristina Hidalgo
Princess Ribbit (with Nikki Alfar) - Story Junior
Strange Weather - Story Philippines

Also, I have my fingers crossed for "Poor, Poor Luisa", submitted to Adarna House. If that works out, I'll have my first storybook (thanks for the encouragement, Zarah!).

I begin writing a new novel (yes, I am a glutton for stress and anxiety) on Thursday, the first of November. We'll see how things turn out.


Thursday, October 25, 2007


Today and tomorrow I'm at the Sacred Heart Novitiate at Novaliches as a panelist for the 7th Ateneo Writers Workshop. It was a wonderful morning session as I gamely attempted to critique Filipino poetry and short fiction in English. Tomorrow, we'll tackle around 4 texts, again a mix of genres and languages.

Because of my anxiety about locating the place, I left home at 5:30 AM and took a cab. We were at the outskirts of the UP Diliman campus when the sun rose and it felt like some sort of epiphany was waiting for me to discover it, what with the dim grey horizon slowly transformed by the muted colors of dawn - but I was too sleepy and anxious.

The Sacred Heart Novitiate is a lovely venue. A long driveway leads up to a cluster of buildings, in one of which the workshop was held. I was hoping to see Marge and Joel but it turned out that they had attended earlier sessions - but I was happy to see Mike Coroza and Luna Sicat-Clieto, as well as meet the other panelists and the fellows themselves (as well as workshop director Egay Samar - and PSF3 author Marguerite de Leon).

The atmosphere of critique is different from what I thought it would be (my personal experiences being only with the Silliman and UP workshops in the remote past - 15 years ago, in fact). But it was still fun and stimulating to hear other panelists voice their opinions (though it underscored my bias against prescription, but it could be argued that prescription is just what the fellows are asking for - and need - at this point in their writing life).

In critiquing the Filipino poem, I found myself hampered by the double whammy of my inadequte Tagalog language skills (which includes the Filipino words for critical terminology) and the fact that I did not consider myself a poet in the first place. Naturally, my LitCritter trainng took over (haha). I felt better during the session I moderated, and threw in a mini-lecture on story vs. discourse, to help the author out. It felt like a high-level LitCrit session, only more formal, with critical terms whizzing about everyone's heads once in a while.

We were all relaxed by lunch, and talked about PBB and why there isn't a reality show for writers, over grilled liempo, tinola and pancit and lots of laughter.

The last day of the workshop is tomorrow and the story I'm moderating is quite impressive. I hope these young fellows write up a storm in the future - I'll be happy to read.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Reading/Discussion list:

This week:

The Blue Cross by GK Chesterton
Finding Beauty by Lisa Goldstein
The Courtship of Kate O'Farrisey by John Morresey
The Little Stranger by Gene Wolfe

Next week:

Klockwerk's Heart by Anna Tambour
The First Sense by Nadine Gordimer
A Tranquil Star by Primo Levi

Last week:

Tuko by Miguel Escano
Twinspeak by Elyss Punsalan
The Devil is in the Details by Charles Tan

Join the LitCritters.


year's best fantasy & horror 20

Thanks to Vin and Andrew, I unexpectedly came into possession of my spec fic "bible", The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror 2007, edited by Ellen Datlow, Kelly Link & Gavin Grant.

Nikki and I are always delighted by this hefty tome which not just collects wonderful short fiction from all over but also gives recommendations for novels, single author collections, young adult books, comics and more in those two broad genres.

Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol.2 appears in Ellen Datlow's horror summation for 2006 (in the Mixed Genre Anthology). That recognition is already reason for delight, but even better is the fact that three of the stories in last year's antho made it into the Honorable Mentions: 2006 section (a stunning list with stories from Naguib Mahfouz, Haruki Murakami, Anna Tambour, Chris Barzak, Ray Bradbury, Emma Bull, Jeff Ford, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Tim Powers and others - it's truly a humbling honor being included, as well as fantastic encouragement to write more):

"Feasting" by Joshua Lim So
"Six from Downtown" by Dean Francis Alfar
"The Sign of the Cross" by Stanley Geronimo

In the previous volume, Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol.1 also had three stories cited:

"Emberwild" by Nikki Alfar
"In the Arms of Beishu" by Vincent Michael Simbulan
"Lovelore" by Francezca Kwe

And, to make things even better, in Jeff Vandermeer's Fantasy in Comics and Graphic Novels: 2006 summation, Gerry Alanguilan's Elmer is cited as "clearly one of the most provocative comics of the year". And deservedly so.

Kudos to Tokwa, Stan and Gerry!

Labels: ,

Friday, October 19, 2007

bomb at glorietta

We just got word that a bomb exploded at Glorietta, one of the premiere malls in Makati City, leaving a number of people hurt. The mother of one of my close friends was there, but made it safely out, as people stampeded.

I do not normally post much about politics and such, but I cannot help but be infuriated by this horrible event.

Lacuna jumping: I cannot help but suspect that the government is creating terrible distractions to draw attention away from the latest Malacanang bribery scandal, where 190 congressmen and officials were handed out glossy bags of cash ranging from 200k-500k. With the heat on our Lady President, her circle has transformed into a bastion of denial, deadma, and absurdist reasoning: that those were early Christmas gifts, that it did not come from the government, that the Lady President did not know about it despite the fact that she attended the very same breakfast meeting where the cash was distributed like loot bags for a children's party. And when she denies any knowledge of such cash disbursements, the implication is that she is not in control (how can she not know?, ask many observers).

In the light of so many important issues that our government needs to address, this explosive sleight-of-hand - if it is what I think it is - is simply too cruel.


Reports are coming in that was a gas-related explosion.

Update 2:

It was a bomb.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

on the kite

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

visa or ipod?

Today was our appointment at the US embassy. Sage's visa needed to be renewed, and while only a single parent was actually needed to accompany her (according to the rules), I decided to go as well to spare ourselves yet another document explaining that this child indeed had a father who was not present because of work.

I miss the old drop box method of renewal and dreaded the new system (whenever I think of the Us embassy, I think of countless hours in line, shifting from one counter to the next, before finally being called to speak to someone behind glass whose disposition, including whether or not they were having a great day, had impact on the visa's approval). Before we left, Nikki reminded me that no cell phones were permitted inside the embassy (I know, a day without my O2, without the ability to make or receive calls was something I had to deal with, silently, for a minute). I emptied my laptop bag of everything (or so I thought) and stuffed it with the thick folders full of various required documents ( of which, to flash forward, none were actually resquested to be perused by the consul - but still, it always makes sense to be prepared).

Traffic was hell but we got there in time. Outside there were huge signs that vindicated Nikki's warning: no cellphones. One of them was more specific - no electronic devices. Having thoughtfully cleared out my laptop bag of such things, I had to reason to fear and took my place in the line. It was at this point that I did an automatic hand thing and ripped open the velcro of one of my bag's pockets and discovered my ipod - normally a blessed thing but now suddenly transformed into an illegal object. I held up the offensive music player to Nikki's shocked eyes and I felt like I betrayed us all.

The gatekeepers shook their heads sadly and told me that there was no way I could take my ipod inside. I had to leave it outside. I smiled and offered it to them to hold for me until we were done. Once again, they shook their heads sadly and told me that no, no, they could not hold to such things. They told me I could deposit it at the police station in Luneta - which was too far to walk given the fact that our interview was in 30 minutes. The crowd behind me was getting ugly since I was holding up the line as I pleaded to be let in to prove my daughter's parentage (as well as my ties to country and all the marvelous things in the folders in my bag). For a moment, I considered giving my ipod away or hiding it behind a neat row of ornamental plants. But I couldn't, I just couldn't abandon the device that gave me music from the lost 80s.

I turned around in desperation and saw a vendor looking at me. She winked and gestured to me.

"Ibigay mo sa akin," she said when I approached. "Ibabalik ko sa iyo mamaya."

She must have sensed my sad resignation as I handed it to her. I felt like I would never see it again - but dammit, my child needed me.

"Bayaran mo ako ng P150 mamaya," she instructed as she stuffed my beautiful ipod into her giant belt pouch. I noticed that it was full of cell phones and another ipod. "Dito lang ako, huwag kang magaalala."

She pushed a laminated piece of cardboard with the number 8 printed on it in thick red marker.

"Eto claim number mo, okay?"

Wrestling with my deeply-ingrained suspicions, I nodded once and ran back to the gatekeepers to join my wife and daughter.

Inside, we lined up first for the initial document check that gave us a number for finger scanning. Since Sage was under 14 years, she did not need to be scannned by still had to be seen in person by the finger scanning officer. When all of that was done, we waited and waited and soon Sage was called for her interview.

SAGE: Hi and good afternoon!

CONSUL: Hi, what is your name?

SAGE: Sage Alfar.

C: How old are you?

SAGE: I'm five.

C (to NIKKI and DEAN): Are you her parents?

N & D: Yes.

C: How many children do you have?

(Both NIKKI and DEAN point to SAGE)

N: Just this one.

C: Do you both have visas?

N & D: Yes.

(DEAN readies the voluminous folders in his bag)

C (handing SAGE a yellow piece of paper): Okay. You're approved, Sage.

SAGE: Thank you!

It happened so fast that neither Nikki nor I could perform the correct response. After many seasons of American Idol and, recently, So You Think You Can Dance, I felt one of us should have stepped back, turned around to address everyone else in the room, wave the yellow slip and cry "I'm going to Hollywood!". Which, no doubt, would have resulted in the visa being revoked.

Sage was extremely delighted at the prospect of seeing her grandmother again (Nikki's mom) and did her best to cheer me up as Nikki went to talk to the Delbros people regarding the delivery of Sage's visa-ed passport. I was happy my daughter's visa was renewed but sad at the loss of my ipod - because I was dead certain that woman I entrusted it to had already sold it to someone else (who, at that moment, was either thrilled at my massive collection of Ryuichi Sakamoto tracks or stunned by my secreted Debbie Gibson).

Once outside I looked at the empty sidewalks and despaired. Until, like a mirage, the woman walked up to me and asked for her laminated piece of cardboard. What happened next illuminated for me what it means to be junkie. I gave her P150 and could barely contain my joy as she unzipped her belt pouch and produced a clear plastic bag containing my blackclad ipod.

I was so delighted that I did not bother to be upset that people were taking advantage of other people. My daughter got her visa and I got my ipod back.

What a wonderful world.


Monday, October 15, 2007

on writing the novel

The UP Institute Of Creative Writing and Read or Die have put together a series of writing workshops from November to February to launch Write or Die as well as to promote the UP Centennial Literary Awards (Gawad Likhaan). The talks will focus on the award categories of the Gawad Likhaan - Novel, Short Story, Poetry and Non-Fiction.

I'll talk about the Novel on November 10th. I'll discuss writing Salamanca and Nanowrimo (is it that time of year again?). The venue, still to be solidified, is Powerbooks Megamall.

Labels: ,

silverio and the eidolon

LitCritter and best bud Vin Simbulan's latest (and lurvcraftian) story, "Silverio And The Eidolon", appears in the October 13, 2007 issue of The Philippines Free Press. I'm doubly proud because this is a LitCritter story developed before one of our storywriting requirements - and it topped the list then; and also because it conflates unabashed old-school horror (complete with evocative ten-dollar words) and Vin's Pinoy sensibility. Bravo, Vin!

This also continues Philippines Free Press unabashed campaign to obviate genre lines, which makes it an even more interesting magazine to read for its fiction section.

Labels: ,

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Reading/Discussion List

This Week:

It's Open Session at with the LitCritters at A Different Bookstore at Serendra on Saturday, October 20, 4PM - and everyone is invited as we discuss three brand new spec fic stories from the latest issue of Philippine Genre Stories:

Tuko by Miguel Escano
Twinspeak by Elyss Punsalan
The Devil is in the Details by Charles Tan

Next week:

The Blue Cross by GK Chesterton
Finding Beauty by Lisa Goldstein
The Courtship of Kate O'Farrisey by John Morresey
The Little Stranger by Gene Wolfe

Last week:

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick
The Rapid Advance of Sorrow by Theodora Goss
Fragrant Goddess by Paul Park

Join the LitCritters Group.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

philippine speculative fiction vol.3 TOC

Here's the TOC for Philippine Speculative Fiction vol.3 (listed alphabetically, by author's surname). This is not the sequence that the stories will appear in the book.

Table of Contents (2007)

The Singer's Man by MRR Arcega
Keeping Time by FH Batacan
Hamog by Joanna Paula Cailas
The Flicker by Ian Rosales Casocot
Facester by Dominique Cimafranca
Frozen Delight by Marguerite Alcazaren de Leon
Sky Gypsies by Timothy Dimacali
Peekli by Andrew Drilon
The Datu's Daughters by Raymond Falgui
Visitors by Luis Katigbak
Reclamation by Sarge Lacuesta
Pedro Diyego's Homecoming by Apol Lejano-Massebieau
Brigada by Joseph Nacino
The Death and Rebirth of Nathaniel Alan Sempio by Alexander Marcos Osias
Carmen and Josephine by Elyss Punsalan
In Earthern Vessels by Rodello Santos
Sidhi by Yvette Natalie U. Tan
Urban Legends by Charles Tan
The Ascension of Our Lady Boy by Mia Tijam
The Hand by Marianne Villanueva
The Music Child by Alfred A. Yuson

This year we have a mix of new authors and more familiar names tapping into the Filipino imagination and presenting their takes on fantasy, scifi, horror and other delicious genres (including, for the first time, 'spec chick')

Congratulations to all the authors above and thanks again to everyone who took the time to send us wonderful fiction to read (and argue) about. It was hard work going through the 110+ stories, selecting which to publish, and we had to pass on a goodly number of impressive stories because of several factors (page count, duplicate theme, etc.).

As I said in an earlier post, a number of the stories that didn't make it are already publishable and/or contest worthy - so submit them to Story Philippines, Philippine Genre Stories, Philippines Free Press, Philippine Graphic - as well as to the Fully Booked competition.

The Philippine Speculative Fiction anthologies are very special to me and my co-editor Nikki. For as long as there are excellent spec fic stories written by Filipinos, we'll move heaven and earth (haha) to get the annuals out.

We're in the middle of the editing process and already my printer is requesting for the covers (mea culpa, I created a tight schedule, with the book launch set for Dec 8th), so we're working doubletime.

Labels: , ,


Reading/Discussion List

This week:

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick
The Rapid Advance of Sorrow by Theodora Goss
Fragrant Goddess by Paul Park

Last Week:

Unpossible by Daryl Gregory
A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury
Walpurgis Afternoon by Delia Sherman
We Won't Cry Over This by Socorro Villanueva

Next week:

It's Open Session at with the LitCritters at A Different Bookstore at Serendra on Saturday, October 20, 4PM - and everyone is invited as we discuss three brand new spec fic stories from the latest issue of Philippine Genre Stories.

Meet the authors of the stories as well as the publisher of PGS, Kenneth Yu.

Tuko by Miguel Escano
Twinspeak by Elyss Punsalan
The Devil is in the Details by Charles Tan

Join the LitCritters Group.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

write here, write now

I've been keeping an eye on the all the great (and sometimes heated discussions) on the blogosphere concerning spec fic (and what makes Philippine Speculative Fiction); just an eye because of the demands of everyday work (juggling takes up so much time, dammit) and the editing work on the antho and the usual mundane concerns of existence.

Some people have emailed or texted me asking for my reactions, my stands, especially since I'm directly involved (since I am Filipino, I write spec fic and I co-edit the antho).

Like I wrote earlier, I'm happy that people are talking and thinking and taking stands and such. But I think that at a certain point, these writers should stop blogging, stop talking then and there - and start writing stories.

We present our anxieties so much in these posts; let's present them instead in stories, in the wonderful texts of fantasy, science fiction, horror and other genres. Our first priority should be to develop our common body of work, to write stories that we can read and talk about. Even as we agonize over issues of language and identity, we should be acting, doing something, actually writing.

If someone feels strongly that only stories with Filipino elements should be considered Filipino spec fic (or Filipino), then that person should write a story that exemplifies this reasoning - not to prove a point or to promote agenda necessarily, but to tell a story - a beautiful story, a believable text - in that manner.

If someone feels that labels are not needed, then fantastic - but do produce something that does not need labels, some great reading that educates or entertains or whatever, but produce something of worth. Contribute to the growing body of work.

If people want to write about elves, then write about elves. If people want to use scifi as a means of critiquing both the government and revealing the human condition through the lens of Filipino experience, then please please please, write that story. But make sure it is well-written, make sure it is honest and true and believable (yes, even if - especially if - it is spec fic).

I am all for discussions - these are not pointless, no matter how tiresome they may be to some. I have my stands and opinions and biases and reading/writing preferences and can get quite argumentative myself. But at the end of the day, I'd rather shut up and write, and obviate the risk of overthinking something.

And no, there is nothing wrong in talking about things, in wrestling with theory, in trying to make sense of things, in taking a stand, in presenting arguments reasonably, intelligently and respectfully. This is important, and it is important that we talk about it (so no, I'm not being dismissive here).

But take a look at how much writing time our common agonizing (blog posts, comments and offline angsting) is eating up.

At a certain point, we need to do something. Produce something. Yes, even if we are not 100% certain about what we are doing. Even if loud bloggers disagree with us. Even if commentators take pot shots.

Writing should be our first priority. I'd rather see stories and texts duking it out than blog posts.

After a certain time, we writers need to do our job: to shut up, suck it up, and imagine and create and write write write.


Monday, October 08, 2007


At last, we have a copy of the new 4th edition of Talisman, the game I have been wanting for years.

Labels: ,

so i think (hope) i can dance

After watching several episodes of "So You Think You Can Dance", Nikki and I are on the verge of signing up for ballroom dancing (because hip hop and krumping and contemporary dance are just too far out to even consider).

I think learning how to do the swing and maybe the tango or cha cha will be fun, as well as provide some much needed exercise.

We'll see what happens. Anyone know of a dance school in the Ortigas area?


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

litcritters open - cancelled

The Oct 6th Open Session of the LitCritters at A Different Bookstore is cancelled, sorry folks!

Our next Open Session - to which everyone is invited - is set for Oct 20th.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Monday, October 01, 2007

kite launched

Thanks to everyone who came over to celebrate the launch of "The Kite of Stars"! All pictures by Kenneth Yu and Charles Tan - because I never get to be the photographer at these things LOL - thanks, Kyu and Charles!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Vin Simbulan, Tin Mandigma of ROD & Gwenn Galvez of Anvil

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Luis Katigbak, Yvette Tan, Charles Tan & Jade Bernas of Story Philippines

We had a simple program: Kristin Mandigma of Read or Die, master of ceremonies, introduced the book, followed by a speech by my publisher Karina Bolasco of Anvil, and then a brief talk from me.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Nikki Alfar, Andrew Drilon, Kate Aton-Osias, Vin Simbulan, Alex Osias & me

Then the LitCritters performed a reading of "The Kite of Stars" (the play version with my usual 'choreo-poem' styling haha). This was quite a lot of fun for us.

Then food and signing.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
The lovely folk of Read or Die

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Me & Kristel of ROD

I was delighted that Read or Die came over (part of the fun was my trying to understand just what the hell "crack fiction" is), as well as members of my family and friends old and new.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
With family: Tita Eve, Mama, Nikki, Sage, Uncle Lito, Reb

I am grateful: to everyone at Anvil who believed in the book - Karina, Gwen and Ani Habulan (my kickass editor and book designer); to Hiyas for the beauiful cover and Andrew for the wicked illustrations; to Anna, Chris, Luis, Sarge, Jing, Cecilia and Ruey for their support and blurbs; to the LitCritters for having to bear through these stories; to my daughter Sage for wanting to have a book of her own stories; to Nikki for being, always, my kakampi. It was my mother who first took my hand and led through the worlds behind words. I owe her the power words have over me. This book is for her as well.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Cyan with one of the twins & Elbert Or

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Spec Fic Peddlers: Vin, me, Andrew & Nikki

Thanks, all!

"The Kite of Stars and Other Stories" is available at Powerbooks and National Bookstore (order) (and soon, Fully Booked and other fine bookstores).

Yvette Tan writes about the launch here.

Let me know what you think.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Labels: ,