Tuesday, February 12, 2008

times are changing

While trawling through the net while waiting for my iPod to disgorge its music into the new laptop (the best way without third party software, by the way, is to link up the iPod, treat it as an external device and view the hidden files - which is where all the music is - and copy-paste everything into the destination iTunes), I found an article by Elmer Ordonez about last year's PEN 50th anniversary.

"Fifty years ago the first national writers conference organized by Philippine PEN had for theme β€œThe Filipino Writer and National Growth.” Times have changed. Where nationalism was the overriding concern of writers of the fifties, now the writers particularly the younger ones, are into literature without frontiers, novel ways of writing like β€œspeculative fiction,” literary blogs and the migration of at least eight million Filipinos working abroad.


On one hand, it's great to note that we're being noted. On the other hand, it's amusing to note that some people consider genre fiction a novel way of writing. Fantasy, science fiction and horror have been around much longer than 50 years, after all. But what matters to me is that spec fic is being written today, in all its different forms. There are markets (magazines, periodicals, anthologies) that are growing (and while it isn't spec fic, crime fiction is clearly genre fiction, and PGS is prepping a special issue guest-edited by Ichi Batacan, author of the prize-winning "Smaller and Smaller Circles") and being read and talked about. I especially like the fact that it is younger writers who are doing most of the writing. Hopefully, in generations to come, there will less and less angst and guilt about writing spec fic (in the context of national literature).

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