Sunday, August 21, 2005

in the creative pipeline

My plate is happily full for the rest of the year.  I’m dividing my creative time among my interests in prose and comic books (and possibly a film project).  

prose 1: phil spec fic table of contents

The final selections have been made for the Philippine Speculative Fiction anthology, after an agonizing weekend regarding the last two slots.   The process of coordinating editorial efforts with all the authors has already begun.  

Before I list the table of contents, I’d like to run down the stories that –if I had the space and budget to include, with some judicious revisions and editing – I would have included.  

Honorable Mentions:

The Doppler Effect by Tyron Caliente
Before the Rain by Rebecca Arcega
Instructions on How to Disappear by Gabriela Lee
The Essence of Dream by Charles Tan
The Wings of the Star Maiden by Jonathan Catalla
The Three Islands by Crystal Koo

The six stories listed above are amazing efforts, no doubt about it – all written, if I’m not mistaken, by new unpublished authors.  Again, thank you to everyone who sent a story for consideration.


As for the selected fiction that will appear, I’m especially happy with the final mix.  Remember that part of my agenda is to seek out new voices and provide a venue, albeit humble and limited, for imaginary words that have, for the longest time, been consigned to the ghetto by the dominant mode of relevant, social realist texts. It is my hope that big publishers will take notice and accept the fact that speculative fiction contributes as well to the growth of Philippine literature.

Of  the 16 stories to be included, 8 are by first-time authors and 8 are by previously published/awarded writers (National Book Awards and Palanca Awards for Short Story, Short Story for Children, Essay, Poetry, One-Act Play, Full-Length Play, and Novel).  4 stories have been previously published or are slated to appear in other collections within the year, while the other 12 are originals marking their debut in this antho.  Also of note: 6 stories are by women, the youngest author is 20 years old,  and more than half of the authors have an online presence (website or blog).

Here’s the TOC of the first volume of the Philippine Speculative Fiction anthology, pending final sequencing.  Note that the titles are subject to change by their respective authors.

Introduction to an in-depth study of The Luminescent by J. Pocholo Martin Goitia
Walking Backwards by Joseph Nacino
Tendress by Andrew Drilon
The Coward's Quest by Jay Steven Anyong
Room Three by Pauline Orendain
Regiment by Sean Uy
The Catalogue of the Damned by K. Mandigma
In the Arms of Beishu by Vincent Michael Simbulan
The Life and Death of Hermes Uy by Douglas Candano
Door by Cyan Abad-Jugo
“Working Title” by Sarge Lacuesta
EmberWild by Nikki Alfar
Lovelore by Francezca C. Kwe
The Pepe Report by Ian Casocot
The Family That Eats Soil by Khavn de la Cruz
L'Aquilone du Estrellas by Dean Francis Alfar

And yes, I’ve included myself.  Many other anthologies’ editors here and abroad have done the same thing.  My story first appeared in Strange Horizons and subsequently in the Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror Seventeenth Annual Collection, edited by Ellen Datlow, Kelly Link & Gavin Grant (2004).  In the form of a one-act play, it won a Palanca Award (2nd Prize) also in 2004.  

prose 2:  …and other stories

I’m compiling a set of my own short fiction for publication.  I was offered this opportunity a year or so ago by a publisher (who also offered to publish a collection of my plays) but I dragged my heels because I felt I didn’t have enough of a certain quality (an aside: my dream of publishing a personal anthology actually predates the desire to publish Salamanca, which I only seriously began to consider early this year).  I still feel I don’t have enough good stories and will probably attempt to write 2 or more new ones so that the book is not a purely a collection of 12 or so older and previously published stories.  Perhaps I will finally, finally write that damned Graveltown story.

prose 3: ultraviolins

I’m also in the process of selecting material for “Ultraviolins”, a collection of works by filmmaker/fictionist/poet Khavn de la Cruz to be published by UP Press later this year.  I’m involved with the fiction pieces (about 1/3 of the book) and will write the introduction to that section.  I like Khavn’s maverick surreal sensibilities and took one of his stories for my spec fic antho.  

We first met when he, myself and Kidlat Tahimik spoke about alternative media last year. The time was rather memorable to me because envy of Khavn’s wild mane got me to color my own.  I wanted to go for Japanese shock-white, but ended up with an odd greenish thing that quickly turned the color of corn.  I eventually shaved it all of when Sage tearfully insisted “I want it black, Daddy!  Black!”

comics 1: siglo

We’re working on the details of the release of Siglo: Passion, the sequel of sorts to the National Book Award-winning Siglo: Freedom.  A major publisher has signified their intent to publish the book as well as distribute and market it.  There is also word of a third book in the Siglo series, but I will probably step down from my editing duties and pass the flame of agenda to the younger guys.  The very thought of doing something on Passion’s scale again causes a certain amount of fatigue and stress – I’d rather write comics for a while.  I just want the book out, really.  It’s been too long in the making.

comics 2: awesome adventures

The Craft Century, the team of futuristic teens I created in homage of my favorite superhero group of all time (The Legion, of course), will see their first time-traveling adventure come to life.  Elbert Or, children’s book artist and of Cast fame, has begun to pencil the impossible demands of my script (I want him to fit something like 60 characters, in full costume, in one panel).  With a spate of other silver-age type heroes, our little group will attempt to recapture the fun and sense of wonder that got us all reading and loving comics in the first place.  Awesome Adventures Annual, edited by Andrew Drilon and Elbert Or, comes out towards the end of the year.

film: blind(ish) item muna

I got a call from a group who are planning to transform and produce one of my early plays as a film (those who know me well can easily guess which play this is, it being staged multiple times over the years).  It’s too early to give details, but it is certainly exciting.  The budget exists and the principal actor has agreed to the part (clue: tearfully, on a gossip show on national TV, he angsted thusly – “Hindi ako bakla!”) and we’re in the process of hammering out the small things.  

If all goes well, it will be part of a double feature (the other material is by a Palanca Hall of Famer whose body of work I admire) and will be distributed by a major movie studio with whom I am meeting tomorrow.  We’ll see if the entire thing actually pushes through.

Of course, there is still all the little writing on the side, as well as the fiction and plays I’ve left unattended for so long.  I’m just glad that somehow there is time to write.  

There are times when I tell myself that my writing life is my real life, but then real life coughs discreetly and beckons me to get back to work.  It’s a nice illusion though.  It keeps me happy.


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