Friday, April 21, 2006

books in and out

books in

I was pleasantly surprised this morning when a package arrived at my office. It turned out to be the books I ordered from Amazon, stunningly ahead of schedule by a couple of weeks. I'm so impressed by the service that I'm more than willing to negotiate the slippery slope of ordering online over and over again (so much for being a Luddite) - but only (or so I tell myself) for impossible-to-find-in-Manila books and a few choice camera things (yes, I've been lugging around my new Digital Rebel, thanks to Amazon and Jamie who brought it back from the US with him).

I got four books, all of them the peculiar flavors of speculative fiction that I love reading:

The Empire of Ice Cream by Jeffrey Ford - Jeff is one of my favorite authors, especially for short fiction. This is his second collection of stories, which includes prize-winners as well as previously unpublished fiction. The fact that its a hardcover sweetens the acquisition. (Ford is also one of the authors the Litcritters, my literary criticism/reading/writing group discussed last night, taking on "Exo-Skeleton Town".

Leviathan 4: Cities edited by Forest Aguirre - I've heard about the Leviathan series, collected stories that can be described as dark fantasy / surrealism/ decadent/ slipstream. Between the previous volume that won the World Fantasy Award, I opted for this one, hoping there are more stories in it that are strange and unfamiliar to me. I'm big on discovery. Looking at the TOC, I'm happy to note a number of familiar names, including Sydney-based author Ben Peek , one of the writers I sent a copy of Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol.1 to.

Veniss Underground by Jeff Vandermeer - This collection of short stories and a novella explores Vandermeer's city of Veniss. Incidentally, he and his wife Ann are editing a new anthology of Best American Fantasy ("The definition of “fantasy” shall include fabulation, non-realist fiction, magic realism, surrealism, post modern experimentation, cross-genre, etc.")

Conjunctions: 39 The New Wave Fabulists edited by Peter Straub -First published three or four years ago, this anthology has become a seminal work of literary speculative fiction, with contributions from a Who's Who of Big Names (Karen Joy Fowler, Neil Gaiman, Joe Haldeman, Elizabeth Hand, Nalo Hopkinson, John Kessel, Jonathan Lethem, Kelly Link, China Mieville and Gene Wolfe, among others).

These books push at boundaries of genre - and I like that.

books out

With the delivery of some author's copies of Salamanca, I was finally able to ship off my books off to friends, relatives and fellow writers in the Philippines and across the Pacific Ocean. I wish I could send a copy to everyone who wants one but I just can't.

For Manila-based readers, these books (written by or edited by or contributed to by me) are available at Fully Booked:

Salamanca - novel (cover and press release here)
Philippine Speculative Fiction vol.1 - anthology of short stories (review here)
Siglo: Passion - comic book anthology (review here)
Siglo: Freedom - comic book anthology (review here)
Project: Hero - comic book anthology

Available at ComicQuest, SM Megamall:

The Lost 1 & 2 - my first comic books with interior art by pals Arnold Arre (Mythology Class, Andong Agimat) and covers by Carlo Vergara (Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah) and Marco Dimaano (Angel Ace, KIA) (old website here, designed by the inimitable Cynthia Bauzon-Arre). Someday (because I do owe it to the readers), I'll release the completed issue #3 and collect the entire thing as a trade paperback. The key word is "someday" because speculative fiction has taken precedence over comic books for me, in terms of agenda and allocated of my limited resources.


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