It would appear that Speak No Evil has been nominated for an Eisnerfor Best Digital Comic.
Quoting Elan’: “To my knowledge, me and(Fables) are the only Filipinos to have been nominated for an Eisner (and he won his).”
To view the list of 2009, Eisner Award Nominees, click here.2 comments Digg this
The movie Ang Pamilyang Kumakain ng Lupa (The Family That Eats Soil), based on a short story by Khavn de la Cruz, has been subtitled in English and is up for free download.
From the director’s notes:
“The Family That Eats Soil”, as shown by its ultraviolent treatment, critiques the brutalized Filipino psyche: three hundred years of Spanish colonization, more than fifty years of American intervention, four years of Japanese rape, twenty four years of Marcos terrorism. And, despite the seeming absence of foreign invaders and despots, the Filipino’s ordeal still has to find an ending.
Brutalization is manifested in all the characters of this story, in the way they live and look at life. The family literally subsists on nothing but soil, but the peculiarity does not end there. Here, they raise the idea of dysfunction to strange new levels: Grandpa is a zombie. Father is a serial killer. Mother is a notorious/famous pimp, drug dealer, television personality. Brother is a violent anti-Chinese racist practicing brown supremacy and Sister is a drug-addled prostitute. What happens to Baby in the end gives a shocking conclusion to the absurdist-psycho surrealist tale.
The story operates on several symbolic levels. The concept of ‘family’, for instance, is integral in so far as it remains a sacred unit in traditional Philippine society, where it is not unusual to find grandparents and dozens of grandchildren existing under one small, claustrophobic roof. On the other hand, the symbol of ‘soil’ can never be divorced from the Filipino consciousness. The Philippines remains, at heart, an agrarian society– where the earth has always been a striking metaphor for essence and rootedness, a source of sustenance and spirit.
However, ‘The Family That Eats Soil’, seeks to paint a dystopian portrait, a phantasmagoric reversal of Filipino values. It is an allegory for a people still walking and breathing under an unending nightmare.
You can read the full text of the short story on which this film was based at Charles Tan and Mia Tijam’s Philippine Speculative Fiction Sampler.No comments Digg this
[Taking off from this discussion, which is mostly based on the talk at the Taboan: The Philippine International Writers Festival 2009. Charles has made recordings of some of the discussions and linked to them here.]
I am grateful – immeasurably grateful – to the local speculative fiction movement because it gives more avenues for speculative fiction in the country, and promotes local talent more than they have ever been promoted in the past. Hell, our realist fiction never had this much air time on the Web, even the most deserving ones!
But there are some things the speculative fiction movement is saying that I don’t find myself fully subscribing to.
As someone who loves science fiction and fantasy, who has seen her English-language speculative work published in local magazines, I have no problem with speculative fiction being billed as “off the mainstream.” I DO have a problem with agreeing that it’s being “marginalized,” because there seems to be a confusion of terms.
Does being “off the mainstream” already mean you’re marginalized? Not in my book because hey, speculative fiction has been published in the country. You have the freedom to independently publish whatever you want and set your own standards for the genre. You can even join our major literary contests and win, if you happen to meet the judges’ criteria!
(Guys, Greg Brillantes is an awesome writer, but he wasn’t the ancestor of written spec fic in the country; we’ve had it since forever in mainstream non-English publications like pulp collections and local-language magazines, mostly in the form of horror and fantasy. Also, there are no grounds to say his work was “marginalized” – “The Distance to Andromeda” received awards and has been recognized as one of the finest literary works in the nation’s history. [Edit: Some other works have received a similar distinction, e.g. Rosario Cruz-Lucero's “The Oracle of the One-Eyed Coconut”, which won the Free Press literary award in 2003, as shared by kristel in this post.] The way our literary contests and publication trends are carrying on, it’s definitely not impossible for another work of speculative fiction to attain this status, as long as it meets our literary judges’ criteria for good literature.)
In my book, “marginalized” means exclusion. It means never having a shot. It means being shunned, discriminated against and relegated to a level that makes it impossible to catch up with the Joneses. It’s definitely NOT a term I would apply to local speculative fiction, and to be quite honest the way it’s being thrown around sometimes, it sounds like a catchphrase meant to gain sympathy when none is deserved.
Simply put, “off the margin” =/= “marginalized”.
Here’s what I’m presenting. By calling yourselves “marginalized,” your movement appears dead set on billing “realist fiction” and the literary standards of the country as anti-speculative fiction. I don’t subscribe to this, and I don’t believe it’s a healthy, productive image to promote. It feels a lot like destroying something just to build yourselves up. And frankly, as Philippine fiction has mostly been cloistered (read: unknown to international publishers) it’s an easy target. You can say anything you want about it and international readers will take your word for it.
We’re struggling to get published and recognized, locally and internationally. All of us, no matter the genre. We’re all struggling to get read. So if you aim to step on other people’s efforts (yes, this includes realism – it counts even if it’s “mainstream”) just to get noticed, please don’t be surprised if you get attacked.
I listened to Charles’ recording of the third day of the Taboan discussions (thanks for that BTW. You do us all a great service) and I felt like I understood what Dean meant when he said something like he was on the fence about whether or not they want to be accepted. Filipinos are world-class writers: I have always believed this. And as an editor, you receive all these awesome stories and get frustrated because they aren’t read, they aren’t granted any awards, and they don’t even get noticed on the shelves!
But you don’t need to be mainstream or to be celebrated by the literary elite just to be widely read. Or even to change the world. So why demand it? Why force things just to make room for yourself, if it’s not necessary?
Here’s my take on that. Spec fic in the west started off as “off the margin.” It was published for and by sexist white dudes who liked wanking off to stories about exotic alien chicks or princesses locked in dungeons or girls who needed rescuing from mad scientists. The genre evolved over the years into works worthy of true literary merit, and how the world thinks and feels about genre fiction and the future has been shaped by these works. Classics like the Lord of the Rings, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The War of the Worlds, and Harry Potter changed the world even without clamoring to be “legitimate.” They simply existed, they were simply read.
They did not deny their roots, though in this era of political correctness and open-mindedness, most of it would fall under “dirty laundry.” Stories that included 50-foot women and amazons from Mars and at the same time ignored intellectual heroines and characters of color are part of their traditions. Such stories were not brushed aside as “mainstream” or even “lowbrow” even when better alternatives existed – they are part of their literary traditions, after all.
Moreover, these revolutionary works coexisted quite peacefully with fiction that would be called “realist,” like The Grapes of Wrath, Uncle Tom’s Cabin and The Godfather, which were also massively important in the big scheme of things.
So to Mr. Dean Alfar and the rest – please don’t stop writing. Just write, just get read, just keep publishing, and help our ailing literature grow, give it room to breathe.
You are all awesome people and magnificent writers. But for God’s sake, don’t build yourselves up to be something you’re not. And if there’s anything you’re not, it’s oppressed, especially not now.4 comments Digg this
From Banzai Cat’s blog:
Secondary fantasy worlds are well-written fantasy stories that take place in a self-contained and self-consistent fantasy world created by the writer. These can be epic fantasy, high fantasy, or even dark (horror) fantasy.
“The Farthest Shore: Fantasy from the Philippines, edited by Joseph Nacino & Dean Francis Alfar” will be published electronically to make this collection of stories available to a wider international audience. Through this anthology we will be able to show the world that the Filipino writer can create worlds with the best of them.
Combining these two ideas—the short story and secondary fantasy worlds—is well-within the Filipino author’s ability. As a guideline though, we are not looking for treatise or travel guide books of the secondary fantasy world. In the end, a good story and the humanity of the characters in them must take precedence over the well-formed setting.
In keeping with the concept of fantasy secondary worlds, stories based on Filipino mythology are acceptable.
For submission guidelines, click here.4 comments Digg this
From the official blog of CANVAS:
Happy New Year!
Start the year right and join CANVAS‘ 5th Annual Romeo Forbes Children’s Storywriting Competition! This year’s contest is based on an original untitled oil on canvas painting by Juanito Torres (pictured above – click on the picture to see a larger version).
Please read the rules carefully… there are a number of changes from our previous competitions, not least of which is a P5,000.00 increase in the cash prize. :-)
In addition to receiving P35,000.00 in cash and a trophy, the winning author will also see his/her story rendered and published as a full color children’s book in mid-2010.
Contest details here. The deadline has also been added to this blog’s sidebar calendar.No comments Digg this
Filipino artist Honoel A. Ibardolaza (nicknamed HAI) is sponsoring the first ever By Moon Alone fantasy fiction contest. The challenge: “In less than 2000 words, write a short story depicting a character’s encounter with a dragon.”
Details here. I’ve also marked the date in the submissions calendar in this blog’s sidebar.4 comments Digg this
Fandom Café presents its bi-monthly book discussion series starting 29th of November 2008. Fandom Café will be hosting a series of intimate gatherings discussing books, authors, poetry, creative writing and of course…one’s passion for the written word-the love of reading.
The series kicks off with a discussion of works by Arthur Clarke, Robert Jordan and Michael Crichton. For more information, visit their official website.No comments Digg this
1. Charles Tan has been compiling a list of speculative works written by Filipinos and published in the international market in 2007 and 2008. He also posts links to the full texts of some earlier speculative fiction stories posted in Literatura.
2. The Philippine Speculative Fiction Sampler compiled by Charles Tan and Mia Tijam has been reviewed at Boing Boing. The group blog is having some server problems, so if you can’t view the page now, try again later.
3. Dean Alfar, co-editor and publisher of the annual Philippine Speculative Fiction anthology, says that the publication and launch of PSF4 has been moved to February 2009.
4. In honor of the Komikon – the 4th Philippine Komiks Convention which takes place today, at the UP Bahay ng Alumni, UP Diliman, Quezon City – I plug two comics by authors of Filipino heritage:
Among the stories are short works by Andrew Drilon, whose short fiction has been published in the Philippine Speculative Fiction anthologies, and who also made the cover for the Philippine Speculative Fiction Sampler.
This clever science fiction story is also a social commentary by Filipino artist Elan Rodger Trinidad. Read the whole piece at Theory of Everything Comics, and don’t forget to check out Elan Rodger’s afterword.5 comments Digg this
MB did not update their online Youth archive today, so I’ve posted the entire column here.
Fandom Café: For Fans, By Fans
by Rachel Teng
One of the things that Read or Die members have difficulty with is looking for a venue to meet up and talk to each other. The members are scattered through the metro, some even coming in all the way from the provinces just to see everyone else. Apart from that, it’s hard to look for a place where we can just sit and talk all day.
We usually end up in cafés like the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Gateway or Greenbelt. The atmosphere of their branches are welcoming, and we like their cakes and drinks. Still, we tend to move around after a while, feeling a little embarrassed to sit there in a group for hours at a time.
This is why we were rather ecstatic when we found out about Fandom Café. As the name says, Fandom Café is a place where different fans and fandoms can come together to meet up or get together in a fandom activity. For those who aren’t in the know, fandom is the term used to describe a group of active fans of anything, be in TV series, manga, toys, movies, comics and – you guessed it – books. Finally, a place where we can be bibliophiles without feeling like we’re trolling coffeehouses!
Fandom Café was initially built as the business arm of the New Worlds Alliance in April 2007, by founders Paolo Jalbuena and Jon Sideño. The New Worlds Alliance is the collective term used for many the science fiction/fantasy fandoms found here in the Philippines. The New Worlds Alliance includes groups like Via Astris (The Star Trek Club of the Philippines), The Philippine Tolkien Society, Pinoy Harry Potter, Star Wars Philippines, Pinoy X-Philes, Pinoy Slayers, and The Alliance of Eclectic Gamers and Interactive Storytellers (AEGIS). With all these groups around, there eventually came a need for a venue where the members of these groups could meet and gather. Enter the Fandom Café.
What does the Fandom Café offer to its clients? It’s a good meeting place for small groups of people, with an activity room equipped with a television, gaming consoles and a comfortable couch upstairs, and an Internet hub downstairs. They also have delicious sandwiches and snacks, as well as the best coffee the Read or Die members have tasted in a café yet. (They also offer ice to the residents of the building where FC is located!)
The truly unique feature of Fandom Café is its hominess, the natural way it makes you feel at home as soon as you take a step in the shop. As soon as you come in, the first things that you can see are their posters, collection of toys, and books displayed everywhere. This immediately tells you, “Yes, the people who go here have the same interests as you do!” The members are also very chummy and are open to talking about all kinds of topics, from books to tabletop games, television series to movies and games. Science fiction and fantasy can be very broad, so there’s never any difficulty looking for things to talk about.
Best of all, Fandom Café is home to an extensive library of science fiction and fantasy books, many of them rare and out of print. The books themselves do not belong to the café – instead, the books are donated or lent by the many members of NWA, so that the books can be read other people and also for safekeeping. Truly a café made for fans, by fans!
Their collection is huge: thousands of books covering a wide period of science fiction and fantasy – from The Rebellious Stars (The Stars, Like Dust) / An Earth Gone Mad printed in 1954 to The Lies of Locke Lamore of 2007. They also have books from old, well-known authors like Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury, as well as science fiction and fantasy classics like A Canticle for Leibowitz and Tolkien’s Lost Tales. You might recognize some of their series, like Robotech and Doc Savage, or you might be interested in their rarer books, like A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, printed in 1912.
Fandom Café has opened its library to the public, so if you are interested in speculative fiction works like science fiction, fantasy, or even horror, this is the place to go. For only 500php a year or 1000php for a lifetime membership (students get an additional 50% off on all rates), you can already take home two or four books of your choice home at a time. Check the rest of their books out in their catalogue at http://library.fandomcafe.com/ — it’s not complete yet, and there are some three thousand more books that they need to catalogue, but this does give you a good idea of what you can find in their collection.
As previously mentioned, Fandom Café is also a good place to meet up and have gatherings, especially for small fandom-related events. It’s located near the MRT station in Cubao, and is open from 6AM to midnight. A location map can be found in their main website, http://www.fandomcafe.com/
Fandom Café also occasionally has events of its own that anyone can join. They have livecasts every Sunday night, film viewing once in a while, and its members also attend conventions or hold one of their own. NWA has thrown six conventions already, so you can be sure that membership in the Café will also give you the best news of these events.No comments Digg this