Friday, December 30, 2011

December 30, 2011 Links and Plugs

Interviews and Profiles
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Icarus Winter 2011/2012

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Manila International Literary Festival 2011: How to be a Bestseller

A conversation on how to sell words.

Eros Atalia, Jennifer Javier, Samantha Sotto, Rino Balatbat

Chair: Xandra Ramos-Padilla


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Manila International Literary Festival 2011: World Book Market vs. World Readership

What genres click the most? Where do readers abound and what other cultures are interested about reading our culture?

Jennifer Javier, Nida Ramirez, Rino Balatbat

Chair: Karina Bolasco


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December 27, 2011 Links and Plugs

Interviews and Profiles
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News

The Mortal Bone by Marjorie M. Liu

Friday, December 23, 2011

December 23, 2011 Links and Plugs

Interviews and Profiles
Advice/Articles

News
 Winning Mars by Jason Stoddard

Thursday, December 22, 2011

December 22, 2011 Links and Plugs

Interviews and Profiles
Advice/Articles
News

Stone Telling 6

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

December 21, 2011 Links and Plugs

Interviews and Profiles

Advice/Articles

News
The Cascadia Subduction Zone, Vo. 2, 1

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

December 20, 2011 Links and Plugs

Semi-work related, Paolo Chikiamco has a "free" eBook anthology, Ruin & Resolve, for those who donate to Sendong typhoon victims in the Philippines (details in the link above). Alternatively, there are details on helping/donating from around the world here.

Lavie Tidhar also threatened me if I didn't plug his latest short story.

Interviews and Profiles

Advice/Articles


Postcolonialism and Science Fiction by Jessica Langer

Friday, December 16, 2011

December 16, 2011 Links and Plugs

Also plugging Scheherezade's Bequest 14.

Interviews and Profiles
Advice/Articles
News

The Secret Life of the Panda by Nick Jackson

Thursday, December 15, 2011

December 15, 2011 Links and Plugs

Interviews and Profiles
Advice/Articles

News


Alternative Alamat edited by Paolo Chikiamco

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Work Plug: Alternative Alamat edited by Paolo Chikiamco


Just plugging the eBook release of Alternative Alamat edited by Paolo Chikiamco.

Here's the table of contents:
“Ana’s Little Pawnshop on Makiling St.” by Eliza Victoria
“Harinuo’s Love Song” by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz
“The Last Full Show” by Budjette Tan
“The Alipin’s Tale” by Raymond G. Falgui
“Keeper of My Sky” by Timothy James Dimacali
“Conquering Makiling” by Mo Francisco
“The Sorceress Queen” by Raissa Rivera Falgui
“Beneath The Acacia” by Celestine Trinidad
“Offerings to Aman Sinaya” by Andrei Tupaz
“Balat, Buwan, Ngalan” by David Hontiveros
“A Door Opens:  The Beginning of the Fall of the Ispancialo-in-Hinirang” by Dean Alfar
Appendix A: A Few Notable Philippine Deities
Appendix B: Interview with Professor Herminia Meñez Coben
Appendix C: Interview with Professor Fernando N. Zialcita
Appendix D: On Researching Philippine Mythology
Cover and interior artwork by Mervin Malonzo
It's now available at Amazon and Flipreads.

December 14, 2011 Links and Plugs

Interviews and Profiles

Advice/Articles

News
Pilgrim of the Sky by Natania Barron

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December 13, 2011 Links and Plugs

Interviews and Profiles

Advice/Articles

News

Ishtar edited by Amanda Pillar & K.V. Taylor

Monday, December 12, 2011

December 12, 2011 Links and Plugs

Interviews and Profiles

Advice/Articles

News

Heiresses of Russ 2011 edited by JoSelle Vanderhooft & Steve Berman

Friday, December 09, 2011

December 9, 2011 Links and Plugs

Interviews and Profiles

Advice/Articles

News
Pop Fic Review edited by Hannah Strom-Martin and Erin M. Underwood

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

December 7, 2011 Links and Plugs

Interviews and Profiles

Advice/Articles

News
 Mythic Delirium #25

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

December 6, 2011 Links and Plugs

Interviews and Profiles

Advice/Articles

News
Subversion: Science Fiction & Fantasy Tales of Challenging the Norm edited by Bart R. Leib

Monday, December 05, 2011

December 5, 2011 Links and Plugs

Interviews and Profiles

Advice/Articles

News
Bad Power by Deborah Biancotti

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Essay: Awareness and Bias

Critical thinking is an important skill to nurture. But one of the key components of critical thinking is awareness: the ability to identify, discern, and articulate problems.

For example, I think a lot of problems in the world is due to either a) Western-centrism or b) patriarchy. Just look at the flaws of Christianity (and Catholicism) as an example (and if you don't immediately identify how Christianity is Western-centric or patriarchal, then you have your homework cut out for you).

What's insidious with the above-mentioned problem is how it's often unconscious and deeply embedded in culture. Hence the need for awareness.

For example, one of the things people tend to take for granted and easily dismiss is language, history, and the news. All three are mutable despite pre-conceived notions that they are "factual". What immediately comes to mind is Filipino hero Lapu-Lapu (and that in itself is fraught with a lot of contentious topics, everything from Magellan as hero to whether Lapu-Lapu can indeed be considered Filipino). Until recently, it's been canon that the poem "Sa Aking Mga Kabata"  — and its famous line "Ang hindi magmahal sa kanyang salita, Mahigit sa hayop at malansang isda" — was written by national hero Jose Rizal when that isn't necessarily the case. When it comes to local news, you'd be surprised at what doesn't get covered (including stories wherein human lives are lost), either due to pressure from external sources (sponsors, politicians, institutions, etc.), or editorial choices by the people in charge (literature and education is not on their high list of concerns for example).

I'm not immune to this. I've made several errors, faux pas, and guilty of prejudice.

What people need to understand is that everyone will have an agenda  (and I don't mean to use the term in a negative way, which in itself is an example of baggage associated with language). Mine for example has been the promotion of Philippine speculative fiction, "World SF", and authors/editors I encounter and admire. If you think this blog is bias-free, you're mistaken. It's my particular bias that shapes who my readers are (you can think of it as my target audience). No text (be it fiction, poetry, film, music, games, or any other media) can be entirely divorced from its agenda (although readers, of course, are free to interpret it under their own biases as well). Every story, for example, will have a hierarchy of moral values (and what's moral in one culture might be a different case in another).

I love speculative fiction but let's face it: there's a lot of things wrong with the genre (again, Western-centrism and patriarchy). A lot of it is unconscious.

One of the popular sections in my blog are Links and Plugs. Since the fourth quarter of 2009, I also contribute (most of it is lifted from my blog and then the SF Signal crew add their own links) to SF Signal's Tidbits (which is significantly more popular than my blog) every Monday to Friday. Since SF Signal is quite popular, it puts me in a unique position, doesn't it?

Initially, the order of links was arbitrary. (Yes, order matters.)

But there are nuances to every post (which I didn't necessarily determine — it's not my blog). There's a cover image (derived from Amazon's database) at the start of every post, for example. So here's the question I asked myself: as a source of news for a certain segment of the community, is there anything I can do to improve the state of things?

In the beginning, it was easier to determine what not to include in the Tidbits. There's SF Signal's own posts for example. I often don't include my own blogs posts, or if I do (the SF Signal crew usually adds it in later), I seldom put it on top, unless there's a good reason to, as that feels more self-promotional than doing a genuine service for the community. "Old" news gets chucked out.

So what do I end up including in the Tidbits? Material that I think is relevant (but not necessarily condone) to SF Signal's readers (which, in turn, is shaped by my own biases).

But then again, there's also the issue of chronology. So I've included all the stuff that I consider to be important in relation to SF. Who goes first? This is important when it comes to the Interviews and Profiles section as the lucky author whose books are available on Amazon gets the cover of their book posted in the Tidbits (now whether this actually helps promote sales of their book, I don't know).

As of mid-April of this year (if you examine the archive of SF Signal Tidbits, you can identify the trend), there was a conscious decision (arbitrary just means unconscious bias) on which author interview was at the top of the Tidbits.

I'll be frank. There's a lot of causes that need championing: World SF. People of Color. LGBT. Women. Gender. YA. If it were up to me, I'd post a book cover of a World SF book every day. But that's not possible on a consistent basis (either there's not enough interviews going around or their book isn't listed on Amazon); it's probably a valid criticism that I'm probably not looking hard enough. So I went with a criteria that's broad enough: women.

Admittedly, there are days when I can't find interviews with women in the field, but that's the exception rather than the norm (if you want stats, just look at the archives of Tidbits starting mid-April that's attributed to me; or better yet, compare it when I wasn't deliberate in my selection). Failing that, I try my other criteria, such as World SF, people of color, LGBT authors, etc.

Does all this matter? I don't know. Has it been consciously noticed? As far as I know, no one has brought it up.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Racism, Patriarchy

"Langna o Huwana?"

That was the question my parents always asked whenever they heard a new name. It could be a classmate. A person they were doing business with. Or someone on the news. In their eyes, the world was divided into Chinese and Filipino. This, more than their other attributes, would redeem or condemn the person in their eyes, regardless of their behavior or success.

My parents and my elder brother never used the English word stupid. Gong-Gong was how they reprimanded us. Or more casually, Huwana-Gong.

"My family threatened to disown me if I married a Filipina," said one of my classmates. That was back in high school.

Our high school English teacher, an alumnus of the private all-boys Chinese school we attended, told the class that he was going out on a date with his Filipino girlfriend who was also a teacher. "Ooooooh," the entire class commented. "Why, what's the matter?" he asked. No on replied, but a lot were snickering.

During the family's second trip to the US, we stayed with my mother's best friend. She was Chinese. It was at that time that mother's best friend's daughter announced that she was getting engaged to an American. "How come she's not marrying someone Chinese?" I asked.

My uncle, the youngest in his family, moved to L.A. before I was born. He married a Filipina and whenever he came to visit, he never brought his wife. This continued even after my grandfather had died. I've never met my aunt, although I've met my cousins.

During my uncle's last visit, he took me aside. "You don't have to marry Chinese. But don't marry an African. Can you imagine what the babies will be like? Yellow-Black?"

One of my friends had a Filipino father and a Chinese mother. It was implicit that she needed to marry a Chinese husband.

I've met families where one parent was Chinese and the other was Filipino. Their children needed to marry someone of pure Chinese blood.

Sons were sometimes forgiven. Daughters were often disowned.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Manila International Literary Festival: Crime, Horror, and Suspense

Writers of the genre on finding the story, the research that goes with it, and writing the story.

F.H Batacan, Charlson Ong, Budjette Tan

Chair: Dean Alfar

Edit: Removed at the request of one of the panelists.

Manila International Literary Festival 2011: Of Folklores, Myths and Legends

Featuring authors who have drawn inspiration from the Philippines' treasure trove of folklore.

Budjette Tan, Yvette Tan, Karl de Mesa

Chair: Dean Alfar


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December 1, 2011 Links and Plugs

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Tesseracts Fifteen: A Case of Quite Curious Tales edited by Julie Czerneda & Susan MacGregor