On the book blog: An interview with Kaaron Warren

Head over and check out this interview with Kaaron Warren over at the book blog.

Walking the Tree is a much different novel from Slights. I really liked this difference and I loved the world of the Tree as well as your beautifully drawn characters. Would you like to share a bit about the inspiration for the world of the Tree?

The original idea came from a number of different sources. Most directly, I was watching a documentary about ancient objects and was struck with the thought that these things sit there, well beyond human understanding, interpretation and memory. That they exist long after their original meaning is lost. In the end, there is a disconnect between the object and its origin.

Go to the book blog to read more.

Offered with Thanks

Aftermath

By Rochita Loenen-Ruiz

After the storm, there is only silence.

It makes sense, Celia thinks. Here, within the confines of her home, it is always silent.

Her heels make a dull clicking sound on the linoleum floor as she walks from the living room to the kitchen.  All morning, she has been watching footage, her ears bombarded by the sound of high wind and rain and the unbelievable image that is her country under siege.

Storm.

She looks out at clear blue skies. It is quiet outdoors. All her neighbours have gone off to work. Her children are at school. All is quiet in her head.

#

“How terrible,” the woman standing next to her at the school plain says. “And do you know anything yet about your family?”

Celia doesn’t know what to say.

In her head, the family home is an invulnerable place. That old house with its foundation of stone, was it still standing?

She offers a tentative smile.

“I haven’t spoken to anyone yet,” she says. “But I’m sure they’re fine.”

That home is beside the sea, she thinks. When her grandmother was newly married, there was a tsunami. They survived by tying themselves to the stone posts of the house. Afterwards, the villagers discovered porcelain jars beneath the house. Some of them were from the Ming Dynasty—that was what her grandmother said.

“We managed to get some for ourselves,” Grandmother said. “Like that one. You see that one, Celia? Do you see that jar with the blue dragons?”

Celia remembers the dragons and the wonder of that jar which was taller than her seven year old self.  Will that jar still be there? Will it still be standing in that hallway?

The woman moves away and another takes her place.

On usual days the women hardly ever take notice of her. They stand around in a cluster and talk to each other. They laugh and speak in what Celia calls their secret code. Somehow, they know about each others’ mishaps—dental appointments, divorces, funerals. They exchange information on mundane things, like who is going to whose birthday and what they plan to eat for dinner.

Celia has tried, but she’s never managed to break that code. She still hasn’t deciphered the secret of the magic circle that is them.

Now, they move in degrees towards her, their eyes inquiring.

Celia is relieved when the bell rings and the children emerge from their classes.

She smiles at the woman who offers her a glance that is probably meant to convey sympathy.

#

“Mama,” her youngest son says. “At school they said that all of Philippines has been destroyed. Did it go boom?”

“It was a storm,” Celia says. “And not all of it is destroyed, just parts of it.”

“And Lolo and Lola?” her son asks.

“They’re fine,” Celia says. “We’ll hear from them any day now.”

“I’m afraid,” her son says. “Ï’m afraid of the blood.”

“When we go home, the blood won’t be there anymore,” Celia says.

She gazes out at this view of neatly ordered houses. In her mind’s eye, she sees bodies on a distant shore—a landscape shattered by the hand of nature.

The future seems bleak. There is still no word and she is losing hope.

#

Grandmother putters through the debris of Celia’s efforts at housecleaning.

“Well,” she says. “Well, it can’t be helped. Who would have known that the cupboard would topple over?”

She makes a clicking sound.

“There’s broken glass too. Oh well. . . “

“Lola,” Celia says.

“Don’t move,” Grandmother says. “Stay where you are. There’s glass everywhere.”

“I’m sorry,” Celia says.

“Ah child,” Grandmother says. “it’s an old thing. And it’s not like it was an antique. Uncle Berto will make a new one. This time, he’ll make it from narra wood.”

#

“Ma,” finally they have a connection. “Are you all right?”

“We’re fine,” her mother says. “Your father’s off again. He just came back, but he’s off again. I think he forgets that he’s already old. But there are so many wounded and there aren’t enough doctors. It can’t be helped.”

“And the house?” Celia asks.

“Your Lola is fine,” her mother says. “Shaken, but fine. Your uncle found her. We were also worried for a while. Celia, don’t cry. It’s fine. We’re all fine. But so many died. So many. . .”

Inside her head, the silence breaks.

She can hear the wind. She can see the trees. Winter rain washes across the glass pane of her window.

“I’ll do what I can,” she says. “I will also do what I can.”

<<end>>

A.N. A lot has happened since my last post. Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines. Many Filipinos lost homes and loved ones. Because of the extent of the devastation, it took a week for aid to arrive in affected areas. The world’s response to the fate of Filipinos is overwhelming. This small offering is a thank you for the continued support and for the overwhelming response to the plea for help from the Philippines. Please continue to keep us in mind as we work to rebuild what can be rebuilt.

Speaking Truth

(After reading Robert M. de Ungria’s An English Apart (from Pinoy Poetics edited by Nick Carbo)

They painted English on my tongue.

Borrowed words to cover the language of my birth

I was proud because of the fluency of my English

I had mastered the master’s tongue.

(Not Taglish, not accented English, but English as the Americans speak it.)

Now, in a distant land, my English is overlaid

with the language of a country that isn’t mine.

My heart yearns to say to the one seated beside me

I am the color of earth, I am kayumanggi

and so is my tongue.

In my ears, I hear the chants of the storytellers

from long ago.

I hear the song of the noseflute

I feel the gongs drumming in my blood.

Maphod. Maphod.

I realize too late how much I have lost.

Is it not a tragedy that I can spell far better in these foreign tongues

than I can in the languages of my birth?

Who here will teach me? Who here will speak to me in the languages

of the Beloved Country?

Author Interview: Shimon Adaf

RCRuiz:

Read the rest of the interview at Chie and Weng Read Books.

Originally posted on Chie and Weng Read Books:

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Sunburnt Faces is one of those books that stays with you long after you’ve read it. In this interview, Shimon Adaf talks about inspiration, process and language among other things.

Would you like to speak first about the inspiration behind Sunburnt Faces and the process you went through in writing it? 

It took me a while to get to writing fiction. I was thirty when I wrote my first novel. Before this I wrote and published poetry. In my first novels I was constantly looking for structural devices to maintain the interest of the novel.  My first novel took the detective form; I say the “detective form’, because I was interested more in the way the existence of a murder mystery drives the protagonist towards a certain metaphysical knowledge than finding the culprit. After finishing it, I had this image of a young girl in my head, wandering around…

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Book Review: Sunburnt Faces by Shimon Adaf

RCRuiz:

My sister has reviewed Sunburnt Faces by Shimon Adaf. Check it out if you have time.

Originally posted on Chie and Weng Read Books:

Reviewed by Rowena C. Ruiz

And God Said to her, “Rise, Ori, my light, for your light has come.” 

And He let her fall from her life, although she hadn’t realized that she was at such a great height. 

And she fell.

Sunburnt Faces opens with a dramatic incident that takes place in the life of the main character, Ori, when she is at the cusp of adulthood.  God speaks to her from the TV set. This incident proves to be a defining moment for the events that follow later in life, and this experience becomes a thread which winds throughout the novel.

As we follow the events that take place during Ori’s childhood, we are also compelled to think of the incidents that have had a profound influence upon us. How do we deal with traumatic incidents? How do cope in a world that is filled with upheaval? Ori finds…

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A process conversation with Benjanun Sriduangkaew

RCRuiz:

After a two week break, we’re resuming posts at the Book Blog. Do drop by and read this process conversation with Thai writer, Benjanun Sriduangkaew.

Originally posted on Chie and Weng Read Books:

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On August 2012, Expanded Horizons published Chang’e Dashes from the Moon. It was Benjanun Sriduangkaew‘s first publication and since then she’s gone on to publish stories in a variety of places including Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Clarkesworld Magazine, Giganotasaurus and the highly praised Clockwork Phoenix 4. Chang’e Dashes to the Moon was included in the Heiresses of Russ anthology (released in 2013). Other places where her work can be found include the postcolonial sff anthology, We See a Different Frontier and the upcoming The End of the Road anthology edited by Jonathan Oliver (Solaris).

In 2014, Benjanun will be up for the Campbell Award. Here, we talk about her work, influences and her impression of genre in Thailand.

 How long have you been writing SFF and what was your first exposure to the genre? 

I’m a very late bloomer – I only started writing at all in 2011, in my…

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updates again

On the Book Blog, we posted our Author Interview with Kari Sperring. If you have time, do drop by and read. 

I’m looking at the final proofs of my story for The End of the Road: an anthology of Original Fiction edited by Jonathan Oliver. It’s interesting how not looking at a story for a long time will change the way you look at it when you read it again. I’m hoping people will enjoy reading all the stories in this anthology. 

The anthology will be coming out in November, but I’ve heard that we’re doing a sneak preview of it at World Fantasy Convention. I may post more about that later. 

I’ll also be on this panel at WFC together with Cheryl Morgan: 

“The Next Generation” We’re All Bloggers Now (Cambridge)
 
Being a columnist or a critic used to be a skill, combining knowledge and the ability to write with insightful observations. These days it seems that everybody has an opinion and evolving technology has given us numerous platforms through which to make our views known. Have we degraded the true art of criticism to a point where it has lost all value?

I’m not sure exactly what the point of the panel is, but I do know what I’m going to be arguing for. It certainly promises to be interesting, and if not, we can always turn it into a drinking game or all stand up and migrate to the bar. Which, I’ve heard, is where you really want to be during a World Fantasy Con. 

This will be my first World Fantasy Convention, so I’m quite excited. I’m looking forward to seeing friends, I wouldn’t otherwise get to see, to catching up with women I’ve admired from a distance, and if any of my Clarion West instructors are there, I may grab up my courage and say hello. 

I’m rushing off again, but I hope everyone is having a good day. 

Process

Over on Chie and Weng Read Books, we’ve introduced a new feature called Process. We still aren’t sure how regular this feature will be, but we do want to publish these kinds of discussions from time to time. Do drop by as today we have Dean Alfar and Joseph Nacino talking about process and the challenges of Filipino SFF

Talking about process, I also recognize how working towards increasing visibility and working towards better representations and diversity in SFF is a lot of work. It also isn’t a work that can be done by one person, but it is a collective work. If you’re a reader, expand your horizons and go read something that’s outside of your comfort zone. 

If you are a writer of color or a queer writer, right now it may feel like everything is a struggle. We are struggling to make space for ourselves and for our narratives. Change is slow. We are still in process. But we will get there. Just keep on writing and telling your stories the way you want to tell them. 

To you who encourage us and keep us going. Thank you. Peace, love and courage. 

Update and Monday’s content on the book blog

It’s Monday morning and I’m all packed up and waiting in the hotel lobby. Nine Worlds has been amazing. I’ve been so inspired and I have many things I want to share, but I’ll save that for when I get home. 

In the meantime, I’ve quickly posted my big sister’s review of On a Red Station Drifting by Aliette de Bodard. I have yet to argue with my big sis over a book. But we do have plans to do a book discussion sometime soon. Watch out for that. We may yet come to loggerheads over something. 

Happy Monday all.