Links and things to read

Movements: Translations, the Mother Tongue and Acts of Resistance is now live on Strange Horizons. Elisabeth Vonarburg’s The Chambered Nautilus also appears in this issue. It’s my first time to read her and I’m so glad Aliette de Bodard chose her story for this curated issue. You can read Aliette’s introduction here.

In the same issue is an essay by Jaymee Goh: Once More with Feeling: A Belated Response.

Fellow Filipino writer, Victor Ocampo has a new story up at Apex Magazine. Blessed are the Hungry is an interesting work which also breaks language hegemony and demonstrates code written into story. I like how it references a famous Filipino movie by Ismael Bernal.

Apex Magazine’s July issue is filled with interesting reading provides the reader with an interesting and diverse line-up. I quite enjoyed Rose Lemberg’s Baba Yaga Tries to Donate Money.

Benjanun Sriduangkaew’s novelette, Courtship in the Country of the Machine Gods, also appears in this issue as a reprint. The Apex Book of World SF 3 edited by Lavie Tidhar features this novelette and is now available.

(I’m thrilled to see that this volume also includes a reprint from Swedish writer, Karin Tidbeck whose work I adore.)

Of the stories published in Clarkesworld Magazine, I’ve only read N.K. Jemisin’s Stone Hunger. I like how the story makes use of the fairytale frame, the familiar becoming unfamiliar, it’s a story I want to read again at more leisure.

I’m working slowly through a post on the Decolonization process and Science Fiction. At the moment I have so many words on the page and I need to group them together so they form a cohesive whole.

Lately, I’ve been reading Leny M. Strobel, Virgil Mayor Apostol and Barbara Jane Reyes. Artists, writers, culture bearers.

More things I should be posting about

Cristina Jurado interviewed me for El Fantascopio and the interview has gone live. You can read it in Spanish here and in English here. It’s heartwarming to find out that readers in Spain have also read some of my work and I want to thank Cristina and El Fantascopio for thinking of me and for taking the time to interview me.

The latest installment of my Movements column, Brown Woman at Work, was published on Strange Horizons. I write about navigating the waters of being a writing mother in a conservative Dutch community and how important it is to write truthfully.

I was thinking about process and how I write and why I am unable to bring myself to write to a formula. I tweeted about how writing these columns feels like going naked and Kate Elliott tweeted back and reminded me that all writing that matters is a little bit naked.

I want to always approach my work in a mindful way–writing what I believe in and writing truthfully. Some truths are very hard to write about and there are some truths that I still struggle with, but I am getting there.

So many things and so little time

I’ve updated the book blog with the long-delayed publication of Wesley Chu’s interview. I’m missing the collaboration that I had with my big sister and I’m really sorry that she’s had to bow out of reviewing. I have a few more interviews on file and after I post those, I think the book blog will change into a reading blog where I talk about books and short fiction that I’ve read.

There’s been little time to update this blog and so I’m sharing a clump of news in this one post. For one, I’m finally able to announce that my Bloodchildren story, Dancing in the Shadow of the Once, will be appearing in the Mammoth Book of SF by Women edited by Alex Dally MacFarlane.  Dancing in the Shadow of the Once is one of the stories that I’m proudest of. When the email came in, I jumped up and down with joy and that happiness has kept me going throughout the dark months.

The Hugo shortlist for 2014 has been announced and I’m tickled pink to see that Speculative Fiction 2012: The Best Online Reviews, Essays and Commentary edited by Justin Landon and Jared Shurin is a finalist for Best Related Work. My essay, Decolonizing as an SF Writer, is in this volume. You can read the essay here, but you can also purchase a copy of the book and read all the goodness inside. All proceeds from sales go to Room to Read.  

The shortlist for the Shirley Jackson Awards has also been announced and Jonathan Oliver’s The End of the Road anthology has been shortlisted for best Anthology. Jonathan Oliver put a lot of work into making this an anthology that’s inclusive and diverse and I’m very pleased to see the anthology receiving recognition from his peers. Also, secretly tickled because Dagiti Timayap Garda is in this anthology and in a way, I feel like Ifugao has now been put on the genre map.

There’s still quite a bit to post, but I’ll keep that for another time. In the meantime, I wanted to share this piece of art created by James Ng. I’m completely blown away by how this image that he’s created for my short story, The Construct Also Dreams of Flight which is in the upcoming Steampunk World anthology edited by Sarah Hans.

13Do check out the hashtag #SteamPunkWorld or check out for more SteamPunk World interior art.


Talking about good things

2014 is turning out to be quite a busy period. Aside from familial things (including my eldest son breaking his leg and needing lots of support), I’ve been busily working on the En novel. Sometimes, I look at this work and worry about it being too different. When those moments arise, I remember Audre Lorde talking about the work being greater than the fear and I push on and persevere. This is a story I must write and so I’ll write it to the best of my abilities.

Via my good friend, Aliette de Bodard, I found out about this lovely review of “Of Alternate Adventures and Memory”. I’m quite blown away to have my story mentioned alongside Sofia Samatar’s “Selkie Stories are for Losers”. I loved Sofia’s story, so it’s an honor to be mentioned in the same breath as her. Thank you, Ana Grilo.

I want to keep on writing stories that will move readers. Stories that will make readers think and look differently at the world around them. Stories that will challenge readers to step outside the box and move beyond their comfort zones. I also want to continue to encourage other writers to keep on being courageous. No one else can tell your stories the way you do.

I won’t be at many conventions this year, but I’ve been invited and agreed to be one of the guests at Fantasticon 2014. My thanks to Jesper Rugard for inviting me and to Trish Sullivan who kindly put my name forward. I’ve heard that it’s a great con and I’m looking forward to meeting new people and making new friends. 

While I was offline, the second part of A Poetics of Struggle was published on Strange Horizons. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s here. There’s still a lot more to say about struggle and the field of sf, but I’ll leave it there for the moment as the next column will be about something completely different.

For today’s final bit of news, the ToC for Steampunk World edited by Sarah Hans has been announced. I think Sarah Hans has done a wonderful job of putting together an anthology which is true to the word “World”. I look forward to reading the stories and hope that readers enjoy reading them too.

lives of alternates

It seems like a long time ago that I wrote the hay(na)ku verse that led to the birth of Alternate Girl and Alternate Girl’s Expatriate Life. Of Alternate Adventures and Memory is a story set in the same universe as Alternate Girl’s Expatriate Life and it’s been published at Clarkesworld Magazine. Clarkesworld Magazine is one of the best publications in the SFF field today. It’s one of those publications that’s kept me hopeful and trusting about the future of science fiction and I’m honored to be in this issue.

The December issue includes stories by E. Lily Yu, Benjanun Sriduangkaew, James Patrick Kelly and my Clarion West instructor, John Kessel. Do go and check it out when you have time.

A busy week

Last week was quite a busy week. I got to meet up with friends and talk about writing and work and what it means to be a feminist, an sff writer, and a Filipino woman in the Netherlands. Lots of interesting conversations and lots of food for thought.

I’ve been interviewed by Sean Wright of Galactic Chat. The interview is now live and you can listen to it here. My thanks to Sean Wright for thinking of me and for his thoughtful and thought-provoking questions. I found myself thinking about them long after the interview was over.

Fabulous SFF writer, Eileen Gunn, was unexpectedly in Amsterdam. I feel so very lucky to have gotten this rare opportunity to catch up with someone whose work I admire. We chatted about the diversity conversations and the difficulties in the genre as well as the struggle to be heard. It was interesting to talk about this subject with someone who has a deeper insight into what genre looks like in the US and what struggles PoC writers and QUILTBAG writers face.

I also had a wonderful conversation with Flavia Dzodan on the issue of struggle. Also connected with the conversations on diversity and inclusiveness. And I gained new heart for the challenge that still lies ahead.

My heart is strengthened by these conversations with empowered and strong women and this is all giving me more food for thought as I reflect on the a poetics of struggle.

Workwise, I am pushing myself forward in terms of the novel. There’s a difference in pacing and structure when it comes to writing a novel and writing a short story. I’m experiencing those differences now. I’ll be finishing up a novella soon, as well. So that’s going to be first for me.

I’ll be posting my schedule for World Fantasy soon. If you’re going to be in Brighton, I would be happy to meet and chat and catch up.

Book Blogging, Linkage and the Diversity in SFF conversations

It’s Friday and I just realized I haven’t posted yet about various things. Over at the Book Blog, I’ve posted a short book discussion that Weng and I had about Kiini Ibura Salaam’s Ancient, Ancient. That discussion went up on Monday and on Wednesday, we published our author interview with Kiini. Do go check out the book blog if you haven’t yet and let us know what you think.

Aliette de Bodard has posted a must-read blogpost on Other Cultures and Diversity in SFF. Do take the time to read it.

Talking about diversity and the danger of dominant voices drowning out minority narrative, read also Gracie Jin’s article on Policymic where she writes about the One Thing White Writers get away with but Authors of Color Don’t.  

My own thoughts on diversity in SFF are contained in last week’s Movements Column: On Escapist Literature and Being Dangerous.

On Black Gate, Foz Meadows’ Challenging the Classics: Questioning the Arbitrary Browsing Mechanism is another must-read.

On twitter, Lavie Tidhar tweeted: “It’s easy to make a hashtag about diversity, harder to actively encourage/support it.”

Speaking as a writer coming from a third-world nation, as a writer coming from a culture that has been so steeped in western influence, as a writer who knows what it’s like to have English valued above your native tongue, I can speak of the multiplicity of struggle.

We struggle against the impositions of language and we struggle against the impositions of western thought. We struggle to bring our stories into the world and we struggle to be heard. We have voices, but those voices are often drowned out by hegemony.

Our voices are often rendered suspect because “experts” have been there telling our histories and our stories in our place.

One of the things that sometimes disheartens me, is how in the discussions on diversity, the voices of those from the margins are often overlooked or erased. I wonder then, again, do we speak our words into the wind? When will the time come when our narratives/opinions will also be treated as equal and welcome? 

I don’t worry for myself. I am at this age where I think: if I get another twenty years, that’s a good thing. While I don’t worry for myself, I do worry for the next generation of writers and creators and I don’t want them to lose heart because the struggle seems to be all uphill. I want to believe that in the time I have, I can at least make a little bit of a difference so it will be less of a struggle. I want to make room so it will be easier to breathe and easier to create. 

You’re probably wondering what you can do. What else can we do? What more can we do to promote diversity in SFF? 

Here’s something concrete we all can do–promote a story, promote a book, promote a writer who is not one of your circle, but who is someone who you feel has a story that needs to be heard. As a challenge to yourself, let that writer be either a writer of color, a writer who is non-western, a QUILTBAG writer or a writer who is all or a combination of the above. 

You may not like all the stories you read, they may not all speak to you (God knows, not all stories speak to me), but they may speak to someone else and in promoting that story, you say this: “There’s this voice I heard. I want you to hear that voice too. I want us to listen and make space because that voice is saying things someone needs to hear.”