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.”

Recent Updates

The latest Movements column has gone up on Strange Horizons and is titled: On Escapist Literature and Being Dangerous. Born out of one of the many discussions we had at Nine Worlds, I hope that it speaks to readers and sparks more conversation around the subjects of diversity and inclusivity. I also hope that it gives aspiring writers the courage to keep trying.

Over at the book blog, we’ve published a new review by my Big Sis Weng. Today’s review is of Kari Sperring’s The Grass King’s Concubine. This was one of the few paper books I was able to send my sister. Most of the other books are in ebook format. As usual, most of our reviews are from books purchased/owned by us. We may grab something from netgalley, if publishers let us, but we do like choosing our own books and I don’t dictate to my sister.

I’m working quite intensively on a longer piece of fiction. This will be even longer than Dancing in the Shadow of the Once from the Bloodchildren anthology. Dancing clocked in at a little bit over 8,000 words. This one is racing towards 15,000 and looks like it’ll be going past that. I’m excited, scared and happy. I don’t know what to call it except science fiction. :)

 

reviews, publications and super-secret projects

Over at Chie and Weng Read Books, I review Sabrina Vourvoulias’s excellent first novel, Ink. I didn’t have time to post about this when it went up, but last week we also reviewed J.M. Sidorova’s The Age of Ice. We also have an interview with the author on the blog, so do check it out if you feel so inclined.

We See a Different Frontier, published by The Future Fire and edited by Djibril Al-Ayad and Fabio Fernandes is now out. It’s been getting some interesting reviews, including this one where my story gets called the “most vengeful” story of the lot. I’m quite flattered by that description actually. I mean, heads go flying in this story, so if people called it tame, I would be really worried.

Right now, I am reading the print proofs for What Fates Impose. I’m quite blown away by the work of my toc-mates and it’s quite a blast to find myself in an anthology with people whose work I admire. I am also quite impressed by Alliteration Ink, our editor Nayad Monroe and our publisher, Steven Saus.

Over the course of this summer break, I’ve written tons of words. I’m very close to finishing draft on a super-secret project and will post more on that soon, including snippets. Yes, I’m superstitious like that so that’s as much as I’m going to say about it before it’s finished.

BSFA Shortlist has been announced

My PGS story, Song of the Body Cartographer has made it to the BSFA shortlist. The complete shortlist is here. Winners will be announced at Eightsquaredcon which will be in Bradford, UK.

I will be at Bradford together with good friend and awesome author, Aliette de Bodard whose short story, Immersion, is also on the shortlist.

It’s an honor to be listed along with all the other shortlisted nominees. Thank you for nominating my story. It thrills me that a story published in a Philippine publication has received all this attention.

2013 is here

2013 is here and it’s starting out really well on the writing front.

Nisi Shawl has announced the Table of Contents for Bloodchildren which is coming out next week. I’ve been eagerly waiting for the official announcement so I could finally squee about it.

On the publishing front, my fractured fiction, Distance, has been published on Our Own Voice as well as my essay titled, On First-worlders adopting children from third-world countries like mine.

Song of the Body Cartographer has been nominated for the BSFA short fiction awards.  It’s the only nominated work published by a Filipino publication and it’s making the Filipino publication visible that pleases me the most.

I’m also changing things here on the website, so updating it becomes easier. Have a nice cup of tea, pull a chair up and have a look around. My blog where I talk about stuff other than updates is at Talking to the Moon.

Happy 2013.