Monday, October 17, 2011

Books Over the Weekend

Elmer, Gerry Alanguilan
Radical Artifice, Marjorie Perloff
Underground Spirit: Philippine Short Stories in English 1973-1989, Gemino Abad, editor

So I finished Perloff; was amazed by Elmer; and surprised by the number of spec-ficky stories in Underground Spirit--but then, perhaps it is to be expected, given that free expression was curtailed at the time--hence the move toward the fantastic, both for practical and allegorical purposes.

I have a half-finished thought about the popularity of speculative fiction in the last decade or so, a lot of which, (I think) is because of the efforts of The LitCritters and online editors, publishers and personalities as The Bibliophile Stalker,  Philippine Genre Stories, and Rocket Kapre. And the thought is this: I think the movement, which moves away from the so-called "real" is probably, also an attempt to get away from the image of the real manufactured wholesale by the all-pervasive media (which makes "realist fiction" turn too quickly into cliche).

(CAVEAT: "probably, also"--because this is just me reflecting about Pinoy spec-fic and is in no way reflective of the agenda of the LitCritters, Bibliophile Stalker, PGS and Rocket Kapre, each of which are both (and in different senses) broader and more focused. More likely, the half-finished thought stated above is a description of why I got interested in Pinoy spec-fic as practiced, in the first place. Certainly this is reflective of my own preoccupations as someone who likes reading and writing a particular kind of text--one that is more artificial in construction, more conscious about language or the use of many kinds of language/texts in a text, and tries to escape the reality that I know, the ego [and therefore the world] that I am/know. Impossible, I know, but still.)

Of course the teleseryes have caught on and we've all these fantasy teleseryes to rival (offer variety) to the usual teleseryes these days. But this does not detract from what I believe might be one of the reasons why there was/is a kind of demand for spec-fic.

There's more to say. But, as this is just a half-finished thought, perhaps I ought to write this out in full in another note.

(This reflection brought to you by Perloff, Elmer, and all those Pinoy spec-fic stories written from 1973-1982, all swirling in my mind and troubling, yes, troubling my sleep.)

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