Watch: My poem ‘Instructions for Astronauts’ now a video

You can also read the poem at Mithila Review.

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Why you should download the massive, free e-book ‘Up and Coming’

AnthoCover3_400.pngWhat is the future of science fiction?

It could be in the pages of Up and Coming: Stories by the 2016 Campbell Eligible Authors.

You can download the book here: http://www.badmenagerie.com/

Hurry up, though, the download will only be available until March 31, 2016.

What is a “Campbell Eligible Author” you may ask? These are writers who are new to the science fiction and fantasy field with their first professionally paid publications. The John W. Campbell Award is presented at the World Science Fiction Convention (this year, it will be held in Kansas City, Mo., in August). More info on the awards is available here: http://www.writertopia.com/awards/campbell

I was happy to see lots of writers that are familiar to me from my reading of shot stories and/or SFF-related blogs, including:

  • Nicolette Barischoff
  • S.B. Divya
  • David J́on Fuller
  • Jaymee Goh
  • LS Johnson
  • Alyssa Wong
  • Jeff Xilon
  • Isabel Yap

So you could consider this list of writers as a point of entry into this tome. You may find plenty of your gems in it, though.

Let me know what you find and recommend.

 

#tbt review: World War Z by Max Brooks

2013-03-12-worldwarz_audiobookThis review originally appeared in the Times Union on Jan. 2, 2007, long before the Brad Pitt movie came out.

“World War Z,” by Max Brooks. Read by a full cast. Abridged, 6 hours. Random House Audio. $29.95.

The stellar cast includes Alan Alda, Carl Reiner, Mark Hamill, Henry Rollins, John Turturro, Rob Reiner and Brooks as the one compiling interviews with survivors of a worldwide war between zombies and humans.

While the variety of locales — China, Israel, South Africa, Canada, the United States, Cuba, Chile, Finland, Greenland, Barbados, Japan — puts to shame any James Bond story, the book lacks suspense.

Instead, it has realism to emphasize how the zombie wars upend how people live and what they hold sacred.

The best example occurs in South Africa, where a dreaded apartheid-era figure comes up with a plan to save the country by sacrificing parts of the population. Though most of the politicians are aghast, they accept it once the unnamed but recognizable Nelson Mandela figure approves.

The performances emphasize this human quality of physical and psychological struggle.

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#tbt Book Review: Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go

This review was originally published May 8, 2005, in the Albany Times Union.

never let me go Kazuo Ishiguro is a master of the writing of memory. In fictions about an English butler, a Japanese artist and a world-renown pianist, he has found life-defining secrets, decisions and failures in the smallest moments, and uses them to create literary novels that read like thrillers.

His sixth novel, “Never Let Me Go” (Knopf; 282 pages; $24), includes emotionally engaging passages about friendship, love, duty, sex and betrayal in the lives of the three main characters; however, the effect is undermined by the world in which Ishiguro contains them.

The story centers on Kathy, Ruth and Tommy, whose friendship begins at Hailsham, a boarding school in the English countryside.

Kathy is reflective, passive and somewhat dreamy. She is the kind of girl who, while listening to a pop song, dances and holds a pillow, pretending it’s her baby. Ruth is bossy and likes to appear knowing; it gives her a power that attracts others to her. For example, she pretends to know more about chess than the older students, but when she shows Kathy how to play, she says all the pieces move in an L-shape. Tommy is athletic, warm-hearted and gullible, and he is mercilessly teased by his classmates. The boys enjoy setting off his uncontrollable rages, and the girls like to watch from the dorm windows.

Continue reading “#tbt Book Review: Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go”

Readercon wrap-up: ‘You don’t look Filipino’

Me, the author, autographing my story in "Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History"
Me, the author, autographing my story in “Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History”

Readercon is awesome. The conference for speculative literature is always worthwhile, as it offers a deep dive into issues and concerns that are at the forefront of literature.

So I got to hear luminaries like Michael Dirda and Peter Straub talk about their development as readers and writers. (Dirda doesn’t have time to reread books; Straub is rereading Iris Murdoch right now.)

I got to hear Samuel Delaney read for a work in progress that is from the point of view from a young Herman Melvill(e), and includes scenes during his life and times in Albany.

I learned a lot about the difficulties of living in space (the weakening of the body in low gravity; the politics of funding); about how authors try to strike a balance between fulfilling and subverting readers’ expectations (though one panelist argued that very little writing is truly subversive); and that some Readercon attendees bring really killer bourbon and are very generous with it, late into the night.

Most of all, though, I met some great people — writer and readers — but people who share my values for the importance of story.

The highlight, though, was the group reading of seven writers whose works are included in the much-praised anthologyLong Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History.”

Even better, was being asked to autograph my story. This is something that I have never done before. With the journals and anthologies in which I have been published before, I never had a chance to attend any of the events related to the release of those publications. Mostly because they were far away: in Japan or on the West Coast; or my day job and life made it too hard for me to be there. Continue reading “Readercon wrap-up: ‘You don’t look Filipino’”