Why Manila Needs Stories



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

Michael Janairo on his “Long Hidden” submission, which contains a story set during the Philippine-American War of the 1900s.

Michael Janairo

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…

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Top 30 Anime Series of All Time

Wrong Every Time

Management: I’ve started adding new shows to the list, meaning that “Top 30” title will be becoming less and less accurate over time. I hope you can forgive me for highlighting more good shows.

Yep, I’ve finally put together a top shows list. As I hopefully made clear in part one and part two of my critical biases post, this is obviously my list – it represents the things I think are most valuable in stories in the way I think they’ve best been articulated. It’s also just a list of shows I enjoy – there’s no hard criteria here, so I wouldn’t stress the numbers too much. Also, it’s a bit front-loaded – I only started watching anime seasonally about two years ago, so the last couple years are disproportionately represented. Incidentally, I’m not including movies here either – I think direct comparisons between shows and films are a bit of a…

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and here’s another thing…

Filling the Well

You know that thing where people say, “Well, how do you write strong/tough/kickass/whatever women characters who aren’t just men with breasts?”  i.e. so-called women characters who are basically men, in female trappings, doing male-type things in the  story.  I guess.

I realized awhile back that I have no idea what this means.  Seriously.  What kind of men?  What kind of breasts?  What does this even mean?  The answer is, it doesn’t mean a damned thing.  In fact, I think it’s nothing more than apologia, another thing feeding into the idea that strong/physically tough women characters are somehow weird and need to be explained, and if you do them wrong you’ll be accused of some kind of. . .I don’t know.  I’ve written before about the discomfort with powerful women we often see in fiction, how they’re often mitigated by being some kind of “chosen one,” or given some kind…

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Chinoiserie is just another way that racism sells fiction.

Carrie Cuinn

I saw a comment on a Facebook thread which asked, “why do we have so many Japanese and Chinese science-fiction protagonists and authors featured, and fewer Indian ones?”

My response, built off my many years studying the history of art, and speculative fiction, along with my experience in the industry as a writer and publisher, and conversations I’ve had with many, many, authors and readers:

Because Chinese/Japanese authors and stories fall into the currently acceptable version of the same recurring Chinoiserie* that Western audiences have been buying since the 1600s. It’s Orientalism, really; the idea that certain kinds of Asian culture/fiction or writers of specific Asian descent share an aesthetic which is more “delicate”, more “refined”, more “exotic”, than Western styles but not too much so. We’re allowing an archetype (of that highly educated, polite, non-politcal, poetic, Asian, the one who would have counted up on your gold on his abacus or…

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When Calls for Diversity Are Not Enough

The Skiffy and Fanty Show

As a writer and reader based in Southeast Asia, I’ve been pondering the term “diversity” — at least, in the context of it’s use on the Internet.

First, it’s focused on the Western publishing industry. Filipino publishers publish Filipino-authored works for example (although our publishing industry has different issues of diversity). The same goes for publishers in Malaysia, China, South Africa, etc. I do think it’s important to focus on the Western publishing industry, because it’s usually a one-way street:  books from the Philippines rarely go out of the Philippines, but books from the US or the UK gets distributed around the world. A novel like Moxyland by Lauren Beukes, published by both Jacana Media in South Africa and Angry Robot Books in the US/UK, is the exception to the norm. And in my case here in the Philippines, there are some Filipino books that might not have been picked…

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I’m Elliot Roger and So are You, Dude

“Underneath that stereotype is homophobia, of course, and underneath that homophobia, of course, is a hatred of women — of being a woman, of being womanly, of being soft, affectionate, and of being god no EMPATHETIC — that keep men from being well-rounded, decent, complete people.”

Con Gusto

barth polaroidI’ve been trying to talk to men about rape and sexuality for about 23 years now. It’s a conversation that comes and goes, at best, but it seems to be coming back right now, with Elliot Roger’s rampage and how we should deal with it, “in the news.”

I worked with Men Stopping Rape in Madison many many years ago, wrote articles for the group’s newsletter about Axl Rose coming out as an abuse survivor, about Tailhook, how we needed more men talking about our role in the rape epidemic, child/spousal abuse, behavior that supports both, and organizing brother’s circles in the Madison co-ops with great guys. It was the early 90’s men’s movement, and in Madison, ever the soap bubble within soap bubbles, the point was to create “safe spaces” where men could talk to each other about their experiences with sexism, rape supportive behavior, their own abuse or…

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Reblogs, Writing

What Writers Can Learn From ‘Authority’ by Jeff VanderMeer

Adam Morgan


ANNIHILATION, the first book in Jeff VanderMeer‘s Southern Reach trilogy, was a thrilling challenge to the division between science fiction and literary fiction, and one of the most visceral and refreshing reading experiences I’ve had in quite some time.

I wrote about it in February, and I’m far from the onlyonewholoved it. A movie is already in development.

Now, mere weeks after ANNIHILATION’s release, the second volume is upon us.

AUTHORITY is not the sequel readers will expect. If you’re hoping for another breathless adventure through the wilderness, you’ll be surprised. AUTHORITY is claustrophobic, confining itself primarily indoors. Instead of Area X, the novel explores the Orwellian headquarters of the Southern Reach, full of secrets, lies, and the truly strange.

You’ll watch footage from the first mission, visit the border, and learn a lot more about the expedition members from the first book and the scientific experiments performed…

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Pinoy Otaku Literature

I liked a lot of things–most of them firmly rooted in pop culture–including anime. When I began to write seriously, I also began noticing how different the plots and characters between the anime serieses I loved and the works of fiction I loved. I even tried to push away the anime influence for a while; and even though I took a seven year break from watching anime, the influence has not left me. Proof of that is how I’ve attempted to alter my drawing style several times in an attempt to alter the trappings of my imagination (though my style still has solid anime-esque foundations nowadays).

Here is my friend, the good-natured, utterly polite (at least in person), and ever-controversial polemicist Karlo David, articulating more eloquently than I ever could, how this generation’s writers and artists can own something as foreign and popular as anime and transform it into art with a Filipino sensibility. 🙂


aoi_bungaku Anime can be very reaffirming

The Filipino youth of this past two decades has an imagination highly influenced, if not dominated, by Japanese animation. Fanfiction, Wattpad stories illustrated anime-style, even the music and fashion sense – the symptoms are everywhere. This younger generation is an otaku generation.

I have been particularly exposed to this fact. During my time in the Ateneo de Davao, many members of the literary org, SALEM, were practically more into anime than literature, and were in the club with writing fanfiction as their main writing background. Many of my friends there were consequently anime fans. In Dumaguete I might very well be the first and so far only graduate student of Silliman University to have been made a member of its humble otaku club, SU MAGE, and several of my students in NORSU are no strangers to anime either. Indeed, I think I can say with…

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16 Signs You Were Raised By Overprotective Parents

Everything on this list but most especially 11 and 14 -_-

Thought Catalog


1. You are a true professional sneaky person and skillful fibber because your parents forced you to beat your craft throughout the years, whether that meant sneaking out or concocting a detailed plan to fabricate your whereabouts.

2. In high school you were the person who had an absurdly early curfew that required you to be home before the local evening news aired. You weren’t even given that opportunity to make live, local late breaking news for acting a fool because you were in your bedroom.

3. They always had your back, but to the point where it led to embarrassment on occasion. If any of your peers gave you a hard time, even if they were kidding, your parents weren’t amused or afraid to voice their dissatisfaction.

4. You’ve never experienced terror like receiving double digit missed calls/text messages in a scarily short span from a disgruntled parent who wants…

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