Expanded Horizons: Issue 13

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 4 - 2009

ExpandedHorizons

Expanded Horizons, an SF webzine dedicated to increasing diversity in the field of speculative fiction–both in the authors who contribute and in the perspectives presented–has recently launched their 13th issue, featuring (alongside three other tales) stories Filipino authors: “I Am the City” from Eliza Victoria and “Twin Cities” by Catherine Batac Walder.

Here are samples from each story. If you like the stories, be sure to let the authors know what you think:

I Am the City by Eliza Victoria

In the city was a man who rode the train every day. There was nothing remarkable in this — everyone rode the train, maybe not every day but at least five days a week, workdays, office employees congesting the air-conditioned coaches with their wet hair and unlined eyes, shirts untucked, ties hidden somewhere in the linings of their laptop bags, stockinged feet cushioned by flip-flops because heels could kill you.

Twin Cities by Catherine Batac Walder

One of my city’s twins in the list was Scuro, in Wok.

I was sitting in Trafiko for a quarter of an hour, trying to occupy myself with the advertisements, when this poster listing twin cities caught my eye.  Twin towns or cities are pairs to promote human and cultural relations among the places.  While the other names sounded familiar, Scuro was clearly amusing.

On the Far Shore: An Interview With Eliza Victoria

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 7 - 2009

“On the Far Shore” is what I’m calling this series of interviews with the authors/editors of “The Farthest Shore” an anthology of secondary world fantasy from Filipino writers. The anthology is available here. Today we speak with Eliza Victoria, author of  “The Just World of Helena Jimenez.”

Tell us a bit about your story “The Just World of Helena Jimenez”:

Without spoiling anything, “The Just World of Helena Jimenez” is about a girl whose family has been a victim of a heinous crime. One day she just finds herself in a world where there is no crime.

How did you hear about the Farthest Shore anthology?

Wow, I can’t even remember. I must have picked up the “call to submissions” link from Charles Tan’s blog, or from Dean Alfar.

Prior to that, had you ever written a secondary world story before?

No. Or if I ever were able to write such a story before, the writing was done unconsciously. If anyone ever reads a story of mine and points this out to me, I’ll probably just dismiss the notion and say, “Oh, those things didn’t really happen, it’s a psychological thing, the character’s just insane”. Etcetera etc. When I write non-realistic fiction it is still very much rooted in our reality, so much so that the fantastic elements can be easily explained by psychology. Ha! I don’t know if that’s a bad thing. I can never do Lord of the Rings, where everything is created from scratch, even the language; I’m inclined to use the two-world trope. I suppose Harry Potter falls in this category. This world, that other world.

I can never erase this world from my stories, but that’s me speaking now. This may change in the future.

As far as reading goes though, does your present self share those same inclinations? Or, all else being equal, do you enjoy reading Lord of the Rings type epic fantasy as much as a tale set in our world?

Confession time: I haven’t read Lord of the Rings. (Please don’t shoot me.) But to be sure, I enjoy reading non-realist fiction as much as the realist ones. I read like crazy. I read whatever the bookstores and the book bargain sales and the online journals can offer (well, as long as I can still afford them). I don’t care if the story is set in this universe, or elsewhere. If the language is lovely, the plot engaging, the characters interesting, then I’ll pack my bags and board that plane to Wherever.

How long did it take you to write the story?

Hm, not too long, but longer than usual. However, it took years before the story finally assumed the form I wanted it to have. I started writing this story in 2007, my last year in college. I finished the story sometime after graduation I think. The first draft was more than 30 pages long. It pained me to cut it, so I just set it aside, then wrote other, shorter stories and sold them. When I heard about Farthest Shore, I revisited the story, rolled up my sleeves, and revised.

What aspect of the writing did you enjoy the most?

Creating a new world is always fun. Describing the culture, the surroundings – I enjoyed this immensely.

What aspect did you find most difficult?

Editing! Oh, editing this monster pained me, because it was so long and I had to cut so many conversations between the characters short. Also, the first draft was very graphic, very violent. I toned it down a bit; though the violence is necessary, I really don’t want to hit the readers too hard.

Ouch. Always painful to kill one’s precious babies. How did you choose what made the cut and what didn’t?

I remember a couple of scenes where the characters suddenly became melodramatic. Like telenovela-melodramatic. When I read the manuscript again after setting it aside for a little while, the dialogue made me cringe. So out with those scenes.

The other parts I didn’t really cut, I just shortened them. I mean if a scene can be shortened and it still works, then it doesn’t have to be that long, right? As a writer, you’re just wasting space. Or being clingy to your language, like, “Oh, but this line’s so beautiful/witty/whatever”. Enough with that – just edit!

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Rocket Kapre is an imprint of Eight Ray Sun Publishing Inc. (a new Philippine-based publisher), dedicated to bringing the very best of Philippine Speculative Fiction in English to a worldwide audience by means of digital distribution. More info can be found at our About section at the top of the page.

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