Thursday, August 23, 2007

Can You Say Spec Fic in Russian?

Oh lordy.

Am currently staring at pauper city once more. But I can't help it: when faced with the idea of ordering abroad from Booktopia, I go overboard again and again. Sadly, I was thinking of holding back this time and ordering only two books. I really have to save money but fat chance, that.

It can't be helped that I'm enraptured about the idea of going past the idea of Western speculative fiction (as some have accused a number of us of being exclusive to) and reading the other stuff out there. And it helps that there are a number of anthologies that are damn helpful on the matter.

Right now, I've already ordered two books: one is Worlds Apart: Anthology of Russian SF and Fantasy (Alexander Levitsky, ed.) while the other is The Dedalus Book of Finnish Fantasy (Johanna Sinisalo, ed.). Unfortunately, a third book isn't yet available but I can't wait to get my paws on it: Speculative Japan: Outstanding Tales of Japanese Science Fiction and Fantasy (Gene Troyer, Grania Davis, ed.). Or maybe not so unfortunate; at least I won't be buying this anytime this year.


Alas, I never learn. A look at my bookhunting list got my blood going and soon, I had two targets that involve a more international cast of writers: the seminal The Book of Fantasy edited by Jorge Luis Borges, Adolfo Bioy Casares and Silvina Ocampo and the sequel to Alberto Manguel's fantastical anthology, Black Water 2: More Tales of the Fantastic (which andrew eldritch had helpfully pointed out the first volume to me a long time ago; thanks again, man!). A check with the helpful bookshop told me these books may be available but only in 2nd-hand editions.

I still haven't given my say-so for the Borges and the Manguel despite the so-very-easy temptation. The feeling is akin to standing on the very edge of the Abyss: it lures you with its siren tone, it calls you in a soothing voice and tells you that What's one book more? Especially if it's that really-hard-to-find piece, eh? Last chance, really. For a bibliophile, there is no such thing about patience being a virtue. There is also some truth that the love of books is also called a gentle madness.

So, when faced with standing strong and not ordering these books-- or giving into the darkness-- what should I do, dear readers?

UPDATE: On a side note, I've always wondered why no one has ever come out with collections and/or anthologies of the local classic stuff. I mean if one were to try out a sampling of Nick Joaquin's works, how come there's no greatest hits of his writings yet? Or is it because the local lit scene would be too jealous of the purview given to such editors?

By that same token, I wouldn't mind reading a sampling of non-mimetic (non-realistic) local writings around. I'm sure a lot of the old names would be involved, like Joaquin, and some of the new (relatively) writers around like Vince Groyon and Sarge Lacuesta (or even messieur Alfar). A collection comparable to those books I've mentioned above, that we can say is truly representative of local literature. (Given how we've been using magic realism even before Latin America, am sure this would be quite worth it.)

UPDATE: Well, I've decided to go with the Russian antho, the Borges and the Manguel books. The Dedalus can wait. (Or in this case, it's not going to fly away anytime soon.) Go me!

8 comments:

cat with the fiddle said...

oh wow, you are indeed a book whore.

i also am, but not blue-blooded.

banzai cat said...

Hehe thanks for the kind words. Though i gotta ask, what's a blue-blooded book whore?

Der Fuhrer said...

What about the Book of Imaginary Beings? Me want one. Lol

cat with the fiddle said...

you would impulsively buy all the books you could possibly get your hands on (in the same manner that shoe whores buy more shoes than they can probably wear their whole lifetimes) :)

banzai cat said...

fuhrer: Heh already have that one (though not the pretty version).

cat: Alas, you've pegged me in one though lack of monetary support has me fruitlessly weeping in frustration over the hardcover of this...

http://www.amazon.com/Mainspring-Jay-Lake/dp/0765317087

... and this...

http://www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/0765313405/002-6976776-4280803?SubscriptionId=1100889MK2XY9PSTV5G2

Der Fuhrer said...

do you still see copies? haha.

oh btw, Joaquin has a book called Prose and Poems although I doubt it collects all of his short stories. Maybe just the popular ones.

cat with the fiddle said...

hahaha! me too, i drool over books on amazon. it's very frustrating isn't it? all that wealth of inspiration beyond my reach...

banzai cat said...

fuhrer: Yupyup. Though still too expensive for my wallet. Around 1K plus for such a thin book. Really for the collector's delight. *sigh*

cat: Tell me about it. *double-sigh*