Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Trying to Get the Last Word in First

(I didn't want to say anything else on this subject, rather, let others do the talking. But I didn't have anything else to post. Anyway...)

As bhex says in her recent post, it seems like we're really not done talking about the search for Philippine speculative fiction. Ironically, between my last post and this one, there have been a lot of posts made on this subject, including venerable-- in a literary sense-- stalwarts like Butch Dalisay and Emil Flores.

You can check out all the links here as I can't do a recent summary anymore; there's too many of them! However, to be of some interest, I thought I'd post the varying sides of the argument and try to color in who belongs to which side. Not that I'm saying there should be factions or sides to begin with, since I believe everyone in on the debate is all on the same side. Likewise, I do think a number of the debators do have some agreeing points despite disagreeing with each other. (I know I am for one.) The points themselves-- ah, they're damn confusing to begin with so I won't start which one is for what and what is for where and...

In any event, anyone who wants to correct my understanding on this rather 'textual' graph, please do so. For the record...

bhex drew the first line in the sand with this post. Those who followed in her footsteps include: the read-or-die people (tin, mia and kristel), the coffee goddess (though she agrees with charles on perceptions, she does think that it is fiction that is written by a Filipino) ekmisao, ian casocot (even if he did let someone answer for him *winks*), dominique, butch dalisay (just scroll down for the relevant post) and emil flores.

On the other side, we have those who believe that writing does not include boundaries (whether nationalism, style, etc.), which include charles, sean, skinny, gloss girl (though she considers herself Filipino, she hates boxes), alex, vin, fhbatacan (same view as gloss girl).

I think also included here are those who believe that discussions on Philippine speculative fiction needs to be shelved first, the subject matter being too young to begin with: don, last of me, jeff-reiji, and yes, even kyu took this side later on.

Funny enough, dean, who started this whole mess about coming up with the idea of Philippine speculative fiction is still not taking sides. (*grumblegrumble*) However, as of the moment, his latest post resounds strongly in my heart, hence my previous silence over the matter.

What makes this whole debate even more interesting is the third side optioned out, i.e. anton thinks this debate is moot and academic (though his arguments seem to resound more with the no-bounds argument).

Me? Personally, I started out writing created worlds in the style of epic fantasy but-- thanks to a comment by [identity-protected]-- realized later on that despite my incessant obsession over the details of different nations inhabiting this or that fantasy world... my stories still had no resonance that made it MY own story. Likewise, though I do agree in a writerly sense with charles, I find myself nodding more in agreement when I read bhex's posts. So in the end, I guess I gotta throw myself with one group after all.

Anyway, am off to finish my damn story for an October deadline so that's my final word on the subject. (Barring some replies to skinny and anton, of course.)


Charles said...

But you're all boxing us in! =P

Seriously though, I think some "sides" depends on your interpretation of the text. Butch Dalisay's reply, for example, seem to support and challenge both "sides".

I think Skinny and Dean and Kyu (and me) all agree we should just write. =)

Vin said...

Hi bc! I agree with Charles here. The point that I was making in my post actually mirrors more closely Butch Dalisay's point, if I may quote:
"I suppose what I’m saying is, the “Filipino” in what we write is practically inescapable; it’s hardwired into our imaginations, and it’ll almost surely come out in whatever we put on paper."

"Whatever is perceptibly Filipino in our literature should be an asset and not a liability, especially in this age of creeping homogenization"

"This Filipino element doesn’t mean that your story has to be set in Payatas or Negros, or depend on the exoticism of tropic foliage. We can and should write about the world; it’s about time we did, given that we’re everywhere."

I think this means that he doesn't fall squarely on the side you placed him in. :)

In the end, it was an entertaining and informative discussion. Now let's all get writing. :)

tyron said...

I think the discussion has exploded into several opposite poles converging in one core which is how to define Philippine speculative fiction.

For all I know, I can smell a Filipino fiction from far away and my mechanism for recognizing one has to be put into words.

Dang, I'm introducing another dimension here which is the audience, who can also define what Pinoy spec fic is and what isn't. And I fear that I've entered this debate scene too late.

Btw, isn't the "just write" attitude a bit dismissive? What if there really is such a thing as Philippine speculative fiction?

*dips foot into a pool named Philosophy*

banzai cat said...

hey guys :-)

okay, with regard to butch dalisay's statements, your mileage can vary though I guess am basing my view on his stand-- aside from his aforementioned declarations-- also on this:,+Philippine+Star,+speculative+fiction&hl=tl&ct=clnk&cd=14&gl=ph

Specifically, he says, "Secondly, as though flustered by our scientific and economic backwardness, some authors have chosen to deny our realities altogether, fast-forwarding into the distant future and bleeding nearly everything Filipino out of their stories.

To this I’ve responded with a challenge that my students have coming out of their ears: write me a marvelous, credible sci-fi or fantasy story that takes place, say, at a Jollibee outlet in Cubao. In other words, turn everyday grime into fairy dust."

still, like I said before, I do think that a majority of opinions overlap-- think of a zen diagram and of circles intersecting with circles. :-)

tyron: hah! nice one, man, way to throw a spanner in the works. still you have a good point there, which is something us writers also have to take into account when we're writing. I, for one, do so.

and i bow to your by-the-way. ;-)

banzai cat said...

eh, dammit. the dalisay link won't expand. anyway, just search his blog for the post, "Creating the Fantastic", Penman, Monday, December 19, 2005

tin said...

Just sayin' that I appreciate your entries on (or should I say attitude towards) this subject more than anyone else's.

banzai cat said...

aw garsh. you're making me blush. ;-)

(hehe you're welcome)