My 2015, year of the gracious Sheep, started out strong with three of my book-length manuscripts finding their home, where they can be professionally nipped, tucked, and dressed before being sent out as books. One, my poetry collection Lifeboat has been accepted for publication by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, a university press based in the Philippines. Two, a new edition of my out-of-print first book, A Roomful of Machines, will soon come out from ELJ Publications. And finally, Unnamed Press, a Los-Angeles-based publisher with an impressive author lineup (you can read their interview at LA Times/recent feature in Publishers Weekly and in Publishing Perspectives), said a sweet yes to publishing my collection of short stories, The Age of Blight.
Meanwhile, the last months of 2014 and the first few months of 2015 brought words in print.
Published by Anvil Publishing, Inc., this anthology contains my story "Leviathan," which looks into one brilliant and prestige-hungry character's obsessive search for a marine creature long believed to have become extinct sometime around 400 million years ago. A remnant of the Silurian Period, a time in the geologic past characterized by the proliferation of jawed fishes, the creature was ultimately found, died as a result of its being captured, and was posed as a trophy before the scientific community--emblematic of a major scientific discovery obtained at a cost, a loss of life. I wrote about some of my favorite stories in Fast Food Fiction Delivery here.
Not too long ago, Adam David wrote an incisive critique of the anthology's textual framing, asking, among other questions, why the loaded term "fast food fiction" was chosen to denote a particular fiction-writing style favored by writers like Jorge Louis Borges and Italo Calvino.
And here's Mike and Anita Allen's gorgeous Mythic Delirium, which contains my long poem "Even in Arcadia."
In December 2014, the eighth volume of the annual Likhaan: The Journal of Contemporary Philippine Literature was unveiled. I have poems in this issue. I don't have a copy, so I had to take this photo from the Twitter feed of Gabriela Lee, one of the journal's editors.
I also have a story reprinted in this anthology, along with other Filipino writers like Paolo Chikiamco, Dean Francis Alfar, Charles Tan, and Isabel Yap.
A reprinted old piece, "Dark Clocks," is in the January 2015 issue of Eastlit.
On February 27, 2015, Canada-based The Impressment Gang held a release party for the journal's latest issue, which featured my poems "The Cold Room" and "The Solarium."
Say hello to this bunny. Here's the stunning cover spread of Menacing Hedge's print anthology for the 2015 Association of Writers & Writing Programs bookfair and conference.
And this here is the most recent edition of Spark: A Creative Anthology, which contained my poem "The Day It Rained Stones" and whose companion piece "The Day It Rained Fish and Swallows" was accepted for inclusion in Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology. The latter anthology is edited by Melissa Tuckey and will come out from the University of Georgia Press in 2016.
I will also have a story in the fifth annual volume of Beecher's Magazine. It is called "Day of the Builders," a story of how modernity—as represented by the Builders—can take over a primitive village with unique geological features and fossil-worshiping inhabitants. The Builders are initially composed of anthropologists, archaeologists, and paleontologists. It is suggested in the story that the Builders’ expedition may have the backing of powerful industrialists. The narrator, the only person in the village who was familiar with the language of the Builders, ushered the “outsiders” around and helped them communicate with the village elders. Touching on cultural assimilation, colonization, and industrialization-fueled environmental destruction, the story attempted to affect a global scope by introducing elements that somehow mirror the expansion of the Russian Empire, the Paleo-Indian civilization of Pre-Columbian America, as well as stylized appropriations of Turkmenistan’s Door to Hell and Incan religious cosmology as described in The Florentine Codex. All these I had hanging on to a simple straightforward cause and effect (what happens if the village elders say yes to the Builders' proposals) thread. I hope this story worked and was able to convey what I wanted for it to say.
Another short fiction piece, this time in Pilgrimage Magazine. It's called "For the Brave Little Toaster and Co.," a tribute to a 1980s American film that I saw on Betamax when I was a kid and whose themes and motifs still figured largely in my writing. I wrote an entire book about mostly talking objects (A Roomful of Machines), have a thing for legacy devices, and am forever in awe of portrayals of animated inanimates in the wake of abandonment (like Toy Story, the intelligent domestic appliances in Ray Bradbury's "There Will Come Soft Rains," the strange obsolete TV in Howard Waldrop's "Mr. Goober's Show," the cognitive/emotional machines in Michael Shaara's "Orphans of the Void," etc.). And please, please if you know of anything similar, do share it with me by leaving a comment so I can also find and enjoy the story, book, or film. "For the Brave Little Toaster and Co." is in my upcoming book The Age of Blight. I hope people who will pick up a copy will enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Meditations of a Beast
Age of Blight
A Roomful of Machines
We Bury the Landscape