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My interview with Charles Tan is on On the Flipside!

Every Monday, we’ll have a blog entry focusing on one of Flipside Digital Content’s titles.
Lower Myths

Eliza Victoria is the author of Lower Myths.

What made you decide to combine speculative fiction with the other genres like crime and mystery?

I am fond of crime and mystery stories, and I am fond of speculative fiction (horror, fantasy, sci-fi), so I saw no reason not to mash them together! One of my favorite authors, Donna Tartt, writes murder mysteries with horror undertones, and her novels are very unsettling reads. One of my own murder mystery stories that recently appeared on Philippine Genre Stories (“Needle Rain”) contains elements of fantasy and horror. It can be surprising what you come up with, when you mix genres.

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book reviews

I want to get my reading groove back, so right now I’m re-reading Donna Tartt’s sumptious The Secret History and reading Let the Right One In by Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist.

Here are some short thoughts on books I’ve finished. What are you reading?

Pretty Monsters

Kelly Link writes surreal stories. Reading one is like stepping into a dream. And like dreams, her narratives usually meander and don’t concern themselves with closures and resolutions. Not necessarily a bad thing. My favorites in this collection: “The Faery Handbag“, “Magic for Beginners”, and “The Specialist’s Hat”.

Dream Hunters

A Sandman-style retelling of a Japanese folk tale about a monk and a fox-spirit. Neil Gaiman writes in simple words that are amplified by Yoshitaka Amano’s beautiful illustrations.

Zsazsa Zaturnnah sa Kalakhang Maynila (Blg. 1)

Bonggang-bongga itey! I got this as a compli copy from Ms Nida of VISPRINT. If you enjoyed the first collection of Zsazsa’s adventures, you’ll enjoy this one.

American Short Story Masterpieces

I found this in a secondhand bookstore. Happy I picked this up. So many good stories! My favorites are “The Amish Farmer” by Vance Bourjaily, “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin, Ursula K. Le Guin’s “Ile Forest”, “The Story of A Scar” by James Alan Macpherson, Philip Roth’s “The Conversion of Jews”, John Updike’s “The Christian Roommates”, and Andre Dubus’s “The Fat Girl”.

puerto del sol

Bolinao, Pangasinan for Maundy Thursday! We went to Puerto del Sol Beach Resort, which seemed to be located on the very edge of the Earth. To quote Almi, we were on the road for 15 hours, and at the beach for six. Crazy! It’d be nice to go on an overnight trip and avail their promo.

On the way to Bolinao.

Despite the long ride, the poor service at the resort’s restaurant, and the fact that our driver didn’t seem to have a sense of direction, the trip was worth it.

Just look at that.

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the hunger games (film)

I have read the trilogy before (please don’t read the last two links if you haven’t read the books), so to refresh your memory about the first installment:

Katniss Everdeen lives in poverty in District 12 in the country of Panem, which was once North America. During a dark era in Panem’s history, all thirteen districts rebelled against the Capitol, Panem’s seat of power. District 13 was obliterated, and the 12 other districts were subdued. To remind the districts of the Capitol’s might, the Hunger Games is conducted every year. Every year, two tributes from each district – a boy and a girl – is sent to an undisclosed area to fight to the death.

That year, Katniss’s young sister’s name is called, and she steps forward to take her place. Thrown into the arena with her is Peeta, a baker’s boy, who has once done her a kindness.

Would it be strange if I told you that I wished the film was longer? This film adaptation was able to give us a complete sense of the weariness and poverty in District 12 and the grandeur and greed of the Capitol without being too heavy-handed in the dialogues, but failed to make us care for the supporting characters in the bloody competition. Plus points for the shaky camera work, the close-ups, and the haunting hum of the soundtrack (the camera following the doomed children, the focus on Katniss as she scrubs herself for the Reaping, the silence as Effie Trinket unfolds a paper with a crisp and final note – all beautiful and perfect); minus points for not even introducing us to the other contestants. I couldn’t even remember their names. They might as well not have names. “I will get you Person Number One! Bob something-or-other!”

I understand that this is an introductory story, but one scene where they could have done this in an economical manner was during the Tribute Parade. I plant a palm on my face for this missed opportunity. Introduce the tributes per District, talk a little about the Tributes and what they are wearing and what the costumes mean, and move on to the next. End scene! Was that so hard? It will take up time and perhaps cost more money (but then the costumes are already there, why not focus the cameras on them a bit?) but it will make us care. When a cannon booms through the speakers it will make us sit up and wonder who has died this time,  instead of just leaving us fidgeting impatiently on our seats.

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I have an interview with Rocket Kapre about Lower Myths over here. The cover looks pretty cool with the colors inverted, no?

“Lower Myths” can currently be purchased at Amazon or Flipreads.

Photo credit: Karen Lucero of the National Book Development Board.