Brooke Wonders in “Everything Must Go” reinvents the tired trope of the drunkard father, the grieving mother, the children caught in between, and the house they have to leave behind, by stretching metaphors to their limits. It’s incredible storytelling, and what language.

He watches his father remove a fifth of Jack from its sock-drawer hideaway and down a few quick swigs. Through his father’s transparent flesh, Bird can see the liquor slide slow down Glass’s throat until it joins the tawny liquid sloshing waist-high. Tiny waves break against his bellybutton. The immediate difference is imperceptible, but as the days rush by, Bird watches the amber tide rise from bellybutton to chest to clavicle, until Glass has filled himself up nearly to the brim, his eyes shiny as bottle caps.

I listened to Kate Baker’s audio adaptation of the story while jogging last night. Enjoy.

http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/audio_11_12b/

Another thing: Carljoe Javier’s Top 10 reads for 2012 is now live on FlipsideA Bottle of Storm Clouds is included in the list! Thanks, Carl.

A Bottle of Storm Clouds by Eliza Victoria

This collection of short stories goes in such a wonderful range of directions. It portrays the familiar, school, kids, family issues, but also delves into worlds strange and fantastic. I have liked Eliza’s writing since I first read it, and this first book of hers is something I have been immensely impressed by.

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‘storm clouds’ on ava.ph

Oops. I know the long weekend is over, but happy to find this on AVA (“Genre Reads for the Long Weekend”, written by author and book blogger/reviewer Chris Mariano):

“…imagined worlds become springboards to explore universal themes of loss and regret in award-winning writer Eliza Victoria’s A Bottle of Storm Clouds (Visprint, Inc). From fantasy (‘Ana’s Little Pawnshop on Makiling St.’) to science fiction (‘Night Out’), Victoria explores parallel dimensions, myths come to life, and everything else in between in this short story collection. Her lyrical stories have previously appeared in print and online, earning her fans here and abroad. There’s something here for quiet afternoon during your Boracay getaway (try ‘An Abduction by Mermaids’) or a late-night bedtime read (her ‘Sand, Crushed Shells, Chicken Feathers’ will give you appropriate chills). It’s a heady dose of myth and magic that will make you wonder why you haven’t explored more Filipino speculative fiction before.”

Also mentioned are Chinggay Labrador’s Popped 3 and AS Santos’s Voices in the Theater.
My book, A Bottle of Storm Clouds, is available in all major bookstores. :)
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And while you’re here, a couple of podcast recommendations for your nightly jog (or whatever else you wish to do while listening):

Both are beautiful stories. Enjoy.

podcast love

Brisk-walking last night. Almost ruined my knees. Ugh.

Listened to:

  • this amazing story by Felicity Shoulders called “Conditional Love“. Go download the MP3 or read the text. Did not see that ending coming. Totally crushed me.
  • Jessica Rules The Universe Podcast ep. 3, where Jessica Zafra talks to Mike of Walk and Eat. Listening to two friends talk about food while walking – the best. “I bet I know your URL more than you,” says Jessica, and Mike murmurs. Jessica laughs. “You don’t know what a URL is???”

Listened to this podcast before: Gwenn Galvez (Anvil Publishing) and Honey de Peralta (Flipside) talk about the Philippine Publishing industry on Quadro Kantos.

Continued reading Cloud Atlas. Fun and amazing so far.

‘a bottle of storm clouds’ book winners

Thank you to everyone who joined the contest! If I could give you all an advance copy I would – but I have a limited supply, and my family wants the advance copies. All of the copies.

All of them.

On to the winners!

The first winner shared a story that I haven’t read before, and wrote about it in such a way that made me want to read it immediately. And I did. And it was such a haunting, heartbreaking story. When I went back to the entry comment, I could only nod and agree with the descriptions and insight.

Congratulations Jammi!

When asked the question, a multitude of stories come to mind. I’m sure by this time tomorrow, I will have thought of more stories that I could easily call my favorite, and I only happened to forget at this time how much they have moved me, or changed my view on important things, or questioned certain paradigms I operate in. But there is one story that never fails to move me, and make me ponder on the nature of perspective.

I discovered it years ago, something I stumbled upon entirely by accident (aren’t some of the best stories discovered this way?). “The House of Asterion” (By JORGE LUIS BORGES) is a beautiful story that shines in the short burst of images and emotions it displays. I cannot be any more detailed without taking away from the experience of reading it, its subtle and painful revelations are what makes it so unique. I read this story every so often, and its last words always leave me with a sense of uncomfortable sadness and genuine empathy.

http://anagrammatically.com/2008/02/23/translated-la-casa-de-asterion-becomes-the-house-of-asterion/

Some of the very best speculative fiction are the stories that force you to question the viewpoints you take for granted, and the perspectives we choose to ignore. The unique voices that are often drowned out by the majority, by cultural norms.

I read this story every so often, and its last words always leave me with a sense of uncomfortable sadness and genuine empathy. That’s it. That’s it exactly. Thank you for sharing this, Jammi! And you guys should read “The House of Asterion“.

The second winner shared a story that I’ve read before, and made me want to revisit it again. The winner’s description of the story is straightforward, but very intriguing.

Congratulations, Ice!

My favorite SF story is Ray Bradbury’s All Summer in A Day. I read it as a child and I was terrified by the cruelty of Margot’s classmates. Children are generally assumed to be sweet and innocent, but in reality, they can be very, very mean, especially when they form a pack.

When I read this story as an adult, it was still heartbreaking.

Didn’t you just want to read the story right now? Do yourself a favor and click here.

Hi ladies! Do email your complete names, mailing addresses (office or residential), and cell phone numbers to victoriaeliza [at] gmail [dot] com so you can get the book this week. :D Hope to see you in future book events!

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So let me share my own as-of-now favorite stories:

One of my recent favorite reads is Ken Liu‘s “The Paper Menagerie”. It features a very specific kind of magic, and it is about an immigrant mother’s pain of not knowing anyone and not understanding anything – even her own son.

You know how when you are separated from your homeland, you tend to find your home in other people? But what if those people rejected you? What then? This is that story.

Click here to read the tale.

Another beautiful story that I’ve mentioned on this blog before: “Immersion”  by Aliette de Bodard. I haven’t read the story in text form, but I was able to listen to the audio download. It was such a compelling story, and such a beautiful audio adaptation by Kate Baker, that I didn’t notice the time passing by.

In “Immersion”, locals use immersers to assume the appearance, language and body cues of Galactic, a former colonizer. At the end of the reading, Kate talked a bit about the story, and I found it strange that she would read it simply as a story about addiction, that she would identify with Quy as a young woman who wants to help a junkie break a habit. It is not just about addiction. It is about being ensnared by the power of a (former) colonial master even in the age of (supposed) freedom. It is about being jailed in a mindset that there is a superior race, and you do not belong to it because your language is wrong, your skin color is wrong, your faith is wrong, you are wrong. It is about giving up your identity to join the majority, to avoid the hate, and how there is a price, and sometimes the price is too high.

I live in a country with a colonial past: 300 years under Spain, 50 years under the US, and there was a time when the Japanese took over and raped our women. Aliette is of French-Vietnamese descent (and she dedicated this story to Rochita Loenen-Ruiz), and you can see her understanding of the horrible effects of being a colony in this story. A colonizer’s hold doesn’t end with the declaration of a colony’s independence.

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Thank you all for joining! To stories!

*confetti*

listening to ‘immersion’ + se7en + psf7 prototype + my very own copy of moc!

First off: I now have my copy of Moment of Change. Hooray!

And it is gorgeous! Thank you Rose! I have a poem here called “Prayer”. Glossy cover, thick paper, beautiful words and art. Go visit Aqueduct Press if you want to order a copy or download the ebook.

(Unfortunately, instead of receiving the copy at my own door, I had to trudge to the Makati Central Post Office because the parcel was held up by Customs. A book! And I had to pay P40. This is the second time.)

Listening to Aliette de Bodard’s “Immersion”

“Immersion” is a science fiction story by Aliette de Bodard published in Clarkesworld. I haven’t read the story in text form, but I was able to listen to the audio download while jogging yesterday. It was such a compelling story, and such a beautiful audio adaptation by Kate Baker, that I didn’t notice the time passing by.

In “Immersion”, locals use immersers to assume the appearance, language and body cues of Galactic, a former colonizer. At the end of the reading, Kate talked a bit about the story, and I found it strange that she would read it simply as a story about addiction, that she would identify with Quy as a young woman who wants to help a junkie break a habit. It is not just about addiction. It is about being ensnared by the power of a (former) colonial master even in the age of (supposed) freedom. It is about being jailed in a mindset that there is a superior race, and you do not belong to it because your language is wrong, your skin color is wrong, your faith is wrong, you are wrong. It is about giving up your identity to join the majority, to avoid the hate, and how there is a price, and sometimes the price is too high.

I live in a country with a colonial past: 300 years under Spain, 50 years under the US, and there was a time when the Japanese took over and raped our women. Aliette is of French-Vietnamese descent (and she dedicated this story to Rochita Loenen-Ruiz), and you can see her understanding of the horrible effects of being a colony in this story. A colonizer’s hold doesn’t end with the declaration of a colony’s independence.

I’m so glad you wrote this story, Aliette. I could have cried.

Se7en

Finally! I think I am a decade too late. I knew how the film would end (the Internet is rife with spoilers) but David Fincher’s masterpiece remains as powerful and as disturbing as ever. Watch it, if you haven’t already.

PSF7 Prototype

Adam David posted these on Facebook. Can’t wait for the launch!

<just click to enlarge>

Went to Makati Med armed with my healthcard to have my ears checked, thinking they were the culprit for my vertigo. The ENT doctor said my eardrums were clean. I had a hearing exam (pure tone audiometry and PTA with speech, similar to the one I had last year), and the results came and my hearing was fine. So I guess the diagnosis is still BPPV. He handed me a brochure with information about vertigo and how to deal with it (see above photo), and instructed me to keep taking Serc as long as I was “symptomatic” and avoid salty and spicy food.

Crap. I thought I had ear blockage of some sort and the doctor could make my vertigo magically disappear. Oh well. At least my ears are okay.

That night Jaykie and I watched the first two episodes of Justified. I’ll be sure to follow this. I didn’t know it was based on an Elmore Leonard story! Have a read:

Fire in the Holeby Elmore Leonard

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Oh, on Monday night Jaykie dropped by work to pick me up. We had dinner at Mom & Tina‘s before we went to his condo to watch the season finale of Game of Thrones.

mango kani salad (half-order)

fettucine with smoked salmon and capers

fish 'n rice

chocolate fudge cupcake, lemon meringue square

jaykeh!

uncontrollable laughter and the Huge Upper Arm of Doom

Sniff. No more Game of Thrones. I don’t know how long viewers had to wait for Season 2.

I have reviewed all four books (so far) of A Song of Ice and Fire series, but I haven’t reviewed the TV adaptation. I only have this to say: it’s good TV. Good production values, rich scenic detail, spot-on casting.

(Cut for possible spoilers.)

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