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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Philippine Speculative Fiction

While rummaging through the Intarw3bz, I ran across this blog post.

A quick perusal of the page made my eyebrows go up.

Apparently, there's such a thing as "Philippine Speculative Fiction."

Intrigued me, it did. Intrigued me because, as it happens, I'm Filipino.

Intrigued me because, I wasn't aware there was a category called "Philippine/Filipino Spec Fic."

I read the post, then went searching through Google for more info. That led me to a series of posts (here, here, and here) trying to determine what constitutes "Filipino science fiction."

And even this one on Filipino Sword and Sorcery fiction.

I've read the posts.

Now my question: Why does it matter?

What is the point of categorizing from an ethnic standpoint?

Is it a matter of cultural identity?

Okay, let's say it is.

So what?

So the writer of Novel ABC is Filipino and portrays Filipino culture within the work.

Again: so what?

A story is a story is a story

Why the need to pigeonhole it simply because of the author's ethnicity?

The post series's author mentions Solaris by Stanislaw Lem:
Lem is Polish and wrote the story in Polish, but in no way do we consider Solaris to be a simply Polish science fiction novel. We are so drawn into the suspense of the story that nationality becomes an insignificant distinction. Solaris is a haunting psychological thriller that explores universal human condition, as well as a fantastic addition to scifi canon.

So what then? Should we stop writing Filipino science fiction in favor of scifi of the more universal sort? Certainly Filipinos should aspire to write good science fiction, but I don't know if it's possible for Filipinos to altogether stop writing Filipino science fiction. In a sense, any science fiction that a Filipino writes still is Filipino science fiction.
If we take that last line and apply it to Lem, "any science fiction that a Pole writes still is Polish science fiction."

Yet the author just said in the previous paragraph that "nationality becomes an insignificant distinction" with respect to Solaris.

Okay. I think my brain just exploded.

Back to the main point: Why does it matter?

Why not just call it all science (or speculative) fiction?

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