First of all, I know so little about fiction-writing that I find myself half-ashamed of saying anything about it. I was out with a friend the other day, though-- nagpunta kami sa burol ng erpats ng tropa, at nagpagpag kami nang kaunti sa que rico-- and we ended up talking about, among other things, a recent panel discussion involving "spec-fic" writers. And from what I've gathered-- hmm. Ewan. O sabi nga ng mga kaibigan kong bisaya, ambot.
Sige, kaunting paliwanag at latag ng ilang argumento, at tanong.
Really: I don't understand the term "speculative" fiction. But from what I do understand, I can say this-- and this has been mentioned by others before: All fiction, by definition, is speculative. Even realist fiction-- this sphere that the discourse on "speculative" fiction wishes to set itself apart from-- is speculative. Realist fiction is speculative fiction, because it speculates on what might, or could be, or should be, or actually is (albeit sometimes with the author unconscious of this is-ness) within the bounds of reality. (You see, even that is problematic: what is real, really?)
Now I do know what "speculative" fictionists purport their works to be, or under what genres these fall in. But still. To use the term "speculative fiction" as an umbrella term for genres whose only thread is-- well, what exactly? A willing and presupposed suspension of disbelief? Di ba lahat ng fiction ganu'n din?-- to use it as merely a term, without a clear delineation in form or even intention from the rest of other fictions-- seems, to me, moot.
Moot, because, because, because: nauuwi sa problematic ng publication ang usapan. Just another way to sell books. Which could be problematic, really, since it inserts the market into a discourse of form. When readers look for only those books which fall under "speculative" fiction, when shelves in bookstores are dedicated to this hodgepodge of genres and marketed with posters that say "come, buy me, speculative ako!"-- fiction, as a form, as a plurality, suffers. Because when market forces are put into the equation, and writers begin to fall into the trap of writing just to get published.... You get what I mean.
Thing is, I don't really care if a group of writers who are passionate about their work band together and push for this "movement." Go go go. Gawin ang lahat nang kayang gawin sa pinakamahusay na paraang kayang gawin. This is all well and good.
Except that unintentionally (I guess,) it pigeonholes all the other forms that don't fall inside that umbrella term. The problematic, to me, lies in "speculative" fiction's exclusivity. If a decent argument can be made, though, regarding "speculative" fiction's (exclusive) speculativeness-- or, at least, if it can delineate itself as a form in itself, then, ayun. I will say sorry and go back to eating biscochos.
I've been reflecting on folk stories-- the diwatas and tikbalangs and lamang-lupas of lore-- and how they're set apart from today's "speculative" fiction. I guess now these stories are merely that-- stories-- whereas back then, they were real. Or as real as fear can be. Or dreams.
See, I was looking for a way to insert today's interest in "speculative" fiction into the wider narrative of our nation's history. (Ayun! Nation! Teka baka matisod ako, lumalalim na itong usapin na ito, a, tapos dadagdagan pa ng nation.) Why? Naisip ko lang na kung sa diskurso lang ng pagiging fiction iaaangkla ang usapin ng "speculative" fiction, magiging manipis at mauuwi lang ito sa propagation ng Western thought. Which is what, I think, this fidelity to formalism (or the way it's been [mis?]understood in our country) in poetry (ay potah panibagong diskurso at mga kaaway na naman ito!) has led to. Epistemic violence, all over again. The colonization of thought. Native forms and methes (shit, methes! Ang pretentious! Saan ko ba narinig ito?) set aside, forgotten in favor of foreign constructs. Masakit 'yun, di ba.
'Yun lang naman. Pag-usapan pa natin ito, a? Sabi nga ng isang kaibigan, random brain-fart lang. Ikatutuwa ko kung may makadiskurso pa ukol dito-- pero medyo busy pa, e. Baka mamaya. Sa ngayon, babalik na ako sa pagsusulat ukol sa mga double-insertion sa Senado at sa napipintong pag-uwi ni Joc-joc Bolante.
Teka: Happy Mondays mamaya sa mag:net Katipunan. Nood ka. Tutugtog din kami. Sana kung maligaw kayo at naagapan ng timbreng ito, makasilip ka.
Labels: criticism yata, literature, speculative fiction