Thursday, September 08, 2005

Adventures in PassportLand 2 + Open Call for Dragon Fiction

Fifteen working days. That was what Mang Dino said before gently ushering me out the DFA driveway, where people spilled in and out by the hundreds, a sort of organized chaos that almost made me want to bolt out of the door in fright.

I got to the travel agency at 9 AM, and as usual they had forgotten that I was coming so I had to catch up at Libertad. My head was already reeling, but at least all of my papers were in good order, and I was just asked to take a cab by my lonesome to the DFA. When I got there, scalpers dove towards me like bees to honey, and I was waiting there, huddled underneath an umbrella, my bag clutched to my chest, my papers in an envelope. Mang Dino finally arrived, and brought me inside. I was led through a series of corridors where people went to and fro - students and professionals, domestic workers and middle-aged women who wanted to escape the country - and led into a small, harshly-lit room that smelled slightly of chlorine and disinfectant.

Everything was processed with relative ease: a man whose job it was to compare your face to your picture barely even glanced at me before stamping my papers, and then I had to line up, sit down, line up again in front of windows where people would ask you random questions before stamping a number on your application and actually taking your hands and pressing them on to the ink pad, then gently rolling your thumbs across the little box on your application. Then you sign your papers, and then Mang Dino, the liason officer from the travel agency, said that he would take it from there. It wasn't even 10.30 when I left the building.

So there. I'll have my passport in 15 working days. Next step is TOEFL, and the transcript, and then the work for NUS application finally begins. ^_^

Oh, and before I forget:

Vin Simbulan, of ComicQuest fame, wanted me to put this up.

In the realms of fantasy, no other mythic creature inspires the same sense of awe and wonder, menace and majesty as the Dragon. Crossing cultural boundaries, the dragon is represented in a myriad of forms, in many tales from across the globe, spanning centuries of art and literature. Perhaps the fascination stems from what the dragon represents- a creature of unbridled power, a primeval force of nature that challenges the mettle of anyone who crosses its path.

In the West the dragon has become an avatar of malice, devourer of maidens, keeper of priceless hoards, a threat to be overcome by knights in shining armor. In contrast, the Oriental dragon is a revered icon, master of storms and rain, and keeper of wisdom.

Given the popularity of dragons, particularly in the genre of "pop-fantasy" (of the Dungeons and Dragons RPG variety), it comes as no surprise that some of the sense of wonder has faded. The dragon has suffered from over-exposure and become diminished, stale.

Despite the flood of mediocrity, there are many excellent stories that deal with dragons, among the most noteworthy off the top of my head are: King Dragon by Michael Swanwick, The Ice Dragon by George R.R. Martin, The Dragonbone Flute by Lois Tilton, and The Man who Painted the Dragon Griaule by Lucius Shepard. All are excellent tales, written by pedigreed authors.

And so, encouraged by the response to best bud Dean Alfar's Speculative Fiction anthology (featuring fantasy, science fiction and stories of the interstitial/slipstream mode), I have decided to publish "A Time for Dragons: An Anthology of Philippine Draconic Fiction".

I'm now extending an open call for submissions. My agenda is simple. Show me something new, something fresh, something that presents the dragon in a new light and restores a sense of awe and wonder. I'll accept tales from across genres: classic fantasy, science fiction, horror, slipstream, children's fiction/juvenilia, as well as poetry - whatever strikes your fancy. Show me new dragons that have never been seen before, make it grand or small, just keep in mind that we are dealing with a creature that has fascinated humanity's collective imagination for centuries. Give it the treatment it deserves.


1. Word Count. For fiction, anywhere from 2500 to 6000 words. For poetry, short or long form is acceptable. Englsh language only.

2. Language & Setting. English language. Can be set in original imaginary worlds or the "real" world, not necessarily the Philippines (as Dragons are "universal"). Absolutely no fan fic.

3. Number of Entries. Each author may submit up to two (2) submissions.

4. Format. Only via email. Attach as a Word Document - just make sure your submission is virus-free. Please email all submissions to: viniquest(at)yahoo(dot)com

5. Cover Letter. Kindly include a cover letter that includes the title of your submission, the word count, your full name, contact details including contact numbers, as well as a list of your previously published work, if any. New unpublished authors are more than welcome to submit.

6. Compensation. Each author whose work becomes part of the anthology will receive two (2) author's copies of the final publication. Similar to Dean's anthology, the Dragon antho is completely self-funded - except that selected authors may also avail of special discounts at Comic Quest and Petty Pets (right, Dean?) ;)

7. Deadline & Publication Schedule. All submissions must be received before midnight of January 4, 2006. Authors of selected pieces will be informed thereafter. The book will be released by the first quarter of 2006.

Have fun!

So - what are you waiting for? Join join join! ^_^

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