It appears that Fully Booked has set up a Peoples' Choice category for the First Philippine Graphic/Fiction Awards. They've made the shortlisted entries for both categories available to the public here, and are encouraging people to vote their favorites on Saturday, July 15. (Ironically, this means that the winner of the Peoples' Choice award will be decided only by those people who happen to be in town next weekend, but I suppose that that's better than exposing it to the security loopholes of Internet voting.)
I'm fully expecting to be shut out of the competition on this one. While I did submit an entry, it was a modification of a four-year-old unpublished piece that should never have seen the light of day again. I'm also aware that quite a few other established authors don't seem to be proud of whatever they handed in, for some reason. Put that together with the sheer number of entrants to the contest, and you get what looks like a real horse race here. (That's literal, by the way; I actually have a running bet that the eventual winner will be a complete unknown.)
What I really want to know at this point, however, are the identities of the contest judges. It's difficult to put together a plausible writing competition around here, much less one that concentrates on fantastic fiction. Works that delve into social realism have been the bread-and-butter of Philippine fiction for decades; I'm not sure if I can trust these writers to judge the more "experimental" forms of literature if they haven't tried it themselves.
Yes, I know that Neil Gaiman is most definitely one of these judges, and he's certainly qualified in that respect. I just hope that he's not the only one; Otherwise, we all should have aimed for something closer to his personal tastes.
Whatever the case, I fully expect quite a bit of sourgraping to take place in the months after the final announcement. Despite the fact that I don't consider my own statements here to be sourgraping in itself, you're welcome to tell me otherwise. I can tell you, however, that if I wanted to whine about all this, I know of far more direct methods to do so.
With that said, I'm looking over the shortlisted entries for the Peoples' Choice award to see which ones make for good reads. I don't know if these are the shortlisted entries for the actual winning piece as well, but at least we get to see what a few other people put together for the contest. If everything goes as expected, I'll probably find a story that is far better than all the others on the site, and I can put in a good word for it on the fifteenth.
Seeing that I have quite a bit of free time on my hands, I'm also planning to jot down my initial impressions about each of the shortlisted entries (and possibly put them up on this blog). That way, I get to try out the old critique muscles again after months of atrophy. I'll also be able to reassess what I want to see and what I don't want to see in my stories as well, and if anyone's crazy enough to read through eight different works of fantastic fiction along with me, then we can have a nice little discussion on the matter, too. (I'd go through the shortlisted comics submissions as well, but it would probably make my dial-up connection cry.)
So you probably know that I'll most likely be hanging around the June 15 Fully Booked event, and I'm probably enough of a sucker for punishment to attend the Science Fiction/Fantasy Convention the next day. Next weekend's definitely going to be a busy one, yes, but I suppose it could be worse. For all I know, some weird Games and Puzzles Convention might pass by someday...