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Aliasing (Semina No. 9)
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Republic of Consciousness Prize > 2020 RoC longlist: Aliasing

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message 1: by Paul (last edited Jan 25, 2020 11:33AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10020 comments Aliasing by Mara Coson (Book Works)

From the judges:

A burgeoning of jingles and brief histories of lunacy, funny and horrifying, this book is both joyously free-wheeling and tonic to the ear and eye. Mara Coson, co-founder of The Manila Review, brings a radio- and news scandal-driven picture of recent Phillipines culture to an outside world that cannot know every local catchword or every figure of ill repute. But this is an irresistible ride – and a gem apparently spotted among the open submissions to Bookworks’ cutting-edge Semina series.

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10020 comments One of 4 books on the list where both publisher and book are new to me.

I was expecting to see Insurrecto on the list - this seems to have some broad similarities.

message 3: by WndyJW (new)

WndyJW | 5930 comments Is this an Isabel Waidner type novel?

message 4: by Paul (last edited Jan 25, 2020 11:34AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10020 comments Well I am not sure quite what it is

But perhaps that is the definition of an Isabel Waidner type novel?

Certainly it is the final one in a series of 9 experimental texts from that publisher which they described as "where the novel has a nervous breakdown".

Which could be a good new strapline for the RoC prize

message 5: by Paul (last edited Jan 25, 2020 11:38AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10020 comments And to give a flavour of the previous books in the series.....

Katrina Palmer reforged the passage between Hegel and Žižek with art school as her thesis, theory as her antithesis, and sexual perversion as the synthesis.

Bridget Penney rewired London psychogeography via historical detours through occult shenanigans involving Count Alessandro di Cagliostro and his arrest in relation to that notorious eighteenth-century scam the Diamond Necklace Affair.

Maxi Kim rewrote Stewart Home’s 69 Things To Do With A Dead Princess into a Korean American idiom

Stewart Home made a critique of the art world using modified penis enlargement spam.

We also published high weirdness by Mark Waugh and a tripped out, high grade alchemical transformation by Jarett Kobek
alongside the analytical screed and feminist theory of Jana Leo.

message 6: by WndyJW (new)

WndyJW | 5930 comments So, yes, it is an Isabel Waidner/Paul/Neil/NotWendy type book.

Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 6584 comments Its an intriguing mix of books this year - some unusally "pleasant" ones (Patience, Leonard and Hungry Paul) and some (this and That Lonesome Valley) where, at least judging by the publisher's website, they will be the opposite.

Neil | 2032 comments Yes, I have ordered this from the publisher but I am a bit nervous about reading it. And currently, I am not at all sure I will tackle That Lonesome Valley.

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10020 comments Well that was suitably baffling. One could spend hours tracking down all the references - Playing Possum in the Philippines style - but actually interviews with the author suggest this isn't what she intended. Two interviews (links in my review) each conclude with her advice to readers:

I wrote it to be a fun and easy read, and I hope that comes across!
I think when people ask me how the best way to read it is, I think it’s to water-slide through it and just enjoy the ride.

So relax and sit back....

message 10: by Neil (new) - rated it 3 stars

Neil | 2032 comments I relaxed and sat back.

Now, 24 hours later, I have forgotten most of the book!

I realise that the fault lies with me rather than the book, but I found it too slippery.

That said, it was, at the time, fun to read. It's just that afterwards, I found I had no mental image of the book that I could refer to. I feel like there's a 2 hour period of my life where I know I had fun but I don't know what I did. And, no, I didn't go to parties like that when I was younger.

message 11: by Paul (last edited Feb 03, 2020 05:18AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10020 comments found I had no mental image of the book that I could refer to. . I feel like there's a 2 hour period of my life where I know I had fun but I don't know what I did.

Well you've certainly left me with a mental image - a rather disturbing one - of what goes on when Neil reads a book :-)

Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 6584 comments For anyone reading the book who wants to be able to read it in the spirit the author intended (as a fun "go with the flow" read) while also being informed (at minimum effort) as to the copious references to other art forms and (mainly) 20th Century Philippine history.

Or for anyone wanting a quick idea of what the book is about

Here is my list of references

Legendary creatures

Arowana fish:


Duterte’s election-talk:
Larry Hillblom:
Helena Pedroche:
Kok Trindad:

Mga anak ni Facifica Falayfay:
ibong adarna
Fritz Lang :
Mars Attacks :
Do not Fold, Spindle or Mutilate:

The American-Philippines War

The Macabebes capture on behalf of the Americans of the Tagalog Philippine President Emilio Aguinaldo:
Macabebe Marie:

Marian visionaries :
Veronica Leuken :
Emma de Guzman :

message 13: by Paul (last edited Feb 05, 2020 02:41AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10020 comments Very handy. As you've suggested elsewhere, this isn't Playing Possum in that the references aren't supposed to be opaque.

What about Diego Salvador who seems rather key?

And where I still struggle with this - the so what? It's sort of interesting to realise that the radio serial is based on the capture of Emilio Aguinaldo, except that in the novel he's called Diego Salvador, who is the hero of a soap star - but other than confusing the reader, what message is it trying to convey?

Also has to be said even with all the references the novel is still confusing at the plot level. Or perhaps confusing is the wrong word, as there isn't a plot.

message 14: by Paul (new) - rated it 3 stars

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10020 comments (that Mars Attacks scene is one of my favourites from - an admittedly short list - movies I've seen over the last 20 years)

Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 6584 comments I could not find any useful Diego Salvador links (it seems to have been an old film then turned into a radio play)

message 16: by Paul (new) - rated it 3 stars

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10020 comments I feel that is where the key to unlocking the mysteries of the novel must lie. As I can't find it anywhere else.

message 17: by Hugh (new) - rated it 4 stars

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3475 comments Mod
I can't say I am any less confused than the rest of you but I did enjoy the ride, and I think the comparison to Diamond Stuff is a fair one, though obviously the writers and their circumstances are very different. There was a sentence near the end which I felt encapsulated the whole thing:
"My imagination had eloped with local mythology"

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