Victor Manibo is a Filipino speculative fiction writer living in New York. As a queer immigrant and a person of color, he writes about people who live these identities and how they navigate imaginary worlds. Aside from fiction, he also spins fantastical tales in his career as a lawyer. He lives in Queens with his husband, their dog, and their two cats. He is a 2022 Lambda Literary Emerging Voices Fellow, and his debut science fiction noir novel, THE SLEEPLESS, is out August 2022 from Erewhon Books.
Victor was so kind and was open to answering some questions for the blog, so I have to thank him for his time for giving these detailed answers:
1.- What is your main source of inspiration for creating this rich world and the Sleepless? Do you think the Covid pandemic might have been part of it?
Victor: The initial idea for The Sleepless came from a particularly busy time in my life, and I thought to myself, it would be nice if I didn’t have to sleep, I’d have more time to do everything I need to get done. Then I thought, what if the entire world were like that? Two days later, I started writing the first draft of the book. That was in late 2017, so well before the covid pandemic. The book wasn’t initially inspired by current events but as I was revising, I did some research and applied it to make the events in the book more grounded in reality.
2.- I consider Jamie Vega a really interesting character and I might find some parallelism with you. Has he been written as a sort of alternative self?
Victor: Jamie shares some characteristics with me, certainly. He’s Filipino and queer, and he lives in New York too. There are marked differences between him and me though–he is more of a risk-taker than I am, to the point of peril and possible death, often without enough forethought. He makes a lot of choices in the story that I personally would not have made.
3.- Good science fiction roots in real science, and I found that represented in details on how the lack of sleep influxes the memory and cope mechanisms. Did you spend a lot of time researching that?
Victor: My background is not in the sciences, so I did as much research as I could wrap my head around, and as much as the story needed. That meant pages and pages of journal articles, and even consulting with medical professionals. It was all so fascinating, which made the task easier. It was important for me to get the science right, even though that can be tricky in the field of neuroscience, where there aren’t often neat answers.
4.- Lastly, but not less important, what can we expect of you (Victor Manibo) in the future? Might we be lucky and see The Sleepless in Spanish someday?
Victor: I’m revising my next standalone book, which is also a near-future SF thriller tentatively titled Upward. It features a cast of devious characters attending their high school reunion on a luxury orbital station. Think Knives Out, but in space. Shenanigans (and murders!) ensue. As with my first book, it also critiques a particular aspect of capitalism. If all goes according to plan, it’ll be out in the middle of next year. As for The Sleepless being translated to Spanish, we are definitely working on it, and I hope to have news about that soon!
Personally, I can only say thank you to Victor for writing this amazing history, for how easy he was to reach, and I’m looking forward to what future Victor Manibo can bring to us!
In case you are still craving for more info about The Sleepless review, you can find my own video in Spanish here: (Soon)
Do you enjoy fantasy or sci-fi books but