28 August 2023

Notes toward a review of 1762, steampunk novel

Vin dela Serna Lopez's 1762 (Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2023) was one of the books that caught my attention in the Philippine Book Festival in Manila last June. I gravitated toward it for various reasons. Its arresting cover was a vision in burgundy. Two ships floating on a "wine-dark sea", clearly at odds with each other with all that heavy smoke in between; the prominent number-title reverse-embossed in that ink-blot, blood-like burgundy font; and the reddish British flag of the left ship waving. The synopsis at the back revealed the novel's backdrop: British invasion of Manila in 1762 which lasted for two years. It was a historical event largely ignored in fiction.


The novelist was scheduled to have an autograph signing in the Ateneo Press booth later that day. Thus I went around first on a book buying binge before coming back to the booth after lunch for an autograph. I snagged Vin's signature with this cryptic dedication.