Here’s the promised second installment of Philippine speculative fiction recommendations to help you get ready for the upcoming 39th Manila International Book Fair (MIBF).
If you’re the type of reader who doesn’t have time to sit through entire novels, then this list is for you. This time, I’ll walk you through anthologies created by one of the best contemporary writers of Philippine literature, Dean Francis Alfar.
KITE OF STARS AND OTHER STORIES
Fly to places you’ve never been to before on Dean Francis Alfar‘s Kite of Stars. It’s the first anthology of short fiction compiled by the ten-time Palanca award winner, who was also one of the pioneers of the annual Philippine Speculative Fiction anthology (if you’ve never heard of this project, you gotta check it out!).
Kite of Stars and Other Stories contains 16 brilliant pieces of fiction that reimagines familiar tales, including ones based on our colonial history, and others on our local myths. The collection also showcases Alfar’s versatility in form. Imagine reading some stories written in the academic format—complete with citations and footnotes! Isn’t that awesome?
HOW TO TRAVERSE TERRA INCOGNITA
Learn how to navigate through worlds unknown as Dean Francis Alfar teaches you How to Traverse Terra Incognita in his second collection of magical stories. Use this book to guide you as you journey through deep caverns on the back of mighty dragons, or to desolate, storm-beaten cities where you might find unexpected things, like monsters—or love. This book will also introduce you to characters that blur the lines between humanity and monstrosity. See familiar creatures painted in a new light, and marvel as your heart fills with sympathy for a grieving dragon, or with terror at the cunning and brutality of a Little Girl.
A FIELD GUIDE TO THE ROADS OF MANILA AND OTHER STORIES
Ever wondered what happened after Pinocchio became a real boy? Or what kind of people EDSA, Aurora Blvd., or Balete Drive would’ve been if they were humans? What about how life would be like if aliens and humans lived side-by-side, the moon just an elevator ride away? Find out how Alfar answered these speculations in his third collection, A Field Guide to the Roads of Manila and Other Stories.
You’re likely to find Alfar’s books in the Filipiniana section of major bookstores’ booths at the MIBF. And while you’re checking out his books, you might also want to consider getting yourself a copy of this:
ALTERNATIVE ALAMAT (Various Authors)
In addition to Alfar and the previously featured Eliza Victoria, this book contains some of the greatest names in the Philippine Speculative Fiction scene. These great writers had come together to create this collection of creative interpretations of Philippine myths and legends.
The book, which was edited by Mythspace comics creator Paulo Chikiamco and illustrated by Mervin Malonzo, who is best known for Tabi Po, contains 13 stories by several notable authors, including Trese writer Budjette Tan. The collection features a great variety of indigenous mythological creatures, such as kapres, karibangs (or werewolves), and the moon-eating Bakunawa, as well as characters from famous legends, including Maria Makiling, Maria Sinukuan, and the god and goddess Tungkung Langit and Alunsina. The stories set these characters in the modern world, making readers feel that they’re closer than ever before to these ancient and almost forgotten heroes. An expanded print edition of this book (published in 2014) also includes useful content for anyone who would like to start tapping into the rich literary resources of our country for their own works of fiction.
Can’t wait to get your hands on these titles? Well, hold on just a sec and sit tight, because we have more book recommendations to come! Watch out for our third and final installment soon!
Photos by Photo by Annie Spratt and Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash