Summation 2009

by

The sixteen stories included in this anthology were chosen from magazines (online and print), anthologies, and single author collections. The authors reside in the Philippines, France, Singapore, and the United States.
 
Anthologies 
When it comes to anthologies, 2009 was the year of delayed releases.
 
Philippine Speculative Fiction IV edited by Dean Francis Alfar and Nikki Alfar (Kestrel IMC) was originally scheduled for late 2008 but finally got released in February 2009. Subsequent volumes should follow this new schedule. The book features twenty-three original stories and an excerpt from an upcoming novel.
 
Another anthology that finally saw the light of day was A Time for Dragons edited by Vincent Michael Simbulan (Anvil Publishing) which is a themed anthology. The call for submissions was posted way back in 2005 but it is only this year that the anthology finally got released under a mainstream publisher. There are seventeen stories in this book, fourteen of which are original. In Locus Magazine, Rich Horton describes it as “…[the book] manages a wide range of styles – and dragons – and it’s another fine collection.”
 
A web-only anthology is The Farthest Shore edited by Dean Francis Alfar and Joseph R. Nacino (Estranghero Press). It takes its name from one of Ursula K. le Guin’s Earthsea novels and includes twelve secondary-world fantasy stories. Two of the stories are reprints from Philippine Speculative Fiction I but the rest are original to the book.
 
An international anthology worth mentioning is By Blood We Live edited by John Joseph Adams (Night Shade Books) as it includes a story from Singapore-based writer Gabriela Lee. “Hunger” was originally published in A Different Voice: Fiction by Young Filipino Writers edited by Vicente Garcia Groyon (UST Publishing House) and is reprinted in this vampire-themed anthology.
 
The Apex Book of World SF edited by Lavie Tidhar (Apex Book Company) includes “L’Aquilone du Estrellas (The Kite of Stars)” by Dean Francis Alfar and “Excerpt from a Letter by a Social-realist Aswang” by Kristin Mandigma. These were originally published in Strange Horizons and Clarkesworld Magazine respectively.

Cinema Spec: Tales of Hollywood and Fantasy edited by Karen A. Romanko (Raven Electrick Ink) includes the flash fiction piece “Oracle in Chains” by Rodello Santos. Santos is based in America.
 
Magazines
 Locally, the magazines dedicated to fiction aren’t faring so well. Both Story Philippines and The Digest of Philippine Genre Stories have only released one issue in 2009, whereas the former is supposed to be a quarterly while the latter’s release, The Digest of Philippine Genre Stories: Special Horror Issue was originally slated for 2008. A new eBook publisher, Rocket Kapre, has released a web-only fiction magazine entitled Usok. The first issue had five stories, three of which are original while the other two are reprints.
 
Mainstream magazines, from Uno to Rogue, have occasionally been publishing fiction pieces in their pages, which happens to include texts that could be categorized as speculative fiction. The weekly periodicals The Philippines Free Press and Philippines Graphic also churned out several speculative fiction stories over the course of the year.
 
Online genre magazines such as Fantasy and Expanded Horizons have also published Filipino authors such as Rochita Loenen-Ruiz and Eliza Victoria.
 
Collections
 While not specifically labeled as speculative fiction, there are two noteworthy collections released this year.
 
Waking the Dead and Other Horror Stories by Yvette Tan (Anvil Publishing) includes ten stories from the author, most of which are reprints. Unfortunately, the book lacks a proper bibliography. Author Paul G. Tremblay describes the book as: “Many of the stories revolve around legendary spirits/beasts and read somewhat dreamlike, Jamesian in a way, while there are others that are in voice, style, and plot very much a modern horror story.”
 
The Lost Language: Stories by Marianne Villanueva (Anvil Publishing) is not exclusively speculative fiction but those that fall under this category are well-written. This is a mix of eight reprints and six original stories, the former being published in both abroad and local venues.
 
Awards and Recognitions
 While not necessarily awards in of themselves, three stories published in 2008 made it in the Honorable Mentions longlist of Best Horror of the Year: Volume One edited by Ellen Datlow (Night Shade Books). These are “Thirty-Two” by Elyss Punsalan from Story Philippines, “Psychic Family” by Apol Lejano-Massebieau from Philippine Genre Stories 4, and “Seek Ye Whore” by Yvette Tan from Rogue Magazine.
 
Netherlands-based writer Rochita Loenen-Ruiz was this year’s Octavia E. Butler Scholar. She is the first Filipino to have attended the Clarion West Writers Workshop.

In the annual Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards, Luis Katigbak’s science fiction piece, “Dear Distance” won third place in the English short story category.

Charles Tan‘s fiction has appeared in publications such as The Digest of Philippine Genre Stories and Philippine Speculative Fiction. He has contributed nonfiction to websites such as The Nebula Awards, The Shirley Jackson Awards, The World SF News Blog, and SF Signal. In 2009, he won the Last Drink Bird Head Award for International Activism which is described as “In recognition of those who work to bring writers from other literary traditions and countries to the attention of readers in North America, the United Kingdom, and Australia…” You can visit his blog, Bibliophile Stalker, or the Philippine Speculative Fiction Sampler.