Now speculative fiction isn't just about sci-fi and fantasy, mind you. According to Honey, it can be any of the following genres:
- Alternate History
- Coming of Age (as a species)
- Contemporary Fantasy
- Fairy Tales
- First Contact
- Horror/Dark Fantasy
- Magical Realism
- Science Fiction
I would have to agree that almost all of these stories have a strong Filipino element, whether evident in the use of the language, the setting, the history, and the characters. The first story, "The Big Man" is wonderful in a very unconventional way. It presents a fictionalized account of an outstanding basketball player who might be, for all intents and purposes, be a character in Philippine folklore called the kapre. For a short story, it's quite lengthy, but the personal history that the writer has come up with is rich in detail.
My favorite story, however, is "The Grim Malkin" for it does not take itself too seriously. Compared with "The Big Man" which has a very pedantic feel to it, "The Grim Malkin" is pure geekiness. It's about a mismatched couple who go on a quest and manage to resurrect a cat-like entity who makes it clear that it's no big deal if it kills the couple. It's high fantasy on drugs. The banter between the cat and the man and woman is so humorous it begs for canned laughter.
Other notable stories (IMHO) are "Alternative Histories," "Ashland," and "On Wooden Wings." "Alternative Histories" is presented as a series of tweets from personalities in Philippine history if they had accessed to that social networking site. "Ashland" is marvelous in the writer's portrayal of a world so gray and silent. "On Wooden Wings" can be categorized as cross-over, for it works for both adult and young adult readers. And it's setting is a place where writers in this genre seldom touch on -- the Philippines' Islamic provinces.
I have yet to read the first 5 volumes of this series. But if they're just a fraction as good as the 6th volume, then I know I'll be happy. It's just too bad that the publishers only printed a few hundred copies of PSF 6, and that the earlier volumes are out of print. More people should read these.
Read this book if:
- You're into speculative fiction.
- You love suspending disbelief.
- You're curious how Filipino writers would write in this genre.