We Must Create The Fantastic

I’ve spent the past few months reading speculative short fiction by Filipino/a writers. It’s a fun way for me to explore my roots and also helps me to discover the kinds of stories other Filipinos/as are writing. Thanks to the magic of ebooks and Amazon, I’ve been able to access some wonderful collections of stories originally published in the Philippines (and for a while, difficult to find in the United States). One of my recent purchases comes from an annual anthology series entitled Philippine Speculative Fiction, which began in 2005 as the brainchild of husband and wife writers/editors, Dean Francis Alfar and Nikki Alfar. They strove to promote the writing and reading of speculative fiction in the Philippines by publishing some of the best stories they could get their hands on. Fast forward to 2017, and the anthology series is still going strong with volume 11 currently in the works. I’ve been reading one of their special anthologies, Best of Philippine Speculative Fiction 2005-2010, just to get my feet wet. Instead, I plunged into the deep end. It’s been a revelation thus far. (more…)

Slipping Into Another’s Soul

During the summer residency, I volunteered to assist with my MFA program’s literary magazine, The Stonecoast Review.  I’m a fiction/pop fiction reader for the upcoming issue number 4.  Issue 3 was just published yesterday, and it’s fantastic – check it out when you get the chance.  My job entails reading through the slush pile (i.e. submitted manuscripts) and scoring those stories based on a strict set of criteria established by the editors.  Stories that score well enough are sent up the chain where editors will scrutinize the stories further.  The lucky few deemed worthy will be published.  Manuscripts with low scores will be cheerfully bound to a bottle rocket, launched into the atmosphere, and burnt to a crisp in a beautiful display of colored sparkles to be enjoyed by children of all ages.  It’ll be quite the show.  You should join us.  Of course, I’m just kidding (maybe).  It’s the nature of the business.  Stories will be rejected, and believe me, I know what that feels like.