Pakistan News & Features Services
It was a dark and stormy afternoon outside but the top floor of Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf at Shangri-La Mall in Manila was lit up on July 27 when three books were simultaneously launched from 2 to 5 pm, celebrating the diversity of speculative fiction storytelling in the Philippines.
The master of ceremonies was the popular Dean Francis Alfar, who dreamed up ‘Philippine Speculative Fiction’ back in 2005. He was part of the cadre of writers who pushed for the inclusion of speculative fiction in a largely reala ist tradition of Philippine writing in English.
The first book to be launched was ‘Now, Then, and Elsewhen’ brought out by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House. It is a collection of fantastic fiction from award-winning writer and editor Nikki Alfar. It shows glimpses of the weird and wonderful worlds between and within the Filipino experience.
‘The Best of Philippine Speculative Fiction 2005-2010’ was the next book that was launched during the afternoon. A publication of Flipside Publishing, it showcases of the best and brightest stories that have appeared in the yearly anthology ‘Philippine Speculative Fiction.’
While its print version was launched earlier this year as one of UP Press’ literary titles, the digital version provides access for local and international readers, and gives purveyors of speculative fiction the chance to see what local writers are exploring and writing about.
Lastly, the 8th volume of the annual ‘Philippine Speculative Fiction’ anthology, also brought out by Flipside Publishing, was launched. Co-edited by Dean and Nikki Alfar, it has the range of stories which go beyond geography and history: from a 4th-grade classroom to the backwaters of Ubec to one’s own dreams.