by Don Jaucian
The Speculative Fiction market in the Philippines went to a wider standpoint this year. Neil Gaiman and Fully Booked launched the first Philippine Graphic/Fiction Awards which gave a long needed breather from the suffocating reach of Filipino Realism. He noticed the rich imaginative culture of Filipinos and encouraged the venture towards Filipino Unrealism. The short-listed entries were a lot of hallucinatory, thematic and sometimes derivative short fiction showcasing the Filipino talent and imagination.
Before the end of last year, Dean Alfar released his long awaited second volume of Philippine Speculative Fiction. Kenneth Yu also opened a market for genre suckers with his Digest of Philippine Genre Stories released also later this year. PsiCom also released its SF anthology with Pinoy Amazing Adventures that contained the Palanca winner Lunes, Alas Diyes ng Umaga by Vlad Gonzales.
There was an ongoing rumor that the Futuristic Fiction category in the Palancas would be gone next year. The word still needs to be confirmed.
Whether it is the need for a new escape or the desire to promote higher perspectives, one thing is clear: Philippine SF just got bigger. No more is it confined to horror anthologies and children's books. With all these new markets for SF writers and readers to burrow on, I decided to put up a list of the year's best SF stories. It can also serve as a 411 for those wanting to know how well SF is doing in the Philippines.
The list was constructed through research, reading and scouring different SF sites and blogs throughout the year.
1. Atha - Mikey Atienza (Philippine Graphic/Fiction Awards)
2. The God Equation (Philippine Graphic Fiction Awards)
3. Insomnia - Joseph Nacino (Digest of Philippine Genre Stories)
4. Six From Downtown - Dean Francis Alfar (Philippine Free Press/ Philippine Speculative Fiction v. 2)
5. Lunes, Alas Diyes ng Umaga - Vlad Gonzales (Pinoy Amazing Adventures)
6. Witch - Jessi Albano (Philippine Speculative Fiction v. 2)
7. Borealis - Rochita Ruiz (Philippine Speculative Fiction v. 2)
8. Welcome to Limbo - Marie La Vina (Story Philippines)
9. Inhuman - Alexander Osias (The Digest of Philippine Genre Stories)
10. Assignment - R. Zamora Linmarck (Manila Envelope 2)
The Wail of the Sun - Vin Simbulan, The Child Abandoned - Yvette Tan, The Sign of the Cross - Stanley Geronimo, Waiting for Agua De Mayo - Mia Tjiam.