PSF 9 Release

Philippine Speculative Fiction 9 is out! Includes my story “Anthropomorpha,” which I still can’t pronounce correctly unless I’m looking at the word.

psf9xBook blurb: A young tikbalang auditions at the country’s largest TV station; a priest travels the universe to officiate sacraments in outer space; a murdered girl returns unscathed to the home of her perpetrators. The Philippine Speculative Fiction series showcases the rich variety of Philippine literature. Between these covers you will find magic realism next to science fiction, traditional fantasy beside slipstream, and imaginary worlds rubbing shoulders with alternate Philippine history—demonstrating that the literature of the fantastic is alive and well in the Philippines.”

It’s available in the following stores, with the editors saying there’s more in the pipeline coming:

Here’s an excerpt from my story:

Luz found out what she really was when she was young and she quickly developed a habit for when her parents left her in the house alone. When the house was emptied of them, of their sapienness, their rationality and their even keel, it felt just about right. Everything dropped its act. The mirror stopped pretending it wasn’t looking at Luz, the TV stopped pretending it wasn’t judging her. In moments like these, Luz’s heart unmoored from its usual place of screwdrivered tightness.

Luz would take the back door close to the kitchen that led to the basement. No one in her family cleaned these parts. She found her mouth full of cobwebs and a beetle on her face. The door closed behind her in the dark, rust singing, shutting off the only source of light. In the dark, she began to strip. Slippers, shirt, underwear. The dust and filth on the concrete stairs crept into the webs of her toes. She folded her clothes and left them on the top step as she went down.

Not yet, not yet. Too narrow. Too close to the surface, the neighbors will hear. The anticipation consumed her, like the energy and desire that accompanies a smoker returning to her cigarette after an attempt to quit.

At first Luz thinks it’s her stomach reacting to the fish smell and going haywire, but it’s not, it’s something more alarming. It’s familiar. It makes her think of milkfish and mangoes, someone nearby burning wood. Seaweed on the shore, like a mermaid’s hair, the saltiness of beach country. Hayop nga tag-as, walay tiil o kamot, magkamang sa yuta gamit ang himbis sa tiyan, pagkiway-kiway o pagtuyhakaw sa lawas, a laugh, someone pulling a drink from a beer bottle, halas, halas. A tokay gecko squashed by a rock, its speckled green-and-orange body almost perfectly fossilized, knobs on its skin.

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