It’s a big, big week for Alternative Alamat contributors! Eliza Victoria (“Ana’s Little Pawnshop on Makiling St.”) and Raissa Falgui (“The Sorceress Queen”) both have new novellas out – only one is clearly speculative fiction, but both are worth checking out. Also out this week is the digital edition of Philippine Speculative Fiction 6, where “Offerings to Aman Sinaya” by Andrei Tupaz, first appeared. (Mia Tijam and I have also been doing a story-by-story review here.)
THE VIEWLESS DARK by Eliza Victoria
When Anthony found Flo dead, locked overnight in one of the reading rooms of the university library, he knew it must have something to do with Mary. Mary Prestosa, fourth year graduating Philosophy student, whom they had been investigating. Mary, who surprised her roommate one night by suddenly standing up from her bed, throwing the windows open, and jumping down, headfirst, to the dormitory grounds below. Mary, whose memory marked the trail of mysterious deaths and bizarre occurrences that followed her own fateful fall: the fifth-year Computer Engineering student who prowled the campus on all fours, thirsty for blood, believing he was a wolf; the revelation of an all-girls’ satanic cult; the demonic possession of a fourth-year student from the Department of Psychology; and now—Flo, dead.
The students traced it all to Mary. They believed Mary didn’t commit suicide. They believed Mary tapped into something dark, and released it, and was consumed.
WOMAN IN A FRAME by Raissa Falgui
In a darkened hall in a plain white box of a building was a portrait of a woman, a girl, really—an old-fashioned girl in a modern frame, leaning against the wall. Other paintings similarly arrayed surrounded her, waiting to take their places in the gallery.
Voices echoed in the room, a young man’s jeering and a young woman’s more tentative tones. Cool hands with long, delicate fingers lifted the portrait.
Perhaps what drew the young woman to this painting was the incongruity of a girl, grave and formal, set within the vibrant, flowing curves of the carved art nouveau frame. Perhaps it was the sense of kinship she felt. For the young woman, Ning, was the daughter of an artist, dreaming of becoming an artist. She knew nothing of the girl in the portrait, only that the intensity captured in the glimmer of its brush-stroked eyes reflected her own.
So begins Ning’s journey to her country’s colonial past to uncover the story behind the portrait—the story of Marcela.
It is 1896, and Marcela, of the renowned Simbulan artist family from Pino, Laguna, has fallen in love with Julio Benitez, a Spanish peninsular just come from Europe to woo the town’s belle: Raquel Riola, mestiza heiress. Torn between loyalties to family and nation, desire and social expectations, childhood and maturity, Marcela must learn to navigate dreams and deceptions to free her silenced love and stifled craft.
PHILIPPINE SPECULATIVE FICTION Volume 6 edited by Nikki Alfar and Kate Osias
- The Big Man by Asterio Gutierrez
- Alternative Histories by Ian Rosales Casocot
- Ashland by Elyss G. Punsalan
- Carpaccio (or, Repentance as a Meat Recipe) by Arlynn Despi
- The Grim Malkin by Vincent Michael Simbulan
- From the Book of Names My Mother Did Not Give Me by Christine V. Lao
- Prisoner 2501 by Philip Corpuz
- A Smell of Mothballs by Mailin Paterno
- Villainoguing by Joseph Montecillo
- On Wooden Wings by Paolo Chikiamco
- Break in at Batay Street by Francis Gabriel Concepcion
- The Kiddie Pool by Kenneth Yu
- Eternal Winter by Maria Pia Vibar Benosa
- Lament of the Counselor by Jay Anyong
- The Bookshelves of Mrs. Go by Charles Tan
- Offerings to Aman Sinaya by Andrei Tupaz
- Resurrection by Victor Ocampo
- Strange Adventures in Procreation by Andrew Drilon
- Hollowbody by Crystal Koo
- The Storyteller’s Curse by Eliza Victoria
- The Impossible and the R.S.C. Gregorio del Pilar by Alex Osias
- Simon’s Replica by Dean Alfar