If you know about Philippine speculative fiction, you owe a debt to Dean Francis Alfar. Dean is one of the most well known (and critically acclaimed) Filipino spec fic writers, and one of its staunchest advocates – he published the print versions of the annual Philippine Speculative Fiction series and is one of the organizers of the Litcritters discussion group/workshop. His new short story collection is now out from the good folk at Flipside Publishing: “How to Traverse Terra Incognita” Here’s a book blurb, with praise for Dean’s writing from a wide array of peers and critics:
How to Traverse Terra Incognita is Dean Francis Alfar’s second collection of short fiction. An advocate of the literature of the imagination, he is the publisher of the Philippine Speculative Fiction anthologies, an annual showcasing Filipino fictionists that he began in 2005.
“Dean Francis Alfar’s stories contain fantastic worldbuilding, crisp prose, and contemplative, poignant storytelling. Several of these stories made me cry. If you aren’t reading Alfar yet, you should be.” – Hugo Award winner Lynne M. Thomas, Editor-in-Chief, Apex Magazine
“Dean Francis Alfar is one of the most inventive writers of speculative fiction today. It’s criminal that his often playful, sometimes serious, gloriously literate tales aren’t better known around the world. Although he’s a very different writer, his lyrical style seems to me to make him a Ray Bradbury for the 21st century.”
- John Grant, Joint Editor of The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, and author of Warm Words and Otherwise: A Blizzard of Book Reviews and many others
“Dean Francis Alfar is a wondrous storyteller, creating tales that take the reader far and wide. From reluctant dragon fathers and dueling weather gods to demanding, dying queens, he has a way of pulling you into his captivating worlds and never letting go. And really, who would want to leave anyway when there is something extraordinary around every corner?” – Hugo Award winner editor Ann VanderMeer
“Dean Francis Alfar’s ambitious but aptly titled collection is a revelation. In these wide-ranging stories you’ll find the melancholy magic of Kelly Link mixed with the clever wit and bite of Etgar Keret mixed with the unrestrained passion of Harlan Ellison. Yet, “How to Traverse Terra Incognita” is utterly original. It’s like that amazing new band that you fall in love with instantly and want to share with everyone. Then you and your friends will be gladly building replicas of your kingdoms, barricading the house against fathers, and packing for the moon.”–Paul Tremblay, author of The Little Sleep and Swallowing a Donkey’s Eye
“How to Traverse Terra Incognita is a kaleidoscope of strange realities. Dean Francis Alfar’s elegant prose offers tantalizing glimpses of broken fairy tales, urban magics, and everyday sadnesses.” – Ditmar Award winner Tansy Rayner Roberts, author of Creature Court trilogy and Love and Romanpunk.
“Dean Francis Alfar is an amazing talent. Profound, luminous and lyrical, “How to Traverse Terra Incognita” is the masterwork of an artist at the very top of his game. This collection is a must-read for anyone who cares about the magic of rubbing words together.” — Ted Kosmatka, author of The Games
“When Dean Francis Alfar is at his best in stories like ‘The Ghosts of Wan Chai’ and ‘Securing Doors from Fathers,’ he illuminates human emotion with deft surrealism that merges the familiar and the unfamiliar, allowing the reader to view both in a new light. His clever use of sustained metaphor allows him to play with subtext, memory, and the intersection between personal and communal experience.” – Nebula Award winner author Rachel Swirsky
“Like water coming and going from some strange invisible well, arresting style and uncanny subjects flow in the short fiction of Dean Francis Alfar. An innovative force behind him moves in each compelling story. With Dali-like detail, Mr. Alfar coolly raises hanging coffins, replicas of maritime kingdoms, phantom brides and Hong Kong suicides, whirling chatty lobsters, Mr. Sun’s face, and the remarkable art of making love to twins. He is never afraid to go out and seek what strange thing he may find. I won’t say this writer merits only finding a wider readership in the West: it is better to say that we are entitled to find him. Read something from this collection before you go to bed; rise with the wonder of what happened to your dreams.” – Danel Olson, editor of the Exotic Gothic series