Thursday, February 26, 2009

Filipino Speculative Fiction 2009 Part 2

Publication: Uno Magazine January - February 2009

"White Meat" by Yvette Tan

There's a point where I shouldn't be surprised, Uno is a Men's Magazine after all and Yvette Tan's story is precisely catered to that market. For the most part, "White Meat" is this erotic speculative fiction piece (between Benito Kampf and Nikki Alfar's stories in Rogue Magazine and Joey Nacino's fiction in the FHM Erotica Issue, that's a new sub-genre in the local market) with touches of horror. Thankfully, Tan does good work on the sex scenes and the speculative fiction element plays a big role in the story. Unfortunately, overall, there's nothing really much here that stands out. No real complaints about the story but nothing really eyecatching either.

Publication: Philippine Graphic January 19, 2009

"Cyclist" by Marguerite Alcazaren de Leon

Marguerite Alcazaren de Leon dives right deep into the action and for the most part, this is a well-written character-driven story. The protagonist has some unusual character traits that make her a compelling read and de Leon's attention to detail is commendable (although since she's talking about Japan, I'm not so sure how accurate her portrayal of the place truly is but from someone who's heard secondhand stories, it's believable). The speculative fiction element isn't overt but quite appropriate. This honestly isn't my favorite story but it's definitely one of the better-written Philippine speculative fiction stories in the year so far.

Publication: Philippine Graphic February 16, 2009

"The Homocene Methylate" by Arlynn Raymundo Despe

This immediately caught my attention as it's attempting to tackle two things which isn't so prevalent: science fiction and gay fiction. The story is competent enough although I feel it built up something big and simply ended with a whimper. The focus is clearly the protagonist but I feel the personalization of the text was overwhelmed by exposition, especially the lumpy part in the middle. Not that the exposition was bad mind you but I think its execution prevented it from establishing a closer rapport with the reader. The inclusion of the said exposition was also more functional rather than elegant and seamless. Overall a decent story but otherwise simply ho-hum.

Publication: Philippine Graphic March 2, 2009

"The Ruins" by Danton Remoto

The story starts out strong but it soon descends into a plain and fairly traditional story. There are some details that stand out, such as the narrator being labeled as "The Curry Queen" for having an Indian lover, but as for the rest, they feel functional with the mention of numerous locations but lacking the descriptions that tickles one's sense of verisimilitude. The highlight of the piece is when the seance approaches its end and our main character makes a heartfelt confession that rings true. There are numerous bits and pieces that shine and while overall there's nothing to really criticize, it also lacks a certain ooomph.

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