Filipinos and Chinese authors have a rich, vibrant literature when it comes to speculative fiction, the realms of the strange and fantastical. But what about the fiction of the Filipino-Chinese, who draw their roots from the folklore of both cultures? This is what Lauriat attempts to answer. Featuring stories that deal with voyeur ghosts, taboo lovers, a town that cannot sleep, the Chinese zodiac, and an exile that finally comes home, Lauriat covers a diverse selection of narratives from fresh, Southest Asian voices.
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Lauriat: A Filipino-Chinese Speculative Fiction Anthology based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
The back cover of LAURIAT proclaims that "Filipinos and Chinese have a rich, vibrant literature when it comes to speculative fiction." I have to admit: other than some familiar folk-tales (and reiterations of such by modern authors), I am woefully ignorant of the history of either nation's speculative fiction. So when the back cover goes on to ask "What about the fiction of the Filipino-Chinese, who draw their roots from both cultures," I find myself wondering if I'll be lost in attempting to understand the cross-cultural, or combi-cultural, nuances of the stories written to answer that question. I needn't have been worried. Charles A. Tan has put together a wonderful collection of short speculative fiction that manages to feel both familiar and new to this particular American reader. The characters in these stories deal with the same issues of family history, interpersonal relationships and societal expectations that most of us deal with, but the stories also allow a glimpse into the way those concerns play out on what seems a potentially volatile field. And of course because we're dealing with speculative fiction, nothing is quite what it seems. The focal character of Isabel Yap's "Pure" watches a friend end up in the situation she's in because of the lingering familial view that those of pure Chinese descent should only marry others of Chinese descent. You feel for both women: the one doing anything to become "pure" for her beloved and the one watching it all go wrong. In Erin Chupeco's "Ho-We," family approval of a girl's intended is also a road-block, although this family has bigger concerns than just "Chinese or Mixed." The daughter dates a number of supernatural types, including a dinner date with a zombie. Paolo Chikiamco's "The Captain's Nephew" brings war into the mix and deals with issues of servitude and mastery, slavery and free will that should ring true to anyone regardless of culture. Fidelis Tan's "The Stranger At My Grandmother's Wake" is a heart-breaking look at being alone at the end of a long life; Yvette Tan's "Fold Up Boy" gives a different view of the ravages of war (both physical war and emotional); Crystal Koo's "The Perpetual Day" shows us how the extraordinary can become commonplace (and the problems associated with becoming numb); and Kenneth Yu's "Cricket" is a disturbing take on household spirits. The anthology starts and ends strong. It opens with Andrew Drilon's "Two Women Worth Watching," which gives a unique spin on the pervasiveness of reality television, and ends with Douglas Candano's "The Way of Those Who Stayed Behind," which addresses emigration for the sake of a 'better life' and not realizing what you've lost / left behind. (In fact, and I mean this as a compliment to Candano, the story reminded me quite a bit of Hugh Leonard's play "Da," which also deals with the ghosts of a life left behind in the 'old country' although Candano's first-person narration feels far more gothic than Leonard's play.) I was fortunate to read an ARC of LAURIAT. I highly recommend spec-fic fans seeking the book out from publisher Lethe Press when it releases on August 15th.