Lauriat

Charles Tan, Other
Edited by Charles A. Tan. Lethe (www.lethepressbooks.com), $18 trade paper (234p) ISBN 978-1-59021-254-7
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SF/F blogger and critic Tan has assembled an eclectic, innovative mix of 14 stories for what is almost certainly the first Filipino–Chinese speculative fiction anthology. Most contain undertones of horror, such as Kristine Ong Muslim’s exquisitely crafted “The Chinese Zodiac,” which describes the darker sides of each sign, and Christine V. Lao’s “Dimsum,” in which a security guard rescues a kitten with unfortunate consequences. Paolo Chikiamco’s “The Captain’s Nephew” presents an intriguing history in which a Tikbalang, a mythic creature, aids Gen. Paua during the Philippine revolution. Two standouts are Crystal Koo’s amusing and surprising “The Perpetual Day,” wherein a worldwide pandemic curses people to eternal wakefulness, and Fidelis Tan’s “The Stranger at My Grandmother’s Wake,” about a dying elderly woman who waits for an unlikely friend. A handful of the stories follow predictable, clichéd plots, but even these contain evocative details. Filipino–Chinese readers will feel a thrill of recognition; others will be glad to learn more about a culture rarely seen in speculative fiction. (Aug.)
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