continuing my all-filipino readathon of sorts

Waking the Dead and Other Horror StoriesWaking the Dead and Other Horror Stories by Yvette Tan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Branding a story as “horror” is a promise, and the promise can set a storyteller (writer, filmmaker) up for failure. You’ll have to contend with consumer expectations. If you promise me horror, you better make sure I will be scared, or at the very least, creeped out.

BUT I have realized that most stories that stop people from going to the bathroom in the middle of the night do not scare me. (And the stories that people find boring are the ones that won’t let me sleep.) I’ve been disappointed so many times with stories that purport to be horror but bore me to tears, so I stop expecting to be scared. All I hope for is solid storytelling and beautiful language.

Walking the Dead did not creep me out, but the stories made me sad, thoughtful, excited. They evoked a response, and they kept me reading. Of the stories, “Delivering the Goods” stayed with me the longest. I loved the confidence in the voice, the subtle horror, the sadness. I wanted to know more about the main character. I’m still thinking of him now.

This book kept me cozy as I read in my favorite place – in my bed, under the sheets. That’s good enough for me.

Cover (Story) GirlCover (Story) Girl by Chris Mariano

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this one a lot. It’s patterned after the light Koreanovelas – quirky, funny scenes; tearful goodbye and then a grand gesture (At one point the main character blurts out, “What is this, a Koreanovela?” Yes, yes it is, Gio) – but is written with such care and intelligence that it never feels over-the-top, or silly, or false. I am delighted to see Boracay (keep in mind that I’ve never been to Boracay) through the eyes of a resident, and not a tourist. If Gio were a tourist he would have waxed poetic day in and day out about the beach and the sand. Gio in the novella works there, so he sees the shoreline of Boracay as it is, simply as a path on his way home. It’s pretty, sure, but it’s just there, also have you seen the bats? The “five-colored beach” only becomes charged with heavier meaning when he falls in love. We say a place changes us, but most of the time it’s just ourselves finding new meaning and new connections.

My gripe is [spoiler]

how Gio regarded Korea as though he had simply crossed the street. His only comment is on the weather. I would imagine Gio, who I don’t think travels much, would at least comment on the airport, the road, the cab fare? Granted his eyes are trained on his one goal, but he talks so much about “creamy skin” and now he is suddenly, conspicuously unimpressed that he’s in another country? He also displays no terror when he pretends to be someone important to Security, which seems very un-Gio-like to me.

The big scene in the end felt a bit out there, but it was saved by humor that I felt was so distinctly Filipino that I actually laughed out loud. (Live dubbing through megaphone – I can see that happening in a Sarah G/John Lloyd movie.)

[end spoiler]

Still, entertaining read. I can see this on the big screen.

PS Beautiful cover! Ang lamig sa mata.

View all my reviews

Waking the Dead by Yvette Tan

Now reading: Twisted 9 by Jessica Zafra

Now reading:  All’s Fair in Blog and War by Chrissie Peria

Cover (Story) Girl by Chris Mariano

Mythspace by Paolo Chikiamco and Koi Carreon

fled their faces turned by Christian Tablazon

Now, Then, and Elsewhen by Nikki Alfar

Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra

Interim Goddess of Love by Mina V. Esguerra

Naermyth by Karen Francisco

Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol. 8 by various authors

The Best of PSF (2005-2010) by various authors

Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol. 1 by various authors

Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol. 3 by various authors

How to Traverse Terra Incognita by Dean Francis Alfar

Si Amapola sa 65 na Kabanata by Ricky Lee

Save the Cake by Stella Torres

The Real Score by Kesh Tanglao

Vintage Love by Agay Lllanera

Drone by Allan Popa

The Filipino Heroes League by Paolo Fabregas

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