Recently, a Tweet by English writer Neil Gaiman made the news after he told a Filipino fan how much he loves Philippine mythology. In the said Tweet, the world-renowned sci-fi and fantasy author praised some Filipino writers, saying they could do a better job of telling stories on Philippine myths and monsters than him. If the Tweet left you intrigued about Philippine speculative fiction (or stories of horror, fantasy, sci-fi, etc.) but don’t know where to begin, read up ahead and we’ll give you an idea. The 39th Manila International Book Fair* is just around the corner, and it might be the perfect chance for you to stock up on great Filipino titles and kick-start your proudly Pinoy speculative fiction collection. For this first installment of recommendations, let’s focus on the award-winning fictionist Eliza Victoria.


I have not read a lot of Philippine spec fic—which is honestly a shame—apart from the few stories discussed during Philippine Literature class. I chanced upon this author as I wandered inside FullyBooked, as I was wont to do, lamenting over the books I could not buy. The book title stood out amongst the other PhilLit titles so I took it out of the shelf, read the blurb (thankfully, it wasn’t a Feelings Blurb**), and was immediately taken. And thus, my discovery of Eliza Victoria…


Wounded Little Gods begins with a mystery—a person’s disappearance—spurring our protagonist, Regina, to go back home to the town of Heridos. Following a simple note left by the vanished co-worker she barely knows, Regina meets various people, meshing her life with those of the town gods, and unearthing a crime that should have remained a secret. Now, the first thing I thought when I read it was, “Wow, this is great. I don’t see lots of Philippine myth as a novel” because, usually, I see them as graphic novels. (Obviously, I was a fool and just wasn’t reading enough). The next thing I thought of was, “Wow, this is great. Like, honest to god, great” because it has been a while since I read a book to completion without putting it down. So, go and get yourself a copy. It’s like 200 hundred bucks or something. Help your body and cut down the Starbucks whilst supporting a Filipino author.


A Bottle of Storm Clouds? More like A Tome of Great Many Things. This book is a collection of short stories and it has anything you can possibly ask for. WLW***? Check. MLM***? Check. Teens? Divorcees? Childhood trauma? Aswangs? Mermaids? Religious references? Gods bored out of their wits? Surprise guest appearances of the MRT? The book has it. This collection is honestly so good I wish it was thicker.


Lambana, the kingdom of the diwatas, has fallen and the human-diwata relations crumbles along with it. In a world where humans and supposed myths cohabitate, we see the collapse of society in the midst of politics and an unknown disease through the eyes of Conrad, a human whose heart was struck by the sickness. In his search for a cure, Conrad bears witness to a crime demystified and discovers memories from his past he had long forgotten. I realize, as I type this, that the protagonist’s name is Conrad and he has a problem with his heart. Joseph Conrad and his Heart of Darkness, which is about imperialism and racism. Bloody superb, you funky little graphic novel. If this doesn’t make you want to read it, I don’t know what to tell you.


Project 17 contains possibly one of the most ambitious portrayals of Philippine society in fiction. Set far into the future, this novella shows a technologically-advanced Philippines, where it’s not uncommon to walk side-by-side with robots while doing your daily groceries, or see units of a fully-automated PNP force called “Sentries” patrolling major cities 24/7. However, the cool, futuristic setting isn’t the only thing you would admire in this book. It also has a thrilling story to tell. You surely won’t be able to put down this book as you uncover more and more of a long-buried dark past surrounding one of the country’s greatest AI projects with the story’s audacious protagonist, Lillian. So, there you have it. If these books got you excited to binge on Eliza Victoria’s books, watch out for our next batch of recommendations for more titles to indulge in.
NOTES: *Major bookstores like National Bookstore, Fullybooked, and Powerbooks usually give printable passes away for free! **A “Feelings Blurb”, as I like to call it, are those blurbs (or book descriptions on the covers) that are just praises for the book, thus giving me no insight whatsoever of what it’s about. I mean, it’s great that the NYT thinks it’s “Fantastic!” or that Gaiman thinks it’s “Witty…” but for the love of all things good and beautiful, I need to know what the story is. ***WLW and MLM mean women-loving-women and men-loving-men, respectively. Or as I call ‘em: wuhluhwuh and mlem.

Photo by Raj Eiamworakul on Unsplash