Call for Submissions: Philippine Speculative Fiction - Volume 7

People are still basking in the afterglow of the successful book launch of PSF6 (you can read about it here, here and pictures here), which makes this the best time to open our virtual doors for the next volume: Philippine Speculative Fiction volume 7 (PSF7), to be edited by Kate Osias (my beloved wife and fellow writer) and some guy name Alex Osias, is now officially open for submissions.

Please read the guidelines below. Don't be afraid to email or message us if you have questions.

On a related note, PSF6 immediately sold out last Saturday. We are thinking of doing another print run, so if you want a copy or several, drop us a note so that I can forward it to our publisher, Dean Alfar.


Editors Alex and Kate Osias invite you to submit short fiction for consideration for Philippine Speculative Fiction -- Volume 7.

Philippine Speculative Fiction is a yearly anthology series, which collects a wide range of stories that define, explore, and sometimes blur the boundaries of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and all things in between.

The anthology has been shortlisted for the Manila Critics’ Circle National Book Award, and multiple stories from each volume have been cited in roundups of the year’s best speculative fiction across the globe.

First-time authors are more than welcome to submit; good stories trump literary credentials any time.

Submissions must be:

1. speculative fiction—i.e., they must contain strong elements or sensibilities of science fiction, fantasy, horror, magic realism, alternate history, folklore, superheroes, and/or related ‘nonrealist’ genres and subgenres

2. written in English

3. authored by persons of Philippine ethnicity and/or nationality

Submissions are preferred to be:

1. original and unpublished

2. no shorter than 1,000 words and no longer than 7,500

3. written for an adult audience

In all cases, these preferences can be easily overturned by exceptionally well-written pieces. In the case of previously-published work—if accepted, the author will be expected to secure permission to reprint, if necessary, from the original publishing entity, and to provide relevant publication information.

Submission details:

1. No multiple or simultaneous submissions—i.e., submit only one story, and do not submit that story to any other publishing market until you have received a letter of regret from us. We don’t mind if you submit to contests.

2. All submissions should be in Rich Text Format (saved under the file extension ‘.rtf’), and emailed to kate.osias at, with the subject line ‘PSF7 submission’.

3. The deadline for submissions is midnight, Manila time, September 30, 2011. Letters of acceptance or regret will be sent out no later than one month after the deadline.

Editors’ notes:

1. Please don’t forget to indicate your real name in the submission email! If you want to write under a pseudonym, that’s fine, but this can be discussed upon story acceptance. Initially, we just need to know who we’re talking to.

2. If you’d like to write a cover letter with your brief bio and publishing history (if applicable), do feel free to introduce yourself—but not your story, please. If it needs to be explained, it’s probably not ready to be published.

3. We advise authors to avoid fancy formatting—this will just be a waste of your time and ours, since we will, eventually, standardize fonts and everything else to fit our established house style.

There will be compensation for selected stories, but we’ve yet to determine exactly what. In previous years, we’ve provided contributor copies of the book, as well as small royalty shares, but we are considering shifting Philippine Speculative Fiction to digital format, so we may be shifting to outright financial payment as well.

Please help spread the word!


Alex and Kate Osias, co-editors

Dean Alfar, publisher

End of the Plotting Cycle: Reflections

This last batch of stories (for the LitCritter plot-focused activity) taught me several things:

1. plot provides the muscle and bone for robust stories;
2. plot alone can extend page count, and -- in conjunction with other techniques -- can extend a story to novel length;
3. too much plot -- especially unnecessary plot details -- can overwhelm a story (know what your story is);
4. tried and true plots can be saved by other storytelling techniques;
5. it helps to write the 'outline/story' on a single layer or two before fixing and fleshing out.

Existents: Naming things

Aside from naming people, I tend to want to find slick / common use names for things in the fantasy or science fiction short stories I write.

The logic behind this is that:

  • folks who have to use certain terms on a daily basis will probably find ways to shorten the names for things and still remain clear (hence acronyms and other devices);
  • a different time and place will have a different set of terms and criteria for what is cool or interesting or funny or acceptable.
The former comes from my experience in the computer industry and business, while the latter comes from the subcultures of geekdom AND being from the Philippines (where people think it's funny to name your kid Edgar Allen Pe, or name a store "Cooking Ng Ina Mo").

Inspiration: The Vidocq Society

Happened onto this by checking out one of's lists, then following a link and voila! Modern day consulting detectives.

There's a book out called The Murder Room by Michael Capuzzo that details the history and present of The Vidocq Society -- an organization of crime specialists who meet once a month to review cold cases and maybe solve one or two of them.

They're inspired by Eugene Francois Vidocq, a former criminal who devoted his life to solving crimes and -- with a band of other former criminals as associates -- eventually ended up getting paid for it by Scotland Yard.

It's an inspiration (as many non-fiction books are to me) because it manages to provide more telling detail on what consulting detective work might be like -- not being present at the crime scene itself necessarily, but able to piece things together from clues that diligent forensics experts and persistent police detectives have collated.

Perhaps with this, I'll be able to cobble together my own Philippine murder mystery story.