Book: A Time for Dragons

"A Time for Dragons" edited by Vincent Michael SimbulanA Time for Dragons collects seventeen stories and an essay that breathe new life to these majestic creatures of the imagination. Between these covers you will find tales of action, adventure, horror, fantasy, humor and mystery, refreshingly written with voices that are unmistakably Filipino, and all of them invariably filled with a sense of wonder.

I would like to start with a disclaimer saying that I really like this anthology. Really, I do. But there are two things I need to get off my chest first: one, some of the stories in the anthology are really hard to follow; and two, I have a bone to pick with the “written with voices that are unmistakably Filipino” part of the book’s synopsis.

Let’s start with the last one; not all of the stories in A Time for Dragons are “written with voices that are unmistakably Filipino.” I mean, who’s to say if something really is “unmistakably Filipino?” A few of the stories here though are decidedly not very Filipino. And I mean this as a compliment. Some of the stories here are the type I’d expect in foreign anthologies. Meaning, they’ve transcended the local color. So I don’t get the label of “unmistakably Filipino” being attached to this anthology, when it’s really not that important when you read the book.

Of course, having read the blurb, I really expected all the stories to have a Filipino voice. So I was both proud (that it wasn’t the case) and a little disappointed (that it was marketed as such).

As for my other observation, about some of the stories being a little harder to read–it basically boils down to this: they read like required readings for a subject at school. You know how some of our school readings are actually cool–but because they’re required for class, you put reading them off to the last possible moment? That’s how I felt with some of the stories. That or because, in the case of one particular story, I felt stupid because it took me a couple of readings before I understood what the writer was saying.

With all of that said, I am definitely recommending A Time for Dragons to anyone who likes to read about dragons.

Here are a few reviews of the anthology I found online:
Wandering Star
Good Reads

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giveaway: filipino horror — the winners

it’s time to announce the winners for the filipino horror giveaway!

first, apologies because i wasn’t able to finish all the recommended books. i missed one, NINE SUPERNATURAL STORIES, because it wasn’t readily available at bookstores–and i didn’t have time to go to up press for a copy. also, the competition has gone for far too long, i was supposed to be finished with it last november 15. it’s already november 27.

but explanations aside, here are the winners!

the first winner, the one i picked, gets the WAKING THE DEAD / ILUSTRADO package. and from my reviews, you’ve probably seen which of the recommendations i really liked: TRESE.

though the first and third volume didn’t have the elements of horror i was looking for, the second volume more than made up for it. also, TRESE was a really enjoyable read, and didn’t take me ages to finish. i actually breezed through reading the graphic novels because i couldn’t stop reading.

the only reason the reviews came out a day at a time, was because i was pacing myself. and sure enough, by the time i hit the middle mark, i had slowed down considerably.

so congratulations to fantaghiro23 for suggesting the TRESE series.

and for the second part, where i asked you guys to pick which recommendation you think is scariest, i only got three votes: one each for TALES OF ENCHANTMENT AND FANTASY, TRESE and TRAGIC THEATER.

but i’m calling TRAGIC THEATER the winner. not because i liked it, but because it got an “and-a-half” vote. the votes went like this:

kwesifriends: “I vote for TRESE series and TRAGIC THEATER!” but then added, “Naa, I forgot were voting for the scariest pala. So change it, I’ll vote for TRAGIC THEATER na lang.”

me likes art!: “I vote for TALES OF ENCHANTMENT AND FANTASY, owing to the fact that one of the stories in that collection scared me.”

and,

artseblis: “TRESE! though I also really like TRAGIC THEATER.”

i counted artseblis’s vote for TRAGIC THEATER, since she didn’t take it back. so congratulations to ivanbookworm for suggesting TRAGIC THEATER. you’ve won the WAKING THE DEAD / A TIME FOR DRAGONS package.

winners, please tell me whether you would like for me to handover your prizes during the december 18 meet-up at libreria, the january meet-up of the filipino book bloggers, or if you want me to have your prizes sent through courier services. if you pick the last option, please e-mail me your address through blurredlights (at) gmail (dot) com.

thank you everyone for joining!