The Apex Book of World SF 4: Author Spolight - Isabel Yap

The Apex Book of World SF 4 edited by Mahvesh Murad is out now and our author features continue!

Isabel Yap was born and raised in Manila, and has since lived in California and London. Her stories have been published in The Year's Best Weird Fiction Volume 2,, Interfictions Online, Shimmer, and elsewhere.

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Tell us a little about your story in The Apex Book of World SF 4

“A Cup of Salt Tears” has been described as a dark fairytale, which I think is quite apt. It’s a bit sad and twisted, but I like to think it’s also hopeful and mysterious, like a good fairytale. I mainly wanted to set a story in an onsen, because visiting the onsen was one of the highlights during my term abroad in Japan. I’ve always liked the kappa as a mythical creature. I thought it would be a nice challenge to write something romantic with a kappa protagonist.

Fun fact: I wrote this story at Clarion, while looping Beyonce’s Yes.

Why do you feel it is important to read stories from around the globe? 

For all the same reasons that it’s important to read stories – to learn more about the world, to experience things beyond one’s self, and to have fun. There’s just so much out there – so many different narratives, myths, legends, traditions – that to me it seems like missing out if you only read stories from one region or culture.

If you could tell people to read one author from your home country, who would it be and why?

Oh, this is a tough one. There are so many good Filipino writers creating great stories in both Tagalog and English. If I was to recommend one, though, it would be Gilda Cordero-Fernando. Her story “The Dust Monster” will always be one of my favorites. Reading it reminded me that writing from a Pinoy perspective doesn’t mean that my story needs to be grim or realist; I can write enjoyable, emotional fiction with fantastic elements as well, and there are readers for that kind of thing.

If you’re curious about the SFF scene in the Philippines, I would strongly recommend checking out the Philippine Speculative Fiction series – it's always a diverse collection, with a healthy mix of established and newer writers.

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