Contributor Spotlight: Wayne Santos

In Yet Another Roadside Manifestation, Santos introduces us to an agent well-versed in the supernatural (and supranatural) working for a mysterious firm which has sent her back to her home province of Alberta, where a giant small-town landmark is giving off strange readings.

Tell us a little bit about what inspired “Yet Another Roadside Manifestation”. 

Yet Another Roadside Manifestation is the result of childhood curiosity. When I was a kid living in Edmonton, one of my relatives migrated from the Philippines to Alberta but settled down in Vegreville at first, starting and raising a family there for a few years before moving to Edmonton to join the rest of the Family Horde.

So there were occasional weekends when we’d drive out to visit them in Vegreville, and every once in a while, we would stop at that huge egg, and I would wander around it, trying to find signs that it was something more than just a big metal egg. My child self was convinced it had to have more significance than just a Huge Freaking Egg out in the middle of the prairies.

So when this anthology came up, it was kind of a no-brainer for me that if I needed to write about something deeply weird in the prairies, that would be the thing still scratching at the back of my mind. So I came up with my own ludicrous explanation for what it actually was.

What do you hope readers get from reading “Yet Another Roadside Manifestation”? 

I just hope they have fun with it. The story isn’t meant to be any poignant commentary on anything, although perhaps POC readers might recognize a bit of the second-generation immigrant emotional tenor that colors some of Reyna’s thought and ego processes.

However, the story itself is really just about what happens when someone is told to go investigate some big edifice in a rural space, and then stuff goes sideways with a helping of Mobius Loop.

How has your time in the Prairies influenced your writing?  

I think the thing that is abundantly clear about life in the prairies is that because of the greater sense of space and isolation, deeply weird is just as prevalent there; it just doesn’t get reported or commented on as much due to the lack of urban attitude and infrastructure.

Living in the prairies is a bit like living in space. Once you get past your town or city limits, there’s a whole lot of nothing. It really gives you a sense of how things are isolated, how there could be stuff out there, in the middle of all those rolling, treeless hills, and it’s easy to miss because the nothing overwhelms everything. I think that probably influences a lot of writers who grew up in this type of region, regardless of genre.

What do you feel anthologies and short stories accomplish that novellas and novels don’t? 

Short stories are always amazing places to experiment. Whether that’s with a style, a voice, or just an idea. Short stories give you a few thousand words to “try something on for size” and see how you like it. Quite a few short stories I’ve written in the past have ended up as “auditions” for ideas and characters that would go on to get full-blown books.

Yet Another Roadside Attraction is no different, really, in that after seeing who Reyna Macatangay is, I’m pretty sure I can do much more with this character and her world.

What other work would you like the readers to know about

For people that are looking for a science fiction cyberpunk fantasy with a lot of explosions, my novel The Chimera Code might be up your alley. If you ever wanted to see combat mages go up against military-grade cyborgs, it’s in there.

If you’re more in the mood for a Canadian urban fantasy immigrant comedy about goddesses with relationship problems, The Difficult Loves of Maria Makiling moves away from the prairies and messes up downtown Toronto and Marikina in the Philippines. It’s got demon horses and a crash course in Canadian cuisine.

What are you working on now? What can readers look forward to next? 

At the time of this writing, I’ve completed another urban fantasy novel that’s with my agent and am now back in science fiction territory to switch things up. I’ve always loved giant robots and science fiction anime, so I think it’s finally time I took a crack at that genre and its beloved tropes for myself and see what shakes out.

Wayne Santos has been an ad copywriter, a TV scriptwriter, a magazine contributor, an editor, and a freelance writer for too many things on the Internet to count. He grew up in Alberta, lived in Singapore, and settled down in Ontario with his wife and an ongoing rotation of two household cats. He is a multi-disciplinary geek with a double major in science-fiction and fantasy, specializations in novels, comics, anime, TV, and film, and a minor in video games. Under no circumstances should he be approached to discuss 80s pop culture unless you are fully aware of the toll this will expend on your remaining lifespan.

Website: www.waynesantos.com

His work can be purchased here and here.

Alternate Plains: Stories of Prairie Speculative Fiction is available wherever books are sold like Amazon, Chapters Indigo, through our publisher Great Plains Publications, and local booksellers like ours, McNally Robinson Booksellers.

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