Alternative Alamat: Expanded Print Edition, Launches on July 25

Alternative Alamat: Expanded Print Edition, Launches on July 25

It’s been a long time coming, but the much-requested print version of Alternative Alamat is heading to bookstores near you — and sooner than you think! The good folks at Visprint are launching it on July 19,   Saturday,   [EDIT: LAUNCH HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO JULY 25, FRIDAY, 4PM, SAME VENUE] part of a four-title launch that [...]

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Studio Salimbal Website Launch

Studio Salimbal Website Launch

Ladies and gentlemen, thanks to Mervin Malonzo’s herculean efforts… WE ARE LIVE! http://www.salimbalcomics.com/ Consider this an active beta of the site. Webcomics by/involving Filipino creators, on a weekly basis. Please, if you have any affection for me — or more likely, my studio mates Mervin Malonzo Cristina Rose Chua John Michael Carreon Robert Sinaban Jules [...]

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Review: Abangan – The Best Philippine Komiks 2014

Review: Abangan – The Best Philippine Komiks 2014

Disclaimers: I’m friends with the editors of Abangan, and Mythspace (my comic, which will be published by Visprint, publisher of Abangan) was one of the komiks solicited by them for the anthology that didn’t make the cut. This review was made possible by a PSF copy provided by the editors. “Greetings young reader/ target demographic!” [...]

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Announcing Studio Salimbal

Announcing Studio Salimbal

There’s a lot of talent out there. Within the Philippines and without, there is a glut of wonderful artists, incredible writers. If you’re a comics fan, you almost have too many choices, both paid and free, in terms of genres and formats and creators (not to mention the other media battling for your attention). I’m [...]

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Mythspace Fan Art and Fan Essay Contests

Mythspace Fan Art and Fan Essay Contests

To celebrate the announcement of Mythspace Volume 1 from Visprint, and the final appearance of the individual self-published issues at next month’s Summer Komikon, Team Mythspace will be running a few contests during the month of March, both as a way of thanking old readers and enticing new ones. We’re starting two contests today, one [...]

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Alternative Alamat Book Signing at the MIBF

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 15 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

Alternative Alamat and other Visprint titles will be sold from the Precious Pages booth at this year’s Manila International Book Fair, and both Mervin Malonzo and I will be there for a signing on Friday, the 19th, at 1PM. Merv will primarily be there as the creator of the bloody awesome “Tabi Po” but as he provided illustrations for Alamat as well, readers of AA can get a rare two-for-one signing. So come on down if you’re free :)

Alternative Alamat Interview: Budjette Tan

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 25 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

For the digital release of Alternative Alamat, I ran interviews with several of the contributing authors, asking them about writing in general and their stories in particular. I wasn’t able to interview everyone, however, so for the print launch today– yep, the 25th — I went back to the contributors I wasn’t able to interview last time.

 

BUDJETTE TAN

 Without spoiling anything essential, could you tell me a bit about your story?

One of favorite bits from Neil Gaiman’s AMERICAN GODS was this vignette of how Egyptian Gods now run a small funeral parlor in Middle-America. Which made me wonder, where are the old gods of death from Philippine mythology? What are they doing now in the city? I then remember a story my mom told me, about a story she heard from the sales lady in the mall, who heard it from the security of the mall; about how, every now and again, senior citizens were found dead in the movie theater of the same mall. Obviously, they died of natural causes. Well, maybe they did.
This one was also a bit different, in that it didn’t start with a call from the police, but from Spunkmeyer…
I guess I just wanted a break from the usual way Trese gets brought in for a case (Captain Guerrero calling her up). It was also an opportunity to shed more light on Spunkmeyer of the City Morgue, who’s actually patterned after fellow author, David Hontiveros.
How different is it, writing a prose Trese story as opposed to a comic book script?

Whenever I write a TRESE prose story, it allows me to immerse myself (and the reader) in her world more.
When I’m writing the comic book script, I can easily just tell Kajo, “Page 1, Panel 1: we are inside The Diabolical. It’s a Saturday night. Full of people bouncing up and down the dance floor.”

But when I’m writing a short story, I need to guide the reader into that world and get to spend more time talking about the details of Trese’s Manila. So, I end up knowing more about it and at the same time the reader comes along for the ride.

What part of the story–or the writing process–was the most fun for you?
I had fun revealing those bits about Spunkmeyers’ back story.
What part of the story–or the writing process–was the most difficult for you?
Usually, it’s the middle part. I usually know how things will end and sometime I know where things start. So, it’s trying to figure out how to get there that’s the problem.
How were you first exposed to Philippine mythology?
Oh wow! I have no idea. Does the legend of Malakas at Maganda count? That was probably my first exposure to a “creation myth”, which confused the hell out of me, since as far as we were taught in school, we all started from Adam and Eve. So, who the heck were Malakas at Maganda? Took me awhile before I sorted all that out.
Is there any myth, epic or legend that you wish would be adapted into a novel, or comic, or movie?
Unfortunately, I can’t really name a specific one. I think all of our major myths and epic poems should be adapted into some new form. I recently attended a book conference in Singapore and the featured country of the year was India. One talk specifically focused on the Indian comic book market, which has numerous adaptation of their myths. It seemed like every couple of years, they’d have a new version of their myth, retold for a new generation. It would be great to see that happen for the Philippines.
Who is your favorite character from Philippine mythology, and why?
What about the myth of The Honest President? No? That doesn’t count?

New Alternative Alamat Book Launch Details

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 22 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

Here’s the new poster and some new details for the new launch date of the expanded Alternative Alamat print edition. It will be on July 25, Friday, from 4PM onwards, at Powerbooks Greenbelt 3 (2nd floor). Here’s the official Facebook event page.I’ve also updated the Book FAQ page to reflect the suggested retail price of PHP250. See you there!

Alternative Alamat Interview: David Hontiveros

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 17 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

For the digital release of Alternative Alamat, I ran interviews with several of the contributing authors, asking them about writing in general and their stories in particular. I wasn’t able to interview everyone, however, so for the print launch this coming Saturday [EDIT: LAUNCH HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO JULY 25, FRIDAY, 4PM, SAME VENUE] I went back to the contributors I wasn’t able to interview last time.

DAVID HONTIVEROS

David Hontiveros, author of “Balat, Buwan, Ngalan”, was a 1997 National Book Award Finalist in the Best Comic Book category for “Dhampyr” (drawn by Oliver Pulumbarit), and a 2002 Palanca Award Winner (2nd Place in the Future Fiction- English Category) for his short story, “Kaming Mga Seroks.” He has three horror/dark fantasy novellas out under the Penumbra imprint, published by Visprint, as well as a digital novel, “Pelicula”, from Bronze Age Media. His on-going comic book series, “Bathala: Apokalypsis”, is also available digitally from Flipside. He has had his short fiction, film reviews, articles, and comics appear in several Philippine publications. He has adapted Bret Harte (no, not the wrestler) and Edgar Allan Poe (twice!) into comic book form for Graphic Classics. He may be observed online at fiveleggediguana.blogspot.com (where he blathers on about film) and davidhontiveros.com (where assorted bits of his work are housed). He would like to humbly dedicate the story to his four current grandspawn, in chronological order: Gray, Mischa, Chloe, and Sophia, who will keep the flames of his family history burning on, down through the years.

While the Philippines is home to distinct cultural groups, a certain amount of cultural cross-pollination did take place. The results are myths which are variations of the same themes, and characters which appear in more than one culture, or who bear the same name but with an altered form. But, as David says of his story in Alternative Alamat: there is power in words and there is truth in myth. If these characters did exist…which version would be true? Would it matter?

Without spoiling anything essential, could you tell me a bit about your story?

“Balat, Buwan, Ngalan” is about Bakunawa, the creature that’s blamed by legend for eclipses, this massive beast who repeatedly attempts to swallow the moon, but is never quite successful.

One of the things I tried to do in the story was to provide motivation for Bakunawa, to add an emotional dimension to the legend, to cast the myth in the light of an unrequited love, which is something I think we can all identify and sympathize with.

The story’s about other things as well: the importance of legacies and heritage, and of stories and narrative, particularly the oral tradition.

The structure you used for the story was very striking. What led you to the decision to construct the story in this way?

While I wanted to tell a version of the Bakunawa myth, I also wanted the reading experience to be one of discovery, in much the same way it’s a journey of revelation for the unnamed protagonist.

So the order of the three stories is decidedly non-linear, in the same manner in which we discover things in real life, not in a straight line but in a patchwork way.

We’re told little stories here and there, not necessarily in any particular linear order, and these stories, over time, can eventually be fit together to form a larger narrative.

As I mentioned earlier, among other things, “Balat, Buwan, Ngalan” is about stories and narrative. It’s about the importance of storytelling, and what we can glean from all the tales that we’re told. It’s about the interaction between the storyteller and the audience.

Which is also one of the reasons why I chose second person narrative, since it literally places the reader in the position of the protagonist, who is the audience to the karibang’s storyteller.

Thus, the identification becomes more solid: the reader is “listening” to the stories, just as the protagonist is.

And while first person narrative could also achieve similar results, I feel it would also make the protagonist’s journey a little more specific and particular, whereas second person makes reader identification a little easier.

And I wanted that universality, which is why, even within the story, I make no explicit mention of the protagonist’s gender. You, as the reader, could be male or female, and still slide smoothly into the protagonist’s skin, for the duration of the story.

I also wanted a wide berth between the narrative styles of the sections concerning the protagonist and the three stories.

While the three legends have a very distinct “voice” patterned on the oral storytelling tradition, the sections of the story featuring the nameless protagonist have a very modern, contemporary “voice,” steeped in pop culture and 21st century trappings.

To me, that helped underscore what I’ve learned from distinguished voices like Joseph Campbell and Rollo May: that ancient myths can help us navigate the “modern” problems we face on a daily basis.

That these aren’t just some musty old stories that have no bearing on today’s world of Twitter and Facebook and Instagram.

That these tales are just as relevant today as they were back then, when they were first being told around campfires, and by traveling minstrels and bards, and in smoky, raucous mead halls.

So it was a matter of presenting these old legends in the context of a very modern world and having those legends reveal something to the protagonist that he (or she) couldn’t have discovered otherwise.

What part of the story–or the writing process–was the most fun for you?

I think that would have to be a toss-up between,

A) the period when I’m formulating the story, doing the research and gathering together all the separate strands that make up the narrative, since, at that point, the story itself is still all potential, it’s as grand and as sweeping as my imagination allows; at that point, it’s still the best story I’m ever going to write; and

B) those points in the writing process proper when I’m firing on all cylinders, and the words and the language just all come together with surprising ease, and I’m laying down sentences and paragraphs just as I imagined them in my head, or, on those rarer occasions, when what comes out onto paper is even better than what I’d imagined.

(And this would be the same answer for any other writing I do, not just for this particular story.)

What part of the story–or the writing process–was the most difficult for you?

In relation to the previous question, I suppose the most difficult (or perhaps “frustrating” would be a better term) would be when, for whatever reason, I just can’t seem to make the writing as good as how I imagined it in my head, as if my abilities can’t seem to capture in reality the rhythms of the prose that sound so amazing and fantastic in my imagination.

How were you first exposed to Philippine mythology?

There isn’t a clear, momentous memory of my introduction to Philippine myth, though I imagine it must have been through folklore and the lower myths, stories of aswang and manananggal and kapre.

My siblings had stories of our family’s ancestral home (a place I have never been able to visit, as, by the time I was born, my family had ceased visiting the house for vacations), which included tales of a woman who might have been an aswang and a large man who might have been a kapre.

Hearing these as a young boy only served to enhance the feeling I had that the world was a very curious and strange place…

I’ve also always been a huge mythology geek, ever since grade school, and though I was first inducted into the Greek myths, and by extension, the Roman, as well as Egyptian, I eventually wended my way all around the globe and then began to unearth our own local myths and legends.

Is there any myth, epic or legend that you wish would be adapted into a novel, or comic, or movie?

Who is your favorite character from Philippine mythology, and why?

At this point, I’m going to have to cheat and reply to both these questions with one answer.

Now, I may be a self-confessed mythology geek, but that’s a very far cry from an expert; I imagine experts are the mega-hyper-geeks of their field of expertise. Like Joseph Campbell or Rollo May or Father Francisco Demetrio.

And, since I’m not an expert on local myths, I’m certain I don’t know even a quarter of all the Filipino myths out there, so it’s difficult to actually peg down a “favorite,” one that perhaps I’d like to see as an adaptation.

The closest I can come to having a “favorite,” I suppose, would be either of the two myths I’ve done more than just passing, casual research on, one being Bakunawa, and the other, Agyu, whose legend I’m currently approaching through the filter of the superhero genre in The ‘Verse comics I’m keeping myself busy with.

The crux of AGYU, the comic, is definitely “shaman as superhero,” and though earlier, ultimately aborted efforts to get AGYU on the comic page hewed closer to the legend (currently, the approach I’m taking is perhaps a bit more oblique than previous iterations), I’m having a lot of fun with the idea right now, along with my AGYU collaborator, Vinnie Pacleb.

As to the “Why?”

With Agyu, I think it’s probably the whole sprawling epic, proto-superhero feel to his legend: bravery, heroism, evil bad guy, struggle, death, rescue, resurrection… it’s all in there, just without the spandex.

With Bakunawa, I guess it’s that fascinating idea of how the human mind, without the rigidity of science, can make artistic associations and take creative leaps in order to explain massive phenomena like eclipses.

It isn’t the planets and satellites and stellar hoohah aligning and blocking each other in our view; it’s a gigantic serpent/dragon (or spider or lion or dog or jaguar or toad or wolf) that’s actually swallowing the moon (or sun).

And we, puny mortals, actually have the power to scare the hungry beast away by making noise…

The thought that we can have that kind of cosmic agency in our world is so awesome…

Alternative Alamat Interview: Timothy James Dimacali

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 17 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

For the digital release of Alternative Alamat, I ran interviews with several of the contributing authors, asking them about writing in general and their stories in particular. I wasn’t able to interview everyone, however, so for the print launch this coming Saturday [EDIT: LAUNCH HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO JULY 25, FRIDAY, 4PM, SAME VENUE] I went back to the contributors I wasn’t able to interview last time.

TIMOTHY JAMES DIMACALI

Timothy James M. Dimacali, author of “Keeper of My Sky”, has always been fascinated by the intersection of science and mythology. He is currently the Science and Technology Editor of GMA News Online, but loves to play his violin every now and then. He has been a fellow for fiction at the annual Silliman University National Writers Workshop and the Iligan National Writers Workshop, and graduated with a degree in Creative Writing from the University of the Philippines.

The people of Panay tell the story of the god Tungkung Langit’s eternal search for his wife, the goddess Alunsina. They speak of how Tungkung Langit scattered Alunsina’s jewels in the sky in an effort to call her back to him; how her necklace became the stars; her comb, the moon; her crown, the sun. According to the old story, she never returned. Perhaps she had a good reason.

Without spoiling anything essential, could you tell me a bit about your story?

It’s a love story based on a very simple premise: What is it like for a god to be lonely?

The structure you used for the story was very striking. What led you to the decision to construct the story in this way?

I tend to write my stories in chunks, not necessarily in a specific order. If I think of an interesting scene or turn of phrase, I’ll write it at the bottom of the page. I’d collect several of these and move them up the page if I find a place for them to fit. But somewhere along the line when writing Keeper of My Sky, I realized that a lot of the random scenes I had thought up could be tied together as a parallel narrative. From that point on, it was just a matter of weaving the two streams together.

What part of the story–or the writing process–was the most fun for you?

The whole writing process is fun for me! It’s like being on a rollercoaster that you built yourself, except that you’re riding it *while* building it. You have just a general idea of where you’d like to go, but the track is never quite the way you plan it and you never really know for sure how it’ll all end.

What part of the story–or the writing process–was the most difficult for you?

I honestly think it’s waiting for the pieces to fall into place. Sometimes I’d stare at the page and all I’d see are just bits and pieces, fragments that I’m not quite sure will fit together if at all. And that gut-wrenching feeling when you know that you’ll inevitably have to throw something out.

How were you first exposed to Philippine mythology?

My single fondest memory is of a little book of Philippine myths and fairy tales, written in the 1960′s, that I found in my grandfather’s house.

Is there any myth, epic or legend that you wish would be adapted into a novel, or comic, or movie?

Not any story, in particular, but the fabric of it all: the texture of the languages and cultures. I’ve always been fascinated by how closely Tolkien’s world echoed the myths and cultures of ancient Europe, and I feel that something similar can be done to Philippine mythology as well.

Who is your favorite character from Philippine mythology, and why?

Seriously, it’s always been Tungkung Langit and Alunsina. Yes, that’s two characters, but they might as well be a single one. We often talk about lovers being “made” for each other, but just imagine what it must be like to be gods who have only ever existed for each other. And then imagine that, despite being a god, you can never be with literally the only other being in the entire Universe who completes you. That’s the loneliness that only a god could know.

Alternative Alamat (Expanded Print Edition)

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 15 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

FAQ: ALTERNATIVE ALAMAT, THE EXPANDED PRINT EDITION

Hello there! I’m Paolo Chikiamco, editor of Alternative Alamat, and thank you so much for showing interest in the new, expanded, print edition! I’m here to give you some basic information about the book in a more informal manner, since that’s how I roll (and apparently, you as well!) but if you found your way here by mistake and want the more formal press release, I’m working on that. But for now…

What is Alternative Alamat?

Short version: It’s an anthology of short stories that re-imagine Philippine myths and legends, written in English by Filipino authors.

Long version: Philippine mythology is full of images that ignite the imagination: gods of calamity and baldness, of cosmic time and lost things; the many-layered Skyworld, and weapons that fight their own battles; a ship that is pulled to paradise by a chain, and a giant crab that controls the tides… yet too few of these tales are known and read today.

Alternative Alamat gathers thirteen stories by contemporary authors of Philippine fantasy, which make innovative use of elements of Philippine mythology. None of these stories are straight re-tellings of the old tales: they build on those stories, or question underlying assumptions; use ancient names as catalysts, or play within the spaces where the myths are silent. What you will find common in these thirteen stories is a love for the myths, epics, and legends which reflect us, contain us, call to us–and it is our hope that, in reading our stories, you may catch a glimpse, and develop a hunger, for those venerable tales.

“Alternative Alamat” also features interior illustrations by Mervin Malonzo (“Tabi Po”), a short list of notable Philippine deities, and in-depth interviews with Professors Herminia Meñez Coben and Fernando N. Zialcita.

What is the Expanded Print Edition?

Alternative Alamat was originally a digital-only anthology with eleven stories. This is the first print edition of Alternative Alamat, and we’ve taken advantage of this opportunity to add some new content that keeps with the theme of re-imagined mythology.

What is the additional material?

This print edition adds two more stories,  a short comic from Andrew Drilon, and a new story from Eliza Victoria, set in the same universe as “Ana’s Little Pawnshop on Makiling St.” I’ve also done a minor update to the Appendix on researching Philippine mythology.

Where is it available?

It’ll be available at the launch on July 19,   Saturday [EDIT: LAUNCH HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO JULY 25, FRIDAY, 4PM, SAME VENUE] , as part of a four-title launch that takes place  at Powerbooks, Greenbelt. It will be available at bookstores nationwide soon after, but we don’t have exact dates yet.

How much does it cost?

250 pesos.

What are the non-fiction sections?

I have five appendixes at the end of the book, meant to provide greater context for the stories, and aid those who want to study Philippine mythology.

Appendix A: A Few Notable Philippine Deities

Appendix B: Interview with Professor Herminia Meñez Coben

Appendix C: Interview with Professor Fernando N. Zialcita

Appendix D: On Researching Philippine Mythology

Appendix E: Glossary of Selected Terms

Is it illustrated?

Yes, each of the original eleven stories is preceded by an illustration of a Philippine deity by Mervin Malonzo (“Tabi Po”). Aside from Andrew Drilon’s comic, there is no new artwork in the print edition, although a greyscale version of Mervin Malonzo’s cover for the digital edition is included.

Is the anthology suitable for young children?

In general, no, as there are several stories which tackle difficult/mature material.

Any there specific trigger warnings?

Sexual abuse; violence against women and children.

I’d like to review this book!

Great! Look forward to hearing from you.

Um, could I get a copy to review?

Drop me a line at rocketkapre[at]gmail with a link to your site/blog or name of your publication and I’ll try to set you up with a digital copy (of the print edition).

Should I buy the book?

I certainly think so! But then, I may be biased, so take a look below at what some people had to say about the original edition:

 

In the run-up to the print launch, I’ll be reposting old material on Alternative Alamat that’s still relevant for the new, expanded edition. Today, I’ll be reposting the relevant parts of an interview (conducted by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, a contributor to Alamat)  that originally appeared on the late, much-missed, World SF Blog. It provides some insight into the editorial side of things, and why I initially went the digital only route.

Hi! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. First off, what made you decide to start Alternative Alamat?

First, my more selfish reason: I was very into mythology as a child–but it was always Western mythology, not Philippine mythology. I only discovered Philippine myths well into my teens, and was mortified both by my ignorance and by the fact that I couldn’t see many modern writers drawing from these old stories. The reason I put up Rocket Kapre was to allow me to produce/encourage stories of the type that I would want to see on the market, and from the very beginning, I knew that one of my first projects would be to create an anthology which would bring together such stories, or give those stories a reason to be written.

My second reason was to help, in some small way, to promote awareness of both modern Philippine speculative fiction and Philippine mythology. In a sense, both are still invisible, internationally and in the Philippines itself, and one of the most effective ways I know of becoming more visible is simply by producing more content. To put out a book is, I think, the literary equivalent of “showing up”.

How did you first become acquainted with speculative fiction?

I grew up on a steady diet of fantasy and science fiction. The first novel I ever read was a fantasy novel (YA wasn’t a category back then). I’m an only child and, in what I’m sure is a familiar story, I found a haven in these other worlds.

Now, my encounter with specifically Philippine speculative fiction came much later, in the form of, first, the Mythology Class comics, and second, the Philippine Speculative Fiction anthology.

Did your experience as a slush reader for Fantasy Magazine come into play when editing the stories for the anthology?

Yes, in the sense that my experience in the slush pile helped me refine my personal taste in short fiction. I find it much easier now to decide whether or not a story is a good fit for me. I did, however, have to always remember that I was an editor as well as a slush reader. As a slush reader, it doesn’t usually matter if a story is “fixable”–it’s a pass or fail. As an editor, those aren’t my only options.

What was your criteria in selecting the stories?

The presence of a mythological element–whether that be in the form of a character, a concept, an artifact–was the first factor I considered. Equally important to me, however, was for the stories to have a clear and coherent arc–even with the more experimental formats employed in the last two stories of the book, readers will know what the stories are about. One of the goals of the anthology was to offer a glimpse of our cultural heritage, and it didn’t serve that purpose to have stories that were amorphous or unclear.

Who was your target reader for the book? Were you gearing it towards local readers or to an international audience?

I tried to make a book that would appeal to any fantasy reader who was interested in mythology–particularly the lesser known mythologies. As far as nationality goes, I didn’t make a distinction between a Filipino and non-Filipino reader because the sad fact is that Philippine mythology is, for the most part, a mystery to both Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike. It’s one of the reasons I put so much non-fiction content in the anthology.

What made you decide to go with an eBook release?

Lower costs, wider distribution, and faster turnaround. That and the fact that I probably buy ten books a month for my Kindle, so while I still love physical books, I love digital books just as much. That being said, I am still considering a print run, if only so I can put Alternative Alamat on library shelves.

It’s been a long time coming, but the much-requested print version of Alternative Alamat is heading to bookstores near you — and sooner than you think! The good folks at Visprint are launching it on July 19,   Saturday,   [EDIT: LAUNCH HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO JULY 25, FRIDAY, 4PM, SAME VENUE] part of a four-title launch that takes place from 11AM to 6PM at Powerbooks, Greenbelt. Not only is this a print edition of Alternative Alamat, but it’s also an EXPANDED edition, with  a new short comic from Andrew Drilon, and a new story from Eliza Victoria, set in the same universe as “Ana’s Little Pawnshop on Makiling St.” I’ve also updated a bit of the bibliography to help with your Philippine mythology research needs.

Of course the rest of the book is still intact, with eleven stories that re-imagine Philippine myths and legends, each preceded by a gorgeous rendition of a Philippine deity by Tabi Po’s Mervin Malonzo. And in case you’ve forgotten what people said about the book when it first came out…

Winner: Best Short Story Anthology, Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards 2012: “Alternative Alamat does for Philippine deities what Neil Gaiman’s American gods did for the lesser-known gods of europe, Asia and Africa. Readers will find that the gods, goddesses and supernatural beings of the Philippines are as fascinating as those of any other nation’s pantheon. By turns shocking, tragic, even malevolent—the beings featured in this collection of stories are given new shape and form in stories that traverse the past and the present of Filipino culture. If myth is said to form a nation’s collective subconscious, then Alternative Alamat gives Filipino readers a much-needed injection of myths that are truly ours, and truly deserving of more widespread attention. Because of this collection, we’ll never view Filipino mythology the same way again.”

One of GMA News Online’s Notable Books from 2011

“[A] treasure trove of Philippine myths and legends reexamined and rendered for modern readers…lyrical…ground-breaking” Angelo Ancheta, Philippines Graphic (December 25, 2011 – January 2, 2012)

OK, if you only read one anthology all year, please let this one be it.” - Jaymee Goh(Scroll all the way down – this post reviews three books.)

“[B]rings Philippine mythology closer to modern readers like no scholarly book of myths possibly could… delightfully diverse.” - Meann Ortiz, The Girl Who Read

“Somehow, I felt that this book and the stories in this collection were mine — mine because I am a Filipino…” -  Tina Matanguihan, One More Page.

“…an excellent work indeed, well done!” – Catherine Batac Walder

“[A] marvelous attempt to gather in one volume some of the finest renditions of Philippine folklore.” - Kristine Ong Muslim (Amazon review)

“Different, but clever. Brilliant.” - Monique, Bookish Little Me

“This anthology came to me late in the year, but rocked my world on most counts. Between the illustrations by Mervin Malonzo and the intelligently done interviews at the back of the book, it was difficult to put this one down…” Katrina Stuart Santiago, Facebook

“I know nothing of Filipino culture, and these stories were all brand new to me. And I loved them!” -Robin Edman, Goodreads.

 

Guhit Kalinga is a charity fund raising event through auctions and sketches that will culminate on July 5, 2014 at Uno Morato, for the benefit of comic creator Rico Rival’s family and their immediate medical needs. You can see the official Facebook page here and a gallery of the artwork for auction here.

Next Thursday is June 12, Independence Day here in the Philippines, an occasion which I, and a growing number of Filipino writers, like to commemorate with a little something we call #RP612fic.

For anyone late to the party, here’s all you need to know:

  • What is #RP612fic?It’s Filipino authors coming together on Twitter to create tweet-length stories (130 characters, because you need to leave space for the hashtag) and sending them out into the wild with the #RP612fic hashtag. When the event is over, I’ll collate all submissions into a single post here on the site.
    • What’s a Hashtag? It’s a word/code you put in your tweet after the “#”. It acts as a label of sorts and makes it easier for me to find all participating stories.
  • When does this take place? At least once a year on Independence Day, but sometimes we participate in other events, such as a Blog Action Day. For any compilation or selection post I do, I’ll be looking for stories sent from 6PM on June 11, to 6AM of June 13.
  • What kind of stories should I submit? For Independence Day, I’d love to see alternative history stories, but it’s not like I’m going to tell you to delete your 130 character realist micro fiction opus.
  • What if I’m not on Twitter and I want to participate? Just send me your tweet length stories via rocketkapre[at]gmail.com and I’ll try to tweet them or include them in any  compilations of the stories that I do.
  • I may, time allowing, be doing a “Notable Stories” post, to highlight tweets/stories I found to be, well, noteworthy. The simple fact is, participation grows every year, and while this is a good thing, it’s reached the point that it’s no longer practical for me to compile everything.
  • That being said, I’ll try to throw up a RAW file of all tweets with the #RP612fic hashtag – I say raw because I won’t have the time to separate the actual stories from non-stories, or original tweets from retweets.
  • Artists are also free to participate. Just tell your stories with a single picture instead of a single tweet, and send it out on Twitter, or to my email account, with or without text (but if you put text, keep it to the Twitter limit, which includes the link to your image, if possible.) If you decide to illustrate one of the old RP612fic stories, from my previous compilations, please indicate the username of the original author, as found in the list.

Spread the word! For those who want to see the previous RP612fic stories, you can check out these links:

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About Me

Rocket Kapre is an imprint of Eight Ray Sun Publishing Inc. (a new Philippine-based publisher), dedicated to bringing the very best of Philippine Speculative Fiction in English to a worldwide audience by means of digital distribution. More info can be found at our About section at the top of the page.

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