What is #RP612Fic (2016 edition)

What is #RP612Fic (2016 edition)

In one week, this coming Sunday, we celebrate the Independence Day of the Philippines. By celebrate, of course, it’s time once again for #RP612Fic. Those of you who have participated before know the drill, but I’ve updated the primer a little this year, so both old hands and mystified newbies may want to read on. [...]


Call for Stories: SUBMIT to Philippine Speculative Fiction 11

Call for Stories: SUBMIT to Philippine Speculative Fiction 11

  Editors Kate Osias and Elyss Punsalan invite you to submit short fiction for consideration for Philippine Speculative Fiction volume 11. PSF is a yearly anthology series, showcasing 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 National [...]


Book Launch: Philippine Speculative Fiction X

Book Launch: Philippine Speculative Fiction X

The tenth edition of the annual anthology is already released (digitally): Flipside  Amazon Kobo Google Play iTunes Weightless Books Everyone is also invited to the official book launch: Come join us at the Philippine Speculative Fiction X book launch! We’re celebrating the tenth volume of this trailblazing annual anthology on Saturday, May 7, at 2 p.m. at [...]


Support Southeast Asian Steampunk: The SEA is Ours Crowdfunding Campaign

Support Southeast Asian Steampunk: The SEA is Ours Crowdfunding Campaign

It’s no secret that the need for representation in genre fiction is one of the reasons that I write, and I’m very proud (alongside  Kate Osias and TJ Dimacali among others) to be a part of a Southeast Asian steampunk anthology: The SEA is Ours. The editors/publisher are crowdsourcing funds to help pay writers and [...]


Call for Submissions: People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction

Call for Submissions: People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction

The “[Blank] Destroy [Blank] special issues of Lightspeed/Nightmare/Fantasy Magazines create spaces for diversity within speculative fiction through Kickstarter-funded special issues that focus on a particular community. Next up is something that writers and readers of Filipino speculative fiction should take note of — a special issue for People of Colo(u)r, a somewhat loaded term that is [...]


A Note on #RP612Fic (2017 onwards)

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On June - 11 - 2017ADD COMMENTS

Tomorrow is Independence Day, so a short note from me on #RP612Fic

And for those of you who still don’t know what that is -> http://www.rocketkapre.com/2016/what-is-rp612fic-2016-edition/

The hashtag has a life of its own now, and I see this year as a good time to step away from it.

So I won’t be participating this year, and won’t be actively reminding folks about it. This isn’t meant to be a statement about the hashtag.

It’s more popular than I’d ever dreamed it would be & I’m quite happy to enjoy it as the meme generator it’s evolved into.

But I’ve too much on my plate atm + want to engage w/ nationalism and identity in a nonfictional way.

This isn’t meant to surrender the “speculative” to those who’d use it as a tool of oppression, of course http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/903940/speculative-palace-says-of-aguirres-fake-news

Fiction & Spec Fic especially remain a powerful tool for empowerment and representation – or necessary escape – whether in tweets or novels.

But I need time and headspace for future projects & this (now monstrous) brainchild of mine will be fine on its own.

So tomorrow, whether you’re participating in #RP612Fic or not – have a happy independence day, friends. :)

May the 12th of June remind us of both the existence and complexities of past triumphs, both earned and inherited.

May June 12 reminds us of both the existence and complexities of past triumphs

What is #RP612Fic (2016 edition)

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On June - 5 - 2016ADD COMMENTS

In one week, this coming Sunday, we celebrate the Independence Day of the Philippines. By celebrate, of course, it’s time once again for #RP612Fic. Those of you who have participated before know the drill, but I’ve updated the primer a little this year, so both old hands and mystified newbies may want to read on.

What is #RP612fic?It’s Filipino creators coming together on Twitter to celebrate Philippine Independence Day vial alternative history, creating tweet-length stories, or attaching images or .GIFs (or any media really) and sending them out into the wild with the #RP612fic hashtag. (I used to explain what a hashtag is here, but it’s 2016 guys.)

How do I join with art? Just send the pics out on social media with the hashtag #RP612Fic. Here are some examples from Studio Salimbal.

When did it begin? In 2009, and we’ve been doing it annually ever since.

Who started it? That’d be me, Paolo Chikiamco, of Rocket Kapre and Studio Salimbal.

So you control it? Uhm. No. You can’t control how a hashtag is used on Twitter. And especially not when it has hundreds of thousands of Tweets. Did you know that for a while we were the #1 Twitter Trend in the entire world (not just the Philippines) in 2014?

So what’s your role? Aside from founding the event, and archiving the (early) content, I basically remind people when it’s almost that time of the year, and occasionally explain to people that, no, Rizal didn’t actually come back from the dead to become part of a meme.

What do memes have to do with alternate history? One of the most popular ways of re-imagining historical figures/events is by mixing them up with contemporary pop culture, and memes are a part of contemporary pop culture.

Isn’t that disrespectful to our national heroes? I hardly think they mind. In fact, I’d assume most would be happy to have a society where this kind of silly remembrances are allowed. Many of our national heroes were revolutionaries, which means they didn’t place much stock in sacred cows — I don’t think they should be turned into those themselves.

Will this bother some people? Sure, but no one is required to participate, and there are ways to mute a hashtag on Twitter (Google is your friend).

At the end of the day, #RP612Fic is a way some of us choose to celebrate June 12, in a manner that actually has some relation to history (rather than, I don’t know, having a shoe sale). Personally, I love the tweets/stories/images that are closer to what most people would recognize as alternate history — I love, for example, learning about heroes and events that I otherwise wouldn’t have, because people used them in an #RP612Fic story — but the hashtag has a life of its own, and as long as people are having good natured fun with it, I’m happy.

That being said, there are a few best practices that should be emphasized.

Best practices? Glad you asked! As I said, there is no way for me to control what people use the hashtag for, or how they use it. I can’t police the damn thing, but as its founder what I can tell you what kinds of acts aren’t part of the spirit of #RP612Fic — most of these are bad form anyway, and should be common sense, but here we go:

* Credit Creators / Don’t Plagiarize: There are easy ways to share a tweet or image in a way that acknowledges the original creator. Don’t rip off other people because you want to be popular for the fifteen minutes it takes for the Internet to realize what you did. Like I said, it’s easy to find the original creators, which means it’s very easy to prove that you’re a plagiarist, which is a label that kind of sticks. Pro Tip: If you want to be popular, don’t make yourself a pariah.

* Don’t Harass: You want to do slash fic for #RP612Fic — go for it! Don’t put your ultra-religious next door neighbor in it because his dog shit on your door mat (again). Of course if your next door neighbor is a public figure and you’re making a point about his stance on LGBT rights, then that’s likely the kind of satire a public figure has to deal with, but not Juan from next door… even if he has a literally shitty dog.

* All in Good Fun: This is an election year, and that can bring out the worst in people. Sometimes this is righteous anger and justified, and #RP612Fic could be just the escape valve you need… but at the end of the day, I created #RP612Fic to be a celebration, so do it because you find it fun — not just for you, but for Filipinos who may have very different beliefs from yours. If you’re going to participate, you need to be willing to see those ideas / fics / people on your timeline — and if you don’t want that, then opt out. God knows there are many other ways that you can celebrate independence — taking care of your own well-being is more important than participating in #RP612Fic, no matter how cool it is.

So when does #RP612Fic begin this year? People use the hashtag year round nowadays, but the bulk of the tweets traditionally come from 6PM on June 11, to 6AM of June 13.

Can I interview you about #RP612Fic for — Not this year! But feel free to use anything you find in this primer.



Editors Kate Osias and Elyss Punsalan invite you to submit short fiction for consideration for Philippine Speculative Fiction volume 11.

PSF is a yearly anthology series, showcasing 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 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.
Submissions must be:
1. speculative fiction – i.e., they must contain strong elements and/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
These preferences can be easily overturned by exceptionally well-written pieces. For 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. All submissions should be sent as MSWord files, and emailed to phspecfic.11@gmail.com.
2. The deadline for submissions is 11:59 p.m., October 10, 2016. We typically answer email within a week – if we haven’t confirmed that we’ve received your story by then, do email again. Letters of acceptance or regret will be sent out no later than one month after the deadline.
3. No multiple or simultaneous submissions—i.e., submit only one story, and do not submit that story to any other publishing market until you’ve received a letter of regret from us.
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 initially, we need to know who we’re talking to.
2. If you’d like to write a cover letter with your bio and publishing history, feel free to introduce yourself – but not your story. If it needs explanation, it’s probably not ready for publication.
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.
Writers of selected stories will receive a Php500 author’s fee, and a digital copy of the book.
Please help spread the word! Copy this and paste it anywhere that happens to be legal. :)
Kate Osias and Elyss Punsalan, co-editors

Book Launch: Philippine Speculative Fiction X

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 14 - 2016ADD COMMENTS

The tenth edition of the annual anthology is already released (digitally):

Everyone is also invited to the official book launch:

Come join us at the Philippine Speculative Fiction X book launch!

We’re celebrating the tenth volume of this trailblazing annual anthology on Saturday, May 7, at 2 p.m. at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf*, Shangri-La Plaza Mall.

In the decade-plus that we’ve been doing this, it seems Pinoy spec fic writers have gotten around ten times better than we all used to be! Seriously, we were amazed at the sheer excellence of submissions we received, resulting in one hell of a good book.

See for yourself! Help us applaud (and affectionately embarrass) our authors, and enjoy merienda, handmade origami, and other tiny treats, at what’s been called the most “sobrang sayang book launch ever, ever!”

Fair warning: you may be asked to speak, play a game, impersonate someone, dance, or do a rap battle. Okay, only long-time PSF writers will be asked to rap battle.

See you there!

Dean Francis Alfar & Nikki Alfar

*It’s the CBTL facing the main mall driveway, not the bistro in the new wing.


Recordings from the 5th Filipino Reader Con

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 10 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

The 5th Filipino Reader Con took place a few weeks ago, and as always it was a great deal of fun. No local convention truly feels like :coming home” to me like the ReaderCon does. The theme of this year’s activities  was “Toward a Reading Revolution” — you can feel that readers are starting to influence local publishing more, but the revolution, in the sense of a radical change in how things work, isn’t here yet. What we do have are a lot of discussions about where we should be headed and how readers can use their newfound power. As has become customary, I was the emcee of the event and moderated a pair of panels, which I’m sharing with you all here.


This panel was basically meant to be a power fantasy, with the panelists replacing the Powers That Be — any powers necessary to make their bookish wishes come true! It’s primarily a way to talk about being a reader in the Philippines — in general and for the panelists and audience specifically — and in the process of checking off things from a big wishlist, we get an idea of what can be done to make readers happier. We touched upon a wide variety of topics here, including the type of books we wanted to see, the role of libraries, the Filipiniana section, and the need to get books and bookish events outside Metro Manila.


Eriele Japsay is a 19 year old book blogger and cosplayer. She loves bringing book characters to life, thus making her cosplay debut as America Singer from the Selection Series during Kiera Cass’ first book signing event in 2013. She is now taking her degree in Marketing in University of Santo Tomas.

Blooey Singson is the owner and author of Bookmarked!, a blog for book reviews, author interviews, and other things book-related.  An administrator of the book club Flips Flipping Pages, a member of the Filipino Book Bloggers Group, and organizing chair of the Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards for the annual Filipino Reader Conference, Blooey reads over 250 books a year and cannot leave a bookstore empty-handed. Blooey is also a published children’s book illustrator and a partner in a public relations firm in Makati.

 Tarie Sabido is a fangirl and her fandoms are children’s and young adult literature. She is the chair of the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY), a nonprofit organization committed to the development and promotion of children’s and young adult literature in the country.
(Note there are two recording files here, but both cover more or less the whole panel. Volume is a bit low, sadly.)

Readers Take the Reins (MP3)

Readers Take the Reins (CAF)


The panel’s goals were two-fold: to detail a variety of ways that different kinds of readers can help different kinds of authors, and to inspire readers to go out and support authors in a variety of ways. The feeling I’ve always had is that readers would be more than happy to do more to support authors (within their individual comfort zones) if they felt that their actions truly mattered to the authors in tangible / important ways. The ensuing discussion was very lively — any panel with bebang usually is — and touches upon where authors earn the most money, how to spread the word about a good book, and “shelving problems.”

Si Bebang Siy ay isang manunulat, tagasalin at copyright advocate. Isa rin siyang lover… as in book lover. Nag-umpisa ang hilig niya sa pagbabasa nang matuklasan niya ang matalinghagang mga entry sa kolum na Xerex ng tabloid na Abante noong siya ay bata pa. Sa kasalukuyan, abala siya sa pagtataguyod ng mga writing at bookmaking workshop sa buong bansa dahil naniniwala siyang lahat ng tao, anumang edad at background, ay kayang-kayang gumawa ng sarili nilang aklat. Makipag-ugnayan kay Bebang sa pamamagitan ng email: beverlysiy@gmail.com.

 Mina V. Esguerra writes contemporary romance and young adult novellas. She has a bachelor’s degree in Communication from the Ateneo de Manila University and a master’s degree in Development Communication from the University of the Philippines. Her contemporary romance novellas won the Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards for Chick Lit in 2012 (Fairy Tale Fail) and 2013 (That Kind of Guy).

Kimberly Joy Villanueva started writing when she was in high school. She daydreams most of the day, thinking about what ifs, and scenarios for her stories. Music helps her in creating plot outlines. Before becoming a writer, she was an avid reader. She’s a bibliophile. Time is irrelevant when she’s reading. Her first book, The Bet, became a major motion picture this 2015. Just the Way You Are was produced by Star Cinema, starring Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano. Her other stories are posted on the online site Wattpad. She hosts the yearly Wattpad meet-ups as Wattpad Filipino Ambassador. She took up Marketing Management in Holy Angel University, and now, she works as a Marketing Officer at Jocson College.

Tepai Pascual is a Fine Arts graduate of the University of the Philippines, Diliman and worked as an Art Director in a top advertising agency, now creates storyboards for TV commercial / movie directors. She is co-founder of Meganon Comics and one of the organizers of Komiket. She’s best known for her National Book Award Nomimated graphic novel, MAKTAN 1521. Tepai also produced three more comic book series: Mark 9Verse47 with Maika Ezawa; Noodle Boy and Buhay Habangbuhay (Life Afterlife) with Paolo Herras and has a comic strip series in Adobo Magazine called Krokis.

Supporting Authors We Love (MP3)

If you’re interested in attending or participating in the Filipino Reader Con, please do join our community on Facebook. Thanks!

Rochita Loenen-Ruiz has been one of the most supportive Filipino writers that I know, always trying to find ways to help Filipino writers have a platform or be heard in the West. She’s also one of the best speculative fiction writers I know, and her story in Alternative Alamat remains to be one on my favorites. She’s facing some tough times now — she’s asked for the details to be kept confidential, so for those of you who know why, don’t mention it in the comments — and every little bit helps. Her friend Aliette de Bodard has put up a GoFundMe for her, and any donations or help spreading the word is much appreciated.

Here’s her story, “Mouse and I” — she created it specifically for Ruin & Resolve (our Ondoy charity anthology) even if I was accepting re-prints. Rochita has a habit of going above and beyond that way. Please help if you can.

Mouse and I

By Rochita Loenen-Ruiz

Around us, the jungle shivers with life.  It moves, it creaks—its gears click and turn.  Trees bend and sway, synchronized as always.  Sun sets.

Shadows chase us through the foliage.  Here we are, Mouse and I.  The jungle rotates on its axis and hunters shift through hollow space and metal grass.

“Shhh,” says Mouse.

We crouch behind night-dark bush and watch as light elongates and changes the shapes of hunters and hunted.

Mouse rolls behind rock shadow.  His smooth steel skin reflects the darkness under the leaves.  Close to the rock, he’s almost invisible.  My skin is made of tin, there are orange stripes down my back, and I reflect no light.  I’m glad for the give in my body as I try to bend myself to the shape of trees and moving grass.  We lie still, and wait, and listen while drums beat, voices chant and hunters hunt.

It’s been like this ever since.  Every morning, we wake to the singing of the gears.  The bush comes alive with the cha-cha-cha of wind-up monkeys.  Here, stranded birds flutter their wings in vain, while the last of the sinuous serpents creeps over the cold earth.  In the distance, a tiger roars, but we know better than to be afraid of the tiger.

The tiger is not the hunter.

At night, we listen to grass and bushes bend, we listen to the mournful cry of whomever, and we cower away as the ripping sound of metal tears into the quiet fabric of dark.  We tremble because we know survival isn’t a guarantee.

Daylight offers temporary reprieve.  In the day, there are no knives and spears.  There is no clamor of drums, and no pounding of feet, there is no thrum-thrum sound of a heart going mad.

Out on the plains, the sun shines hot, white, and pure.  Scattered remains tell us the story of Eland’s demise.

Mouse beckons and we join the search for nuts and bolts and bits of wiring.  Eland was our friend. I think of her leaping through the air, sun glinting off her gold-edged flank, and I know we won’t find much of her skin.

“Here,” Mouse says.  He stuffs Eland’s key into my paw. I nod and tuck it into my pouch.  Keys are necessary for survival.

By the time the heat grows unbearable, there’s nothing left on the plain and we head on out towards Umberto´s hut and the oil slick.

Umberto looks almost like the hunters, but we know he isn’t one of them.  For one, his body is made of the finest steel, and when he oils himself, he gleams all over.  Like us, Umberto must wind himself up everyday.

Umberto travels far.  Sometimes he’s gone for days and when he comes back he’s always got a pack filled with metal strips, odds and ends, nuts and bolts and tiny screws, and keys to fit any notch you can imagine.

When we get to his place, Umberto’s hut is deserted.  We mill around and wait.  Maybe he can put together the bits and pieces we’ve got and resurrect Eland.  I think of my own resurrection; if not for Umberto, if not for Mouse, I’d still be scattered about in the wind.  I´d be nothing but gears and metal rusting away under the heat of the sun.

“Do you think he’s gone walking to the edge of the world?” I asked Mouse.

Mouse shakes his head and looks worried.  Soon it will be night, and when dark descends, the drumming starts.  We can’t stick around Umberto’s hut for long.

Mouse and I talk about the drumming.

“Maybe the jungle is sick,” says Mouse.  “Maybe it’s wearing down, and soon we’ll all fall prey to the hunters.”

“But we can’t let that happen,” I say.

Mouse sighs.

“There’s nothing to be done about it, Fant.  We all wind down sometime, and there aren’t any spare parts left to keep the jungle from falling apart.”

“At least we could try,” I reply.  “Maybe Umberto can help us fix the jungle.”

Four days later, when we go down to the slick, we see that scavengers have been at work.  There’s almost nothing left of Umberto’s hut.  There’s nothing except an oil rag that he used to wipe his face with.

“Where’ll Umberto stay when he gets back?” I ask Mouse.

Mouse doesn’t reply.  His eyes shift and he looks away towards the East.  He looks out towards where the jungle ends and the plain begins, where the hunters come from when dark sets in.

“We can’t just wait for the jungle to fall apart,” I say. “We can’t just wait for the hunters to come with their sharp knives and their twisty hands.  This is our home, damn it.”

“It’s the way it’s always been,” says Mouse.  “Hunters hunt and we hide.”

I wish Umberto would come back soon.  I want to see the sun glinting off his steel frame as he strides towards us.  If Umberto were here, we could make plans. Maybe we could even trap the hunters.  If we strip off their skins maybe we’ll find the solution to the jungle’s illness.

There’s the remainder of a word on the skin of my back.  Umberto shaped my new skin from strips of metal he’d found on one of his journeys.

“F-a-n-t,” says Mouse. “Fant. That’s what we’ll call you from now on.  It’s your resurrection name, short for fantastic.”

Umberto taught Mouse to read, and I envy him this gift.  But when Umberto brought me back, when he turned the key in my side, it was Mouse’s turn to be jealous.

I turn the key now, and I jump far and high.

“Come back,” Mouse calls. “You can’t go jumping about all by yourself.  Think what will happen if the hunters catch you.”

“But if I jump far enough, they won’t be able to catch me,” I reply.

Mouse crosses his paws and looks annoyed.

“You’re not jumping without me,” he says.

“I’ll take you in my pouch,” I say.  “Maybe if I jump far enough, we’ll find the center of the jungle.  Maybe if I jump strong, we could jump clear out of the jungle into another place all together.”

I shiver when I say those words and I wonder if there is indeed another place beyond the jungle.  Is there a place where Mouse and I can live without the fear of hunters coming after us when darkness falls?  Will we still hear the clicking of gears and the beating of the jungle’s heart when we’re so far away?

Dark descends quicker than before.  The drums beat slower and a slice of dread causes my heart to miss a beat.

“It’s the jungle’s heart,” Mouse whispers.  “It’s slowing down.”

From far away, we hear the hunters shriek.  We hear the sound of metal on metal, and we fall silent.

In the morning, we awake to the chattering of the monkeys.  They make such a clamor that everyone runs out into the clearing.

And there’s Umberto.  He’s lying by the slick with rivers of black pouring out of him.

“We found him,” the monkeys cry, hopping up and down in agitation.

Mouse shakes his head, as if he can’t believe it. I tiptoe forward and call Umberto’s name, but he doesn’t seem to hear me.  His eyes blink open and shut, his fists open and close, and the black keeps pouring out of him.

“Someone’s taken his key,” Mouse says.

And we know Umberto’s dying and there’s nothing we can do about it.

“Is this the end?” we whisper to each other.

We can’t bear to strip Umberto.  These metal hands have helped us all. We’ve seen him gather bits and pieces of what the hunters left over.  We know his patience and attention to detail.

Besides, what’s the point of stripping him?  Of what use are spare parts when none of us knows how to put them together? We can’t bring the dead back to life.

I lift one of his hands between my paws.

“I’ll miss you,” I say to him.

“It’s those damned hunters,” Mouse says. “Why can’t they leave us alone?  Just because their hide isn’t made out of metal, just because they aren’t keyed–do they think they’re better than we are?”

We sit and wait until sundown’s hostile glare turns the slick into a fiery lake.  Soon the drums start beating, and we’re up and running towards the shadow of the jungle, towards the shelter of bushes and the maze of vines and tangled weeds.

Around us, the jungle comes alive.  The gears click-clack and the trees move in slow motion.  The landscape changes, and Mouse and I, we’re caught in the glare of the hunter’s moon.

“Run!” I scream.

The hunters pound behind us.  The jungle whirls away, it gyrates, it spins.  I can almost feel the pain of those twisty hands tearing through my skin. I remember falling into darkness with the sound of my gears winding down to silence.


I run towards the bush, towards the shape of trees and grass.

“We’re safe. Mouse, we’re safe.”

But Mouse isn’t anywhere.

Out under the moon, Mouse faces the hunters.  He’s up on his hind legs, his paws stretched out, his teeth bared.


He doesn’t even turn.

Dammit, Mouse.

My voice is a sob in my throat.  My key’s wound down and my hands have lost their strength. I beat the ground with my feet.  But the hunters won’t be distracted.  The moon shines full on their faces.  They gnash their teeth, they snap their fingers, and I howl when I see twisty things appear where hands should be.  There’s that whirring sound.  High and keen, I’ve heard it before.


I watch as they close in.  They’ve found his key.  Metal screeches and tears, and Mouse is on the ground.  He’s kicking, he’s fighting, his voice turns shrill as they strip off his skin to reveal the gears turning underneath.

Day is a thin light in the East by the time they’re done.  All that’s left of Mouse are strips of metal, tiny cogs, and nuts and bolts scattered every which way.  The hunters rise, and I rush out into the open, waiting for them to tear me apart.

“Kill me too,” I want to say.

But they just pass on by, without looking my way.

Mouse is dead.  Mouse is gone.

I scrounge in the bush until I find his key.  I put this in my pouch next to Eland’s key. I go and sit beside the spot of black where Mouse’s life leaked out of him, and I think long and hard.

Eland’s dead.  Umberto’s dead.  Mouse is dead.  I could be next and there’ll be no coming back this time.  I take Mouse’s key out of my pouch, and I think of our conversation:

“If I jump high enough, do you think I could jump clear out of this jungle into another place?”

“Who knows? But you’re not jumping without me.”

I hold his key in my hands, I think of the smooth sound of gears whirring and turning inside the compact casing of his skin.

“I’m not jumping without you,” I whisper.

I twist his key into my notch.  It’s freshly oiled and it fits just like an old friend.  I feel my springs wind up into a tight little ball.  I close my eyes, listen to the sound of the key whirring and turning, and I jump.

It’s no secret that the need for representation in genre fiction is one of the reasons that I write, and I’m very proud (alongside  Kate Osias and TJ Dimacali among others) to be a part of a Southeast Asian steampunk anthology: The SEA is Ours. The editors/publisher are crowdsourcing funds to help pay writers and artists and possibly fund a teacher’s edition and future installments, so if this resonates with you, any assistance would be appreciated, from donations to spreading the word.

My story is “Between Severed Souls” which is a sequel to “On Wooden Wings” (from PSF6/Steampunk III) and will have an illustration by none other than Borg Sinaban (Mythspace: Unfurling of Wings). You can also get digital copies of (the original) “Alternative Alamat” as one of the perks, if you don’t already have it, or buy a cameo in a Dean Alfar story!

The “[Blank] Destroy [Blank] special issues of Lightspeed/Nightmare/Fantasy Magazines create spaces for diversity within speculative fiction through Kickstarter-funded special issues that focus on a particular community. Next up is something that writers and readers of Filipino speculative fiction should take note of — a special issue for People of Colo(u)r, a somewhat loaded term that is defined in the Call for Submissions below. I used to do some slush reading for Lightspeed, and it’s a great magazine, and the editors for this particular issue – Nalo Hopkinson and Kristine Ong Muslim (who is Filipino) — are awesome and highly capable. I highly encourage Filipino writers to submit to the anthology, and I encourage everyone who loves diverse genre fiction to support the Kickstarter when it launches. 

You can read the call below, or head to the official site.



As with the other Destroy special issues, Lightspeed will be running a Kickstarter campaign for People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction! It will run January 15 – February 15, 2016. Again, as before, if we meet certain stretch goals, we’ll unlock the publication of Destroy Fantasy! and Destroy Horror! volumes as well.


According to snopes.com, roughly 70% of the people on this planet are non-white. Lumping the majority of the world’s human population under the minority term “people of colour” is, frankly, dodgy. Author Vajra Chandrasekera calls it “plain old regular essentialism” (Chandrasekera’s discussion of essentialism, strategic and otherwise, is here). “People of colour” is a complicated but sometimes useful term that has most currency in North America, where it can be understood to mean, more or less, “People who experience systemic oppression, in their home countries or elsewhere, by virtue of all or part of their apparent racial and/or ethnic genetic heritages.”

Yes, words are complicated. That’s what’s delightful about them. We can deal with complication. Science fiction — in itself a term that should be frequently re-examined — is an excellent artistic tool for dismantling essentialist thinking.

For the purposes of this special edition of Lightspeed Magazine, the Guest Editors — Kristine Ong Muslim and Nalo Hopkinson — consider the terms “people of colour” and “science fiction” themselves to be conditional, contextual, provocative, strategic, and ripe for dismantling. Please understand our use of those two terms in this call for submissions in that spirit.

We’re looking for previously unpublished science fiction short stories of up to 10,000 words, reflective of the issue’s theme, written by writers of colour. Note that there’s a POC Destroy Fantasy issue planned, so the editors of the science fiction issue are going to make some judgement calls about whether a story is science fiction (for some values of “science fiction”). Note also that we will not be asking writers who submit stories to tell us what makes them “people of colour.” We leave that up to your world experience, your conscience, your sense of community, and your sense of fair play.

Our submission period for this special issue will be Oct. 1, 2015 – Feb. 16, 2016. Submissions will be made via our submissions system.

As with the special “Destroy” issues of Lightspeed Magazine that have preceded it, the POC Destroy Science Fiction! issue will be contentious. That is, after all, part of its aim. Not the unconsidered splattershot of “equal opportunity” offensiveness — whatever the hell that is when not everyone has the same opportunities — but, we hope, one venue for the continuing and wonderfully productive discussions of access that are currently happening in this community.


Nalo Hopkinson

Nalo HopkinsonNalo Hopkinson is a Jamaican-born Canadian whose taproots extend to Trinidad and Guyana. She has published numerous novels and short stories, and has edited and co-edited anthologies, including Whispers From the Cotton Tree Root: Caribbean Fabulist Fiction, and Mojo: Conjure Stories. Her writing has received the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, the Locus Award, the World Fantasy Award, the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic, and the Andre Norton Award. Hopkinson is a professor of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside. She has taught at both the Clarion Writers’ Workshop and the Clarion West Writers’ Workshop. Hopkinson’s short story collection Falling in Love With Hominids was published in 2015 by Tachyon Books. Learn more at nalohopkinsoncom.

Kristine Ong Muslim

Kristine Ong MuslimKristine Ong Muslim is the author of We Bury the Landscape (Queen’s Ferry Press, 2012), Grim Series (Popcorn Press, 2012), and A Roomful of Machines (ELJ Publications, 2015). Her forthcoming books include the short story collection Age of Blight (Unnamed Press, 2016) and two poetry collections from university presses in the Philippines. Her stories appeared in One Buck Horror, Confrontation Magazine, The State, and elsewhere. She lives in southern Philippines and serves as poetry editor of LONTAR: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction, a literary journal published by Epigram Books in Singapore. Learn more at kristinemuslim.weebly.com.

#?BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy? Campaign

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On August - 4 - 20152 COMMENTS


In parallel to August being Buwan ng Wika, Egay Calabia Samar – author of the Janus Silang YA series — has decided to celebrate the month as  ?#?BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy and has invited others to join in on social media. Every day, readers are posting images of Filipino-authored books (whether written in Filipino or not) on Twitter and Facebook, and you can find them by searching the hashtag. If you’re a fan of Filipino authors or books, feel free to join in!

Table of Contents: Philippine Speculative Fiction X

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 29 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

With the acceptance and rejection letters all sent out, co-editor Dean Alfar has announced the contents of volume 10 of the annual Philippine Speculative Fiction anthology (via his Facebook):

Philippine Speculative Fiction X
edited by Dean Francis Alfar & Nikki Alfar
Table of Contents

A Long Walk Home – Alexander M. Osias
A Report – Sarge Lacuesta
A Small Hope – Gabriela Lee
For Sale: Big Ass Sword – Kenneth G. Yu
Children of the Stars – Francis Gabriel Concepcion
Fisher of Men – Razel Tomacder
Hunger – Lakan Umali
IT Girl – AJ Elicaño
Lamat – Noel Tio
Marvin and the Jinni – Raymund Reyes
Mechanical Failures – Jose Elvin Bueno
Mene, Thecel, Phares – Victor Fernando R. Ocampo
Night Predators – Joseph Montecillo
Oblation – Richard Cornelio
Santos de Sampaguita – Alyssa Wong
Soulless – EK Gonzales
The Dollmaker – Joel Pablo Salud
The Last God of Cavite – Andrew Drilon
The Owl and the Hoopoe – Renz Torres
The Run to Grand Maharlika Station – Vincent Michael Simbulan
The Target – Eliza Victoria
Thunderstorm – Cyan Abad-Jugo
When the Gods Left – Kate Osias

Congratulations to all the contributors! PSF10 will be available later this year.



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.