Archive for October, 2009

Trese: The Devil’s Playground

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 31 - 2009


I can think of few better ways to celebrate Halloween than kicking back with a new Trese story–and that’s just what co-creator Budjette Tan has to offer us today, assisted by the photographs of Melvin Arciaga. Trese: The Devil’s Playground is a four page photocomic (fumetti) featuring, amongst other things, Trese’s youngest fan (or, well, the Kambal’s youngest fan as Budjette puts it).

Enjoy the comic and stay dry everyone!

Charles Tan Wins Last Drink Bird Head Award

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 30 - 2009

From the World SF News Blog, we’ve received word that Charles Tan, of Bibliophile Stalker fame, has won the Last Drink Bird Head Award for International Activism, in recognition for his efforts to bring writers from other literary traditions and countries to the attention of readers in North America, the United Kingdom, and Australia…

Last Drink Bird Head is a flash fiction anthology for the benefit of, where editors Jeff and Ann Vandermeer sent an email to writers with “Last Drink Bird Head” in the subject line and the directions “Who or what is Last Drink Bird Head? Under 500 words.”

According to a post on Jeff Vandermeer’s site, the purpose of the Last Drink Bird Head Awards is to celebrate those in the genre community who enrich it with their time, energy, and words, often for causes greater than themselves. Finalists for this year’s award were chosen for efforts in 2008 and/or 2009.

Congratulations Charles!

On the Far Shore: Joey Nacino

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 27 - 2009

“On the Far Shore” is what I’m calling this series of interviews with the authors/editors of “The Farthest Shore” an anthology of secondary world fantasy from Filipino writers. The anthology is available here . Today we speak with Joey Nacino, one of the anthology’s two editors, and also the author of “Brothers-in-Arms“.

joey_nacino_bio_photo2How did you come up with the idea for “The Farthest Shore”? Why focus on secondary world fantasy?

As I’ve talked about in the book’s introduction, Dean and I were talking about our love of secondary world fantasies and how as Filipino writers we couldn’t write about them because of the lack of Filipino elements in such stories. So we decided to hell with expectations and come up with an anthology of secondary world stories written by Filipinos.

I came up with the title “The Farthest Shore” in honor of Ursula K. Le Guin’s third Earthsea book and thought it apt given her definition of what ‘the farthest shore’ meant. Likewise, I thought the title evoked the feeling of islands, which is really what this is all about: secondary world stories from the Philippine islands, as far as it can be from the US or international readership.

How did you go about defining “secondary world fantasy”?

The basis of our definition of secondary world fantasy stems from the epic doorstoppers like George R. R. Martin’s and Robert Jordan’s works, as well as J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth. However, we also thought that this kind of definition is somewhat limiting given the other kinds of secondary world ideas, i.e. the portal-to-a-fantasy-world like Stephen Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant books or the new weird stuff like China Mieville’s Crobuzon tales.

So we thought of making the definition a little vague in order to give our writers free rein to interpret what secondary world fantasy could mean. Hence, in this anthology you will find stories about pseudo-Filipino myth-laden realms (like Rod Santos’ “Queen Liwana”), a girl’s imaginary world of justice fulfilled (like Eliza Victoria’s “The Just World”), a New Weird-ish story of generational turtle ships (like Dom Cimafranca’s Rite of Passage), etc. Of course, those descriptions are my reading of the stories and may not apply to others. *wink*

You’re obviously well versed in some of the classic secondary world stories. Do you have a few more obscure secondary world favorites to recommend? Those that deserve more attention and acclaim?

Well, people can always try the late Paul Zimmer’s Dark Border novels (“The Lost Prince”, “King Chondo’s Ride” and the stand-alone “A Gathering of Heroes”) and P.C. Hodgell’s Kencyrath books (“God Stalk” and “Dark of the Moon” which was later collected in “The God Stalker Chronicles”; “Seeker’s Mask” and “To Ride a Rathorn”, which was collected in “Seeker’s Bane”). Zimmer’s books chronicles a cold war fantasy world wherein evil is just a border away. However, though the heroes of the Dark Border are quite compelling, they’re also tragic. Istvan the Archer is a famous swordsman who foreswore the bow after a massacre that made his name. Hodgell’s books are similar in that evil also lies over another border but her adventure stories of Jaime are leavened by a sly sense of humor. Both have their strengths and weaknesses but overall, they made quite an impression on me—especially since I managed to acquire copies of these more-than-likely-out-of-print books at secondhand bookstores. Unfortunately, there aren’t any Dark Borders books anymore since Zimmer—the brother of fantasy granddame Marion Zimmer Bradley—died in 1997. Fortunately, Baen Books have been publishing omnibus copies of Hodgell’s books and it looks like a fifth one is in the offing.

In the course of putting together this anthology, what was your biggest challenge? Your biggest surprise?

For myself, the biggest challenge was having enough stories that fit the bill to fill the anthology. Despite the popularity of fantasy/SF books in the Philippines, it seems like Filipino writers aren’t as keen to write about non-Filipino stories. Or maybe that’s just my perception. The biggest surprise? Filipino writers can write good secondary world stories.

Ah, now there’s a statement that might be misconstrued. How was that a surprise? what were your initial expectations when you and Dean began the project?

Well, the submissions did open my eyes to what could be considered as secondary world fantasy. Prior to this, my perception of a secondary world story was limited to the Western type ( i.e. J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth or George R.R. Martin’s Westeros to China Mieville’s New Crobuzon) though I never realized it. Good thing I found myself seeing past this as I read stories that were non-Western– sometimes non-Filipino– but still apply a very Asian context to the idea of secondary worlds.  An example would be Crystal Koo’s “Wildwater” story about a poor yet ambitious fisherman who goes off to find fame and fortune in the big bad empire. Ironically, Charles once pointed out one time that the submission guidelines describing the secondary world theme as “too vague”.  Good thing that worked out to our advantage.

Read the rest of this entry »

Kenneth Yu Wins Fantasy Magazine Flash Contest

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 27 - 2009

EDIT: Aaaaand he takes home the prize. Congratulations Kyu!

Fantasy Magazine recently ran a flash-fiction-and0graphic contest and Filipino author and editor extraordinaire Kenneth Yu’s story has placed in the top three (with the help of Andrew Drilon’s artwork, which PGS veterans will be familiar with).  Fantasy magazine is now holding a poll (until November 1, US Time), and the winner will be determined by the voting public, so please do check the stories out here, enjoy the quality flash, then vote for your favorite.

And hey, while you’re at the site, check out the other excellent pieces of SF fiction available at Fantasy Magazine.

Slideshow: Writing Short Fiction

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 26 - 2009

Dominique Cimaframca has uploaded a short slide show from a short workshop he gave for the College Editors Guild of the Philippines. The focus of the approximately twenty slides is flash fiction, and you get to read some samples of Dom’s work in that mode as well.

START HERE: Sketch-A-Thon

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 26 - 2009

We’ve already mentioned START HERE–a project collecting artworks inspired by Typhoon Ondoy relief efforts that aims, in turn, to inspire others to help in rebuilding the Philippines–on the site before, and they’ve recently announced (via their newly refurbished site) that they will be having a one day free Sketch-a-Thon on on November 15, 2009, from 10am-7pm at The Forum, 4th Floor, Fully Booked Bonifacio High Street.

From the site:

The START HERE Sketch-a-thon is open to anyone who wants to share their visions of hope, creation and rebuilding through drawing and doodles. All drawings generated that day will be scanned and included in the START HERE online exhibit.

Professional artists will also be on location to accept commissions and money raised from that will also be donated to the survivors of the typhoons. Other donations and pledges will also be accepted throughout the day. Launches

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 22 - 2009

Dominque Cimafranca has launched a new website, aptly named (note the “k” in “kom”) which serves as an online deadline calendar for writer’s markets that are open to submissions. Here’s what Dominique has to say about the purpose of the website:

As the name says, this site is all about deadlines: whether it’s for a contest or call to submission for an anthology; whether it’s for short stories, poems, artwork, or novels; this is about deadlines, deadlines, deadlines. Why? Because sometimes nothing spurs creativity and kills procrastination more quickly and effectively than a looming immovable target.

Check back with the site from time to time to see what’s coming up soon, or better yet, subscribe to our feed.

If you have any deadlines for contests or anthologies that you want announced here, drop us a note, too.

You can also check out their FAQ here.

Komikon 2009 Awardees

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 20 - 2009


Congratulations to the winners of the 2009 Komikon Awards:

Best Graphic Novel / Anthology: Martial Law Babies by Arnold Arre
Best Comic Series: Cast by Jamie Bautista, Nautilus
Best Comic Magazine: Mangaholix by Groundbreakers, Inc.
Best Comic Strip Compilation: Pugad baboy by Pol Medina Jr.
Best Webcomic: Kubori Strips for the Soul by Michael David (
Best Cover: Cast issue 11 by Arnold Arre
Best Comic Creator/s: Arnold Arre
Best Cartoonist: Hazel Manzano, Callwork
Best Komiks Character: Michiko of Ninja Girl Ko!, Mangaholix
Best Comic Scene: Ces’ Poem from Will, Cast issue 10 by Jamie Bautista & Arnold Arre
Grassroot Award:
1st place: Life as Viciously Impossible by Daphne Martinez (Lambchild)
2nd place: Nurse Macho Origins by Mangaholix
3rd place: Kalayaan by Gio Paredes, GMP Comics

Comic Aid Award: Elbert Or and Japan Foundation Manila

And here’s Arnold Arre’s video acceptance speech–he couldn’t make it in person–half of which is actually a video of the popular artist making a few sketches, so check it out:

On The Far Shore: An Interview With Rodello Santos

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 20 - 2009

“On the Far Shore” is what I’m calling this series of interviews with the authors/editors of “The Farthest Shore” an anthology of secondary world fantasy from Filipino writers. The anthology is available here. Today we speak with Rodello Santos, author of “Queen Liwana’s Gambit“.

Could you tell us a bit about your story?

Absolutely. My story is about a young boy who wanders the countryside unsupervised with his best-friend, a chubby yellow rodent who shoots electricity. No wait, that’s Pokemon. Okay, now I remember. My story is about an old woman who bargained with dark powers in her youth and who must now face the consequences. It is based loosely on my own experiences pretending to be an old woman.

How did you hear about the Farthest Shore anthology?

Some of the voices in my head are psychic. Or perhaps I read it on Charles Tan’s Livejournal.

Prior to that, had you ever written a secondary world story before?

Yes, the majority of my stuff is speculative fiction set in secondary worlds. This world is far too boring.

How long did it take you to write the story?

That’s a tough question. The first incarnation of this story was written in 2006 for one of the weekly Flash Challenges at the Liberty Hall Writers’ Forum. For these challenges, writers are given a “trigger” and 90 minutes to write a story. The trigger can be a word, a picture, lyrics, or whatever. So, it took it me 90 minutes to write the first draft, then three years to complete the final revision. :)

What aspect of the writing did you enjoy the most?

The final draft. By that time, it just required some fine-tuning, and I could enjoy the story without having to make any major choices.

How do you know when a story is “ready”, that it’s time to stop making those minuscule corrections?

When I run face-first into the submission deadline (I can be a terrible procrastinator). I don’t know that one can ever stop tinkering with a story. If I do a few read-throughs and nothing leaps out at me, that’s one sign that it’s about ready. Of course, an author is often the worst judge of his/her own work. Getting feedback from other writers can be invaluable.

Read the rest of this entry »

Komikon 2009: El Indio Book Launch

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 19 - 2009

Here are a few videos I took of the El Indio book launch at yesterday’s Komikon (with apologies for the shaky-cam… alas, I am not the steadiest of hands). The portion I caught on video consists of Karen Lucero of the Vibal Foundation interviewing Gerry Alanguilan (who doesn’t know Sir Gerry?), the driving force behind the project and the komiks/comics writer-artist extraordinaire who helped clean/restore the artwork of the great Filipino comics artist Francisco V. Coching for this compilation. This was followed by a kick-ass, fully-voiced teaser-reading of one of the chapters from the book–hopefully someone else can post that segment. (EDIT: Here it is!)

This is the first video clip I’ve taken for Rocket Kapre, but there will be more in the future whenever the opportunity presents itself, so please feel free to subscribe to our new youtube channel.



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.