Archive for April, 2010

Robotars First Custom Show

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 29 - 2010

Passed by Megamall the other day, and had the pleasure of stumbling upon the Jomike Tejido’s Robotars First Custom Show at the Art Asia Gallery. The show lasts until May 16, and I encourage everyone to check it out–especially those of you brave souls who will be there for the Mega Sale this weekend. You can find more coverage of the exhibit at Spanky Stokes, and ToysREvil. I did promise some pics over twitter, so here they are:

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Didn’t have enough time to get the names of each of the creators, but I know that the one my wife and I loved the most was PandaZ by Rotobox. Alas it was also one of the most expensive, and while a percentage of the proceeds will go to Haribon Foundation, I just don’t have the dough @_@

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Jomike also has some of his beautifully-cute paintings on display as well. Our favorite was the sasquatch/kapre looking thing:

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More pictures (and a strangely appropriate Yoda-tar) after the cut, and in the morbidly disorganized Rocket Kapre Flickr photostream.

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Philippine Speculative Fiction 5 Launch: Videos (Batch 1)

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 26 - 2010

The launch of Philippine Speculative Fiction Volume 5 took place last Saturday, April 24, 2010, at Fully Booked Bonifacio Hight Street, and this is my first batch of videos from the event, for the benefit of those unlucky enough to be elsewhere while we were laughing it up (usually at the expense of Kenneth Yu, or Andrew Drilon, or any author who was absent from the launch :P ). Please excuse the rather shaky footage, low volume, and occasional passer-by – we were way at the back of the U-View Theater.


These are the introductory remarks of Dean Alfar, speaking on behalf of his publishing house, Kestrel DDM, which has put out the annual Philippine Speculative Fiction anthology for the past five years.

Dean marvels at the fact that this is the fifth volume of the anthology, and talks about the thrill of finding new, young, spec fic writers in the course of putting together each anthology. At the end, he introduces the two co-editors, Vincen Michael Simbulan and Nikki Alfar. (All in the process of gamely resisting the urge to give a political speech ~_^)

The PSF launches are always good fun – the audio isn’t too clear alas, but Kenneth Yu’s expert pronunciation of Eyjafjallajökull alone was enough to provide laughs for the rest of the afternoon. Dean is a marvelous (glorious?) host, and he uses the understandable absence of the foreign contributors as a constant source of good-natured humor that helped make everyone feel at home (I speak from experience, having attended the previous launch as a mere spectator).

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Reminder: PSF Volume 5 Launches Tomorrow

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 23 - 2010

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This Saturday (that’s tomorrow!), April 24, 2010, at 3 p.m. Philippine Speculative Fiction V (edited by Nikki Alfar and Vin Simbulan) launches at the U-View Theater of Fully Booked, Bonifacio High Street (it’s in the basement). Check out the cover above (from Dean Alfar’s site), which manages to look great even without going with my suggested Voltes V theme. If last year’s volume IV launch is any indication, expect a lot of fun, and a lot of jokes made at Kenneth Yu’s expense. Most of the author-contributors should be there as well (myself included), so do drop by if you want to say hi, or want your copy signed. You can see a list of all the contributors over at Dean’s site.

See you all there!

Launch: The Myth List

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 22 - 2010

Myth-List

As promised, to coincide with my call for submissions for Alternative Alamat, and also as an ancillary method of raising awareness about Philippine myths and legends, I’m adding a new page to the website: The Myth List: an Incomplete Compendium of Magical Myths, Legends and Old Tales from the Philippines. As it stands now, the list has about three hundred different entries.

What I wanted to do was create something of an index for all the myths and legends that had elements of magic and the fantastic, which I’d come across in my research, both online and off. Some caveats: (1) For the books/sources I haven’t read in-depth, I merely listed the stories found in their tables of contents, so there may be stories in this list without magical elements that I’ve yet to remove; (2) Most of our myths and legends don’t have official titles per se, so there are probably duplicate entries here – then again, since they were passed down through oral tradition, many myths and legends have different versions with slight variations, so it’s also possible that different sources will have different versions of the same story.

The list is obviously still a work in progress, and it will likely always be a work in progress. I’ll be regularly adding entries, as well as key-words to further flesh out entries, but I figured that even in this rough form the list may be of service to writers and others interested in the Philippine mythic heritage. I sincerely hope it helps.

If you find any other sources, please feel free to leave a comment on the page, and I’ll keep the comment on the list until I’ve integrated the information in the list.

Summer Komikon 2010 Photo Roundup

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 20 - 2010

Komikon 2010

This year’s Summer Komikon de Avance has come and gone, leaving komiks lovers in financial ruin that they will fail to notice until they’ve finished reading the last of their haul. Here are a few pictures from the event, as well as links to others who captured the event on… well I can’t really say film anymore nowadays can I? Sadly, “captured the event on bytes” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

First up, here are a few of my favorites from the Cover Recreation Contest:

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Cover Recreation Contest 2

Cover Recreation Contest 1

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Call for Submissions: Alternative Alamat

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 19 - 2010

[EDIT: "Alternative Alamat" has already been published. We are no longer accepting submissions.]

[Note: If you want to head straight to the story guidelines, head here. If you'd like a bit of a background as to why I'm looking for this particular type of story, read on.]

The Philippines is blessed with a multitude of mythologies and legends, yet too few of these tales are known and read today. While it is understandable that the modern reader might find it difficult to relate to ancient oral tradition, we’ve all seen how the gods/goddesses and heroes/heroines of other cultures have remained relevant (or at least well-known) because of writers who incorporate the old myths and legends in modern tales. (See: The Percy Jackson series, or the many re-imaginings of the King Arthur myth.)

mythology_class_1(Image from Komiklopedia)

My first encounter with our mythic heritage, outside of school (which tends to suck the joy out of many a topic), was one such re-imagining: Arnold Arre’s “The Mythology Class” (the original four issue version, not the collected graphic novel).  I loved that story to pieces (it was the first time a local work ever moved me to indulge in fan art and fan fic) and it remains dear to me as an example of how a well told story in the present can lead to an appreciation–even a hunger–for the foundational tales of our ancestors. A more recent example is Rochita Loenen-Ruiz’s Hi Bugan yi Hi Kinggawan over at Fantasy Magazine.

I think we need more Filipino tales in that vein–and with that in mind, I’d like to announce a call for submissions for Rocket Kapre’s first commercial anthology: Alternative Alamat.

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But Mr. Editor, you say, I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I don’t know many of our myths and legends. I’ve anticipated this, dear writer–after all, I wouldn’t be trying to raise awareness about our mythic heritage if I felt it was already common knowledge–so what I’ve done is I’ve gone through my collection of books and done a bit of research online and in libraries, and I’ll be putting up the resulting list of myths and legends sometime this week. Somewhere down the line, I’ll also put up a similar list of Philippine deities.

So I’ll be doing my part, and I hope you’ll do yours. Submission guidelines are after the cut.

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Taking the Plunge: Self-Publishing PinoyWriMos

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 14 - 2010

Every November, over a hundred thousand writers across the world participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month–although it’s very much an international affair now) and attempt to finish a novel in the span of one month. Many Filipino writers participate in NaNoWriMo as well, calling themselves PinoyWriMos, and this year, several participants have decided to self publish their novels in ebook form at this year’s Summer’s Komikon on April 17, 2010 at the UP Bahay ng Alumni, with the help of Talecraft. I spoke to four of the five young authors via email about their stories, and their decision to publish these stories on their own.

Tell me a little bit about yourselves, so our readers will know the context from which you approach your writing.

EK: Call me EK, ee-kay.  My real name can be easily found–I have published and may still publish with it–but since I am using a professional license now, I prefer to use the online handle for fiction-related matters.  My writing background is hard-knocks, coming from school newspapers, stage presentations, fan websites, fanfiction, and some original fiction.

Kuyerjudd: I started writing when I was eight years old, because the worlds I made (or the worlds that made me) were the very things that kept me going. In that sense you could say I’m a hippy writer. I keep my head in the clouds, and not a lot of people who write Western fiction get published in the Philippines, so I constantly end up querying agents from Australia and the US—with no luck as of yet. That being said, I keep my heart where it is … where it belongs: in the Philippines. Other than that, I’m sixteen, live with my parents, and I dream big. More? I write comedy, I don’t use the QWERTY, and I’ll soon rule the world. With brownies. Lots and lots of brownies.

Raven:  Actually, what led me to write Crimson Skies were the questions that I used to ask older people as a child (even a priest and a nun): ”Why do we have to die? When is the end of the world? Where is God? How sure are you it‘s not the devil talking to you?” The characters (in the story) ask these same questions themselves.

Pauline: I’m a Psychology major with too much imagination, not to mention an inborn fascination with the occult and the paranormal, yet one lacking the perseverance to slave through blocks of texts that end with a question mark. Much of what I write are products of my imagination, since I like creating facts from theories and theories from facts.

Most of these stories started as your respective NaNoWriMo projects. How many NaNos have you participated in? Do you think the challenge is helpful to new writers (in whole or in part)?

EK: This is my second year as a Nanowrimo participant, and this is my first complete story using this method.  My opinion is that Nanowrimo is helpful to new writers, giving them a solid goal and solid objectives.  The website makes a community of similar-minded individuals come together, which makes you feel less lonely as a writer.

Kuyerjudd: This was my first time doing NaNo, but not my first to write a novel. I guess I could say, yes, NaNo is helpful when you’re a budding writer. It helps you develop your voice, discover who you are as a writer, and, most importantly, teaches you how to deal with a deadline. And that way, the writing becomes less cold, as you go by your gut and an “anything goes” attitude. You become in tune with the eight-year old aspiring novelist that you were…

Raven: This was my first time to join the Nanowrimo and this is the first novel unleashed from my head. One of the challenges faced by a newbie is realizing that writing a novel isn’t something you can just play around with. It’s a rollercoaster ride because there are so many things you can do, but you have such a short span of time to do them, thus adding pressure. Since this was my first novel, figuring out of how to do things and put them together, while at the same time trying not to copy another author’s style even by accident, was crucial. There are many things to learn still, and just because you‘re able to finish a novel doesn’t mean it’s done.

Pauline: I’ve participated in NaNo since 2007–though my first year barely counts since I joined on the second to the last day. The challenge of NaNo was quite helpful, especially when I was just a greenhorn, since it introduced me to the real concept of the Deadline. Perseverance and stubbornness are also traits that I picked up through the experience, and I always get to hone my knack of writing-without-an-outline each year thanks to NaNo.

What made you decide to take your stories straight to the market, without the intermediary of a third party publisher?

EK: Speaking at least for myself, there is no local market that I could see yet for my kind of writing, which is in between children’s books and the adult fiction. This is not to say there are no readers; the local success of international YA titles show that there is a readership. Rather, there are no publishers yet seriously considering the kind of writing that some of us make.

Kuyerjudd: Hey, any opportunity to showcase your work is an opportunity worth taking. I find publishing in the traditional sense difficult–and yet I still query agents and publishers… Sometimes you have to show the world you want it before it gives in to your wishes. Plus, this is a great opportunity for a fledgling writer like myself to show the world what I’m made of.

Raven: I consider this a “suicide mission.” Sure anyone can write a story; but not everyone has the guts to put it up for people to read. Some writers do, but staying on the front lines is a gut wrencher, especially without a third-party publisher to guide you. Going straight to the market is the ultimate test of how far one can personally go for this.

Pauline: I prefer seeing things to the end. I see all of my creations as my babies, so taking them straight to the market is like watching them march down the aisle during graduation. I mean, what kind of parent would rather ask someone else watch his kid graduate?

Have you encountered any of the stigma that allegedly colors perception of self-published books?

EK: This experience of preparing for Komikon taught me that paid editors and the traditional system [of publishing] are around for very good reasons. They provide objective eyes for a story, and harness the business knowledge to market it.  But if Komikon is anything to go by, a lot of independent works deserve a chance to be noticed, a chance they will not get via the traditional system.

Kuyerjudd: I’ve often thought about self-publishing and what its pros and cons were, but right now”it sort of branches out as to what form you distribute your work in—you could do e-books or PoD. PoD is okay, but I’d rather go with e-books, as it’s less costly for three parties—the author, the reader, and nature.

Raven: When people hear the term “self published book”, some will be amazed that we have the guts to do it, while others will think that no self righteous publisher would take the stories so we’re doing it ourselves. Having a self published book is a challenge for us: we call the shots, true, but how long can we hold on to that?

Pauline: From a writer’s perspective, I do. Thoughts like: ‘Will people even pick this book?’ and ‘Am I even making any sense?’ plague me–I don’t know if those count as real stigmas, but I definitely feel anxious.

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Art Fantastic: Interview with Tey Bartolome

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 12 - 2010

There’s no better complement to a Spec Fic story than some good fantasy or science-fiction artwork. CG Pintor is an organization of Filipino digital painters, co-founded by Usok #1 cover artist Kevin Lapeña, and now and then we’ll do interviews with some of their members. Today we speak with Tey Bartolome (teygraphy on deviantart), who will be contributing a piece to a soon-to-be-released illustrated edition of Usok #1. In fact, let’s show you his take on “The Child Abandoned” by Yvette Tan:

Neat huh? So let’s learn a bit more about the artist behind the digital brush.

What’s the first thing you remember drawing (that wasn’t a requirement for school or anything)?

I used to be a big fan of Dragonball Z and the very first drawing I made was a stick drawing of Goku, way back when I was little.

How did you get started as an artist?

I’ve loved drawing since I was a kid. My parents used to give me crayons and coloring books. I gave so much time over to drawing that I forgot how to be like a normal kid. Instead, I’d develop my skills by doodling in my textbooks and notebooks–I’m still doing that now. When I was in school, I established a name for myself amongst my classmates and professors, who usually tapped me for activities that required drawing.

I had to stop drawing earlier in my college life because I was taking an engineering course instead of fine arts. Later on, I realized that I needed to pursue my dreams. I shifted to a multimedia-arts-related course and there I met my friends who helped me further build up my skills in drawing.

Right now I’m still in college and I’m happy that I have the time to pursue my art, either drawing or studying how to draw. When the mood hits me, I do quick sketches to apply the lessons as I’ve learned.


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Araw ng Kagitingan 2010

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 9 - 2010

I don’t usually post excerpts from a story that hasn’t yet found a home, but this year’s Araw ng Kagitingan resonates with me in a special way. For most of March, I was working on a short story that required research on the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines, and that led me to accounts of the Fall of Bataan and Corregidor, as well as the infamous Death March. It’s hard to imagine now, a short sixty-odd years later, the atrocities faced by soldiers and citizens, Filipinos and Americans, during that dark period in our history. Some of the accounts I read were detached reports, others transcriptions of first-hand experiences–each of them reached across the gulf of time and space to make me feel horror, and anger, and an immense relief not to have experienced war in my lifetime.

I finished the story, but while it lies in my hard drive pending a rewrite, I figured there were worse ways to commemorate Araw ng Kagitingan than posting an excerpt on the blog. I wish there were more spec fic (especially alternate history stories) out there dealing with this particular timeframe, but in the meantime I’ll certainly do what I can to explore it.

To everyone who fought for us (and living through the occupation counts), those who fight for us still, and those who believe we are worth fighting for… thank you.

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Chained Links: 7 April 2010

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 7 - 2010

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Back from Tokyo (more on that later) and there’s a lot to catch up on, so let’s get to it.

Now, here are a few new-ish SF fiction markets (via the specficmarkets lj community) and a contest (via email from chiles samaniego):

Finally, some events to mark on your calendars (Let me know if I’m missing anything):

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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.

Photos

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