Archive for September, 2010

Ondoy, One Year Later: Ruin and Resolve Promotion

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 26 - 2010

It’s been a year since Typhoon Ondoy, followed soon after by Typhoon Pepeng, ravaged parts of Luzon. In memory of the trials many Filipinos went through this time last year, from today until 3PM of October 8, 2010 (the date that Typhoon Pepeng made landfall a third time on the shores of battered Luzon),  Ruin and Resolve, our charity SF anthology, will be free on Smashwords with the use of the coupon you’ll find below. We’re doing this to help remind people of last year’s trauma – especially important given that it is entirely possible for the disaster to be repeated today – but if you enjoy the anthology, please consider donations to charitable organizations such as the Philippine National Red Cross (the beneficiary of Ruin and Resolve). Every little bit helps.

Here’s what people have said about Ruin and Resolve:

“Borne out of tragedy but driven by a spirit of triumph, Ruin and Resolve takes us to different worlds, fantastic and magical, futuristic and the mundane every day. The collection, meant to help Ondoy victims with is proceeds, provides us all with reasons to keep striving, to never surrender, never quit. It may sound corny to say that one finds inspiration, and yes, the resolve needed, in these texts. But that’s the fact of the matter. More than a few times the reader will find not just beauty of image and power of prose, but genuine uplift and the feeling of elevation.” Carljoe Javier, author ofAnd the Geek Shall Inherit the Earthand the “Kobayashi Maru of Love.

“But outside its being a charitable donation, this newest [Spec Fic] anthology isn’t a throwaway piece of literature; it’s worth buying for its own sake — lending credence to the publisher’s self-effacing introduction of “we hope our stories and poems make you feel all the happier to have helped those in need.” - Johanna Poblete, Business World.

Check beneath the cut to find the coupon code:

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Filipinos and the Genre, September 2010

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 24 - 2010


A few of our countrymen-and-women have been making news in the genre (and genre) related front, and I’m starting up this new type of post “Filipinos and the Genre” so that I have a place to collate all the news, in case I fall behind.

The most recent bit of information we have comes from Kenneth Yu over at Philippine Genre Stories, where he informs us that PGS contributor Alex Paman has a book out that will definitely be of interest to Rocket Kapre visitors:

PGS contributor Alex Paman‘s first book, Asian Supernatural, is now out and available at Amazon! (see above scan of its cover)

As described in the book’s preface, it is “an attempt, for the very first time, to truly catalog ghosts and monsters from all the Asian and Pacific cultures in a single volume. Its contents come from oral tales, old anthropology books, travel narratives, and other native resources that were written before the advent of the internet.”

It’s pretty comprehensive; looking at the table of contents, it covers not just China, Japan, and Korea–arguably the first cultures that come to mind among many when “Asian supernatural creatures” are mentioned, but also countries like India, Tibet, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and yes, the Philippines.

In other news, Joseph Nacino, editor of Estranghero Press, recently had his story Logovore republished over at Fantasy Magazine. The magazine also has an interview up with Joey, where he graciously mentions our humble site. Thanks man!

Logovore is but one of many speculative fiction stories by Filipino authors picked up by international publishers. The Philippines also has two representatives in the recently announced table of contents for the Apex Book of World SF Volume 2: Rochita Loenen-Ruiz’s “Alternate Girl’s Expatriate Life” (from Interzone 229) and Andrew Drilon’sThe Secret Origin of Spin-man” (from Philippine Speculative Fiction Volume 4). Many of these foreign sales are available online–here are a few of the most recent, and you can also take a look at Charles Tan’s database for stories published in 2010:

June 2010

September 2010

Future of the Book Conference 2010: Day Two Videos

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 20 - 2010


The first Future of the Book conference was held last week at the UP-Ayala Technohub in Quezon City (here’s a great overview of the conference at Coffeespoons), which brought together publishers, writers, teachers, readers – and yes, even lawyers – to discuss the changing aspects of publishing throughout the world, and in the Philippines in particular. I was there on the second day, to talk about how independent publishers can thrive in the digital age, and I managed to take videos of a few of the other speakers as well.

A few caveats though: First, the latter half of the footage of Charles Tan’s talk has atrocious video quality – my Vado is quirky that way apparently – but the audio is still good, so I uploaded it because it was a great talk, and you can at least still listen to it (or indulge in Max Headroom nostalgia by watching it).

The second caveat is that because of time constraints, a few of the speeches had to be rushed or cut short. After the videos, I’ll have the full text of my speech and links to a few others.

I’d like to congratulate the conference organizers for a successful conference, and I hope we can all work together to maximize the benefits of this new world of publishing for all interested parties. But I swear to God, the next time I hear someone say Filipinos don’t have a reading culture, I’m shoving a textbook up his ass…

And now, the videos!

First up is Charles Tan, (Bibliophile Stalker) prolific blogger and Philippine Spec Fic advocate, on the topic of the consumer experience in the age of ebooks.

More after the cut

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Spec Fic Guide to MIBF 2010

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 17 - 2010

So, I went to this year’s Manila International Book Fair determined to only get one or two books, and scope out the lay of the land for another Spec Fic Guide to the MIBF (as I did last year). Our family is preparing for a new arrival, after all, so I figured I’d hold back a bit.

Believe it or not, that’s still me holding back. And hey, at least I got something baby related!

Now, while I have a bigger haul this year than last year, there’s actually less spec fic on the shelves of this year’s book fair: A Different Bookstore wasn’t present this year, which meant no bargain priced Jonathan Lethem novels for me. Visprint wasn’t there either, which surprised me, since I thought they’d want News of the Shaman and other recent releases to have a presence in the book fair. That being said, a lot of Visprint titles were available at the Rare Books booth. Vibal launched their digital book imprint, Vee Press, at the book fair (which will publish ebook versions of Carljoe Javier’s “Kobayashi Maru of Love” and Adam David’s “El Bimbo Variations”), but I don’t think that the ebooks are available until next week.

While there wasn’t a lot of new speculative fiction on the shelves, the old guard had a strong presence, particularly the Digest of Philippine Genre Stories, as copies of every issue were available at the Anvil booth: Yes, issues 1-4, and the special Christmas and Horror issues were all ready for the taking. BUT – as of this afternoon, they were shelved in the humor section for some reason, so try there first if you want to complete your collection. (I finally found the elusive 4th issue!)

While there was little fiction of interest to me this time around, there was a truck-load of non-fiction. First off, the perimeter bargain bins of National Bookstore had some ridiculously good bargains, although those were getting snapped up fast. (I also saw a rare copy of Stephen King’s “On Writing” guide for writers in the non-bin section.) The National Historical Commission/National Historical Institute booth also had a lot of good material – I hope they restock Religion of the Katipunan though, because I swiped the last copy ^_^ Not much new (of SF interest) from the UP and UST Presses, but Ateneo’s “Verbal Arts in Philippine Indigenous Communities” was an instant buy for me, as was “Oral Literature of the Ifugao” which I found at the Tradewinds booth.

One booth I would have really splurged on in days past was the Megatexts Philippines booth, which had a lot of very interesting books on very specific topics. Expensive stuff, but the older books were going for as much as 80% off, and there were a lot of topics that would be of interest to the SF writer or fan, such as “Manga from the Floating World“, “Leonardo on Flight” and “Strange Concepts and the Stories They Make Possible“.

That about does it for this year I think. Sumintheblue has a very detailed general interest guide here. Good hunting!

Closed to Submissions: Usok and Alternative Alamat

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 16 - 2010

Well it’s September 16, so Alternative Alamat is now closed to unsolicited submissions. I’m also closing Usok temporarily to submissions, since I have to concentrate on putting Alternative Alamat together now, as well as the second issue of Usok. In the meantime, why not try to submit to Philippine Speculative Fiction volume VI, or Crossed Genre’s Characters of Color issue or any of the many quality spec fic publications out there (Fantasy Magazine reopens to submissions on October 1)?

Whatever you do, keep writing.

Last Day for Submission: Alternative Alamat

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 15 - 2010


Just a reminder everyone, today (September 15) is the last day of submission for Alternative Alamat. If you’ve submitted in August or September, I’ll send a confirmation of receipt (not a rejection or acceptance yet) – if you haven’t received that email by Friday, please resend your submission because that means I didn’t receive it. (Don’t worry about tweaking it before the deadline – if I have issues with only a few details, we can work on that without as tight a time constraint.) If you’ve sent your submission before August and haven’t received an acceptance or rejection, that means I didn’t receive your story, so please resend by this weekend.

RRT: Favorite First Lines in Speculative Fiction

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 9 - 2010


One year ago, 9/9/09, Rocket Kapre officially launched. In celebration of our first year anniversary, here’s a new installment of one of our most popular features: the Rocket Round Table. For this batch, the question – to coincide with the anniversary – is: “What is your favorite first line in speculative fiction?” Prose and graphic novels/comics were fair game (movies and television were not), as were local and foreign works – I only asked that the respondents include any first lines from Filipino-made spec fic that stood out for them. Feel free to add your own in the comments!

Thanks to all those who took time to participate in the round table, and for all those who have supported Rocket Kapre in its first year. Here’s to many more to come!

[Warning: Some language may not be safe for work, or children, or adults who like to pretend they're as innocent as children.]

ELBERT OR Comic book creator, university lecturer, graphic designer, freelance writer, entrepreneur (he’s part of Brain Food, which gives speech and writing workshops) Elbert is a jack of all trades and master of… well, lots. He currently runs Global Art and the Komiksabado Comics Workshop.

Happy first year, RK! How time flies!
I owe much of my interest in current Philippine SF to Dean Alfar’s “Kite of Stars,” and its first line/ paragraph which grabbed firm hold of me and has still not let me go:

The night when she thought she would finally be a star, Maria Isabella du’l Cielo struggled to calm the trembling of her hands, reached over to cut the tether that tied her to the ground, and thought of that morning many years before when she’d first caught a glimpse of Lorenzo du Vicenzio ei Salvadore: tall, thick-browed and handsome, his eyes closed, oblivious to the cacophony of the accident waiting to occur around him.

I wish I could say though that memory allowed me to remember each word, but I admit only to committing the first eleven words. But the blame lies solely on me and my poor memory.

Here’s to the next ten years for Rocket Kapre!

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CATHERINE BATAC WALDERCatherine is based in England and works as a research group administrator at the Department of Earth Sciences, Royal Holloway University of London. From 2005 to 2007, she moved across Norway, Finland and Portugal for a European MPhil. scholarship. Her fiction appears in Big Pulp, Demons of the New Year, Philippines Graphic, Ruin and Resolve Anthology, Expanded Horizons, and Philippines Free Press. She blogs at

Just when the idea occurred to her that she was being murdered she could not tell.” – The Small Assassin, comics adaptation of a tale by Ray Bradbury

At some time near dawn, on March 25, 1913, there came a loud knocking at the front door of the Uyterhoevens’ home in the Dayton View section of Dayton, Ohio.” – The Chess Garden by Brooks Hansen

At first glance, the picture looked like any other in a family album of that time, the sepia shade and tone, the formal poses, the men in solemn Sunday suits and the women, severely coiffed, in long skirts and billowing blouses.” – Fade by Robert Cormier

““I can do this,” I told my squirrel.” - Speed Dating and Spirit Guides by Rod M. Santos

In the tiny lifeboat, she and the alien fuck endlessly, relentlessly.” – Spar by Kij Johnson

My name is Kathy H. I’m thirty-one years old, and I’ve been a carer now for over eleven years.” – Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

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G.M. CORONELA Marketing Management graduate of De La Salle University in 1985, he is a first-time author with no literary background to speak of other than a genuine love of reading and a passion for writing. Coming across back issues of Writer’s Digest a few years ago started his writing career. Some previous personal encounters with the paranormal convinced him to pursue the horror genre. He believes that stories to tell and experiences to share are best put in written words. He is the author of Tragic Theater.

The night wind howls like a wounded dying animal.” (Trese Murder on Balete Drive) — This is a very compelling first line and it engages the reader’s interest in the story.

* * *

DON JAUCIAN - Don regularly reviews books for several publications, both print and on-line. He is the resident bitch of the film blog Pelikula Tumblr. His book dump is

The Ascension of Our Lady Boy – Mia Tijam (PDF of Expanded Horizons #14, which includes the story.)

Let us begin with my earliest memory as a lady: Daddy had complained to Iyay who was my yaya(and his yaya before and his mama’s yaya before that) that I was lacking something strong in my bones and in my hips.

Tijam’s Lady Boy is hands down one of my favorite spec fic stories. It effectively combined Philippine culture, gay-isms and the whole ‘triumph of the heart’ thing. I like how the first line promises a wonderful story, equal parts whimsical and endearing, like Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros and it really delivers.

Visitors – Luis Katigbak

When they first arrived, they transformed themselves into everything we ever secretly wanted to be.

Stories of ‘encounters’ are never amusing. They mostly run as dubious paranoiac rants but in a few words, Katigbak manages to brush off the fluff usually associated with this tripe. ‘Visitors’ is beautiful, a different approach into the Wonderful World of Alien Mysteries; humanized and hopeful.

Brigada – Joey Nacino

When the news came, Captain Fernando Tabora of the Philippine Navy was meeting with the two-man salvage team at the top of Manila Hotel.

I’m a sucker for post-apocalyptic stories and Manila Hotel underwater is just too awesome to ignore. Just like the head of Statue of Liberty chopped off in Cloverfield!

Flicker – Ian Rosales Casocot

Something had apparently come to live, or stir, in the house down the road, that old mansion on the corner before one turned left down Mango Street, which led toward the coconut groves that bordered the farthest end of the village.

Suburban horror stories always fascinate me and Casocot’s ‘Flicker’ definitely sustains the tension from the first sentence to the last. It is eerie, ominous and it’s refreshing to see a horror story devoid of hysterics and cheap scare tactics.

[More after the cut]

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Happy First Birthday to Us!

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 9 - 2010

One year ago, the Rocket Kapre officially launched. To date, we’ve had almost 30,000 page views (not counting visits to Usok) and almost 200 separate posts, featuring genre news and interviews with Filipino creators of the fantastic that you won’t find anywhere else. We’ve released a charity anthology (Ruin and Resolve), launched a webzine (Usok), and posted resources such as Philippine Pantheons and the Myth List. If you like what we’ve been doing, please do tell a friend, or post about us, on this special day.

Stay tuned for the next edition of the Rocket Round Table, at 9:00 a.m. today on the topic of our Favorite First Lines in Speculative Fiction.

Thanks for all the support, and here’s to many more years ahead!

Video: Manix Abrera at UST

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 6 - 2010


This video is another talk from the second day of from the “Literature From Shakespeare to Bob Ong: Bridging the Divide Between the Popular And the Canonical” conference, held at the UST on August 18, 2010. (The Q and A will be uploaded in another post) This time, the speaker is none other than Manix Abrera, one of the most creative and distinctive komiks creator in the field today, and the pen behind Kikomachine Komix and 12.

Parts 2 and 3 under the cut.

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Komix for Girls Survey

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 3 - 2010

Over at his Oblique Strategies website (if you go surfing the rest of the site, note that some posts are NSFW), Adam David is conducting a survey to learn more about the local female comic book reader and her relation to komiks culture. Head on over and comment if you’re a graphic novel geek of the girl kind. Here are the questions, but comment over at Adam’s post:

In the spirit of Hope Larson’s own survey on (American) girls’ comic book reading habits, I’m planning on embarking on a new komix writing thing – criticism and creative – and I wanted to ask a few questions specifically for the girls in the audience (if there are any), but if any of you girly guys want to answer the questions, I’d see it as a great kindness. Feel free to pass these questions around, as long as we get the feedback from it.

1) What comic books do you read, both local and foreign?

2) Do you enjoy reading these comic books? Why exactly do you enjoy reading them?

3) Do you read any comic books that you think are specifically targeted to girls? Which books are they? Why do/don’t you like them?

3) Who are your favourite comic book creators, both local and foreign, both male and female?

4) Why do you like them? Which of their books are your favourites, and why?

5) As a girl, would/could you say that the current system of local komix production – the books, the creators, the stores, the conventions – is friendly towards females? Why/Why not?

6) As a girl, do you want to make your own komix? Would/Could you make it specifically for girls? How would/could you go about doing that?

7) Would you like to see more local komix focussed primarily for girls?

8) What else would you like to see more of in local komix?

9) What would you like to see less of in local komix?

10) Where do you think the current local komix production is heading re: komix for girls?



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.