Archive for July, 2011

Komikero at Comic-Con

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 29 - 2011

Eisner nominated komiks creator Gerry Alanguilan has returned from his trip to San Diego for the 2011 Comic-Con. He may not have taken home the gold (which should not in any way lessen his achievement with “Elmer”) but he did bring back a wealth of experiences that he’s generously shared with the rest of us via his blog. Click the link to read about the Eisner Awards Night, manananggal Hulk, super speedy Stan Lee, and other stories from the SDCC trip of one of our leading komiks advocates. Congratulations again Gerry, and welcome home!

Flipside Ebook Publishing Webinar

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 27 - 2011

Flipside Digital Content, the Philippine company responsible for publishing books such as Carljoe Javier’s “Geek Tragedies” and–through their Flipside Komix imprint–komiks titles such as Kubori Kikiam, Tabi Po and The Long Weekend, will be holding a free Webinar on Ebook Publishing for those who want to learn more about the business (or, to be more specific, to learn more about how Flipside conducts its business, for those who may be interested in publishing with them) at 10:00 pm tomorrow, July 28. The speaker will be Anthony de Luna, Flipside CEO, and he’ll talk about the process of getting your manuscript ready for digital publishing, and an overview of Flipside’s operations. I’ve heard good things about Flipside from its authors, so prose writers and comics creators may want to hear what the company has to say. If so, be sure to register at the webinar site, or head there anyway to view the video overview of the webinar. Again, it’s free, and the lecture should only take thirty minutes, so it’s worth a shot.

Amazon’s “The Big Deal” Sale: Genre Books

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 22 - 2011

One of the advantages to owning a Kindle which I hadn’t anticipated is the fact that Amazon’s Kindle Store seems to go on sale with delicious regularity, and genre books tend to be well represented. Currently, Amazon is holding a sale it’s calling “A Big Deal“, and this ends on July 27. As with the previous “Sunshine Deals” sale, I trawled through the 900+ books on sale and picked out titles that seem to fall within the speculative fiction genre, or which would be of interest to the spec fic fan. (Quite a few of the Smart Pop YA series’ are on sale.) Pyr Books is once again participating, and there are a lot of the Classics+Supernatural mash-up books on sale as well. I’ll start with the books I’ve heard good things about, but first let me mention a book that isn’t part of the Big Deal but is on sale nevertheless–Yukikaze, from Haikasoru.

Now, on with the spending show!

Zoo City by Lauren Beukes

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack, The (Burton & Swinburne) by Mark Hodder

Hard Spell: An Occult Crimes Unit Investigation (Angry Robot) by Justin Gustainis

Hunter’s Run by Gardner Dozois, George R. R. Martin and Daniel Abraham

Blood of Ambrose by James Enge

Archimedes to Hawking : Laws of Science and the Great Minds Behind Them by Clifford Pickover

The Anime Art of Hayao Miyazaki by Dani Cavallaro

Fast Forward 1: Future Fiction from the Cutting Edge by Lou Anders, Kage Baker, Stephen Baxter and Elizabeth Bear

The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games by Michael J. Tresca

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Ian Rosales Casocot Reviews “Waking the Dead”

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 21 - 2011

Ian Rosales Casocot, author of the recently released “Heartbreak & Magic” short story collection, has a very positive review of Yvette Tan’s “Waking the Dead” up on his blog. You can read it here. Always good to see reviews of local spec fic–there haven’t been that many this year. If you review/find a review of a work of Philippine spec fic, let me know and I’ll link up to it here.

Free Komik: Urban Animal #1

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 20 - 2011

Looks like it’s quite the week for free komiks! You may remember my review of “Urban Animal #1″ by John Amor, posted last February. Well in the spirit of the “100 Araw ng Komiks” event, John has made a digital copy of “Urban Animal #1″ available for download at his site. Go check it out, if you are so inclined.

Flipside Komix (an imprint of Flipside Digital Content, a leading independent publisher of e-books) has an ongoing promotion where you can get free Kindle editions of three of their titles: Kubori Kikiam, Tabi Po and The Long Weekend.

You’ll recall “Tabi Po” from my recent interview with creator Mervin Malonzo; Kubori Kimiam is an adult humor strip which is a perennial Komikon Awards nominee; “The Long Weekend” is a a hundred-page road movie romantic erotic komix novella by outspoken writer and critic, Adam David. Here’s what you need to do to get your free komiks, copy-pasted from the Flipside Komix Facebook page:

Get Kindle editions of three Pinoy digitals Kubori Kikiam, Tabi Po and The Long Weekend for FREE!

1. Like Flipside Komix.

2. Share a link to this note on your wall.

3.Tell us what device you have on our wall.

4. Download the Kindle app for your device and create an Amazon account.

5. PM us your email address for your Amazon.com account. Email your amazon account email address to jessa.vicente<at>flipsideconte?nt.com, but please state your device on the wall of the Flipside Komix Facebook page

6. We’ll send your FREE gift Kindle copies of these three awesome Pinoy eKomix for your device.

Good until end of July only. ;)

“Malvar” by Paolo Chikiamco on PGS Online

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 18 - 2011

It’s been a year or so since I last had a new story available online, so I’m pleased to announce that my story “Malvar” has been published at PGS Online. It’s an alternative history story that deals with the consequences of a curse fueled by the Bataan Death March, and delves into the muddy border between vengeance and heroism. It was a tough story to write – I don’t think any story of mine has gone through so many revisions – but I hope the end product manages to entertain, or at least divert. This is the third in a set of four being co-edited by publisher Kenneth Yu and Yvette Tan, and I’d like to thank them for their feedback and support. Let me know what you think about the story, either here or at PGS. Thanks for reading!

Global Women in SF Round Table at the World SF Blog

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 13 - 2011

The World SF Blog has hosted a round table tackling the topic of women in SF on a global scale. The immediate precursors to this discussion are the SF Signal Mind Meld on the Russ Pledge, and the reaction to the same by Joyce Chng.  This newest round table between Aliette de Bodard (France), Joyce Chng (Singapore), Csilla Kleinheincz (Hungary), Kate Elliott (US), Karen Lord (Barbados), and Ekaterina Sedia (Russia/US) is particularly relevant to writers in the Philippines–and not just women writers. Again, you can read the full discussion here, but these are some excerpts:

Joyce Chng: I feel that – as what I have ranted – is that the discussion is still very US/UK-centric. It is fine that the POC and minorities are speaking out in – say – the States, but that is still very US-centric/dominated. I also feel that women from places like Southeast Asia might not have the same experiences/common ground to talk about and we end up grappling and confused. There is a lot of intersectionality – what are Southeast Asian women (with different experiences/backgrounds) going to say? What are Southeast Asian women supposed to say? Likewise, when it comes to SFF, what we experience might be similar but vastly different as well. Often as such, we end up trying to conform to foreign-sounding standards and end up feeling confused.

Kate Elliot: I’m glad the World SF blog exists; I think it needs to exist. At the same time, “world sf” becomes a bit like the current use of the word “ethnic” in American English: it denotes a particular thing that has to be marked because it isn’t the thing that doesn’t have to be marked. Just as we have an entire discussion about “women writers” instead of “writers.” World SF still exists outside the default, and can be ignored or included depending on the needs of the discussion, because the discussion is indeed still US/UK-centric and, of course, Anglophone-centric (which I admit is great for me, being a native English speaker).

Csilla Kleinheincz: Our only science fiction award, the Péter Zsoldos Award has a 14 years old history, yet there has not been a single woman winner either in the novel or the short story category (in spite of the jury having strong chairwomen). Many of the women who write SFF in Hungary are not even published and have to turn to POD or self-publishing, and not because of the lack of talent. Before being recognized as part of world SF they need to be recognized in their own country, hardships that those who have the privilege of being men or US citizens or native speakers are not aware of. Writers all over the world would benefit from being judged on a global scale. World SF needs the raised awareness as much as women writers do — and needs a lot more publishers who raise that three percent.

Aliette de Bodard: I think a clear difference needs to be made between minorities in the US (who might have a hard time getting heard because of the White-dominated publishing industry), and non-US, non-Western folks (who, not being part of the dominant culture and the dominant country, have an even harder time). I don’t think the distinction is clear enough right now, and it leads to people lumping everything together and claiming that the debate is inclusive because US POC are having their say (which is an important thing, but again not the whole of the scene). What I saw of Racefail, for instance, was heavily focused on US sensibilities and US perception of racism.

Karen Lord: I think that the problem isn’t whether women write or read different things. It’s the imposition of boundaries and the assigning of value that’s the problem – whether that boundary is genre vs literary, world sf vs Western, or women writers vs men. As a reader, I don’t want to miss out because the next great SF/F writer happens to be the ‘wrong gender’ and has been discouraged from writing what they’re best at writing.

Ekaterina Sedia: I feel like anything I’ll say I’ll be repeating myself, because basically I feel like I’ve been banging my head against the wall with this topic — the one-way street of SF, where English-language works get translated all over the world, while the reverse is not true. While we can talk about English being an equalizer language (as Csilla mentioned), it also works as an effective tool of exclusion: it is so dominant that the expectation is for the rest of the world to speak English, not to try and understand them. And even foreign writers who DO write in English are by no means on the level playing field with the native speakers: there is a pressure to write in one milieu, there’s a tendency of editors to assume that every non-standard usage is a mistake, there are not-so-subtle hints that maybe one didn’t write one’s books, etc etc.

Mervin Malonzo Talks “Tabi Po”

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 12 - 2011

Mervin Malonzo’s “Tabi Po” is a beautifully illustrated webcomic that until recently was only available in Filipino. Now, Mervin has released an English language version on the Kindle and will be releasing another version on the Nook and the iBookstore. (Note that the Kindle version has a different layout than the original comic – the “sample” button is your friend.) I took the opportunity to speak to Mervin about “Tabi Po”, the pros and cons of webcomics, and the new English international editions.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Did you always want to create comics?

Yes, I’ve always wanted to create my own comic ever since I took hold of my first issue of Funny Komiks, ever since the days I watched cartoons on TV as a child. And I did! I remember creating my first comic on my used notebooks, a story about mutant ants! “Mutant” because they have powers not entirely different from the ones the X-Men have, and ants because at the time I was obsessed with watching the line of ants in the roadside canal near our house (I still do that, by the way). Watching ants always made me wonder how it would feel to be as small as them. Of course, thinking about it right now, I guess we really are as small as them when you really think about it.

Anyway, my love for drawing comics led me to take up Fine Arts – Painting in UP Diliman instead of Chemistry in UP Los Baños (I passed there as well), to the great dismay of some of my relatives. “Walang pera sa fine arts”, they would say. I resigned from work two years ago to form my own design team with my friends (Pepe&thePolygons) so that I could work whenever I needed to and do comics whenever I wanted to. :)

How would you pitch “Tabi Po” to new readers? What’s it about, and why should people read it?

Hmm.. for most of my readers, it turned out that saying it had “UNCENSORED NUDITY, BLOOD, VIOLENCE AND SEX” did the trick. Haha!

But to publishers and other people I’d like to impress, I would say, “It’s my own interpretation or deconstruction of the Philippine mythology and folklore. I made the aswangs, engkantos, diwatas and anitos as real as I could, putting them in our history, creating a feasible origin story for them and how they were affected by and will in turn affect the human race. Are aswang really different from humans? I am also fusing some Christian beliefs with the old nature worship. Ultimately, it is my explanation of how our world would work if these beings really existed. The purpose of this whole epic is to make the reader think about human nature, the environment, religion and the meaning of life, the universe and everything–all while still being entertained.”  Of course, you do not see this yet in our story so far but that’s the grand plan. It’s not really all violence and nudity, you’ll see.

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“The Confessional” and “Sweet” at PGS Online

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 10 - 2011

All parts of “The Confessional” by Cyan Abad-Jugo and “Sweet” by Marguerite Alcazaren de Leon have been uploaded to Philippine Genre Stories Online. These are the first two stories in a set of four being co-edited by publisher Kenneth Yu and Yvette Tan. Kenneth has an interesting post up where he discusses that one of the benefits of going online is the ability to publish longer stories, but that he still decided to split both stories into two parts each.

The last story of the set will be from Yvette herself and the next one will be from me. As is becoming common for me, it’ll be an alternative history story with a good helping of the fantastic. I’ll post here when it goes live.

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

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