Archive for September, 2011

Events of Note: October 2011

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 29 - 2011

It seems that there’s an awful lot going down this October that could be of interest to a reader of this blog. Let’s do a rundown shall we?

Let me know if I’ve missed anything!

RK Recommends: “Child of Fire” by Harry Connolly

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 26 - 2011

I’m contributing monthly book reviews over at Fantasy Faction, a fast-growing hub for fantasy fans that updates daily with writing tips, interviews, and reviews. My first assignment is Harry Connolly’s highly enjoyable first novel in his Twenty Palaces series, “Child of Fire.” You can read the review here. Let’s have an excerpt shall we?

“Child of Fire” is the first novel in Harry Connolly’s “Twenty Palaces” urban fantasy–well, perhaps urban horror would be a more appropriate term–series (three books long so far), featuring ex-convict Ray Lilly and the precarious situations he finds himself in due to his association with the Twenty Palaces Society. The Society is a group of mages who are less like benevolent protectors of humanity, and more like an autonomous black-ops crew. The Society eliminates magical threats, and damn any collateral damage to innocents or allies or poor ol’ Ray.

The thing that surprises me the most about “Child of Fire” is that, on paper, it should not be the type of book I enjoy.

I’m not a big fan of horror in general, and Lovecraftian horror in particular, that subgenre of horror which deals with the insignificance of humanity in the face of unknowable cosmic entities. There are a lot of well-written Lovecraftian tales out there, but I’m simply not the target audience, given my taste for stories that focus on human agency, on people and their choices. (That and I’m a scaredy-cat.) However, while “Child of Fire” borrows liberally from aspects of Lovecraftian horror, with creatures and scenes which I found to be viscerally disturbing, it also allows the actions of human beings to matter, and allows them to push back against the darkness.

Go here for the full review, but if you haven’t read the novel yet, I urge you to check it out. It’s only US$0.99 on the Kindle.

2011 Komikon Awards: Open for Voting

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 15 - 2011

The voting period for the 2011 Komikon Awards, which has been rolling out nominations for the past few weeks, has officially begun and will last for one month, terminating on October 15, 2011.

You can click here for instruction on how to register/vote, and go here for the actual casting of your virtual ballots. Here are the links to the categories and their respective nominees:


BEST COMIC: Graphic Novel /Anthology


BEST COMIC: Comic Strip Compilation








Visprint WIT 2011

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 12 - 2011

The indefatigable Charles Tan has uploaded audio recordings from the recently concluded 1st Annual Visprint Readers’ Day event entitled “WIT” or “Writers in Talks”, including presentations by speculative fiction writers such as Budjette Tan, Karl de Mesa, Paolo Fabregas, Karen Francisco and Carlo Vergara. There’s a lot of material here aimed at creating your own works of fiction/komiks, so aspiring writers and creators, take note.

Podfiction: “A Fishy Tale” by Apol Lejano-Massebieau

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 6 - 2011

Pakinggan Pilipinas has begun its second season with a story from the anthology “A Time for Dragons”, namely “A Fishy Tale” by Apol Lejano-Massebieau. The story is read by none other than fellow spec fic writer and Usok contributor Yvette Tan. Enjoy!

WIT: Visprint Reader’s Day 2011

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 5 - 2011

Visprint–publishers of such Philippine speculative fiction titles as Trese, the Filipino Heroes League, News Of The Shaman, and Naermyth, as well as fan favorites such as Kikomachine Komix and the books of Bob Ong–will be having its first annual “Reader’s Day” on September 10, this coming Saturday, at the SMX Convention Center, Meeting Rooms 7, 8 & 9.  Entitled “WIT”, the event promises to feature an exhibit of never-before-seen artworks by Visprint artists; behind-the-scene revelations by the book creators; talks on creativity; and a sneak peek of upcoming Visprint titles.

Now, this is the first of what will be an annual event, but if you’d like to get a taste of what WIT might be like, you can check out my videos from “Literature From Shakespeare to Bob Ong: Bridging the Divide Between the Popular And the Canonical”

EDIT: Here’s the updated poster:

Filipino Reader Fridays: Philippine Literature

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 2 - 2011

As part of an event to promote the upcoming Filipino Reader Conference, I’ll be participating (or trying to) in Filipino Fridays, where Filipino readers discuss a weekly topic. For this week, I’m going to talk a bit about my favorite books by Filipino authors.

Well, my biases are certainly going to be evident in this post. As may be obvious to visitors of the site, I make it a point to actively seek out Filipino-created works of science fiction and fantasy (although I don’t always have time to read them). Luckily, there’s a lot more of that available now than when I was growing up. (But there’s always room for more!)

Most prose genre works by Filipinos are short stories, so my favorite books are really collections with many different authors: there are the regular publications such as the annual Philippine Speculative Fiction anthology (which has been released every year since 2006), and the Digest of Philippine Genre Stories, which has recently gone online; a few of the stand-alone anthologies I’ve really enjoyed are “A Time for Dragons” (edited by Vincent Simbulan), “The Farthest Shore” from Estranghero Press, “Waking the Dead” by Yvette Tan, and the two reprint collections “The Philippine Speculative Fiction Sampler” (edited by Mia Tijam and Charles Tan) and the “Best of Philippine Speculative Fiction 2009“. Of course, some of my favorite stories aren’t found in anthologies but magazines (such as “Teaching a Pink Elephant to Ski” by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz), and I’m glad we have people like Charles who bring such stories to our attention.

While realist works still dominate the prose scene, the opposite holds true in the field of comics. Amongst the many contenders, my favorites include: The “Trese” series (Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo); “By Moon Alone” (Hai Ibardolaza); “The Mythology Class” by Arnold Arre; “Askals” (Dodo Dayao and Bong Leal); “Ninja Girl Ko” (Marco Dimaano and Kriss Sison); “Pericos Tao” (Andrew Drilon); “Tabi Po” (Mervin Malonzo); “Ang Kagila-gilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran ni Zsazsa Zaturnnah“  (Carlo Vergara). Special mention should also be made of the children’s comic book “Private Iris” (Jaime Bautista and Arnold Arre).

If you haven’t read most of these stories yet, it’s never too late to start. Welcome to the world of the Philippine Fantastic :)

KyusiReader Reviews PSF6

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 1 - 2011

Over on his blog, “KyusiReader“, Peter Sandico has a review up of Philippine Speculative Fiction volume 6. In the review, Peter mentions how he discovered the book when fellow blogger Honey picked it for the August Book of the Month of the Flips Flipping Pages Shelfari book club. Peter goes on to talk about a few of his favorite stories, and calls the anthology as a whole “a very satisfying read”.

It was a pleasure to discuss the book with Peter and other Flippers during the book club discussion a few weeks back. The story that emerged as a fan favorite was “The Big Man” by Asterio Gutierrez. Other members of the Flippers have also expressed their thoughts about the PSF6 stories in this forum thread.

It’s always great to see what Filipino readers think about Philippine spec fic. If you have a review of PSF6, or any work of Philippine science fiction, horror, or fantasy, drop me a line and I’ll post it here on Rocket Kapre.



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.