Archive for March, 2012

There are two exciting new Amazon Kindle releases from Filipino creators today (courtesy of Flipside Digital): First up is “Lower Myths” by Eliza Victoria, who has contributed to Usok, Ruin and Resolve, and Alternative Alamat.

Lower Myths features two compelling novellas of contemporary fantasy from Eliza Victoria, one of the most talented young writers in Asian speculative fiction today. In “Trust Fund Babies,” children of two warring witch and fairy families face off in the final round to a centuries-old vendetta.

In “The Very Last Case of Messrs. Aristotel and Arkimedes Magtanggol,” an aristocrat and his daughter consult a famous lawyer-sibling pair about a mysterious crime. But in the lawyers’ hilltop mansion by the sea, they uncover sinister hints that their reality may not be what it seems.

 

The second release is a revised edition of “Marco’s Delivery Service“. If you read my review of the original work, you may be interested in this version, as I worked with creator Koi Carreon to iron out the kinks and flesh out the story, in order to–we hope–create product that retains the great art and retro-futuristic world, while adding some narrative polish. Fans of old school anime like Outlaw Star should definitely check it out.

Flipside Interviews David Hontiveros

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On March - 27 - 2012

Flipside Digital has an interview with David Hontiveros, one of our fine contributors for “Alternative Alamat“, highlighting his komiks work, particularly on “Bathala: Apokalypsis”. Here’s an excerpt:

For those unfamiliar with your work, could you tell us more about Bathala: Apokalypsis?

The comic stems from a pitch Gerry Alanguilan threw at me during a phone conversation about a decade and a half ago: “What if Superman had to deal with the Apocalypse?”

Gerry asked if I was willing to write the story behind that idea and I was only too glad, so I wrote the 7-issue story, but ultimately, it went into lengthy stasis when Gerry proved unable to handle the art chores. But the comic was revived when Ace Enriquez said he’d be willing to take on the 200+ page project, and here we are.

Bathala: Apokalypsis is basically that pitch told over 7 issues, with Bathala, a Filipino superhero in the mold of the Superman archetype, being the only superpowered individual in the world, having to face the catastrophic effects of an unfolding End of Days.

You can read the rest of the interview here.

Kickstarter Project: “Scheherazade’s Facade”

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On March - 19 - 2012

So, before I pass around the hat on behalf of “Scheherazade’s Facade“, a singular new anthology of fantasy stories with a gender bending theme, I need to provide some context: I have a story in this anthology–in fact, this is my first international sale. I’ve known that for a while now, and I’ve been dying to share the news, but for the longest time I wasn’t even sure if this anthology would ever see the light of day. Now, at last, publication seems possible, but the anthology needs some help to get off the ground, and so my editor, Michael Jones, has taken “Scheherazade’s Facade: Fantastical Tales of Gender Bending, Cross-Dressing, and Transformation ” to Kickstarter. Here’s a bit about the theme:

“For this collection, I looked for a wide variety of things.  First, all stories had to be fantasy. “High, low, dark, historical, romantic, urban, mythical – just about anything goes as long as it has those fantastic elements to it.”  Second, I wanted “stories in which the protagonist or other major characters are disguised or transformed, or otherwise challenge traditional gender roles … heroes and villains, warriors and tricksters, drag queens and cross-dressers, cisgendered, transgendered, and everything in-between.”

Over at the Kickstarter page, you can read about the torturous path the book has taken to publication, and also catch a glimpse of why I’m honored to be part of the anthology: it will have original stories from the likes of Aliette de Bodard and Tanith Lee (TANITH LEE). More than that, the theme is about challenging the status quo. I’d plug this project even if I wasn’t a contributor (just like I plugged the call for submissions way back when) but,  if my being involved makes you want to support it, hey, I’ll take it! My story is called “Kambal Kulam”, and it takes place in a world much like our own, except that sorcery is common enough that one can make a living from the curse-protection racket. “Kambal Kulam” is about desperate sorcerers, a Quiapo fortuneteller, and why you should never assume that a curse is meant to kill…

As always, there are rewards for pledges (from US$5.00 to US$80.00) so head on over to the Kickstarter page if you’d like to support a unique anthology, and feel free to link there or to this page if you’d like to spread the word!

PSF6 Review: “Break in at Batay Street” by Francis Gabriel Concepcion

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On March - 15 - 2012

This post is a part of our story-by-story review of Philippine Speculative Fiction volume 6. You can see the introductory post, and our disclaimers here. Bold font is Mia Tijam, everything else is Paolo Chikiamco.

I like the first paragraph, as it did a good job of establishing the setting, and situating the protagonist. But the rest of the first segment didn’t really achieve much–why not simply go straight to the street child talking to Benjo? The mention of the break-in would have been an immediate hook.

Exactly. And as much as the first paragraph was that, I saw it as too detailed narration. The first segment could seriously use conciseness and a warning went off in my head: STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS DETAILING MAY GET IN THE WAY OF THE CORE OF THE STORY. Enter Sean Connery in my head and shoulder-reading, “Where are you taking me?”

The story has quite a few sentences that feel overloaded: “His eyes widened as he sighed and shook his head slightly, eyeing the clock to his right.” There’s also a problem of redundancy on occasion, on both a micro and macro story level (the incident surrounding the break in are narrated multiple times, and not al the repetitions had enough of a variance to be warranted).

Ergo the warning. Dude, the story was that whole lot. The second segment made me pause though because it was touching on what makes amulets powerful— the whole dilemma of its power based on faith versus (understanding preceding) belief. And kudos to the story for placing me on that ontological level. There I was kinda hoping too that we’ll have something along Nardong Putik.

BUT the story lost this reader’s attention as it went on and on and it all became talky-talk about the “this” in “that”.

By the third segment and so on I was muttering to the story— Too many details. Cut! Go to action! The author was just telling so much and not focusing on what might be the speculative anchor (which is the anting-anting/amulet). Ang daldal ng kuwento! Ang daldal ng mga tao sa kuwento ha ha ha!

Whether the style of dialogue works for the reader is largely dependent on where they stand on the issue of whether dialogue in fiction should replicate real conversation, or be streamlined without seeming inauthentic.

The dialogue in this story definitely leans toward the former, and I don’t think it did the story any favors, as a lot of the exposition is made through dialogue, and “real” conversations can be quite vague. The mileage of other readers may vary though.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comics Sales: Weekend of March 16

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On March - 14 - 2012

It’s almost summer, and you know what that means–SALE TIME. Two of the best comic book specialty stores in Metro Manila re having sales this weekend. First up is Comic Odyssey which is having a sale in all its branches (don’t forget that the Galleria branch has moved to the basement). Second is Planet X Comics, which is joining this weekend’s Glorietta mall-wide sale.

heART WORKS event and “Superior” Launch

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On March - 9 - 2012

Powerbooks Greenbelt will be having back-to-back events this Saturday. First is heART WORKS, which is a charity event where you can bid for pieces of original artwork by great Filipino artists, for the benefit of the victims of the recent natural calamities in the south. This is followed by the book launch of the “Superior” graphic novel by Mark Millar and Lenil Yu (and inked by Gerry Alanguilan). Both Lenil and Gerry will be there for the event.

Outbreak Manila (Nuvali): Registration Ongoing

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On March - 8 - 2012

I know that there are genre fans who are also avid fitness buffs (we don’t subscribe to the weakling geek stereotype on this site, no sir) and here’s an event that will appeal to both them and, perhaps more importantly, to genre fans looking for some added, er, incentive to pound the pavement. “Outbreak Manila” is an event that mixes the concept of the fun run with zombies, going so far as to even have the equivalent of hit points for runners. The first event takes place at Nuvali, Sta. Rosa, and registration is ongoing until the first week of April, or whenever slots run out. You can choose to register as a human or a zombie, and you can see an FAQ for the event here. My favorite line? “You can bring a plant as long as it does not shoot out peas or gobbles up zombies.”

 

Jonas Diego’s Philippine Artist Database

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On March - 8 - 2012

Jonas Diego is conducting a survey for a possible “Philippine Artist Database”. In his words:

The survey has two (2) objectives: 1. Create a national database for Philippine graphic designers, illustrators, comic book creators, and other types of creative workers 2. Create a fact book based on the results of the survey and make available online for free.

If you’re an artist and you’re interested in participating, you can find the survey here.

Podfiction: Nikki Alfar’s “Bearing Fruit” on the Drabblecast

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On March - 7 - 2012

Late to the party on this one (we all were), but I’ve learned that Nikki Alfar’s story “Bearing Fruit” was released as a podcast by the well respected Drabblecast folk. Check it out here.

Reminder: PGS Online Call for Submissions

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On March - 6 - 2012

Just a note to all you writers out there: PGS Online is still open for submissions until April 30, 2012. Editor Kenneth Yu has a pretty damn good track record of finding new talent, so first-time writers are highly encouraged to submit. The worst that can happen is that you’ll get a rejection, and that’s just a part of the writer’s life–and, really, Kyu is one of the nicest editors out there. (That doesn’t mean he isn’t *picky*, mind you, just that you can be pretty sure he isn’t going to mock your manuscript or anything.) Click here for more details.

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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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