Archive for November, 2012

Encyclopedia of Fantasy: Free, Searchable, Online

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 27 - 2012

The latest edition of the multi-awarded Encyclopedia of Fantasy is a radical departure from the previous volume, as it now takes the form of a free online database, joining the already online database of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. An essential bookmark for Fantasy writers.

“Talking to Juanito” by Mia Tijam at Bewildering Stories

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 26 - 2012

Our good friend Mia Tijam has a new piece of fiction up on “Bewildering Stories“, for their 504th issue. “Talking to Juanito” told from the perspective of a child, but it is not a children’s story– or, rather, the material may not be for children. In another sense though, it *is* a children’s story because it deals with their fused awareness of the real and the imagined, as well as the rules imposed by adults so different as to seem to be from another species. For those who enjoy stories where the line between real and unreal is blurred, this one may be for you.

The editors of Bewildering Stories had this to say about it:

The story mingles languages very effectively. The subordinating conjunction ta is essential: it means “because, and it’s a bad thing…” And the interjection Ta… ta… recurs frequently. Readers can imagine the “lolas” muttering darkly, “Bad… very bad.”

Signing Event: Leinil Yu and Gerry Alanguilan at Comic Odyssey

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 23 - 2012

From Komix 101:

Team INDESTRUCTIBLE: Leinil Yu and Gerry Alanguilan will signing at Comic Odyssey on November 24, 2 to 5 pm. Be there for the launch of Indestructible Hulk #1, written by Mark Waid. Don’t be late… they don’t like it when you’re late! GGRRRAAAHHH!!!

Trese 4 Wins National Book Award

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 22 - 2012

Congratulations to Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo (and Visprint) for their most recent National Book Awards win! Here’s a Press Release from the team, followed by the text of the introduction to the volume from Ruel de Vera. (Also, don’t forget that Budjette and Kajo will be at Alabang Town Center on November 24!)

Trese Book 4: Last Seen After Midnight, written by Budjette Tan, illustrated by Kajo Baldisimo was awarded Best Graphic Literature for 2011 at the National Book Awards.

The award was received by Tan, Baldisimo and their publisher Nida Ramirez of Visprint, Inc.

This is the second time that National Book Development Board and the Manila Critics Circle have recognized and awarded the works of Tan and Baldisimo. Last 2010, Trese Book 3 won the same award.

Trese follows the adventures of paranormal investigator Alexandra Trese. She is the main consultant of the police whenever they encounter crime involving supernatural creatures. In Trese Book 4, she is called to solve the murder of a manananggal, stop a plant elemental from committing a massacre, investigate a case involving a bangungnot, and reveal the secret of the country’s champion prize-fighter.

Ruel de Vera of the Manila Critic Circles, wrote in his introduction for Trese 4: “With each case, Budjette and Kajo raise their levels of artistry to new heights without ever resorting to gimmickry, relying instead on an expertise in the unexpected twist and self-awareness, a feat that transcends the tropical islands Trese originates from. From a cult hit, Trese has now become a true mainstream success—which it deserves—and the next step should be widespread international recognition—which it deserves as well.”

In the past two years, Trese has received much praise from here and abroad.

“Trese continues to impress and surprise, daring to go where no Filipino comic book dare to go,” said Gerry Alanguilan, creator of the award-winning graphic novel Elmer.

Leinil Yu, artist of Marvel’s Indestructible Hulk said, “Trese excites the little child in me which used to believe in the wonders of Filipino folklores, and my adult self who enjoys intelligently written and drawn tales.  Budjette and Kajo’s Trese is a gem”

Aaron Rahsaan Thomas, Executive Producer of Southland and writer/producer of CSI:New York, had this to say about the graphic novel: “The late Steve Sabol of NFL films once said, ‘Tell me a fact and I’ll remember. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But, tell me a story and it’ll live in my heart forever.’ It is a unique and admirable skill to craft a well told story set in an intriguing world, inhabited by compelling characters. Yet, every time I open a chapter of the Trese saga, I’m blown away by Budjette’s imagination and by Kajo’s imagery. They’ve created a series full of swagger, featuring one of the most dynamic heroines you’ll ever see. Trese is thrilling, engaging and epic.”

“From the first moment I got a glimpse into the world of Alexandra Trese, I was hooked,” said Shanty Harmayn, CEO at Salto Film Company, Producer of the award-wining Indonesia film “Sang Penari” (The Dancer) “It was wonderfully new and exciting, yet somehow familiar as many of the supernatural creatures and their stories were similar to the tales I grew up hearing in Indonesia. With Budjette’s masterful ability to weave a great mystery and Kajo’s beautiful graphic imagery, I look forward to visiting Trese’s world many times over.”

In 2011, after Trese 4 ended up on National Book Store’s Best Seller List, Tan received this email from Neil Gaiman, “So ridiculously proud of you! When I came out all those years ago for the first time, that was what I wanted to see happen… I feel like you and all the smart Filipino writers and artists out there are doing something really brave and powerful, making a whole new wave of Filipino art and story. Well done!”

National Book Awards was held last November 17, 2011 and was presented by The National Book Development Board and the Manila Critics Circle in cooperation with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. The event was held at the Old Senate Session Hall of the National Museum of the Philippines.

TRESE Books 1 to 5 is now available book stores and comic shops nationwide. For more information, visit: www.tresecomics.com

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Flipreads Black Friday Sale

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 22 - 2012

To coincide with the massive sales taking place in the United States for Black Friday, Flipreads.com is having a Black Friday Sale of their own from today, November 22, to November 25. They’ve got a lot of ebooks going on sale that will be of interest to Rocket Kapre readers, ranging from the Philippine Speculative Fiction series, to U.P. non-fiction titles, to YA titles from Rocket Kapre contributors such as Eliza Victoria and Raissa Falgui. Go check it out!

Charles Tan Interview at Read in a Single Sitting

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 20 - 2012

The interview came out weeks ago when I didn’t have time to post about it, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point you all to an interview with Charles Tan over at the Read in a Single Sitting blog. In the interview, Charles talks about why he put together Lauriat, his anthology of Filipino-Chinese Speculative Fiction (which contains my story, “The Captain’s Nephew”.) Give the interview — and the anthology — a read, if you haven’t already.

Mini-Komiks Convention: Read-Lit District

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 14 - 2012

As part of Read Lit District, the 3rd Philippine International Literary Festival, a few select komiks will be sold at the 3rd floor of the Ayala Museum tomorrow, November 15, from 6-8 in the evening. The event will also serve as the launch of Crime Fighting Call Center Agents book 3. Check it out if you;re in the Makati area.

One More Page Reviews Mythspace #0

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 14 - 2012

Top book blogger and Kwentillion reviewer Tina Mataguihan has just reviewed Mythspace #0 on her blog One More Page and she’s given it 5 out of 5 stars! Here’s an excerpt:

This new series plays on the idea that the creatures we know from folk tales and movies not simply monsters from our grandparents’ stories, but you know, creatures from outer space. Sounds crazy, yes?

But you know what? It actually works.

I also liked reading the previews for the two longest stories there, with Liftoff having that mystery-in-space type of story with a somewhat angst-ridden hero, and Unfurling of Wings reminding me so much of the chimaera world in Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

Launch: “Scheherazade’s Facade” anthology now available digitally

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 7 - 2012

Scheherazade’s Facade, the U.S. anthology of gender-bending/cross-dressing/transformation spec fic that I’m a part of, is now out in digital form. You may remember it from the successful Kickstarter or the positive Publisher’s Weekly review it received (where my story “Kambal Kulam” got mentioned, woohoo!). It’s a great anthology, a different type of anthology, and I hope you all give it a try.

Contributors include Tanith Lee(!), Sarah Rees Brennan, and Aliette de Bodard, and it’s edited by renowned reviewer (and now renowned editor?) Michael M. Jones. The print copies will arrive in stores (in the U.S. I assume) soon, but for now you can find it at these fine establishments:

As further incentive, here’s an excerpt from my story in the anthology, “Kambal Kulam.” 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…

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Budjette Tan: Trese 5 Launch Interview

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 7 - 2012

Trese 5 will be available nationwide very soon, so as has become something of a tradition for each launch, I shot a few questions out to Trese scribe Budjette Tan. I wanted to make the interview accessible to those who haven’t yet read the book, but also wanted to ask him about specific things from Book 5, so I’ve divided the interview into spoiler-free and spoiler-filled sections. I warn everyone when we hit spoiler territory, so those who go beyond the red line, do so at your own risk!

Thanks once again to Budjette for making the time.

 

SPOILER-FREE PORTION

 

The Trese 5 release seems to have taken quite a few people by surprise — was it a conscious choice not to promote the launch heavily until you were sure you’d make the Komikon?

HAHAHA! Yeah, I guess I didn’t want to jinx it. We turned over the cover to Visprint sometime early October and we were emailing pages to be proofread every time we finished a batch of them. So, we turned over the final pages to Visprint five days before the Komikon! HAHAHA! I don’t know what kind of magic spell Nida, our publisher, had to weave to make everything ready by Komikon but we are extremely happy and thankful that Visprint pulled it off. Even though I’m used to getting stuff done just minutes before the deadline, it’s always scary. I’ve already drafted the “ideal schedule” for Book 6. Let’s see if we can keep to the sched. HAHAHA!

With Trese 4 launched almost in October 2011, and Trese 5 being launched at the October Komikon, are you aiming for a new volume every October?

Yup! That’s the plan! If me and Kajo keep to our scheds and don’t get distracted by other projects then it’s possible for us to release a book once a year.

While you ventured back into the realm of episodic stories with Trese 4, this volume seems more similar to Trese 3 in that it is basically one story — only instead of being about resolving plot threads (as in Trese 3), here you’ve laid the ground work for the future. Is this book is the start of another three volume arc?

Like I mentioned in the Afterword, this story was only supposed to be a 20-page single-shot issue. But if I followed that outline, I guess I might have just ended up copying the structure of [Redacted - sharp eyed readers may spot a clue to a revelation from Trese 5 if we told you the title of the case Budj mentions here - Ed. Note].

But when those ideas from Kajo and that idea from Yvette Tan’s story came into play, the story just ran away and became a full graphic novel.

Is this laying the ground work for another thee volume arc? I don’t know. I just make this up as I go along. HEHEHE

Has the popularity of the Kambal surprised you? They display their personalities more here than in previous volumes, and I was wondering if this was you giving the readers more of what they want.

Yup, considering how they didn’t have much speaking lines in the first two books, I’m surprised at much of a following they’ve generated. Also surprising how much Happy/Long-Haired/Basilio seems to have a bigger fanbase compared to Gloomy and even Trese herself.

I do keep in mind what readers say and post. If it’s an idea worth exploring then I try to toss it into the mix.

And this was one of those moments when the Kambal just took over and the lines just came out.

Book 5 was generally written “Marvel style”. Since we were rushing this for the Komikon, I was sending Kajo scripts which just had general descriptions of the action. So, when I finally got the pages, I had to figure out what they were saying and the Kambal just filled in the lines themselves, looking at how Kajo drew their expression or their actions, it was just easy and fun to fill in their dialogue.

With each volume, Trese’s abilities increase — or at least she shows more of them. Do you ever worry about her becoming too powerful, too competent?

Nice observation. Will keep that in mind. Thanks, Paolo!

I remember someone else making that comment based on the first three books (maybe you were the one that made the comment) that Trese is always in control of the situation and never seems to falter. So, I tried to show that she’s not always perfect in Book 4; tried to make her sweat a bit before she gets to solve the mystery. (hehehe)

But she did learn a lot while she was in the Great Balete Tree. So, I guess she’s just showing us more of the stuff she already knows. Which only means, I’ll need to give her bigger, badder challenges.

You’ve always created characters which seem to have real life analogues — as with a certain famed boxer in the last volume — and this volume ratchets that up a notch. When do you decide to create a brand new character, and when do you pull more liberally from real life personas?

I’ve never really thought about that. I guess if the story calls for it, then I’ll make a new one or base them from some real life person.

If I’m paying tribute to a character or a creation, then I’ll toss in some Easter eggs from that characters history, as a way of paying tribute to him / her.

When I originally started TRESE, it was heavily influenced by Warren Ellis’ Planetary. So, I do plan / hope to explore more of Pinoy pop culture. The funny thing about Pinoy pop culture is that we tend to blur the lines between fiction and reality. I still remember the story (supposed a true story) of how an FPJ movie was shown in Mindanao. At the end of the movie, FPJ’s character died. The audience, all of them were big fans of FPJ, got so angry that FPJ’s character got killed, pulled out their guns and shot the movie screen, taking aim at the bad guy that killed FPJ.

So, if I were to make an FPJ analog, then his story might become a mix and mash up his history as an actor, movie director, Panday, and his attempt at a political career – all because that’s how we Pinoys see him.

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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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