Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Amazon Sunshine Deals: Genre Books

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On June - 5 - 2011

So it’s summer in the US, and Amazon is promoting the Kindle by slashing the prices of over 600 books to 0.99, 1.99, or 2.99 for the first two weeks of June. It’s called the “Sunshine Deals” promo and while the bigger US publishers don’t seem to be part of the promotion, don’t make the mistake of thinking there aren’t a few gems to be found.

There are a pair of Pyr Books titles on the list and they’ve seldom steered me wrong before, and I’ve been eyeing that Story Engineering book for a while. I looked through the list and figured that, while I was at it, I might as well put together a list of titles that might interest a Rocket Kapre reader. So without further ado:

Videos: PGS Crime Issue and PSF 6 Issue Launch

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 31 - 2011

Here are videos from the joint PGS Crime Issue and PSF6 launch. First up is the PGS Crime launch in its entirety, split into two parts.

Don’t let Kyu’s modesty fool you, PGS is a very important part of the local genre scene, and I’m personally thrilled to see it online and reaching a wider audience.

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Call for Submissions: Philippine Speculative Fiction 7

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 30 - 2011

Fresh from the launch of the sixth volume of the anthology, submissions are now open for volume seven of the Philippine Speculative Fiction anthology. You can read the guidelines over at the blog of Kate Aton-Osias, who will be co-editing the next volume with her husband, Alex Osias. The most important bit of data of course is the deadline: The deadline for submissions is midnight, Manila time, September 30, 2011

Get cracking! You know you want to be one of the names on the back of the book.

PSF6 Launch Photos

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 29 - 2011


The launch for the sixth volume of Philippine Speculative Fiction took place last Saturday, with the inimitable Dean Alfar once again serving as master of ceremonies and all-around entertainer–the PSF launches usually turn into roasts for the editors and contributors (and being absent is no defense) and a grand time was had by all. I’ll have videos from the launch and the earlier launch of the crime issue of Philippine Genre Stories later this week, but first here are some photographs from the event.


In spite of the rains, (and some *ahem* premature storm warnings), the UView Theater of Fully Booked was jam packed–this photo is from early in the proceedings, and by midway people were lining the walls, in spite of the addition of the monobloc cavalry. The downside to that is the volume sold out minutes after the launch was over–if you want another print run, make sure you make your voices heard!

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“Pericos Tao” by Andrew Drilon

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 25 - 2011

Pericos Tao” is a comic from writer/artist Andrew Drilon which was released online recently by Top Shelf. It’s not a new work, but it hasn’t seen wide release until now–you may recall Adam David talking about it during our Rocket Round Table on favorite Philippine spec fic stories (slight spoilers here, so go read the comic first if you like–it’s only ten pages):

Barring my own set of scintillating sensurround scifi scintillations, the best Pinoy SpecFic story would be the unfortunately still largely unread “Pericos Tao” by Andrew Drilon. It was supposed to be part of Drilon’s Kare-Kare Komiks print remix a bunch of people – me included – tried their best to make manifest around the middle of 2008. I was the layout artist so I was privy to the actual finished pages – “actual finished pages” being actually “virtual” as Drilon assembled everything on computer – and I was one of maybe ten or so people who have seen the whole book (maybe I still am). The publisher ran out of money, so the project didn’t push through. The book was 96 pages of Drilon’s full-colour ChemSet strips, and a handful of new ones to round off the collection, some of which already saw publication in places, but not “Pericos Tao” for some reason.

“Pericos Tao” is one of those too few gay stories that’s ABOUT being gay and at the same time ISN’T in the sense that it isn’t pushing an agenda. It’s about a young man trying to escape the past, and, unsuccessful, finally decides to come to terms with it in his own terms. It makes use of a few characters/creatures from Visayan tradition and somehow making them not clunky as how most of these things are on the page more often than not. It also employs some formal play by way of recreating the young man’s Visayan childhood via impeccably mimicking Larry Alcala’s unmistakable cubist brushstrokes, while the present rendered as how Drilon renders his usual, only slightly better, all of these things running in synch all focused on telling the story, and telling it well. Of everything I’ve read by Drilon, or any one else’s in SpecFic for that matter (and I’ve probably read about 90% of what’s been published so far as of 05:04AM of 7 September 2009), “Pericos Tao” remains to be the most honest and most complete and most heartfelt and really just one of the best stories I’ve ever read, printed (or not) on paper. It’s really all just downhill from here for Drilon. I hope more people will get the chance to read “Pericos Tao,” before he decides to sell out and go manga on everyone. Make it so, Andrew!

High praise from someone very hard to impress. Intrigued? Then go check out Pericos Tao

PGS: “The Departure” and “Kapre: A Love Story”

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 16 - 2011

Charles Tan’s third solicitation for his run as PGS Online sub-editor is up” “Kapre: A Love Story“, written by Erin Chupeco. Here’s the first paragraph:

This is the tale of Kapre, who lived in ancient trees tangled in shadow. Massive, stubbed fingers the color of faded coffee, scrabbling at tree trunk and bark for sustenance. Irises the color of twin moons, mouth the redness of withered santan. He shinnied up mountains in the heat of day, made nests of dried bones and rain at night. He could see himself in the twisted gnarl of branches, found comfort in the rigidness of bamboo. Nestled in the thickness of wood, Kapre could pretend friendship with plants and soil. Birds found homes within the snarls of his beard. Bees sought honey in the yellows of his eyes.

For those who missed it, the second story solicited by Charles was “The Departure” from the wonderful Ms. Marianne Villanueva (who so charmed us last year). An excerpt:

Her husband rolled over on the bed beside her and groaned. “Is Alex up yet?” he asked.

“I don’t think so,” Julietta answered.

“Better get him up, he’s got a long way to drive down the coast.”

Julietta hated it: the few times their son drove north to visit them, her husband always wanted him gone, as early in the day as possible, to “avoid traffic.” She decided she’d make breakfast first. Then she’d wake Alex.

She padded slowly down the stairs in her woolly socks. Why was the sky so — funny looking? Had it always been that way? Shouldn’t she have noticed it before? The houses of her neighbors across the street were shuttered and silent.

Something made her look up, and she thought she saw a giant hand move across the sky. It was just a moment, a glimpse. She shook her head, as if to clear it of cobwebs.

Summer Komik Review Link Roundup

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 11 - 2011

With both the Metro Comic Con and Summer Komikon behind us, the two biggest komik-centric events of the summer (note that the Toycon, while larger, has had a small komiks presence in the past), a slew of reviews, long and short, have been popping up on the Internet, and I thought that now would be a good time to round them up:

EK Gonzales: Reviews of The Filipino Heroes League book 1 (paolo fabregas), Starchild and Jagannath (kevin ray valentino), Save (danny acuna) , Cadre (polyhedron) , Zombies in Manila issues 1-4 (scratch comics) , Gwapoman 2000 (obvious productions) , Kanto, Inc. issue 2 (point zero) , The Marvelous Mega Woman (ernest caritativo)Ang Morion issue 1 (nest comics) , Precinto 13 (alamat), Sagrado Teritoryo (pisara period)Kapitan Tog issue 1 (freely abrigo) , Cat’s Trail Rewind issue 2,3 (elmer & maria cornelio damaso), Work in Progress (hub pacheco/ted pavon), Callwork: A Call Center Life (hazel manzano) , Patintero issue 2, 3 (wallpush productions), Callous: Chocolate Chip Wishes and Caffeine Dreams (carlo san juan), Tokwa’t Baboy (cm) , Mark 9 verse 47 issue 1-4 compilation (meganon comics), Atomic Underground issue 1,2 (atomic underground collective), Force 8 issue 1 (tomokii), Only Ever After (bbqs, iNorth), Slash, Earthborne, MarsMag, Shorts, Mithril Group Anthology, Cat’s Trail Spotlight: Batang Airee at Polaris.

Joanah TC/Ika-Siyam: Reviews of Mukat #2, A Ride on the Call of Will, Hyper Comics – MARK’D, Rampage Comics/I-Rawwrr — Amoy ng Kupfal, Holly Hock, The Monkey and the Turtle (Director’s Cut), The Unwanted, Unos MUNDOS #5, Myth-tech, Fruitshake: Playmate, Fruitshake: Point Blank, Fruitshake: On top of the World, SKETCH #1, Magugunaw na ang Mundo, Nasa’n na ang Labs Ko?!, Ibalong, Patintero, Only Ever After, Pasko sa Pamilya, The Curfew (book 2 Chapter 1), Gatas ng Saging, Dino Shogun, Force 8, Atomic Underground and Full Upgrade, A Certain Comic Artist’s Journal Side A/B, Flipinas ’70

Behold the Geek: Bayan Knights: Gilas, Trese: A Private Collection, The Filipino Heroes League Book 1: Sticks and Stones

UNWANTED: The Komikero Artists Group Podcast #1: All By Myself: The new podcast has a segment where Gerry Alanguilan reviews Carlo Vergara’s ZsaZsa Zaturnnah: Sa Kalakhang Maynila: Special Preview, and Andrew Villar’s Hari.

Redstone SF Interviews Charles Tan (Part 1)

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 9 - 2011

Redstone Science Fiction has part one of a two part interview with Charles Tan. For those who don’t know Charles, he’s an author, editor (Philippine Speculative Fiction Sampler; Best of Philippine Speculative Fiction 2009), Philippine spec fic advocate and prolific blogger (he runs Bibliophile Stalker , and contributes to SF Signal and The World SF Blog, amongst others).

The interview touches upon quite a few topics, including the fact that Charles is more well known abroad than in the Philippines, local cyberpunk, and the Philippine authors most likely to become well-known. An excerpt:

Who do you think will become the first Filipino science fiction writer to become well-known?

Science fiction, or does fantasy count, too?


Let’s do both.

Well, there’s no real hard science fiction writers that are active, just some people who dabble in science fiction. I dabble in science fiction, and I think that Rochita, also, might dabble in it from time to time. I don’t think that there’s really anyone who is going to make a big impact, although Eliza may, in a few years, through sheer quantity, if nothing else [laughs]. Dean Francis Almar is the first Filipino to be published in “Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror”. He was first internationally published in “Strange Horizons”. He will probably be the first Filipino to have a true international following. Whenever I give a book to a foreign writer or friend, it is his.

RK Recommends: “Starve Better” by Nick Mamatas

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 4 - 2011

[New section time: I won't bother putting up reviews of non-Filipino books which I wouldn't recommend, or even those which are merely adequate, but now and then I'd like to recommend something worth reading, especially if there's a digital edition available. Hence, "RK Recommends"]

Nick Mamatas’ “Starve Better” (Kindle version) is a collection of essays focused on the craft and practice of being a writer–with an emphasis on practical advice (as opposed to theory) and shorter pieces of work (as opposed to novels)–and I don’t think there’s anything quite like it on the market. In part, I think this is because I don’t think anyone looks at the business and art of writing (or articulates those views) quite like Mamatas. The current editor of Haikasoru, Mamatas is a critically acclaimed writer and editor who combines a wealth of experience in freelance writing with the bedside manner of (to use a professional wrestling analogy that Mamatas might appreciate) of Bill DeMott (or, for those more familiar with non-wrestling TV dramas,  Dr. Gregory House). Mamatas’ irreverent tone and blunt opinions are part of what made the book so enjoyable (and useful) for me, but prospective readers unfamiliar with his style may want to read a few posts from his blog to see if they feel the same way. Make sure to find a post where Mamatas takes a stance that you don’t agree with (that shouldn’t be too hard) and see if you’re entertained, or at least given pause. (My suggestion: this post on his stance on the obligation to provide constructive criticism, which is, I think, the first post I ever read on his blog.)

Prospective readers (who, I assume, are also writers or writer-aspirants) will also get the most out of the book if “Starve Better” isn’t the first text of writing they’ve read: a few of the best essays in the book (“All Pistons Firing”; “Don’t Throw the Hook”) involve a closer look at common writing tips that may do more harm than good. Actually, a solid foundation in the “basics” of fiction provides the best context with which to enjoy most of the first part of the book, “The Book of Lies”. This part focuses on the craft of writing, particularly short fiction, and the essays provide a good counterweight to the sometimes homogenized writing advice you can find in the standard writing texts. Mamatas also excels at providing striking imagery that makes his uncommon take on issues all the more memorable: he illustrates his position that “There are no rules. Only results matter.” by using the (remarkably apt) analogy of a professional wrestling match; he explains how some bad writing can still manage to be riveting because it takes the point of view, not of a character, but of a movie camera; he compares scene breaks to 800-pound gongs… Like I said, there’s no one quite like Mamatas, and that means that even long-time students of the craft of writing will find something new to chew on–and, for a true student, that different and well-articulated perspective can be invaluable.

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This Weekend: Free Comic Book Day 2011 and Metro Comic Con

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 4 - 2011

This coming weekend is a big one for comics lovers, and I just thought I’d remind everyone (as if you guys don’t have the dates encircled in your calendars yet).

May 7 is Free Comic Book Day, as is every first Saturday of May. As has become the case in recent years, Comic Odyssey in Robinson’s Galleria seems to be the place to go, if you absolutely must raid only one store on that day, with plenty of guest artists arriving, and exclusive FCBD comics from local creators. For those wondering what the big deal is (although why one would need to go farther than “free” “comics” is a mystery to me), Gerry Alanguilan (should I say Eisner-award nominated Gerry Alanguilan now? ^_^) has a great post that places the event in context.

May 7 is also the first day of the Metro Comic Con, which lasts until May 8 and takes place at SM Megamall. Special guests at the event are David Lloyd (V for Vendetta), Tony DeZuniga (creator of Jonah Hex) and Philp Tan (Batman and Robin, Green Lantern)



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.