Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Futurism and the Filipino

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 7 - 2010

cowofthefutureAn interesting discussion is taking place in Adam David’s blog concerning Futurism and Philippine Speculative Fiction, most particularly the lack of “homegrown Futurists” amongst Filipino Spec Fic writers. (Adam’s post has a NSFW pic–consider this a warning–but you can find the post here.) As Adam put it:

“[The local Spec Fic scene's] output has been overwhelmingly Nostalgist/Nativist – from MagRealist fables to (if ever) back-to-basics postapocalypses to manananggal-raver mashups to Brockanian urban dystopias – and if ever someone does do a Futurist take on the Philippines, it is almost always politically infantile, its idioms largely borrowed from another culture’s, ie, Hollywood and Wired.”

The post has elicited some interesting responses in the comments section (which is now much longer than the actual post), with comments from Spec Fic writers like Joseph Nacino, Kenneth Yu, Carljoe Javier and Eliza Victoria. Topics discussed in the comments include: clarifying what is meant by “futurism”, how to get writers to write about specific topics, the socio-cultural background of a Filipino SF writer, the nature of editing, and the future of the Digest of Philippine Genre Stories, amongst others.

(Image source: Behold the cow of the future by thewamphyri CC Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic)

Chained Links: 5 January 2009

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 4 - 2010

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Happy new year everyone! If you’re anything like me, the holidays were less a time for rest and more a time for oh-my-god-why-are-they-here-we-don’t-have-a-gift-quick-rip-that-fruit-cake-in-half… you get the picture.  Here’s your latest batch of chained links to catch you up on what you might have missed during the holiday season.

We’ll lead off with a few from the Metakritiko section of the Philippine Online Chronicles. I’ve recently been named editor of the section (which is the POC’s arts/culture and reviews portion) so if any of you have arts news of interest, events that need attention or creative works that you’d like reviewed, drop me a line and we’ll see what we can do.

Ruin and Resolve Released

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 28 - 2009

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Ruin and Resolve is now up for sale on Smashwords.

Up and at ‘em everyone! For charity!

If you’ve never purchased a book on Smashwords before, or even made an internet purchase, don’t worry it’s easy. We’ll walk you through the steps after the cut.

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Guest Post: Omega Level by Carljoe Javier

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 23 - 2009

Carljoe Javier is the author of “And the Geek Shall Inherit the Earth“. He still hopes that he can one day become a Jedi Knight, a member of the anti-Skynet resistance, or a member of the A-Team. The following essay is part of a new collection he is in the process of writing, so consider this a sneak preview. He’s looking for feedback as well, so be sure to let us know if you like it–it’ll be too late for complaints once the book is on the shelves ^_^:

The first night she spent at my house my friends went crazy for her. I was having a party and the moment that they saw her, their jaws dropped. They huddled around her, much to the dismay of the girlfriends and wives present. “Dude, how?” My friends asked me. And all I could do was smirk and shrug, not affording them the satisfaction of an explanation.

“Carl, why?” one of the girlfriends asked.

To which I answered, “Why not?”

“Well, duh! Hello? What are you thinking?”

“What do you mean what am I thinking? Look, all the guys love her!”

She looked at me, sighed, and then slumped her shoulders. There was a slow nod, which I could only interpret as disapproval.

Later in the night, we caught her boyfriend fondling the new girl’s breasts.

“Dude, not cool,” I said.

His girlfriend had a rather more extreme response: “What the Hell are you doing?”

I came to his defense, “He can’t help it.”

“How can he not help it?”

“Well, they are now saying that she’s an Omega-Class Mutant. As a telepath, she can project images, manipulate your mind, and that’s just for starters. I mean, Cyclops wasn’t immune to her wiles, and he had a potentially worlds-destroying girlfriend at the time.”

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Ruin and Resolve – Cover and TOC Reveal

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 22 - 2009

Given all that the country has been through in the last two months, September 2009 might seem a lifetime away to some of us.  Yet the damage from Ondoy and Pepeng still remains, and in the coming year the typhoons will return, as they always do.  As Filipinos, as writers, as Spec Fic lovers, we want to do our part to help those who are still recovering from the storms, and to support those who will be at the vanguard of future relief efforts.

Last October, I sent out a limited call for submissions for Ruin and Resolve, an ebook anthology which Rocket Kapre would put up for sale, donating any profits received to the Philippine National Red Cross.  Seventeen heeded that call, and in the span of less than three months, we’ve managed to compile nineteen stories and five poems, to offer as an incentive for those who want to share their blessings, especially during the Christmas season. On December 28 (fingers crossed) the anthology will go on sale at Smashwords.com, and I’ll need everyone’s help to get the word out. But for now, I’ve set up a book page for Ruin and Resolve (ignore the sample and mediakit portions for now) with the table of contents and the cover image (artwork provided free of charge by the awesome Artspice! Studios) of which I’ve provided a larger version below.

The list of stories/poems and authors is on the book page, but I’m also putting it in this post, after the cut.

Once again guys – December 28, don’t forget!

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Chained Links: 21 December 2009

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 22 - 2009

For your pre-Christmas edition of our link round-up, we’ve got a site launch, writing tidbits and a smattering of history:

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Site Launch:

  • The official Estranghero Press website is now up and running (although parts remain, as per internet tradition, “under construction”).

Books and the Writing Craft:

  • Speaking of Estranghero Press, here are a few interesting posts from Joey Nacino’s blog, one on local monsters, and another on the inclusion of an editor’s own story in his/her anthology (the latter with bonus flame-y flavor in the comments, if that floats your boat).
  • Mitali Perkins on why she writes multicultural books. (Via Stacy Whitman)
  • For essay writers, poets and artists, there’s a call for submissions for Duguang Lupa, a chapbook of reactions to the Ampatuan Massacre. (via PGS)
  • In the Nick of Time” a free Holiday Sampler put together by J.C. Hutchins with excerpts from a dozen new novels and nonfiction books by authors such as Laurell Hamilton, Cory Doctorow and Joseph Finder. (via Tor.com)
  • The 43rd Bookworms Carnival covering books on/related to mythology (we contributed our post on Anvil’s Treasury of Stories)
  • The Apex Book of World SF (which includes a story by Dean Alfar) is available for the Kindle, and for  free worldwide shipping in dead-tree form. (via World SF News Blog)

Event Coverage:

Historical Documents: (via Filipiniana.net)

Contests and Sales:

Tabi Tabi Po in San Francisco

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 17 - 2009

The sting of neglecting to cover an awesome event such as “Tabi Tabi Po” (a “group exhibition that explores the rich and colorful creatures of Filipino Folklore through Urban Contemporary art”) is only somewhat mitigated by the fact that I don’t think I could have managed the commute to, er, San Francisco (at the 1:AM Gallery) in time (the exhibit took place from November 13 to December 12). Still, if I were anywhere near California, it seems like it would almost certainly have been worth the trip–the one advantage to stumbling upon the exhibit at this late stage is that there’s plenty of content online at the official blog, including the companion documentary below:

Tabi Tabi Po Companion Documentary: An Exploration of Filipino Folklore Creatures from James Garcia on Vimeo.

You can find more clips at the site, including a trailer, a shadow play, and a MyxTV feature. There is also a link on site to the artwork they have on sale, for which a portion of the proceeds will be used for typhoon relief.

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Many thanks to the Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc. blog for allowing me to discover such an awesome event.

Nisi Shawl on Transracial Writing

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 15 - 2009

NisiTower1CropFeb08-233x300The good folks over at the SFWA site have uploaded a piece by Nisi Shawl entitled “Transracial Writing for the Sincere” which deals with the challenge–and the necessity–of writing characters of a different ethnic background than that of the author. It’s a very well-reasoned and rational approach to a delicate and difficult part of being a good (in every sense of the word) author. While there is a focus on writing characters who belong to a racial minority, I think the advice is equally applicable to writing any character different from ourselves, whether due to social class, profession, gender or age.

Here’s an excerpt:

When it comes to finding more contemporary material, magazines help. I also strongly recommend shopping trips, night-clubbing and restaurant hopping. Take a walk on the wild side. Do you feel like a tourist? Uncomfortable? Well, you are one, and you need to know what it’s like to be conspicuous. If your character’s a minority, she or he will be quite familiar with the sensation. Bruce Sterling once told me that alienation is an essential part of any science fiction writer’s education, and I agree.

[Article originally seen via the Bibliophile Stalker's blog; image sourced from the SFWA]

Rochita Loenen-Ruiz on the Context of Culture

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 9 - 2009

RochitaOBScholarpicFilipina writer and 2009 Octavia E. Butler Scholar Rochita Loenen-Ruiz has a guest post up at Jeff Vandermeer’s Ecstatic Days where she speaks about why she attempts to be true to her culture (as a Filipina who grew up in the Mountain Province) in her writing. Here’s an excerpt:

That a lot of Filipinos believe in the superiority of what’s foreign is a sad truth. It’s just like how Filipinos insist on bleaching their beautiful brown skin because they believe white is a superior color.

But I love the Filipino color. I love our beautiful brown skin and I don’t see why we need to be whiter. It’s just in this way that I love our beautiful Filipino culture. It is bright and colorful and filled with so many nuances. We are not just the color of earth, we are not just the beating of gongs, what we are includes the interweaving with other cultures. We are indigenous and multicultural at the same time.

If you’d like to read some of Rochita’s stories, her most recent tale, “59 Beads“, appears in the latest issue (December 2009) of Apex Magazine. We’re also honored to have two of her stories slated to appear in our Ruin and Resolve anthology.

[Photo sourced from Munting Nayon News Magazine]

Smashwords Edition of Usok #1

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 8 - 2009

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As a publisher (digital or not) avenues of distribution are key to any strategy. It’s our job, after all, to get the stories of our authors in front of as many people as possible. Smashwords.com is one of the more open and promising ebook distribution outlets at the present (it is DRM-free as well), and we’ll be releasing our ebooks and digital files of Usok on the site. Smashwords distributes through Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Sony and Shortcovers as well (we’ll let you know when/if Usok pops up in those sites) so it’s a great place to be.

For starters we’ve got Usok #1 available as a single file download at Smashwords in a variety of formats, which I’ll discuss in a bit. Since Usok #1 is free, you don’t need to register at Smashwords in order to download it, but if you’ve got the time, feel free to go through the process so that you can review Usok on Smashwords (pretty please? ^_^), and so you’ll be all set when our non-free offerings come out.

Aside from reviews and helping spread the word, trying out the different formats and letting me hear your feedback would be of great help as well.  Which format did you prefer, and what would you like us to improve on in the future? There’s a bit of a trial-and-error type learning curve involved in Smashwords’ ebook formatting system, which is why we’re testing this out with Usok, a free offering, rather than with our first anthology, Ruin and Resolve. The good thing about Smashwords is that after you purchase an ebook, if there are any updates to the file made afterward, you can re-download it for free. (This also opens interesting possibilities for a book with constantly updating content that can be made available for a flat fee, but I’ll save that for another day…)

Note that none of the versions includes the new cover which you can see above (file size considerations I assume) but you can download the cover image here or from Smashwords, and certain readers (like Stanza) allow you to attack a cover image to the ebook file.

For those interested in the details/differences of the downloadable versions, I’ve got a breakdown of the versions, file types, and a few desktop readers after the cut.

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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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