Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Dean Alfar, Kevin Lapeña and Barbara Jane Reyes on Io9

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 18 - 2009


Io9, one of the most popular SF sites on the web, just ran a post on Dean Alfar, praising his story “Six from Downtown” (which you can read here at Charles Tan and Mia Tijam’s Philippine Speculative Fiction Sampler):

“Six From Downtown” definitely reminds me of Link at her best, with its stark, dreamlike imagery. But it’s more brutal, with a host of images including a man fishing for mermaids (and then grilling them), and another man working as an exotic dancer and showing off his prehensile tail (and then using it to strangle a customer). The exotic dancer segment is also reminiscent of Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, for obvious reasons. And in the last section, a man comes home to find his wife’s upper half has flown away.

The post also features artwork from Usok 1 cover artist Kevin Lapeña (and pointed me to a keen interview with Kevin at The Design Inspiration), and cites a discussion by Filipina poet Barbara Jane Reyes on Magical Realism (something I’ll comment on in a post all its own, since it mentions Usok. Yay!) For now, let me just congratulate Dean, Kevin, and Barbara, and thank Charlie Jane Anders of Io9 for shining a spotlight on some deserving individuals.

Anvil Book Sale ’09: A Primer

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 18 - 2009

As you might know from Kyu or Jessica Zafra, Anvil Publishing, one of the leading (and certainly one of the most prolific) Philippine publishers is holding a big bargain book sale from November 17 to December 12. I trooped on down yesterday morning, and thought I’d get this guide up for all of you who are planning to launch raids of your own.


The first step of course is that you need to find the place. The sale is being held at Anvil’s office along Pioneer Street, Barangay Kapitolyo, Pasig–I’ve included a picture of the gate above for reference. It’s along the same road as Pioneer Supermarket and Robinson’s Pioneer (or, “the Forum” as they’ve taken to calling it. If you’ve ever been to one of the Powerbooks warehouse sales or the Regalong Pambahay outlet store, those are also along Pioneer street. Usually the quickest way to get there if you’re coming from EDSA (going north) is to take a right into Robinson’s Pioneer or right after it, but recently there’s been some construction in the area, so there might be cases when that road is closed off. Another way to get to pioneer would be to take Shaw, then take a right at Pioneer Street (there’s a Caltex station at the corner). If you’re coming from Edsa and you hit the rotunda you’ve gone too far.

Parking might be a bit of a doozy, but the guards are helpful and they’ll allow you to double, as long as you promise to pull yourself away from your book binge when someone needs to get out.

After the cut I’ll post a few pictures and give my impressions of what awaits you, but if you’d like to “see” things for yourselves, here’s a video (with those new annotations youtube allows) I took of the booksale area. It’s not a big place but there are a lot of books to sift through:

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James Jean in Manila: Schedule and Contest

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 17 - 2009

James Jean, awe-inspiring cover artist for the Fables series from Vertigo, will be in Manila from November 20-23, courtesy of Fully Booked. Fully Booked has a page set-up with a schedule of events for (and leading up to) Jean’s visit, and you can check it out here. Of special interest is a contest (well, basically a raffle) that Fully Booked is running along with UNO Magazine–basically just leave a comment on the UNO Blog (somewhat NSFW of course) here answering the question “Which is your favorite James Jean masterpiece and why?” As of right now there are 52 comments, so those are still decent odds. Deadline for entries is November 18, 11:59, so post soon if you’re interested. Lord knows I am… if I ever get to be President of the Philippines, I’m flying him back here to do my official portrait.

Will post James Jean’s schedule and guidelines (from the Fully Booked site) after the jump, for your reference. Note that the talk at La Salle Benilde seems to require reserving a slot via email, and that registration is also required prior to the signing events.

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Review of Usok 1 by Charles Tan

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 16 - 2009

Over at the Bibliophile Stalker, Charles Tan turns his steely gaze on the first issue of Usok. You can check out the review here. Thanks for the review Charles, and I hope we can win you over in the future ^_^

New Stories Online: 16 November 2009

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 16 - 2009

Thanks to a few posts from Kyu, I’ve learned of two new pieces of fiction, and one creative non-fic piece, from Filipino SF authors which are now available online:


Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 16 - 2009

Joey Nacino (the man behind Estranghero Press) has been contributing flash fiction stories to a new music site,, in a segment called Literatune. When Kyu posted that a new story had gone up, I figured it was about time we pointed readers in the direction of Joey’s project, and to an earlier post on his blog where he explains what it’s all about, and why in the heck he’s posting zombie fic at a music site:

What’s it all about?

Well, thanks to duskwatcher, I got to meet an extraordinary bunch of people who really dig music and who wanted to share the love around. These people set up a site called allmusicjunkies and started writing a lot of music-related stuff they thought people would interesting.

They also asked me to write little fictionlets– similar to my 15-minute writing exercises– that riff on the first lines of songs.

Hey Joey: could I request Du Hast for your next fic? Or, if not, I’d settle for Chumbawamba… ;)

The Future of Latin American Fiction

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 13 - 2009

chiles sent over a link to a very interesting speech given by Jorge Volpi (posted over at Three Percent) on the topic of the future of Latin American Fiction. It makes for an interesting read, for Volpi’s take on “magical realism” and also because of the similarities between the Latin American context and our own. Here’s an excerpt:

In what role does this thesis leave us? Once again we appear as good savages, dominated by superstition and mystery, accustomed to coexisting with the supernatural, or, in the other extreme, as a primitive people who remain apathetic in the face of the very unusual. The social interpretation of the literature thus acquires an unsettling political shade: Latin American people are not distinguished by our fantasy, but by our resignation. A resignation of a murky Catholic origin that explains the conformism which turns us into docile subjects, cannon fodder, the successive victims of Colonialism, Imperialism, Communism, and Capitalism.

Here’s part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, and part 5.

Chained Links: 12 November 2009

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 12 - 2009

Fell a bit behind on the news linking this week, so  here’s a handy grab bag of some interesting links from this week, for your weekend reading pleasure:

How to Read the Next Generation

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 12 - 2009


Kyu of Philippine Genre Stories attended the recent NBDB talk (in the Galing Pinoy, Basahin! Lecture Series) entitled How To Read The Next Generation (Fiction), which featured Dean Alfar, Angelo Lacuesta, Edgar Samar, Tara FT Sering (moderated by Charlson Ong) and he’s posted a summary of the event on his blog. Here’s an excerpt:

Jun Balde raised some interesting publishing figures. He cited that millions of books are sold each year in the Philippines (I forgot the exact number he mentioned, but it was a considerable amount), so it’s not right to say that Filipinos don’t read. Rather, it’s more interesting to parse just what kinds of books are being bought. The bulk of books that are being bought are paperback romance novels, humor books, how-to’s, and textbooks. Jun Balde said that fiction actually ranks in the top five of the types of books being purchased and read, and if any type of book-type has not been selling well, it’s poetry.

And on the topic of workshops and the writing process:

There, too, was an interesting question about the creative process of each writer, and another about the role of workshops and classes to improve one’s writing. All the panelists spoke of discipline and setting aside time to write. Sarge mentioned that writing for him is an obsession; it is something he has to do, wants to do with a passion, and that’s something anyone who really wants to write has to ingrain. With regard to workshops and classes, Dean made a good analogy about the Pinoys who sing well: some are trained, some are self-taught. Some from each group go on to become world-class talents. Those who are trained learn a bit more technique and craft, but that’s not to say that those who don’t can’t perform. The same, for writing. Ed Samar mentioned his staying up till the wee hours of the morning just churning out words, implying the amount of work and effort involved.

You can check out the rest of the post here.

Usok #1 is Live

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 11 - 2009

Usok, Rocket Kapre’s webzine of Fantastic Filipino Fiction has officially launched!

What are you waiting for? Check it out here and tell us what you think.

With the first issue out the door, we are now open for submissions.

I hope to hear from all you writers soon (or at least as soon as you recover from NaNo ^_^).



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.