Archive for the ‘Slider’ Category

RK Recommends: “Child of Fire” by Harry Connolly

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 26 - 2011

I’m contributing monthly book reviews over at Fantasy Faction, a fast-growing hub for fantasy fans that updates daily with writing tips, interviews, and reviews. My first assignment is Harry Connolly’s highly enjoyable first novel in his Twenty Palaces series, “Child of Fire.” You can read the review here. Let’s have an excerpt shall we?

“Child of Fire” is the first novel in Harry Connolly’s “Twenty Palaces” urban fantasy–well, perhaps urban horror would be a more appropriate term–series (three books long so far), featuring ex-convict Ray Lilly and the precarious situations he finds himself in due to his association with the Twenty Palaces Society. The Society is a group of mages who are less like benevolent protectors of humanity, and more like an autonomous black-ops crew. The Society eliminates magical threats, and damn any collateral damage to innocents or allies or poor ol’ Ray.

The thing that surprises me the most about “Child of Fire” is that, on paper, it should not be the type of book I enjoy.

I’m not a big fan of horror in general, and Lovecraftian horror in particular, that subgenre of horror which deals with the insignificance of humanity in the face of unknowable cosmic entities. There are a lot of well-written Lovecraftian tales out there, but I’m simply not the target audience, given my taste for stories that focus on human agency, on people and their choices. (That and I’m a scaredy-cat.) However, while “Child of Fire” borrows liberally from aspects of Lovecraftian horror, with creatures and scenes which I found to be viscerally disturbing, it also allows the actions of human beings to matter, and allows them to push back against the darkness.

Go here for the full review, but if you haven’t read the novel yet, I urge you to check it out. It’s only US$0.99 on the Kindle.

2011 Komikon Awards: Open for Voting

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 15 - 2011

The voting period for the 2011 Komikon Awards, which has been rolling out nominations for the past few weeks, has officially begun and will last for one month, terminating on October 15, 2011.

You can click here for instruction on how to register/vote, and go here for the actual casting of your virtual ballots. Here are the links to the categories and their respective nominees:

BEST FILIPINO INTERNATIONAL ARTIST

BEST COMIC: Graphic Novel /Anthology

BEST COMIC: Series

BEST COMIC: Comic Strip Compilation

BEST COMIC CREATOR

BEST COVER

BEST CARTOONIST

GRASSROOT AWARD

BEST WEBCOMIC

KOMIKS CHARACTER

BEST COMICS SCENE

Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Campaign Kicks Off

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On August - 10 - 2011

Sometimes, the most informative part of my work day comes from simply passing through the lobby (one of them) of the House of Representatives. Groups take advantage of that high traffic space to set up exhibits that aim to raise awareness about various issues. It’s not always as exciting as Philippine-made robot overlords, but it’s always educational, and sometimes even something related to Rocket Kapre.

Last Tuesday was International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, and here in the Philippines, it’s the start of a 3-month Indigenous Peoples Solidarity campaign. Awareness of the state and condition of indigenous people is of particular importance to us in the Philippines, since our archipelago is home to 110 ethnolinguistic groups, and 14 million indigenous peoples (accounting for around 16% of our population).

Photo-standees of Evacuees in Surigao del Sur

 

Despite constituting a significant percent of our population, indigenous people are some of the most marginalized sectors of our society, to a large extent because they are almost invisible to people in the power centers of the country. (Not coincidentally, a majority of these communities are found in Mindanao.) It’s hard to raise awareness about our indigenous people, partly because we have so many different and diverse communities (and we all know that the stories that make the news are usually those most susceptible to simplification/generalization), but it would be great if over the next few months we could try to learn a bit more about the problems that face the communities, or about the people themselves–especially their culture, and the need to preserve the same.

The very diversity that makes it difficult to treat our indigenous people as a homogenized whole is also what gives our country such a rich and diverse culture of myth and folklore. Whereas some countries are limited to one dominant mythic tradition, by “Philippine Mythology” we’re really talking about dozens of traditions. In the past (and in the future) I’ve tried to use Rocket Kapre to shed some light on these grand old tales, and I thought I’d use this post to review some of that content:

And, of course, keep your eyes peeled for the Alternative Alamat anthology, launching later this year.

[Slider image from quezon.ph]

The First Filipino Reader Conference

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On August - 4 - 2011

Avid readers used to be seen as engaging in an unhealthy form of withdrawal. A few people still see things that way, sadly (and often mistakenly), but the advent of the Internet has opened up a grand new vista for social interaction amongst readers. It’s a frontier that people are only beginning to explore, but whether this is a sea change in how people read, or simply a revival of the Book Club, there are few things more enjoyable for a book lover than engaging with other people who are passionate about books.

On that note, the first ever Filipino Reader Conference will take place during the Manila International Book Fair, and the organizers plan to explore the topic of social reading, and discuss the hows, whys, and best practices of book bloggers and book clubs. See this link for the schedule and speakers, and follow PinoyReaderCon on Twitter for updates.

EDIT: And here’s the Official Site.

CG Pintor: Dragonslayers Artjam

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On August - 3 - 2011

The incredible Filipino artists of CG Pintor (who provide the artwork for Usok) began an artjam last June. The topic? Dragon Slayers. Head over to the artjam page to see all the contributions, but here are a few of my favorites:


Solstice by K. Lapeña

Dragon Slaying… by Anton Gustilo

Lost in Time by Jun Martinez

Read the rest of this entry »

Flipside Komix (an imprint of Flipside Digital Content, a leading independent publisher of e-books) has an ongoing promotion where you can get free Kindle editions of three of their titles: Kubori Kikiam, Tabi Po and The Long Weekend.

You’ll recall “Tabi Po” from my recent interview with creator Mervin Malonzo; Kubori Kimiam is an adult humor strip which is a perennial Komikon Awards nominee; “The Long Weekend” is a a hundred-page road movie romantic erotic komix novella by outspoken writer and critic, Adam David. Here’s what you need to do to get your free komiks, copy-pasted from the Flipside Komix Facebook page:

Get Kindle editions of three Pinoy digitals Kubori Kikiam, Tabi Po and The Long Weekend for FREE!

1. Like Flipside Komix.

2. Share a link to this note on your wall.

3.Tell us what device you have on our wall.

4. Download the Kindle app for your device and create an Amazon account.

5. PM us your email address for your Amazon.com account. Email your amazon account email address to jessa.vicente<at>flipsideconte?nt.com, but please state your device on the wall of the Flipside Komix Facebook page

6. We’ll send your FREE gift Kindle copies of these three awesome Pinoy eKomix for your device.

Good until end of July only. ;)

Mervin Malonzo Talks “Tabi Po”

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 12 - 2011

Mervin Malonzo’s “Tabi Po” is a beautifully illustrated webcomic that until recently was only available in Filipino. Now, Mervin has released an English language version on the Kindle and will be releasing another version on the Nook and the iBookstore. (Note that the Kindle version has a different layout than the original comic – the “sample” button is your friend.) I took the opportunity to speak to Mervin about “Tabi Po”, the pros and cons of webcomics, and the new English international editions.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Did you always want to create comics?

Yes, I’ve always wanted to create my own comic ever since I took hold of my first issue of Funny Komiks, ever since the days I watched cartoons on TV as a child. And I did! I remember creating my first comic on my used notebooks, a story about mutant ants! “Mutant” because they have powers not entirely different from the ones the X-Men have, and ants because at the time I was obsessed with watching the line of ants in the roadside canal near our house (I still do that, by the way). Watching ants always made me wonder how it would feel to be as small as them. Of course, thinking about it right now, I guess we really are as small as them when you really think about it.

Anyway, my love for drawing comics led me to take up Fine Arts – Painting in UP Diliman instead of Chemistry in UP Los Baños (I passed there as well), to the great dismay of some of my relatives. “Walang pera sa fine arts”, they would say. I resigned from work two years ago to form my own design team with my friends (Pepe&thePolygons) so that I could work whenever I needed to and do comics whenever I wanted to. :)

How would you pitch “Tabi Po” to new readers? What’s it about, and why should people read it?

Hmm.. for most of my readers, it turned out that saying it had “UNCENSORED NUDITY, BLOOD, VIOLENCE AND SEX” did the trick. Haha!

But to publishers and other people I’d like to impress, I would say, “It’s my own interpretation or deconstruction of the Philippine mythology and folklore. I made the aswangs, engkantos, diwatas and anitos as real as I could, putting them in our history, creating a feasible origin story for them and how they were affected by and will in turn affect the human race. Are aswang really different from humans? I am also fusing some Christian beliefs with the old nature worship. Ultimately, it is my explanation of how our world would work if these beings really existed. The purpose of this whole epic is to make the reader think about human nature, the environment, religion and the meaning of life, the universe and everything–all while still being entertained.”  Of course, you do not see this yet in our story so far but that’s the grand plan. It’s not really all violence and nudity, you’ll see.

Read the rest of this entry »

Komik Review: Filipino Heroes League, Book 1

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 5 - 2011

Paolo Fabregas’ “Filipino Heroes League” is the latest Visprint acquisition from the world of independent komiks. The back copy does a good job of describing the central concept of the work: “Undermanned and under-funded, the Filipino Heroes League does what it can to fight against injustice. It’s tough being a superhero, but it’s even tougher being a third-world superhero.” This low budget angle immediately sets it apart from the more traditional take on super heroes found in komiks such as “Bayan Knights“, as does the fact that FHL is not meant to be a launching pad for a universe of spin-offs, a fact which allows it to concentrate on telling a more focused story.

On a thematic level, the story benefits from this. As Gerry Alanguilan points out in his blurb, (referencing his blog post on “The Difficulty of Doing Superheroes in the Philippines“) our country’s socio-economic reality means that simply transposing the Marvel/DC super-heroic paradigm to the Philippines stretches the bounds of credulity. FHL deals with this issue multiple ways, the most effective of which is the idea that superheroes simply can’t make a living here, so most become “Overseas Workers”, either because of the money or because the ideal of success for many, even superheroes, is to be seen as having “made it” in America. Another tactic FHL employs is to show how poor the remaining local heroes are–this would have been more effective, however, if it was made more clear why these heroes were unable to use their celebrity status to acquire higher levels of income. (Very, very few celebrities in the Philippines are poor, even those without any talents to speak of.) Non-compliance with a law against secret identities may help explain this (ala Spider-Man post One More Day) but without more in the way of context, we’re left guessing.

Nevertheless, the dirt poor status of (most of) our heroes leads to another of the book’s strengths: let’s call it the tragicomedy of poverty.  The image of Kidlat Kid and Invisiboy on the pedicab at the back of the cover (which, to my mind, should have been the front) encapsulates the style of FHL’s humor best. Other winning scenes include the revelation of the real FHL headquarters, the obsolete supercomputer, and the last line of dialogue during the Payatas recruitment. The book’s light hearted sense of humor is its best quality, but not its sole selling point.

FHL is paced well–with the exception of the superhero staple of “briefings in front of the big screen”, which go on for too long–and the action scenes are, in general, well choreographed. Add a vague, yet unambiguous, narrative conflict, and you get a comic that is an enjoyable and easy read, in spite of its flaws.

[Spoilers from here on out.]

Read the rest of this entry »

RP612Fic 2011: The Stories

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On June - 17 - 2011


So… RP612fic 2011. Let’s crunch the numbers.

427 stories. Four hundred twenty seven stories were contributed this year (and that’s not even taking into account the forty-nine sent on the 8th for Philippine corals blog action day) and as someone who laments the lack of Philippine alternative history fiction–that brings a smile to my face. Some may quibble about the definition of “story” here, but even counterfactuals can make the reader stop and think about what actually happened, what could have happened, and all the space in-between–and that’s part of what I’d like people to do on Independence Day.

An even better number: 56. Fifty six people–poets, bloggers, Palanca winners, film makers, comic creators, anime fans–contributed stories this year (65 if you include those who only sent in on the 8th) and as someone who believes we need more writers–especially spec fic writers–that brings a smile to my face.

But best of all, for me, was seeing the somewhat amused bewilderment with which non-contributors met the deluge of strange tweets with the #RP612fic hashtag, many retweeting some of their favorites. That means we were successful at raising awareness, whether that be awareness of Independence Day, Philippine alternative history, Philippine microfiction, or all of the above. That’s a good thing, and I’m grateful to have Twitter as a platform for this sort of campaign.

That being said Twitter is not the most stable place to host 400+ stories for any length of time, so I’ve aggregated the RP612 contributions for 2011 in this post (at least, those in the public timeline and/or by my Twitter contacts). I’ve done this via screen capture (except for some tweets that weren’t on the public timeline) because it was easier than transcription, but EK Gonzales has graciously created a word file of contributions as of noon of June 13. You can find that here.

I’ve blacked out some of the non-story tweets (upon review I realized I missed a few) and I’ve left in some of the praise/compliments and highlighted them in green, because I need affirmation. As with any twitter search, it’s reverse chronological, so if you want to read from start to finish (again, with a few exceptions), head to the bottom of the post first, and read upwards.

Before we get to that though, I’d like to give a shout out to all the contributors, and list them here so that you can add to the people you follow on Twitter if you so desire :) Once again, thank you everyone, and I hope you had as much fun as I did. See you all next year!

1. adamfuckindavid

2. aeditor91

3. ageofbrillig

4. aghostworld (via email)

5. alexeivee

6. allify

7. almeldiel

8. amosias

9. Anitero

10. Andreal

11. Apil (via email)

12. Beerkada

13. biaxident

14. brilums

15. Budjette

16. charlesatan

17. chemikhazi

18. chinosingson

19. clickmomukhamo

20. DeanAlfar

21. dcimafranca

22. diveabout

23. Ekmisao

24. elizawriteshere

25. Et_Al_Crazy

26. Francis_d_twit

27. freakypencils

28. headpointernext

29. isangboses

30. jpedrovaldes

31. jpxv

32. KaEnchong

33. Kannibal

34. Kate Aton-Osias (via email)

35. Kenneth_Yu

36. kennethgyu

37. komikero

38. layangabi

39. lengthofwords

40. listenshadow

41. luckychan

42. lyzalust

43. magnetic_rose

44. marcosumayao

45. melanchoholik

46. miithinks

47. mitchcerda

48. moyzie01

49. nerveending

50. nobbiekenobi

51. Plsburydoughboy

52. shinkaide

53. skipdlc

54. smirksweetly

55. stormberry

56. tinlao

57. transparentboy

58. Transparentboy

59. umichii

60. unlawyer

61. voltaire

62. wagmagalit

63. wulffrick03

64. yvette_tan

65. zekemachine

Read the rest of this entry »

RP612Fic: Corals and Reefs Edition

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On June - 9 - 2011

Save the Philippine Seas!

Yesterday was a Blog Action Day to save Philippine corals, in light of distressing revelations regarding the extent of illegal coral/turtle harvesting and export. To participate in the attempt to raise awareness, I sent an open invitation to Filipino authors to participate in a special edition of the #RP612fic event, and tweet micro fiction stories with a coral/marine theme. (Note: We’ll still be holding the normal #RP612fic on independence day, and the 13th as well.)

It was a lot of fun (even if my Internet cut out midway through) and I think that we managed to entertain folks on Twitter (and confuse a few–but if we make them ask questions, that’s a form of raising awareness too!) and the Save Philippine Seas organizers took note of our stories. It was gratifying to see comments such as these:

I live to please, so without further prologue, here are the #RP612fic submissions which I could find. I know I’m missing a few who weren’t able to tag their entries, or who have private accounts that I have no access to. Feel free to add your contributions below, if I missed them! Once again, thank you everyone! Looking forward to reading more on the 12th and 13th.

Let’s start with those with the most contributions:

Charles Tan:

Tin Lao:

Budjette Tan:


Read the rest of this entry »

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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.

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