Archive for the ‘Slider’ Category

Philippine Speculative Fiction 6 Table of Contents Announced

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 24 - 2011

The lineup for the next volume of the annual Philippine Speculative Fiction anthology (this time edited by Nikki Alfar and Kate Osias) has been announced. I’m happy to say that my story, “On Wooden Wings” (set in the same world as the Kataastaasan comic) made the cut. Here’s the entire table of contents, as announced at Kate’s blog, Wishcatcher (head there for more statistics on the stories in this volume):

  1. Alternative Histories by Ian Rosales Casocot
  2. Strange Adventures in Procreation by Andrew Drilon
  3. Lament of the Counselor by Jay Anyong
  4. The Grim Malkin by Vincent Michael Simbulan
  5. A Smell of Mothballs by Mailin Paterno
  6. Ashland by Elyss G. Punsalan
  7. Carpaccio (or, Repentance as a Meat Recipe) by Arlynn Despi
  8. Eternal Winter by Maria Pia Vibar Benosa
  9. From the Book of Names My Mother Did Not Give Me by Christine V. Lao
  10. Hollowbody by Crystal Koo
  11. Offerings to Aman Sinaya by Andrei Tupaz
  12. On Wooden Wings by Paolo Chikiamco
  13. Prisoner 2501 by Philip Corpuz
  14. Resurrection by Victor Ocampo
  15. Simon’s Replica by Dean Alfar
  16. Break in at Batay Street by Francis Gabriel Concepcion
  17. The Big Man by Asterio Gutierrez
  18. The Bookshelves of Mrs. Go by Charles Tan
  19. The Impossible and the R.S.C. Gregorio del Pilar by Alex Osias
  20. The Kiddie Pool by Kenneth Yu
  21. The Storyteller’s Curse by Eliza Victoria
  22. Villainoguing by Joseph Montecillo

Congratulations to all the authors, and to Nikki and Kate!

Ateneo’s Philippine Epics and Ballads Archive is Now Online

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 20 - 2011

This morning, on the first day of the “Songs of Memory” international conference on epics and ballads at the Ateneo de Manila, the university launched the online version of its Philippine Epics and Ballads Archive. I’ll have more about the conference in the next week or so, but I wanted to get the word out early about the new site, because anything that helps promote and facilitate access to the stories of pre-Hispanic Philippines is something worth celebrating. The interface may be a bit clunky at the moment (the copyright PDF file is popping up on every page I access with Firefox, although Safari has no issues) but that’s a small price to pay for access to this in-depth archive, previously only available through a visit to Ateneo’s Katipunan/Loyola campus–not something convenient or feasible for many.

Here’s an image explaining the icons that appear on the left side of each page, as seen in Dr. Nicole Revel’s powerpoint presentation at this morning’s launch:

As you can see, the archive is more than just a repository for transcriptions of the epics and ballads. I’ll go into more detail after the cut:

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Review: From Darna to Zsazsa Zaturnnah…

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 11 - 2011

Few people are more keenly aware of the rift between “literary/realist” and “popular” than genre authors and komiks creators. For those who would like an overview of that debate within the Philippine context, from an academic perspective that is sympathetic to the possibilities inherent in non-realist forms, I recommend From “Darna to Zsazsa Zaturnnah: Desire and Fantasy” by Soledad S. Reyes. My review of this collection is up on, and I hope it leads more readers to Reyes’ essays–particularly the abovementioned genre authors and komiks creators.

[Image from Goodreads.]

Usok 2 Interview: Eliza Victoria

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 6 - 2011

Whenever an issue of Usok comes out, I conduct a short interview with the authors, to give readers some insight into the creation of the stories, as well as the authors themselves. As we started our interviews for Usok 2 with VN Benedicto, who did the art for “Elsewhere“, we’ll begin the author interviews with the author of “Elsewhere“: Eliza Victoria, one of the country’s most prolific authors of speculative fiction. Don’t believe me? Check out her newly minted author’s page here on the site, and see for yourself.

Tell us a bit about how you came up with the idea for your story.

It was just a what-if that came out of nowhere: What if there were a natural phenomenon – like lightning, or rain – that could create superheroes, but those superheroes couldn’t choose their powers? I thought it was a scary idea, and a sad one, and I had to write about it.

What aspect of the story gave you the most difficulty?

There is a secret in the story, and it is always difficult to hide a secret.

What aspect of the story gave you the most joy?

I’ve always wanted to try my hand at using a different structure for the short story. I’d planned to use the structure of a film script, and even studied a handful, but couldn’t find a narrative to sustain the form. Then one day my boyfriend mentioned taking up a comic-writing class in the University of the Philippines, our alma mater, and I insisted on seeing his script. Before I saw his comic script, I already had the idea [for “Elsewhere”] in my head, but as usual couldn’t start it because I couldn’t figure out the right way to tell it to make the story different from all others. Then I saw my boyfriend’s script, and I realized, here it was: a narrative structure based on images, a structure I could use.

Not long after, he lent me several comic books, one of which was a copy of Neil Gaiman’s Marvel 1602. 1602 contains a sample script of the graphic novel. I studied that closely, and had fun writing those portions of the story.

However, I still don’t know if I could write an actual comic book script.

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Movie Review: RPG: Metanoia

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 30 - 2010

There’s a lot to like in Thaumatrope Animation’s first film, RPG: Metanoia, the first full length computer generated animated film to be both created and commercially released in the Philippines. It’s also the first animated film to be produced in 3D, but since I only caught the 2D edition (not a huge 3D fan anyway), there’s not much I can say about that aspect of the film.

What I can say is that it’s a pretty good movie (note the absence of the patronizing “… for a Filipino film” addendum) that those of a specific target audience will enjoy–if they can get beyond the film’s implied message, but more on that later. You can find a plot synopsis at the Wikipedia page, so let  me jump straight into the review.

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The 2010 Philippine Spec Fic Review Roundup

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 30 - 2010

This post continues my 2010 roundup of reviews that may be of interest to Rocket Kapre readers. A few days ago I posted my list of 2010 komiks reviews, whether or not the komiks were speculative in nature. Today I’m doing the same for reviews that came out this year for books by Filipinos in the fantasy, science fiction, and horror genres (regardless of the publication date of the book – it’s the date of the review that matters). The list is much shorter than that for komiks, but then, there are fewer works of prose speculative fiction than there are komiks. I do hope that this changes in the future, both in terms of content and commentary, but I’m heartened that we have a very active book blogging scene here, and Chachic over at Filipino Book Bloggers notes when someone has reviewed a local book. With due respect to Bob Ong, I believe that both reviews and critiques (two different things, really) play a part in both improving the quality of fiction and increasing public awareness of a book, something which is very helpful to writers who aren’t residents of the bestseller lists. All of the book bloggers and reviewers I’ve met do what they do out of love, and I agree with Marianne Villanueva when she says that every review is a service. I hope that those who provide these services, whether they be bloggers or academics, receive more respect in the future.

Now, on to the list. As always, if I missed anything, please let me know in the comments section.

The 2010 Komiks Review Roundup

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 28 - 2010

Christmas is over and the year is winding down, and I thought this week would be a good time to roundup all the reviews of komiks and Philippine spec fic I could find from the year that was. I decided to start with komiks because there were, or at least it seems to me, a great number of komiks reviews this year as compared to previous years. When I was handed editorial duties for Pinoy Pop, one of the first things I did was pester Gerry Alanguilan for an interview to discuss his post “The Need for Serious Criticism“.  The result was the two part “The Levels of Komiks Criticism” (Part 1) (Part 2) and while Pinoy Pop isn’t a going concern anymore, I still believe that a vibrant community of vocal and critical readers is essential to the development of good komiks. I understand that many creators do what they do out of love, and certainly there are ways to be critical without being mean-spirited, but we all need to accept the fact that if you put something out there for public consumption, you need to be able to take the good with the bad.

I’ll continue to do what I can from Rocket Kapre and in other venues, and I hope more readers decide to critique komiks in the future. For now, however, a shout out to all the reviewers who took the time to put virtual pen to virtual paper, and to all creators who never cease trying to better themselves.

Here’s my list of online komik reviews for the year 2010. As always, there’s no way for me to ensure that this is comprehensive, so please feel free to add any I’ve missed in the comments section:

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Readers, Writers, and Marianne Villanueva

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 23 - 2010

In the two years or so since I began to consider myself to be an actual “writer”, one of my greatest pleasures has been meeting and conversing with others who shared my passion. This includes both other writers (and I owe a debt to Kyu, Mia, Joey, Karl and Carljoe for being the first ones to lure me out of the comforts of my home for these conversations) and readers (such as the Filipino Book Bloggers), because every writer must also be an ardent reader (in desire, if not in practice, due to time’s tyranny). There is, I think, often a strange and awkward silence between Filipino readers and writers, like childhood friends who have grown apart and then meet again, neither wishing to probe their earlier shared joys for fear that the other will think them juvenile. A sad state for two groups that should be locked in a symbiotic relationship.

This is why the success of the informal meet-and-greet with Marianne Villanueva (“The Lost Language” and next year’s “Flight”), graciously hosted by Triccie at the Libreria Bookstore at Cubao X, fills me with both joy and optimism. The informal nature of the event (and the venue–I can’t imagine a formal affair that could survive the relaxed atmosphere of Libreria unscathed) allowed an actual conversation between the readers and the writer, one free of any hint of self-conscious marketing or PR. Of course, most of the credit here belongs to Marianne, who is an author who seems uniquely suited to this kind of meet-up: she is warm, candid, gregarious, and genuinely interested in other people. I remember exactly the moment where my anxieties were laid to rest: when, upon hearing Blooey and Honey’s first names, Marianne whipped out a small notebook and began writing them down with evident glee. For all that we learned from Marianne that afternoon, a woman who has a plethora of experiences in the publishing and literary spheres both here and in the United States, she was as intrigued by us as we were by her, and that made a big difference. Marianne did more than sell some books that day–she built new relationships. I hope that in the future, more of us writers can do the same–especially those of us writing genre fiction.

I’m glad that everyone else seems to have had as much fun as I did, Marianne included. Here are posts on the get together from Jason, Chachic and Blooey, as well as a post from Marianne where she answers a few questions that she didn’t have time to address during the meet-up (in the process demonstrating once again her willingness to engage).

Thanks to the book bloggers, and the Flippers, and everyone else who was able to join us last Saturday (including author Danton Remoto and Anvil’s Karina Bolasco) . Let’s do it again soon ^_^

[Title image by Honey and her husband. Great work guys!]

Philippine Robots in Action

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 13 - 2010

As I mentioned last week, the House of Representatives (or at least the lobby of the North Wing) got a dose of science during a three day visit from representatives of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), our student representatives to the 7th World Robot Olympiad, and a pair of home grown terminators robots, who were more than willing to show me their evident superiority moves. Well, actually the robots ignored me, but luckily their human attendants were more gracious, and allowed me to take a few videos with my N8.

Nerrisa Nicolas, one of the team of high school students from Dr. Yanga Colleges Inc. who brought home the gold medal at the 7th World Robot Olympiad, gives me a demonstration of Pnoy (note the glasses), the multi-lingual tourist robot who helped them bag the gold. She tells us what materials he’s made of (you may be surprised), how long it took to create him, and what he can do–make sure you stick around until the end of the video for a ‘dawww…’ moment (well, for me at least).

More videos, this time with Larry Labuyo, after the cut.

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Komik Review: Marco’s Delivery Service by John Carreon

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 3 - 2010

EDIT: [March 2012] This is a review of the original, print edition. I subsequently worked with John “Koi” Carreon on revising the script of the digital edition.

Judging by “Marco’s Delivery Service”(written and illustrated by John Carreon) and its previous production, “My Falling Star Girlfriend”, Ravencage Studios (Facebook page) understands that while you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, it’s important to assume that many of us will do just that. The front and back cover of “Marco’s Delivery Service” (MDS from here on) are sturdy boards, which serve as the canvas for a colored front cover and a black-on-yellow logo at the back, both of which create a feeling of retro-fun. The front cover in particular calls to mind old school rebel-buddies-with-a-fast-ride shows, which is exactly the genre embraced by this stand alone komik, except in an anime influenced futuristic setting: think Outlaw Star or Cowboy Bebop.

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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.