Archive for the ‘Slider’ Category

Demons of the New Year: Call for Submissions

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 1 - 2009

Joey Nacino of Estranghero Press has announced a new anthology “Demons of the New Year: Horror from the Philippines“. This is Estranghero Press’s second anthology following “The Farthest Shore” and this time Joey will be joined by horror-meister Karl “M.F.” de Mesa, of Damaged People: Tales of the Gothic-Punk and the upcoming News from Shaman. You can find the rest of the submissions guidelines here, but here’s an executive summary:

Theme: Horror with demons – “This collection of stories will be an anthology about demons– but don’t let that stop you from coming up with a really good idea about what constitutes your ‘Demons of the New Year.’ Like I said in an earlier post, don’t let a particular idea stop you from writing a good story”

Deadline: January 15, 2010.

(Slider image by Gazzmundo found here, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

Trese: The Devil’s Playground

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 31 - 2009

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I can think of few better ways to celebrate Halloween than kicking back with a new Trese story–and that’s just what co-creator Budjette Tan has to offer us today, assisted by the photographs of Melvin Arciaga. Trese: The Devil’s Playground is a four page photocomic (fumetti) featuring, amongst other things, Trese’s youngest fan (or, well, the Kambal’s youngest fan as Budjette puts it).

Enjoy the comic and stay dry everyone!

On the Far Shore: Joey Nacino

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 27 - 2009

“On the Far Shore” is what I’m calling this series of interviews with the authors/editors of “The Farthest Shore” an anthology of secondary world fantasy from Filipino writers. The anthology is available here . Today we speak with Joey Nacino, one of the anthology’s two editors, and also the author of “Brothers-in-Arms“.

joey_nacino_bio_photo2How did you come up with the idea for “The Farthest Shore”? Why focus on secondary world fantasy?

As I’ve talked about in the book’s introduction, Dean and I were talking about our love of secondary world fantasies and how as Filipino writers we couldn’t write about them because of the lack of Filipino elements in such stories. So we decided to hell with expectations and come up with an anthology of secondary world stories written by Filipinos.

I came up with the title “The Farthest Shore” in honor of Ursula K. Le Guin’s third Earthsea book and thought it apt given her definition of what ‘the farthest shore’ meant. Likewise, I thought the title evoked the feeling of islands, which is really what this is all about: secondary world stories from the Philippine islands, as far as it can be from the US or international readership.

How did you go about defining “secondary world fantasy”?

The basis of our definition of secondary world fantasy stems from the epic doorstoppers like George R. R. Martin’s and Robert Jordan’s works, as well as J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth. However, we also thought that this kind of definition is somewhat limiting given the other kinds of secondary world ideas, i.e. the portal-to-a-fantasy-world like Stephen Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant books or the new weird stuff like China Mieville’s Crobuzon tales.

So we thought of making the definition a little vague in order to give our writers free rein to interpret what secondary world fantasy could mean. Hence, in this anthology you will find stories about pseudo-Filipino myth-laden realms (like Rod Santos’ “Queen Liwana”), a girl’s imaginary world of justice fulfilled (like Eliza Victoria’s “The Just World”), a New Weird-ish story of generational turtle ships (like Dom Cimafranca’s Rite of Passage), etc. Of course, those descriptions are my reading of the stories and may not apply to others. *wink*

You’re obviously well versed in some of the classic secondary world stories. Do you have a few more obscure secondary world favorites to recommend? Those that deserve more attention and acclaim?

Well, people can always try the late Paul Zimmer’s Dark Border novels (“The Lost Prince”, “King Chondo’s Ride” and the stand-alone “A Gathering of Heroes”) and P.C. Hodgell’s Kencyrath books (“God Stalk” and “Dark of the Moon” which was later collected in “The God Stalker Chronicles”; “Seeker’s Mask” and “To Ride a Rathorn”, which was collected in “Seeker’s Bane”). Zimmer’s books chronicles a cold war fantasy world wherein evil is just a border away. However, though the heroes of the Dark Border are quite compelling, they’re also tragic. Istvan the Archer is a famous swordsman who foreswore the bow after a massacre that made his name. Hodgell’s books are similar in that evil also lies over another border but her adventure stories of Jaime are leavened by a sly sense of humor. Both have their strengths and weaknesses but overall, they made quite an impression on me—especially since I managed to acquire copies of these more-than-likely-out-of-print books at secondhand bookstores. Unfortunately, there aren’t any Dark Borders books anymore since Zimmer—the brother of fantasy granddame Marion Zimmer Bradley—died in 1997. Fortunately, Baen Books have been publishing omnibus copies of Hodgell’s books and it looks like a fifth one is in the offing.

In the course of putting together this anthology, what was your biggest challenge? Your biggest surprise?

For myself, the biggest challenge was having enough stories that fit the bill to fill the anthology. Despite the popularity of fantasy/SF books in the Philippines, it seems like Filipino writers aren’t as keen to write about non-Filipino stories. Or maybe that’s just my perception. The biggest surprise? Filipino writers can write good secondary world stories.

Ah, now there’s a statement that might be misconstrued. How was that a surprise? what were your initial expectations when you and Dean began the project?

Well, the submissions did open my eyes to what could be considered as secondary world fantasy. Prior to this, my perception of a secondary world story was limited to the Western type ( i.e. J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth or George R.R. Martin’s Westeros to China Mieville’s New Crobuzon) though I never realized it. Good thing I found myself seeing past this as I read stories that were non-Western– sometimes non-Filipino– but still apply a very Asian context to the idea of secondary worlds.  An example would be Crystal Koo’s “Wildwater” story about a poor yet ambitious fisherman who goes off to find fame and fortune in the big bad empire. Ironically, Charles once pointed out one time that the submission guidelines describing the secondary world theme as “too vague”.  Good thing that worked out to our advantage.

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Kenneth Yu Wins Fantasy Magazine Flash Contest

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 27 - 2009

EDIT: Aaaaand he takes home the prize. Congratulations Kyu!

Fantasy Magazine recently ran a flash-fiction-and0graphic contest and Filipino author and editor extraordinaire Kenneth Yu’s story has placed in the top three (with the help of Andrew Drilon’s artwork, which PGS veterans will be familiar with).  Fantasy magazine is now holding a poll (until November 1, US Time), and the winner will be determined by the voting public, so please do check the stories out here, enjoy the quality flash, then vote for your favorite.

And hey, while you’re at the site, check out the other excellent pieces of SF fiction available at Fantasy Magazine.

START HERE: Sketch-A-Thon

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 26 - 2009

We’ve already mentioned START HERE–a project collecting artworks inspired by Typhoon Ondoy relief efforts that aims, in turn, to inspire others to help in rebuilding the Philippines–on the site before, and they’ve recently announced (via their newly refurbished site) that they will be having a one day free Sketch-a-Thon on on November 15, 2009, from 10am-7pm at The Forum, 4th Floor, Fully Booked Bonifacio High Street.

From the site:

The START HERE Sketch-a-thon is open to anyone who wants to share their visions of hope, creation and rebuilding through drawing and doodles. All drawings generated that day will be scanned and included in the START HERE online exhibit.

Professional artists will also be on location to accept commissions and money raised from that will also be donated to the survivors of the typhoons. Other donations and pledges will also be accepted throughout the day.

Deadline.kom.ph Launches

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 22 - 2009

Dominque Cimafranca has launched a new website, aptly named Deadline.kom.ph (note the “k” in “kom”) which serves as an online deadline calendar for writer’s markets that are open to submissions. Here’s what Dominique has to say about the purpose of the website:

As the name says, this site is all about deadlines: whether it’s for a contest or call to submission for an anthology; whether it’s for short stories, poems, artwork, or novels; this is about deadlines, deadlines, deadlines. Why? Because sometimes nothing spurs creativity and kills procrastination more quickly and effectively than a looming immovable target.

Check back with the site from time to time to see what’s coming up soon, or better yet, subscribe to our feed.

If you have any deadlines for contests or anthologies that you want announced here, drop us a note, too.

You can also check out their FAQ here.

On The Far Shore: An Interview With Rodello Santos

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 20 - 2009

“On the Far Shore” is what I’m calling this series of interviews with the authors/editors of “The Farthest Shore” an anthology of secondary world fantasy from Filipino writers. The anthology is available here. Today we speak with Rodello Santos, author of “Queen Liwana’s Gambit“.

Could you tell us a bit about your story?

Absolutely. My story is about a young boy who wanders the countryside unsupervised with his best-friend, a chubby yellow rodent who shoots electricity. No wait, that’s Pokemon. Okay, now I remember. My story is about an old woman who bargained with dark powers in her youth and who must now face the consequences. It is based loosely on my own experiences pretending to be an old woman.

How did you hear about the Farthest Shore anthology?

Some of the voices in my head are psychic. Or perhaps I read it on Charles Tan’s Livejournal.

Prior to that, had you ever written a secondary world story before?

Yes, the majority of my stuff is speculative fiction set in secondary worlds. This world is far too boring.

How long did it take you to write the story?

That’s a tough question. The first incarnation of this story was written in 2006 for one of the weekly Flash Challenges at the Liberty Hall Writers’ Forum. For these challenges, writers are given a “trigger” and 90 minutes to write a story. The trigger can be a word, a picture, lyrics, or whatever. So, it took it me 90 minutes to write the first draft, then three years to complete the final revision. :)

What aspect of the writing did you enjoy the most?

The final draft. By that time, it just required some fine-tuning, and I could enjoy the story without having to make any major choices.

How do you know when a story is “ready”, that it’s time to stop making those minuscule corrections?

When I run face-first into the submission deadline (I can be a terrible procrastinator). I don’t know that one can ever stop tinkering with a story. If I do a few read-throughs and nothing leaps out at me, that’s one sign that it’s about ready. Of course, an author is often the worst judge of his/her own work. Getting feedback from other writers can be invaluable.

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Komikon 2009 in Pictures

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 19 - 2009

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Another year, another (non-summer) Komikon. It was great fun, as always, and holding it at the Megatrade Hall at SM Megamall made it easier to circulate from booth to booth, despite the fact that there were probably more people at yesterday’s event than at the Summer Komikon at UP.
The throngs of fans waiting for a ticket

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I’m happy I finally had a reason to introduce myself to Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo (Trese), as well as Mervin Ignacio and Ian Sta. Maria (Skyworld) (Here’s an old review of Trese 1 and Skyworld 1 over at Komiks…). There were a lot of other Filipino creators present–both as participants at the con, and as fans–but as most of them were swamped with customers and admirers (or, as was the case with Gerry Alanguilan, frequently at center stage), I wasn’t able to meet as many as I would have liked; after all, it seemed kind of boorish to engage artists in fannish Q&As when they could be making sales–in other words, we need more panels guys!

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Art Auction for the benefit of Typhoon Victims

However, I was–finally–able to meet Dado de Guzman (the fantastic young artist who designed the logo and banners for Rocket Kapre) as well as his fellow artist Maya, both of whom are part of the Artspice art group.

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Sadly I wasn’t able to watch the Komikon awards, nor the Q&A with Budjette and Kajo (if anyone was able to attend and had any impressions–hints as to Book 4 maybe–please let us know in the comments). I was able to nab most of the komiks on my list however, so coupled with the time spent in an atmosphere of creativity and appreciation, it was a day well spent. The next big con is the Mangaholix  M3Con right? See you guys there ^_^

More Komikon pictures after the cut, but here are a few links to other posts on Komikon 2009, by fans and creators. If you know of any I’ve missed, or have posted one yourself which I did not include here, please let me know in the comments:

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Talasalitaan: Panabas

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 15 - 2009

If you’ll recall we mentioned last week that the kampilan was one of the larger swords in use in the pre-hispanic Philippines, but perhaps it was simply not imposing enough for your berserker (or perhaps “amok”) hero. In that case, don’t go around contriving a plot wherein your hero fashions a buster sword from solid rock: consider first, the panabas (pasabat).

The pasabat is a huge chopping weapon, with a forward curved blade–widest near the point–that could be  lovechild of a sword and an axe. Reaching a length of up to four feet, the sword’s name, according to Wikipedia, a shortening of the word “pang-tabas“, which means chopping tool. As such, its etymological origins are the root word tabas (“to chop off”) and the prefix pang (“used for”). Filipino Martial Culture tells us that the weapon was popular in the Malabang, Cotobato and Labuan areas of Mindanao, and was primarily used for executions. This is corroborated in Sandata, which goes on to state that the panabas was used by warriors who “mopped up” any survivors of the first-wave of an attack, and that the panabas symbolized the power and prestige of the chieftain (datu) in his ability to control violence.

In more recent times, the weapon also saw a lot of use in jungle warfare that occurred during World War II.

As with the kampilan, the Macao Museum of Art’s History of Steel in Eastern Asia has a few striking images of particular panabas (as well as other Filipino weapons).

“Talasalitaan” is the Tagalog word for “vocabulary.” In these posts, we’ll spotlight Filipino terms, concepts, beings and objects which one might encounter–or use–in Speculative Fiction based in or inspired by the Philippines.


Image of the pasabat from wikipedia; alibata font used in slider image is © 1998, 2006 by Victor Ganata and released under the GNU Lesser General Public License.

Brainfood SF&F Workshop: Day 1

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 14 - 2009

These days, if there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s the fact that I’m a writer–but if you were to ask me if I’ve trained as a writer, I’d be hard-pressed to give an answer. I used to spend glorious summer afternoons in Maya Jacinto’s writing class, and I had the great privilege of having the late, great, Doreen Fernandez as my English teacher for my freshman year in college, but in some way those early classes were more about teaching me how to love writing and how to spark my creativity, rather than about the nuts and bolts of prose. As the volume of my word-count has risen and the scope of my reading has broadened, I’ve gained a sense of just how deep and treacherous the well of literary expression is, and any opportunity I may have to hone my skills as a writer is one I welcome.

This is one of the reasons that I was happy to see the ads for Brainfood’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Workshop, which takes place over four two hour sessions held on the last four Saturdays of October. The number and variety of writing workshops available in the West has long filled me with envy, and I’m always glad to see the emergence of any venue for the development of local talent, especially in my favorite genre.

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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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