A big congratulations to Mervin Malonzo, friend of the blog and illustrator of Alternative Alamat, for nabbing a print book contract with Visprint for his aswang opus, Tabi Po. He chronicles his path to publication here. If you want to read the webcomic before the book comes out (it’s in Filipino — there are paid ebook editions in English available on Amazon) then head here. The quality of the comic has always been high, but it’s been improving as it nears its climax, and no, I’m not just saying that because I’ve been helping with the editing
Specfic isn’t the only genre (*gasp*) that the country could use more of. Crime fiction is even less represented here — but that could change with the advent of books like the upcoming Manila Noir. An anthology of stories curated b y Jessica Hagedorn, the book’s been available for a while but officially launches this Saturday. Spec fic fans also have reasons to rejoice, because, in a departure from other books in the Noir series, there is a spec fic story included in Manila Noir — and it’s a new Trese comic, from Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo.
Details of the launch are below:
What: Manila Noir Book Launch with special guest Jessica Hagedorn
When: July 6, 2013, 4 pm
Where: National Book Store, Glorietta 1
New York-based Filipino writer Jessica Hagedorn will visit Manila for the launch of the book Manila Noir on July 6, 4 pm, at the National Book Store flagship in Glorietta 1. Plus! Meet and greet Filipino contributors such as Angelo Lacuesta, Budjette Tan, F.H. Batacan, Jose Dalisay, Jr., Kajo Baldisimo, Lourd De Veyra, R. Zamora Linmark and Rosario Cruz-Lucero.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Brand-new stories by: Lourd De Veyra, Gina Apostol, Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo, F.H. Batacan, Jose Dalisay Jr., Eric Gamalinda, Jessica Hagedorn, Angelo Lacuesta, R. Zamora Linmark, Rosario Cruz-Lucero, Sabina Murray, Jonas Vitman, Marianne Villanueva, and Lysley Tenorio.
Manila provides the ideal, torrid setting for an Akashic Noir series volume. It’s where the rich rub shoulders with the poor, where five-star hotels coexist with informal settlements, where religious zeal coexists with superstition, and where politics is often synonymous with celebrity and corruption.
ABOUT JESSICA HAGEDORN
Jessica Hagedorn is the author of Dream Jungle, The Gangster Of Love, which was nominated for the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, and Dogeaters, which was nominated for a National Book Award. Her works include Danger And Beauty, a collection of poetry and prose, musical play Most Wanted, a collaboration with composer Mark Bennett and director Michael Greif at La Jolla Playhouse, Fe In The Desert and Stairway To Heaven for Campo Santo in San Francisco, the stage adaptation of Dogeaters, and the screenplay for Fresh Kill, a feature film directed by Shu Lea Cheang. She wrote the scripts for the experimental animated series The Pink Palace, which was created for the first season of the Oxygen Network.
Hi guys! On the chance that some of you may be interested in my non-specfic work as well, Choice of Games has just released Slammed!, my Interactive Fiction wrestling game, for iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, and, via the Chrome Web Store, Windows, OS X, and Linux. By “Interactive Fiction”, I mean something along the lines of a choose-your-own-adventure gamebook, with statistics, but without dice rolls.
At 250,000 words, give or take, this is easily the longest story I’ve ever written, and you might say it’s my first novel (or first five novels). As I said, it’s not specfic — but really, pro wrestling is as close as you can come to a real life superhero universe. If you enjoy my writing, but don’t watch wrestling, I have it on good authority that you can still enjoy the game — you can try the demo to check the game out, or read the wrestling primer I prepared, for non-fans. In any event, this is a labor of love that I devoted more than half a year of my life to, and I’d love it if Rocket Kapre readers would give it a try, and help me spread the word.
Thank you! Here’s the official press release from Choice of Games:
We’re proud to announce that SLAMMED!, the latest in our popular “Choice of Games” line of multiple-choice interactive-fiction games, is now available for iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, and, via the Chrome Web Store, Windows, OS X, and Linux.
Turn a scripted steel-cage wrestling match into a real fight in this 250,000-word interactive novel!
You’ve always dreamed of becoming pro wrestling’s biggest star…but a wrestler’s world is fraught with hardship and betrayal, in and out of the ring. Become a powerhouse, a technician, a high-flier, or focus on your promo skills. There’s more than one road to success.
But none of those roads will be easy. This is a world where your biggest fans are your harshest critics; where the front office is more dangerous than the squared circle; where friends can become enemies with a single heel turn; where, sometimes, the only way to win is to lose, spectacularly.
This is professional wrestling. And you’re about to change it, forever.
Slammed! is an epic interactive professional-wrestling novel by Paolo Chikiamco, where your choices determine how the story proceeds. The game is entirely text-based–without graphics or sound effects–but driven by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.
There’s never been a professional wrestling game like this, a game where the outcome of your final match, your choice of opponent, and your relationships affect the ending. When’s the last time you played a pro-wrestling RPG with a “kayfabe” stat?–or where your trash-talking “promo” ability is as important as your core strength and wrestling technique?
- Enjoy a 250,000-word personal tale of friendship, competition, and revenge.
- Develop not only your physical abilities, but a favored wrestling style.
- Become a heroic face, or a villainous heel–or even turn heel.
- Turn a scripted match into a real fight–and vice versa.
- Decide when to keep kayfabe, and when to break it.
- Play as male or female, gay or straight.
We hope you enjoy playing SLAMMED!. We encourage you to tell your friends about it, and recommend the game on StumbleUpon, Facebook, Twitter, and other sites. Don’t forget: our initial download rate determines our ranking on the App Store. Basically, the more times you download in the first week, the better our games will rank.
It’s that time of the year again. If you enjoyed dipping your toes in the water during RP612fic, why not give a short story a try? Text taken from Andrew Drilon and Charles Tan:
Editors Andrew Drilon and Charles Tan invite you (yes, you!) to submit short fiction for consideration for Philippine Speculative Fiction volume 9.
Philippine Speculative Fiction is a yearly anthology series, which collects a wide range of stories that define, explore, and sometimes blur the boundaries of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and all things in between. The anthology has been shortlisted for the Manila Critics’ Circle National Book Award, and multiple stories from each volume have been cited in roundups of the year’s best speculative fiction across the globe.
First-time authors are more than welcome to submit; good stories trump literary credentials any time.
Submissions must be:
1. speculative fiction—i.e., they must contain strong elements and/or sensibilities of science fiction, fantasy, horror, magic realism, alternate history, folklore, superheroes, and/or related ‘nonrealist’ genres and subgenres
2. written in English
3. authored by persons of Philippine ethnicity and/or nationality
Submissions are preferred to be:
1. original and unpublished
2. no shorter than 1,000 words and no longer than 7,500
3. written for an adult audience
4. featuring a strong Filipino element (a character, setting, theme, plot, etcetera.)
In all cases, these preferences can be easily overturned by exceptionally well-written pieces. In the case of previously-published work, if accepted, the author will be expected to secure permission to reprint, if necessary, from the original publishing entity, and to provide relevant publication information.
1. No multiple or simultaneous submissions—i.e., submit only one story, and do not submit that story to any other publishing market until you have received a letter of regret from us. But we don’t mind if you submit to contests.
2. All submissions should be in Rich Text Format (saved under the file extension ‘.rtf’), and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line ‘PSF9 submission’.
3. The deadline for submissions is 11 pm, Manila time, October 26, 2013. Letters of acceptance or regret will be sent out no later than one month after the deadline.
1. Please don’t forget to indicate your real name in the submission email! If you want to write under a pseudonym, that’s fine, but this can be discussed upon story acceptance. Initially, we just need to know who we’re talking to.
2. If you’d like to write a cover letter with your brief bio and publishing history (if applicable), do feel free to introduce yourself—but not your story, please. If it needs to be explained, it’s probably not ready to be published.
3. We advise authors to avoid fancy formatting—this will just be a waste of your time and ours, since we will, eventually, standardize fonts and everything else to fit our established house style.
Authors of selected stories will receive Php500 pesos in compensation, as well as digital copies of the book.
Please help spread the word! Feel free to copy this and paste it anywhere you see fit that happens to be legal.
Various commitments have me unable to post on Rocket Kapre as often as I like, so I’ll be reaching out to other Filipino writers/creators to do posts for the blog. First up is Usok and Alternative Alamat contributor (and friend) Eliza Victoria, who happens to have a new book out: Unseen Moon. Enjoy! – Paolo
I posted an announcement about my new collection of dark fiction, Unseen Moon, the same month two pressure cooker bombs exploded during the Boston Marathon. The following month, three women escaped from a house on Seymour Avenue in Cleveland, freeing themselves from a decade of sex slavery and confinement. In the face of real-life tragedy, who needs horror stories? I continue to write them, and I continue to read them, even as I sit paranoid in commuter buses and lock (and double-lock) my apartment door at night. Even my own poetry deals with crime and death.
In a recent interview with Neon Literary Magazine, I said that I am very interested in exploring the capacity of humans to be both kind and terrible. How kind? How terrible? According to reports, the alleged Cleveland kidnapper allegedly (don’t you just love/hate that word?) caused one of the captives to have miscarriages by punching her in the gut. In 2012, a 23-year-old woman in Delhi was raped by six men inside a bus, and died from her injuries days later. Can you imagine the kind of injury that woman’s body endured in order to cause her death? In 1974, five people in Utah were forced by armed robbers to drink Drano, a corrosive drain cleaner. It peeled away the flesh around their mouths.
And I haven’t even mentioned the Khmer Rouge massacres, the lynch mobs, the rape of our women during wartime, what happened in Maguindanao. And on and on.
That’s how terrible we are.
But why are we like this? Why do we commit these terrible deeds? Looking for the answer, some end up with clinical studies, and I end up with horror fiction.
“Horror is a fact of life,” says Joyce Carol Oates, “and as a writer I’m fascinated by all facets of life. As H.P. Lovecraft has said, ‘The oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.’ Horror or gothic literature is the most imaginative of all literatures, bearing an obvious relationship to the surreal logic of dreams.”
I enjoyed writing the stories in Unseen Moon. Dark fiction is challenging to write, and as a writer, you need constant challenges in order to improve your craft.
As a reader, I turn to dark fiction because it excites me, it intrigues me. In good horror tales, something always happens, and something always changes. And these tales share with you the kind of horror you can face head-on, unlike the horrors of the real world. You can finish a tale and be stunned and shaken, but still have enough cheer to sit down with your loved ones for dinner.
Robert McCammon, one of the founders of the Horror Writers Assocation, said, “Horror fiction upsets apple carts, burns old buildings, and stampedes the horses; it questions and yearns for answers, and it takes nothing for granted. It’s not safe, and it probably rots your teeth, too. Horror fiction can be a guide through a nightmare world, entered freely and by the reader’s own will. And since horror can be many, many things and go in many, many directions, that guided nightmare ride can shock, educate, illuminate, threaten, shriek, and whisper before it lets the readers loose.”
It “questions and yearns for answers”, but above all, it is a “guided nightmare ride”.
A horror story may be unsettling and shocking, but I know someone wrote it for me, and I know that someone will guide me, until the end.
Let me guide you, too.
Eliza Victoria‘s fiction and poetry have appeared in several online and print publications in the Philippines and elsewhere. Her work has won prizes in the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature and the Philippines Free Press Literary Awards.
Unseen Moon, a collection of five stories, is her latest book. For more information, visit http://elizavictoria.com.
At present, it seems Pugad Baboy creator Pol Medina, Jr. is being penalized for the above comics strip (suspended, or fired, it’s not yet clear). For context, head over to Komikero.com.
I don’t want to talk about how the way PDI has reacted to the strip perpetuates the dangerous and malignant impression that homosexuality is somehow a slur, nor how their singling out Medina for punishment when the strip was approved by their editors is incoherent and inequitable. I doubt anything I say will be met by anything but a bland “thank you for your comments ” from their social media team. What I do want to do is let PDI talk to itself, in a sense.
These are statements that the Philippine Daily Inquirer editorial team has published or allowed to be published in their newspaper, on the topic of Freedom of Speech. Take them as you will.
“Who should go to prison for speaking his mind? In the modern democratic project, the answer is clear: No one. The conviction of social activist Carlos Celdran for the obscure crime of “offending the religious feelings,” then, raises many questions. Is the Philippines a modern democracy? Is freedom of speech a living civic virtue? Are religious feelings (not even religious beliefs or articles of faith, but the much more ambiguous notion of religious feelings) sufficient to block political dissent or free expression?” — Editorial, “Notoriously Offensive,” 1/31/2013. Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/46003/notoriously-offensive#ixzz2VQg6vEgG
“The first fallacy is the view that if many people find it offensive, then it can be censored. Susmaryopsep. That’s precisely why we have the Bill of Rights! It protects, in the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes, “not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.”” — Raul C. Pangalangan, “Freedom for the Thought We Hate,” 8/11/2011. Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/9801/%e2%80%98freedom-for-the-thought-we-hate%e2%80%99#ixzz2VQgZTQl3
“The test of a society’s commitment to freedom of expression lies in its defense of marginalized forms of speech. I say in class, free speech is for speech that you hate, not for speech that you like. The logic of the principle is simple: we don’t need to protect society’s treasured ideas and institutions—they pose no danger to us; we pose no danger to them. It is for those forms of expression that disturb, offend, and even anger us that we actually need freedom of expression, as these types of speech are those in danger of being suppressed if society were not serious enough about a democratic culture.” — Florin T. Hilbay, “The crucible of free speech,” 8/15/2011. Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/9981/the-crucible-of-free-speech#ixzz2VQh0oLbE“If any citizen is free to openly agree, but not to openly disagree, then freedom of expression does not prevail. An individual’s option to openly express disagreement without risk of any personal injury is a key part of the definition of a free society.” — Mahar Mangahas, “Disagreement and Freedom,” 3/3/2012. Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/24193/disagreement-and-freedom#ixzz2VQhRMnVM
Next Wednesday is June 12, Independence Day here in the Philippines, an occasion which I, and a growing number of Filipino writers, like to commemorate with a little something we call #RP612fic.
For anyone lat to the party, here’s all you need to know:
- What is #RP612fic?It’s Filipino authors coming together on Twitter to create tweet-length stories (130 characters, because you need to leave space for the hashtag) and sending them out into the wild with the #RP612fic hashtag. When the event is over, I’ll collate all submissions into a single post here on the site.
- What’s a Hashtag? It’s a word/code you put in your tweet after the “#”. It acts as a label of sorts and makes it easier for me to find all participating stories.
- When does this take place? At least once a year on Independence Day, but sometimes we participate in other events, such as a Blog Action Day. For my 2013 “Notable Stories” post, I’ll be looking for stories sent from 6PM on June 11, to 6AM of June 13.
- What kind of stories should I submit? For Independence Day, I’d love to see alternative history stories, but it’s not like I’m going to tell you to delete your 130 character realist micro fiction opus.
- What if I’m not on Twitter and I want to participate? Just send me your tweet length stories via rocketkapre[at]gmail.com and I’ll try to tweet them or include them in my “Notable Stories” compilation.
- What’s New in 2013: I’m glad you asked!
- I’ll be doing a “Notable Stories” post, to highlight tweets/stories I found to be, well, noteworthy, instead of a universal round-up. The simple fact is, participation grows every year, and while this is a good thing, it’s reached the point that it’s no longer practical for me to compile everything.
- While there was nothing to prevent artists from joining in the fun in previous years, I’d like to officially invite artists to participate. Just tell your stories with a single picture instead of a single tweet, and send it out on Twitter, or to my email account, with or without text (but if you put text, keep it to the Twitter limit, which includes the link to your image, if possible.) If you decide to illustrate one of the old RP612fic stories, from my previous compilations, please indicate the username of the original author, as found in the list.
Spread the word! For those who want to see the previous RP612fic stories, you can check out these links:
From the Visprint Facebook page:
Come one, come all!!!
Visprint, together with Komikon Inc., is sponsoring this year’s MINI-KOMIKON night for National Book Development Board – Philippines‘s Little Lit Fest
ADMISSION IS FREE!
Your favorite kiddie-comics and young_adult-comics creators will be there! Meet and greet, book signing, comicbook buying, photo ops — It’s just like your usual Komikon, mini version nga lang
Kitakits on May 31, Friday, 5-7PM at the Museo Pambata!
Tomorrow, May 4, is the first Saturday of May — which means that it’s Free Comic Book Day! There are two big events in Metro Manila to celebrate, one from Fully Booked/ Comic Odyssey and the other from National Book Store / Castle Geek / Neutral Grounds / Comic x Hub . The great Gerry Alanguilan has a good overview of both events, and the unique Philippine FCBD komik that will be given at each of the events.
Also ongoing is the FCBD promotion of Flipreads, featuring a mixture of new forever-free digital comics (such as the Mythspace Sampler) and digital comics that will only be free for a limited time. Check out the entire selection here.
Tor.com just featured Expanded Horizons in their Short Fiction Spotlight, reviewing the April 2013 issue which includes two reprints from the Philippine Speculative Fiction anthology series: “From the Book of Names My Mother Did Not Give Me” by Christine V. Lao, and “Waiting for Agua de Mayo” by Mia Tijam.
On “From the Book of Names My Mother Did Not Give Me”:
I appreciate the lyrical quality of these shorts, as well as the food for thought each offers on the changes, good and bad, in the lives of these women: how culture and society place their own pressures, and how women can connect, or lose connections, with each other (“Barbara”), are themes that interest me. This story is a handsome, small thing, made of parts smaller still, that does the majority of its work on the allegorical level rather than that of plot. As such, it’s the sort of piece that lingers, though it may not at first make a drastic impression.
On “Waiting for Agua de Mayo”:
The story itself, however, remains engaging thanks to its execution: Tijam’s attention to detail renders the protagonist, her “dragon,” and the setting vividly. The added tension of cultural conflict—where the idea of the “dragon” even comes from, and why she thinks of it primarily as that before thinking of it as the bayawak—is a further note that the story sounds, giving it a fresh take on a common theme.
Check out the full review here.