What is #RP612Fic (2016 edition)

What is #RP612Fic (2016 edition)

In one week, this coming Sunday, we celebrate the Independence Day of the Philippines. By celebrate, of course, it’s time once again for #RP612Fic. Those of you who have participated before know the drill, but I’ve updated the primer a little this year, so both old hands and mystified newbies may want to read on. [...]

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Call for Stories: SUBMIT to Philippine Speculative Fiction 11

Call for Stories: SUBMIT to Philippine Speculative Fiction 11

  Editors Kate Osias and Elyss Punsalan invite you to submit short fiction for consideration for Philippine Speculative Fiction volume 11. PSF is a yearly anthology series, showcasing 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 National [...]

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Book Launch: Philippine Speculative Fiction X

Book Launch: Philippine Speculative Fiction X

The tenth edition of the annual anthology is already released (digitally): Flipside  Amazon Kobo Google Play iTunes Weightless Books Everyone is also invited to the official book launch: Come join us at the Philippine Speculative Fiction X book launch! We’re celebrating the tenth volume of this trailblazing annual anthology on Saturday, May 7, at 2 p.m. at [...]

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Support Southeast Asian Steampunk: The SEA is Ours Crowdfunding Campaign

Support Southeast Asian Steampunk: The SEA is Ours Crowdfunding Campaign

It’s no secret that the need for representation in genre fiction is one of the reasons that I write, and I’m very proud (alongside  Kate Osias and TJ Dimacali among others) to be a part of a Southeast Asian steampunk anthology: The SEA is Ours. The editors/publisher are crowdsourcing funds to help pay writers and [...]

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Call for Submissions: People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction

Call for Submissions: People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction

The “[Blank] Destroy [Blank] special issues of Lightspeed/Nightmare/Fantasy Magazines create spaces for diversity within speculative fiction through Kickstarter-funded special issues that focus on a particular community. Next up is something that writers and readers of Filipino speculative fiction should take note of — a special issue for People of Colo(u)r, a somewhat loaded term that is [...]

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Tina Matanguihan Reviews “Alternative Alamat”

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 2 - 20121 COMMENT

Reviews of “Alternative Alamat” are starting to trickle in (we were in the Philippines Graphic last week), and I’m happy to say that so far they’ve been of the positive variety. The latest comes from Tina Matanguihan (One More Page, PinoyWriMos) and she gives it a 5/5. You can read the full review at her book blog or on Goodreads, but let me just say that when I reached the part where Tina goes “I felt that this book and the stories in this collection were mine”, my head swelled to the size of the Lion’s Head at Kennon Road.

As always, remember that you can purchase Alternative Alamat at any of the following vendors:

We’d like to thank GMA News Online, particularly writer Meann Ortiz (who just last week gave her positive early impressions of “Alternative Alamat”), for including “Alternative Alamat” on their list of Notable Books from 2011. Amongst the other local speculative fiction books mentioned are “Philippine Speculative Fiction vol. 6″, “Heartbreak & Magic”, and “Trese 4: Last Seen After Midnight.” Here’s how Meann describes “Alternative Alamat”:

Philippine mythology isn’t just about aswangs, duwendes, and kapres; there exist pantheons of deities and a deep well of other legends and myths that we were never taught in school. Alternative Alamat makes some of these lesser-known tales and characters more accessible to modern readers with 11 engaging re-tellings. The book also includes interviews with scholars of Philippine mythology, a reference guide, and a list of notable deities accompanied by illustrations by Mervin Malonzo. This is only available as an e-book, though, so I hope that the publisher will consider releasing it in print so that it will be accessible to more readers. Because of efforts like this anthology, it won’t be long before we find our own local Rick Riordan who will successfully skyrocket this aspect of our culture into the popular consciousness.

As always, remember that you can purchase Alternative Alamat at any of the following vendors:

PGS Online Call For Submissions (2012)

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 1 - 20121 COMMENT

Philippine Genre Stories (PGS) Online has opened today to fiction submissions by Filipino writers, and will remain open until April 30, 2012. You can find the full details here.  Note that while PGS Online does publish stories in Filipino, I’ve confirmed with editor Kenneth Yu that the present call is only for stories in English. I think that I’ve mentioned before how PGS, in its original print, always-open-to-submissions incarnation, was instrumental in jump starting the writing careers of many Filipino authors, like myself, and I’m certain it will continue to do so in its shiny online edition. So, writers, submit and spread the word!

Alternative Alamat: World SF Blog Interview

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 29 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

The World SF Blog is one of the most respected sources of truly international SF news, and I’ve always appreciated the work they do to promote Filipino creators. I’ve done a short interview with the ever present Charles Tan to help promote Alternative Alamat–don’t worry, we don’t repeat topics from the Flipside interview. You can check it out here. And, of course, you can purchase Alternative Alamat at any of the following vendors:

CG Pintor: Disney Villains Artjam

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 28 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

The Filipino digital painting masters at CG Pintor are at it again. Their latest artjam? Disney Villains. Here’s a link to the full gallery, and, as always, here are a few of my favorites of the lot:

Syndrome by =The-Hand

Shan-Yu by ~Wreckonning

AUTO GO-4 by ~SteelJoe

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Alternative Alamat Interview: Celestine Trinidad

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 27 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

Alternative Alamat” is now available from Amazon.com, Flipreads.com, and iTunes. I’ll continue to speak with the contributors to gain some insight into the stories found in the book. Celestine  Trinidad  is  a  newly  licensed  physician  who  still  tries  to  read  and  write  as  much  as she  can  in  her  (now  unfortunately  very  little)  free  time.  Her stories have appeared in other publications such as Philippine Genre Stories, Philippine Speculative Fiction IV,  Philippines Free Press,  and  Usok.  Much  to  her  own  surprise,  she  won  the  Don  Carlos  Palanca  Memorial  Award for Literature in 2008 for her short story for children “The Storyteller and the Giant”.

Without spoiling anything essential, could you tell me a bit about your story?

Maria Sinukuan, guardian deity of Arayat, is called upon to solve the murder of a young woman from one of the towns under her care. One of her suitors, Juan, insists on tagging along, much to her annoyance. But nothing is as it seems in this mystery—not even her suitor.

I know that you’re a fan of Maria Sinukuan. What is it about Maria Sinukuan (as portrayed in the legends) that makes her so appealing to you?

I like that she is such a strong character—she is called “Sinukuan”, after all, as proof of the strength of her power. According to Damiana L. Eugenio’s Philippine Folk Literature Series (“The Legends”), she was able to defeat everyone who put her power to the test, even those who were said to possess an anting-anting. The young men who came to woo her never stood a chance with her. I love the kind of attitude that I think she would have, based on these legends. She seemed like the kind of character who wouldn’t take crap from anyone, and who can be ruthless, but only if she felt you deserved it. (And yes, it was said that she did turn people into pigs!) I would greatly respect such a person even in real life, though I would probably be very careful not to make her angry.

What part of the story–or the writing process–was the most fun for you?

The banter! Mixing someone like Maria with someone as irritatingly persistent and as enigmatic as Juan seems like a recipe for disaster, and that, of course, is fun to write.

What part of the story–or the writing process–was the most difficult for you?

As with every story I write, I always struggle with the middle of the story, since I already knew how to write the beginning and also the ending, but it’s always such a difficult journey writing what goes on in between. I wouldn’t want to give away too much so the mystery is already predictable, but I also wouldn’t want to give away too little that the reader would feel cheated. It’s a struggle, yes, but a challenge I actually enjoy.

How were you first exposed to Philippine mythology?

When I was still very young I liked watching this series on TV, “Ora Engkatada”, which my grandmother appeared in (she played Lola Torya, the grandmother who read from the big book of magical stories, hehe). And then later on, since my parents saw that I liked the fantasy genre so much, they bought me this book entitled, “Mga 55 Piling Alamat ng Pilipinas”, by Pablo M. Cuasay, a collection of various origin legends, which I loved reading even back then.

Is there any myth, epic or legend that you wish would be adapted into a novel, or comic, or movie?

It’d be great if Juan and Maria could be made into a movie, haha! Since I do plan on making this into a series.

Seriously though, there’s this a lesser-known legend about a woman named Tonina, who due to trickery on the part of the other wives of Rajah Solaiman, was raised away from the palace, not knowing she was a princess. But in the end, she managed to save two kingdoms from the invading Spaniards, and reclaim her birthright. (There is also a part there where she cross-dresses and almost defeats her future husband in a duel.) I think having a movie on that would be pretty epic!

Who is your favorite character from Philippine mythology, and why?

Maria Sinukuan is my favorite out of all the goddesses, but you probably expected that, didn’t you?  I like female characters that defy conventions, or even redefine them.

High Society for Nook; Alternative Alamat for iPhone and iPad

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 26 - 20111 COMMENT

Got the new iPhone for Christmas? Or maybe an iPad, or a Nook? If you’re looking for Philippine-made fantasy fiction for you new toys, I’m pleased to inform you that “High Society” (my steampunk, alternative history comic with Hannah Buena) is now available for Barnes & Noble’s Nook device, and “Alternative Alamat” (our anthology of stories inspired by Philippine mythology) is available at the iTunes Store.

Flipside Opens to Novel Submissions

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 26 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

Flipside Digital Content, digital publisher of “High Society” and my digital co-publisher for “Alternative Alamat“, is now open to novel submissions for three of its imprints, the most significant one for Rocket Kapre readers being “FSSF”, which is their speculative fiction imprint. You can view the guidelines for submission at their blog, “On the Flipside“.

Initial Thoughts on “Alternative Alamat” from Meann Ortiz

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 22 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

I mentioned that Meann Ortiz of New Worlds was reading “Alternative Alamat” and posting a running commentary as she made her way through the text. Well, Meann has finished the book, and has posted a summary of her impressions, with a full review to follow. Meann gave it 5 stars (although she’s rounding up from 4.5–which, hey, I’ll take any day) and enjoyed all the stories, even if she felt there were similarities in theme and a somewhat somber tone.

I’d encourage readers to look at Meann’s comments during her reading, which you can find in a timeline on the same page as her general impressions, as these go into greater detail about her reactions to specific stories, or lines from the book.

It also amuses me that, like many women before her, she was intrigued by the great hero “Kudaman” (mentioned in my interview with Professor Zialcita), and his, er, giant bird:

The Philippines Graphic Reviews Alternative Alamat

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 21 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

Angelo Ancheta reviews our new anthology, “Alternative Alamat“, in the latest issue (Dec. 26, 2011 to Jan. 2, 2012) of the Philippines Graphic. The review is very positive, even though Ancheta wishes that the book was available in hard copy, to better appreciate Mervin Malonzo’s artwork. Ancheta calls the anthology “a treasure trove of Philippine myths and legends reexamined and rendered for modern readers.” The review isn’t available online yet, as of this writing, but he finds T.J. Dimacali’s “Keeper of My Sky” to be “lyrical, heartbreaking” and the stories of David Hontiveros “Balat, Buwan, Ngalan”) and Dean Alfar (“A Door Opens”) to be “ground-breaking, earth-shaking…” He does wonder, however, about the absence of male deities from most of the stories.

Still, I think it’s safe to say he liked it, no? Also, Meann Ortiz of New Worlds is currently reading “Alternative Alamat” and putting up comments  as she progresses. She’s about half way through so far, and you can read her comments either on her Twitter feed or at Goodreads.

So if you haven’t picked up a copy of “Alternative Alamat” yet, why not click on over to Amazon.com or Flipreads.com and snag a copy for yourselves, or for your friends/family. Nothing like waking up on Christmas day to find some mythology under your tree!

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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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