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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I bought a physical copy of “Writing the Other” last year, but now that there’s an ebook edition out, I decided to write a review that will hopefully encourage more people to buy and read this very important writing. book. We Filipino authors especially should never forget that, as the book says, “difference is not monolithic.” You can find the review at Fantasy Faction, or just read on for the text:

I’m a Filipino, and a geek, but I’m not used to feeling like an Other, like I’m not a part of the mainstream. I live in the Philippines, so I am, in fact, part of the majority, and my geek-ish pursuits tend toward reading books, watching anime, and playing video games, all of which are activities I can indulge in by myself.

But in the world of mass media, particularly genre media, my race ensures that I’m not part of the majority. I know what it feels like to read a story where my country is never mentioned, or watching a movie when the only character that is Filipino is a maid. While I’d wish it were otherwise, I don’t generally view stories created outside of my country to be the venue where I’m going to find plentiful and authentic representations of Filipinos and Philippine culture. As a Filipino writer, I think that’s one of my responsibilities.

But as I mentioned, in the Philippines, I am part of the Dominant Paradigm, the person of Unmarked State (we’ll get to that later). The Philippines is home to many indigenous communities that have often been marginalized by both our local media and popular culture–as a contrast, I live in Metro Manila, “Imperial Manila” as some of our southern brethren call it, who grew up pretending to be part of G.I. Joe or one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, instead of being a Tikbalang or the hero Lam-Ang. And yet, as often as I can, I try to tap into the rich intangible heritage of our indigenous mythologies when I write… and, while I do it out of love and in order to promote those myths, it often scares me out of my mind. When I recently put together “Alternative Alamat“, my greatest fear was that I would be engaging in a form of colonization or appropriation (especially since the anthology is in English). And yet, I know that there are stories that need to be told, even if I’m not a member of the Ifugao, or the Mangyan, or the Tausug.

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Typhoon Sendong Relief Incentive: Free Ebook “Ruin and Resolve”

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 20 - 20112 COMMENTS

I’ve already mentioned the devastation wrought by Typhoon Sendong over the weekend. As of this writing, at least 652 people have been confirmed dead as a result of flash floods that affected 135,000 people, nearly 47,000 of whom have been forced to evacuate to shelters. When Typhoon Ondoy slammed into Manila in 2009, Filipino writers and poets collaborated on a charity ebook I called “Ruin and Resolve” , for the benefit of typhoon victims. Since then, I’ve distributed the ebook for free as an incentive and a means to promote awareness during times of need. In the wake of the latest natural disaster to ravage my country, I am once more making Ruin and Resolve available for free–this time permanently–on Smashwords.com, and now on Flipreads.com (both are PDFs). I’m offering the book for free because I realize it would be easier/quicker for people to donate directly to entities such as the Red Cross, rather than course the donation through an ebook retailer as “payment” for the book. Here are a few links with information on how to help:

I hope that this ebook leads more people to those links, and if you do decide to donate and would like a small reward as a sign of our gratitude, please do feel free to download Ruin and Resolve. Thank you!

Here’s what people have said about Ruin and Resolve:

“Borne out of tragedy but driven by a spirit of triumph, Ruin and Resolve takes us to different worlds, fantastic and magical, futuristic and the mundane every day. The collection, meant to help Ondoy victims with is proceeds, provides us all with reasons to keep striving, to never surrender, never quit. It may sound corny to say that one finds inspiration, and yes, the resolve needed, in these texts. But that’s the fact of the matter. More than a few times the reader will find not just beauty of image and power of prose, but genuine uplift and the feeling of elevation.” Carljoe Javier, author ofAnd the Geek Shall Inherit the Earthand the “Kobayashi Maru of Love.

“But outside its being a charitable donation, this newest [Spec Fic] anthology isn’t a throwaway piece of literature; it’s worth buying for its own sake — lending credence to the publisher’s self-effacing introduction of “we hope our stories and poems make you feel all the happier to have helped those in need.” - Johanna Poblete, Business World.

Text Your Typhoon Sendong Donations

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 19 - 2011ADD COMMENTS
Image by Carlo Vergara, featuring Zsazsa Zaturnnah

Image by Carlo Vergara, featuring Zsazsa Zaturnnah

 

Typhoon Sendong ravaged the southern Philippines last weekend, particularly Iligan and Cagayan de Oro, and aid organizations need all the help they can get. You can text or sms your donations to the Philippine Red Cross as follows:

SMS
Text RED<space>AMOUNT to 2899 (Globe) or 4143 (Smart)

G-Cash
Text DONATE<space>AMOUNT<space>4-digit M-PIN<space>REDCROSS to 2882

You can donate the following denominations:
Globe: 5, 25, 100, 300, 500 or 1000
Smart: 10, 25, 50, 100, 300, 500 or 1000

For in-kind donations, please check http://cdocity.com/ or http://www.redcross.org.ph/donate

Launch: The Quarterly Bathroom Companion Comics Compendium #2

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 16 - 20111 COMMENT

The Quarterly Bathroom Companion Comics Compendium is an independent comic/komik anthology which has an “underground” feel and aesthetic. (The first issue had a comic that starred a lamp post as its protagonist. No, not an anthropomorphized, talking lamp post. Just an ordinary lamp post for the reader to project his/her emotions on.) The second issue will be launched tomorrow, December 17, at Sputnik Fantastik, Cubao X, near the Gateway Mall, from 7pm onwards. I’m not sure who is in the latest volume, but it is co-edited by DJ Legaspi, Josel Nicolas (Windmills), and Mervin Malonzo (Tabi Po and our very own Alternative Alamat illustrator). Give it a shot!

 

Alternative Alamat Interview: Dean Francis Alfar

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 15 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

Alternative Alamat” was released yesterday (go buy a copy at Amazon, iTunes, or Flipreads), but our contributor interviews will still continue. Today’s featured “Alternative Alamat” contributor is a man who should need no introduction (but I’ll give him one anyway), Dean Francis Alfar. Dean is a leading advocate of speculative fiction in the Philippines, and the publisher of the annual “Philippine Speculative Fiction” anthology. His novel “Salamanca” won both the Book Development Association of the Philippines’ Gintong Aklat award, as well as the Grand Prize in the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. He has nine more Palancas to his name, two Manila Critics’ Circle National Book Awards, the Philippine Free Press Literary Award, and the Philippine Graphic/Fiction Award. His short fiction has been collected in “The Kite of the Stars and Other Stories”, and been published in venues both national and international, including “The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror”, “Rabid Transit: Menagerie”, “Latitude”, and “The Apex Book of World SF”.

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

My story, set in the reimagined colonial Hinirang, answers the question “What happens when the Spanish colonizers open the door into the Faith system of the native Filipinos?”

Most of the narrative in this story is told through the use of the footnotes. What do you gain, and what do you sacrifice, in using a different format for a story than most readers are used to? When is it worth the risk?

I like to use different forms and structures to tell different kinds of stories.  For this one, I liked the appeal of being able to delve deeper into the usually dry and superficial tone of most encyclopedias or similar resources.  I also broke the convention of the footnote and utilized direct narrative, with complete sequences of quoted text (warts and all).  It is a challenge to read, but I think it is also rewarding.  The loss of the usual narrative flow is worth the discovery of deeper or enhanced text.  But certainly, this manner is not to every reader’s taste – but it falls to us to try something unusual once in a while, for the sake of the story.

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

Finishing it, haha!  But really, apart from the white heat of insipiration, writing is more work than fun for me.  But the reward upon completion is worth all the stress and late nights.

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

Editing myself has always been my bane.  I tend to gloss over my own errors – lapse of logic, missing words, mistaken attribution – because my mind fills in the blanks even as I read.  It’s different when I edit other authors because I am automatically distant from the text.

How were you first exposed to Philippine mythology?

As a young boy, I cut my teeth on the classical myths but eventually found myself wondering if we had anything ourselves.  I wasn’t happy with the watered-down versions I found as a youth.  It was much later, in university, when I had a class with Damiana Eugenio whose work provoked my interest and in turn led me to Maximo Ramos and other sources.

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

During a panel I chaired recently on Philippine Folklore and Mythology, Jun Balde sold me on the myths and legends of the Bicol region.  I’d love to read all of that. [Editor's Note: Here's an audio recording of that panel, Manila International Literary Festival 2011: Of Folklores, Myths and Legends, courtesy of Charles Tan.]

Release Day: Alternative Alamat Now Available

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 14 - 20117 COMMENTS

Cover for "Alternative Alamat" by Mervin Malonzo

The day has come!

Alternative Alamat“, our digital anthology of stories inspired by Philippine mythology, is now available for US$4.99 at the following fine establishments:

  • Amazon.com – US$4.99 (note there’s an extra US$2.00 charge for certain non-US territories/accounts, including, unfortunately, the Philippines)
  • Flipreads.com (epub file) – PHP235.00
  • [iTunes and Barnes & Noble/Nook editions to follow]

I hope that by now you’re all excited to get your hands on the book (or, rather, the hardware holding the file), and if so, thank you and what are you waiting for? If you’re still on the fence even after the preview of our contributor and story introductions, and our author interviews (Raissa, Mo, Eliza), then read on (or download the press release here)!

As a celebration of today’s launch, I’d like to give you a glimpse of some of the non-fiction segments of the book, as well as the wonderful artwork of Mervin Malonzo, creator of “Tabi Po“. You’ve already seen the beautiful cover Mervin made for us, but you may not have realized he’s also doing internal artwork as well. Each book is graced with eleven original illustrations by Mervin, where he gives his spin on eleven of the most interesting gods and goddesses of Philippine mythology. I don’t want to give too much away, so here’s a montage-teaser using elements from all eleven pieces:

After the cut: one full sample of Mervin’s interior artwork, the full text of the book’s introduction, and excerpts from my interviews with Professor Herminia Meñez Coben and Fernando N. Zialcita.

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Alfar, Dean

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 13 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

Dean Francis Alfar is a leading advocate of speculative fiction in the Philippines, and the publisher of the annual “Philippine Speculative Fiction” anthology. His novel “Salamanca” won both the Book Development Association of the Philippines’ Gintong Aklat award, as well as the Grand Prize in the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. He has nine more Palancas to his name, two Manila Critics’ Circle National Book Awards, the Philippine Free Press Literary Award, and the Philippine Graphic/Fiction Award. His short fiction has been collected in “The Kite of the Stars and Other Stories”, and been published in venues both national and international, including “The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror”, “Rabid Transit: Menagerie”, “Latitude”, and “The Apex Book of World SF”.

Alternative Alamat Interview: Eliza Victoria

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 13 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

Today, I continue my interviews with Alternative Alamat contributors, leading up to the release of the anthology TOMORROW. Today’s author should be a familiar name to any reader of Philippine speculative fiction: Eliza Victoria. Eliza was born in 1986. Her fiction and poetry have received prizes in the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature and the Philippines Free Press Literary Awards. For additional information, visit her at http://sungazer.wordpress.com.


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

My story concerns a teenage boy who ends up at a pawnshop owned by a woman named Ana – who turns out to be more than a simple pawnshop owner.

Have you ever had something positive result from getting lost or from losing something?

I’ve lost small items every now and then, but they’re of little to no consequence. Their loss didn’t really teach me anything life-altering. I guess the most recent, significant loss I’ve experienced was when my family lost our store to a fire last year. A year has passed and now my parents have stopped renting space and have bought a new store and got the business going again. The positive result? A realization and later a rock-solid belief that my parents are superheroes, that my family can survive anything, that I have no reason to give in so easily to despair.

And I think there was a time when I got lost in Greenhills and I ended up at a stall that sold the most gorgeous cheap shoes. Haha!

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

I don’t write to answer a call for entries. Normally I just write a story whenever I have the idea and the time, and then send it if it fits a certain publication. I didn’t have a story ready when I read Rocket Kapre’s call for entries to Alternative Alamat, but I was tempted to try to write a story that would fit the anthology. Often, before I begin writing, I already know how the story will flow and how it will end. I didn’t know how “Ana’s Little Pawnshop” would end when I started writing it. I wasn’t even quite sure what it was really about! There were just these two characters talking about sold items. So that was fun, trying to figure out where the characters would take me, but it was also difficult because I had no outline.

I had fun writing in the teenage boy’s voice. I haven’t used the “I” persona in a long while, so that was a wonderful change. I also loved describing Ana’s shop and all its items. I just hope it’s as fun to read as well.

How were you first exposed to Philippine mythology?

I think it’s through this cheap book of myths and legends that I found lying around the house when I was a child. I can’t remember the author or publisher. I saw it as a horror collection. Imagine a child reading about the origin of the pineapple, or how the lizard came to be. Freaky little stories. Most of our legends are stories of tragic transformations, and they mystified me. I loved them.

 

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

I think it’d be interesting to make a movie about Lam-ang or Bernardo Carpio or Mariang Makiling and set it in the present. Or the future, why not? Lam-ang with a robot chicken. That would be awesome.

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

Mariang Makiling, because she’s bad-ass.

Charles Tan’s Essay: “Awareness and Bias”

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 13 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

Around a week ago, Charles Tan (The Bibliophile Stalker) posted an essay which I believe merits wider discussion/dissemination. The essay is entitled “Awareness and Bias” and here’s an excerpt:

What people need to understand is that everyone will have an agenda  (and I don’t mean to use the term in a negative way, which in itself is an example of baggage associated with language). Mine for example has been the promotion of Philippine speculative fiction, “World SF”, and authors/editors I encounter and admire. If you think this blog is bias-free, you’re mistaken. It’s my particular bias that shapes who my readers are (you can think of it as my target audience). No text (be it fiction, poetry, film, music, games, or any other media) can be entirely divorced from its agenda (although readers, of course, are free to interpret it under their own biases as well). Every story, for example, will have a hierarchy of moral values (and what’s moral in one culture might be a different case in another).

I love speculative fiction but let’s face it: there’s a lot of things wrong with the genre (again, Western-centrism and patriarchy). A lot of it is unconscious.

Talking Alternative Alamat with Flipside Digital

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 12 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

The new Flipside Blog is throwing the spotlight on Alternative Alamat (out this Wednesday!) and they have an interview I did with Charles Tan. Head here if you’d like to see me talk about the anthology, what gave me the most difficulty when I was putting it together, and why I decided to include non-fiction pieces.

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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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