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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PGS Online: End of Year One

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 11 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

Over at PGS Online, editor and publisher Kenneth Yu reflects on the year that was, PGS’ first year as an online publication, and has some announcements moving forward. Check it out here.

Let me also take this opportunity to point you to the newest PGS Online story, “Selected Transmissions from Synthesized Human Emulation Mk.8.014b, Otherwise Known as Katey” by Nikki Alfar, the co-editor of the latest batch of stories.

Francisco, Mo

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 11 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

By day (and OT nights), Mo Francisco is a copywriter at Adspin Advertising.

In her spare time, she writes fiction and dreams of retiring in a log cabin somewhere in the middle of nowhere, a homestay in Ayutthaya, a hostel in Dumaguete or a room by the Baler surf and write her heart out.

She loves to travel backpacker style, climb mountains, run, bike, surf and will generally try anything once.

She is always very perky and friendly, but that could just be the caffeine.

Alternative Alamat Interview: Raissa Rivera Falgui

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 8 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

I’ll be doing a series of short interviews with my Alternative Alamat contributors. Today’s author is Raissa Rivera Falgui. Raissa is a writer of fiction for both children and adults. She has won several awards, including first place for Futuristic Fiction in the 2002 Palanca Awards and second place for short story for children in the 2002 and 2006 Palancas. A member of Kuwentista ng Mga Tsikiting (Kuting), her most recent published stories are for young people, in Tahanan Books’ The Night Monkeys and UP Press’s Bagets Anthology. She graduated from UP with a degree in Art Studies and is currently working towards an MA in Creative Writing. Over the years, she has worked in various institutions, as English teacher, writer, or editor. Among the most recent jobs she has had was one that required her to write about places she has never visited, including Mt. Malindig in Marinduque. Currently her main job, which she does not plan to give up, is looking after her daughter. She is married to an Ateneo English teacher, Joel Falgui.

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

The story is about a sorceress, known in folklore as Maria of Malindig. I changed the name to Maryam, which is more appropriate to pre-Hispanic times, when the story is set. She is so powerful and imperious that she intimidates men, and she becomes determined to use her magic to win the man she loves.

What was your impression of the Maria Malindig myth upon first reading? How did you decide which aspects to keep and which to re-imagine in your own version?

I knew it was “the one” as soon as I read it, and I had already gone through much of Damiana Eugenio’s volume. I was fascinated by Maria of Malindig’s dominatrix quality, and intrigued by the love story. I felt it begged explaining why such a strong woman so desperately needed the love of a man to complete her. It was hardly in keeping with the image of a powerful sorceress queen. I also decided to do away with the element of religious defiance, where she curses the gods and is punished. I found that too didactic and thought her hubris actually stood out more without her falling back on gods.

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

The nature of the queen’s magic is barely described in the original, so I had fun coming up with the details. Imagining how people in the past lived is always fun for me, and I actually referred to The Governor General’s Kitchen to get an idea of what they might have eaten. If encouraged I may actually produce that feast someday! And the love scenes, but they were also difficult.

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

I had some trouble with Pangkikog’s character, making him both an attractive, sympathetic man but still domineering enough to insist on his way. It was difficult getting the dynamics of the relationship between Maryam and Pangkikog just right. It was necessary that they have a power struggle while still being drawn to each other. Their dialog with all its accompanying gestures went through a lot of revisions.

How were you first exposed to Philippine mythology?

I’ve been reading myths since childhood.

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

I’d love to see my version of the Malindig myth come to life in a movie, of course. I’d love to see a lot of myths adapted into film in the style of Jim Henson’s Storyteller series, especially the ones of the sky-maiden and of the first man and woman who came out of bamboos.

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

I’ve always liked Mariang Makiling. I love strong female characters.

Expanded Horizons Fundraising Drive (Christmas 2011)

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 7 - 20112 COMMENTS

The online SF magazine Expanded Horizons is undertaking their holiday fundraising drive, and this time they aim to raise enough funds to pay their authors semi-pro rates nextyear. Expanded Horizons is a quality magazine, but that’s not the only reason it deserves support from Filipinos and from readers of Filipino Fantastic Fiction–Expanded Horizons was founded in order to “increase diversity in the field of speculative fiction, both in the authors who contribute and in the perspectives presented.” This includes a focus on fiction by authors of color, or featuring characters of color. You can read more specifics about their laudable mission here.

Expanded Horizons has published many stories/poems by Filipino authors, including Eliza Victoria, Kristine Ong Muslim, Katya Oliva-Llego, Anne Abad, Catherine Batac Walder, and Mia Tijam. A well funded Expanded Horizons can only benefit Filipino authors in search of markets for their fiction. To highlight the support that Expanded Horizons gives Filipino authors, here’s a hyperlinked list of all of the Filipino-written stories/poems they’ve published to date:

Falgui, Raissa Rivera

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 7 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

Raissa Rivera Falgui is a writer of fiction for both children and adults. She has won several awards, including first place for Futuristic Fiction in the 2002 Palanca Awards and second place for short story for children in the 2002 and 2006 Palancas. A member of Kuwentista ng Mga Tsikiting (Kuting), her most recent published stories are for young people, in Tahanan Books’ The Night Monkeys and UP Press’s Bagets Anthology. She graduated from UP with a degree in Art Studies and is currently working towards an MA in Creative Writing. Over the years, she has worked in various institutions, as English teacher, writer, or editor. Among the most recent jobs she has had was one that required her to write about places she has never visited, including Mt. Malindig in Marinduque. Currently her main job, which she does not plan to give up, is looking after her daughter. She is married to an Ateneo English teacher, Joel Falgui.

Technoteapot: A Gothic and Steampunk Tea Party

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 5 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

I met a pair of striking young ladies at this year’s Komikon. These were the ladies of Spidersilk Productions, and they turned out to not only be interested in steampunk, but were all set to have a steampunk themed exhibit as well: Technoteapot: A Gothic and Steampunk Tea Party. This is the first steampunk event I’ve personally heard of that would take place in Metro Manila, so if you’re interested in the genre, do drop by from December 8-10. There will also be guest artists such as Koi Carreon (“Marco’s Delivery Service“) and the rest of Ravencage Studios there as well, displaying new steampunk artwork. Event details are as follows:

Art Exhibit Featurning the Works of
Dione D’Souza | Maku Felix | Isobel Francisco

With the Special Participation of Dokissaten Maid & Butler Café
Featuring the Live Performance of Similarobjects
and DR. SKETCHY’S Anti-Art School Manila

December 8-10, 2011
2F LRI Design Plaza, Makati City
Festivities begin at 6PM

For a schedule of performances and more details, go here.

Alternative Alamat: Cover, Release Date, Story Introductions

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 1 - 20115 COMMENTS

Cover for "Alternative Alamat" by Mervin Malonzo

 

EDIT: Alternative Alamat is out now on Amazon and Flipreads!

On December 14, 2011, “Alternative Alamat“–our anthology of stories inspired by Philippine mythology–will be released on Amazon.com, Flipreads.com, and the iTunes store. This anthology has been more than a year in the making, and it is near and dear to my heart, so any help spreading the word would be greatly appreciated. I’m excited, not the least of which because of the excellent cover art provided by Mervin Malonzo (creator of “Tabi Po“, who also provides the interior illustrations), and because I believe we’re attempting something that hasn’t been done before, in the context of Philippine mythology.

Philippine mythology is full of images that ignite the imagination: gods of calamity and baldness, of cosmic time and lost things; the many-layered Skyworld, and weapons that fight their own battles; a ship that is pulled to paradise by a chain, and a giant crab that controls the tides… yet too few of these tales are known and read today. “Alternative Alamat” gathers stories, by contemporary authors of Philippine fantasy, which make innovative use of elements of Philippine mythology. None of these stories are straight re-tellings of the old tales: they build on those stories, or question underlying assumptions; use ancient names as catalysts, or play within the spaces where the myths are silent. What you will find in common in these eleven stories is a love for the myths, epics, and legends which reflect us, contain us, call to us–and it is our hope that, in reading our stories, you may catch a glimpse, and develop a hunger, for those venerable tales.

“Alternative Alamat” also features a cover and interior illustrations by Mervin Malonzo, a short list of notable Philippine deities, and in-depth interviews with Professors Herminia Meñez Coben and Fernando N. Zialcita.

If you are a book blogger or book reviewer and would like to review/feature Alternative Alamat, please do contact me at rocketkapre[at]g mail. To give you a sneak peek of what to expect from the anthology, after the cut I’ve included the introductions for each of the eleven stories, which also serve as the bios for each of the contributors.

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Alternative Alamat

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 1 - 201116 COMMENTS

Philippine mythology is full of images that ignite the imagination: gods of calamity and baldness, of cosmic time and lost things; the many-layered Skyworld, and weapons that fight their own battles; a ship that is pulled to paradise by a chain, and a giant crab that controls the tides… yet too few of these tales are known and read today. “Alternative Alamat” gathers stories, by contemporary authors of Philippine fantasy, which make innovative use of elements of Philippine mythology. None of these stories are straight re-tellings of the old tales: they build on those stories, or question underlying assumptions; use ancient names as catalysts, or play within the spaces where the myths are silent. What you will find in common in these eleven stories is a love for the myths, epics, and legends which reflect us, contain us, call to us–and it is our hope that, in reading our stories, you may catch a glimpse, and develop a hunger, for those venerable tales.

“Alternative Alamat” also features a cover and interior illustrations by Mervin Malonzo, a short list of notable Philippine deities, and in-depth interviews with Professors Herminia Meñez Coben and Fernando N. Zialcita.

[Page still under construction - some details/links to be added later.]

Design and Desire: An Interview with By Implication

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 30 - 2011ADD COMMENTS
There are few things I enjoy more than speaking with passionate Filipino creators, and helping them garner the attention they deserve. The game designers of By Implication should need no introduction from me–as I mentioned in my post on Scram, they’re the Filipino game design team that won Microsoft’s prestigious 2010 Imagine Cup Game Design Competition last year. Since they just released their first commercial game, I thought this would be a good time to sit them them down (virtually) and get to know them better. Game designers are usually more anonymous than creators in other media, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t just as eccentric interesting as other artists, as you’ll see from this interview.
If you like what you see, do give Scram a try and support awesome game design that just happens to be from the Philippines.
Q: We know a lot about “By Implication” as a team, but what about as individuals? Tell us a little bit about yourselves, your lives outside of By Implication, and what your role in the team is–and by that, I don’t mean “position” such as artist or programmer. 

Kenneth: My name’s Kenneth Yu. I’m supposed to be By Implication’s writer and story director-guy, but because I studied Economics and Business in La Salle, I’ve seen been press-ganged into also being the team’s producer / project manager. This means, basically, that besides writing up copy and coming up with game concepts + stories, I have to do all the crap no one else wants to do. Like creating sound effects and ambiance, recording payments and purchases, bugging people to get stuff done, writing up hare-brained marketing schemes, buying everyone coffee and chicken sandwiches, keeping everyone on speaking terms, and beating down supervillains. The 2-3 hours per day I spend outside work go to reading, toy collecting and playing Batman: Arkham City (and, on occasion, eating and sleeping). All of these inevitably lead to new game and story ideas, and thus to more work in By Implication. Man.

Jim: My name is James Choa though I go by the nickname of Jim (or trigger-happy, if you play certain online games that are not considered as mmorpgs). Outside of being one of the programmers in the group, I also function as the resident Linux guy, programmer, non-teaching-guy-who-can-represent-programmers-in-most-meetings, hardcore gamer and programmer. My apologies, I think I left out the important detail of me being a programmer in the group.

Wil: This is the Wilhansen Li, self-proclaimed PROGRAMM_CAT, of the group. He smites anyone that dares defy the laws of Computational Complexity, using an Infinity (+1) Hammer forged from the very darkness of the universe. He has warped through the Universe-ity of Ateneo, obtaining the coveted combined degree of Computer Science and Math, only to end up back in the Universe-ity to bestow epiphany to those who are willing to accept the Enlightenment. He shall ensure and verify that all laws of any universes created by Implication neither explodes nor collapses to a singularity. The PROG_CAT balances; the PROG_CAT; the PROG_CAT listens.

Thomas: I’m Thomas Dy. I mostly do the other programming that neither Wil nor Jim particularly want (i.e. non-Apple and non-game programming). Like our almighty PROG_CAT, I’ve also taken up the challenge of bestowing Enlightenment upon those who are willing (to pay the Ateneo).

Philip: I’m Philip Cheang, one of the two designer-artists in the group. I graduated in Fine Arts, but have always been partly developer at heart, and continue to write some code here and there (though on a much smaller scale than our beloved developers above). In this regard, I sometimes mediate between the technical and non-technical sides of the team. I enjoy (and dread) nudging lines and shapes ten pixels to the left, then maybe five to the right, but wait-I-have-a-totally-different-idea-now- -I’ll-just-delete-everything, several times over the course of the day. Recently, I’ve also started teaching (like Wil and Thomas), but in Ateneo’s FA department.

Together with Levi, I work directly on graphic assets, art direction, and interface design. Together with Kenneth, I represent the team in events, press, and business meetings. Together with Wil/Jim/Thomas, I discuss technical and architectural decisions. By myself, I generally dick around and waste time, which is why it’s important that I’m together with someone. 

Wait, that sounded wrong. Can we omit that? Is this live? Hello— —

Levi: Levi refers to himself in the third person during interviews. He performs exactly half of design/art duties, leaving Philip to do the other half. Every now and then he brings the team to work, and the rest of the time he hitches; fuel economy is very important to the crew. When food needs to be ordered over the phone, he is often the one to do it, and he will do it in a foreign accent. He is also an unlicensed chemical engineer, and thankfully does not practice. Surprisingly, his training in this field has been helpful in a variety of unexpected ways in developing games—such as in threatening his teammates to work.

Kenneth: Now you see what I have to deal with every day.

Q: What was it like, winning Microsoft’s Imagine Cup Game Design Competition? How did your concept for “Wildfire” come about, and did it change much from conception to execution? 

A: Competing on a global scale, representing the Philippines, and winning first place against many other teams was simply a fantastic experience. In many ways, it was a culmination of our efforts since high school. As young, ambitious kids, we loved (and hated) all these different games, and so we tried (and failed) to create games we could call our own. Winning in the Imagine Cup gave us the validation that creating games was something we could seriously pursue. It’s been an interesting ride so far, and we look forward to the road ahead.

Wildfire’s inception sat at an interesting intersection: we had just come from two competitions, we had been playing with these cool algorithms for autonomous agent behaviour and crowd simulation, and we had just experienced this terrible typhoon called Ondoy. With the drive to win and accomplish something, the technology to build something upon, and an inspiring story to share with the world, we set out to create Wildfire.

The Imagine Cup’s theme was the Millennium Development Goals (poverty and hunger, environmental sustainability, global partnership, and so on) — really big problems. What we saw after Ondoy was that big problems like these can be solved by the collective effort of many individuals. In the Filipino spirit of bayanihan, people from all walks of life volunteered their time and effort in helping their fellow man. The thing is, it’s normally difficult to directly address real-world problems with a game. Other utility-style apps are easier to link to a theme, because you can do directly useful things like aggregate information, offer networks and connections to interested parties, and open lines of communication.

With a game, you generally have to just teach people about the reality of a problem, by inserting that problem as your game’s main theme. Now, many games with a “theme” are, sadly enough, detached from it. The theme is nothing but a layer slapped like a sticker on top of an existing mechanic. “The game will be like a Tower Defense, except it’ll happen in someone’s organs, and will teach people that diseases are baaaaad.” (This was actually one of our earlier ideas, which we ran with for about a month or two.) We had the opportunity to create something that was genuinely inspired.

Wildfire was designed as a “volunteer movement” simulator, from the very start. The idea was to portray the movement of a single good intention, as it “spread like Wildfire” across a population. From the very beginning, we had grid-style cities, crowds of people moving about, and “bad-guy” agents getting in the way. The idea was always for the main character to “inspire” crowds of citizens, and lead them around the city to complete a variety of tasks.

Our initial version of Wildfire was a 2-D affair with only dots for characters. (You can still see traces of this early version in some of our promotional / trailer videos for the game.) When we go through the elimination rounds for the Imagine Cup, we had the opportunity to expand Wildfire, turning it into the full 3-D version that people can download and play today. Along the way, we attempted to implement additional mechanics, like bullet-hell style opponent dodging, and strategy game-style territory control, but many of these features were dropped, for the sake of clarity.

Note: Posting this a bit earlier in the week as there will be a major announcement on Thursday. We’ll also be holding off the PSF6 reviews for December but will resume in January.

This post is a part of our story-by-story review of Philippine Speculative Fiction volume 6. You can see the introductory post, and our disclaimers here. Bold font is Mia Tijam, everything else is Paolo Chikiamco.

And so… Paging Adam David, look oh, more of your demand for experimentation in Phil Spec Fic!

I know that this is not your favorite, Counsel, because it’s non-linear hahahaha! See, I think most would react to this story, after reading it, with “And so?” Yeah, what’s the point, right?

Objection! I didn’t find the format difficult, but I think that’s because it was fairly obvious once I started the piece that I wasn’t supposed to find any narrative linking the segments, each of which was self-contained, and linear. I think my difficulty comes more from the experimental stories where I know (even if I’m wrong) there’s supposed to be an overarching narrative somewhere, and I just can’t seem to find it.

—-Haha, okay, okay!

I appreciate this kind of story being included in PSF anthologies because: 1) It challenges the reading-linear-habit which kind of breeds lazy-reading. 2) Because it does, then the brainwaves are exercised when it comes to perspectives and understanding of meaning, of what the story is really about.

As someone who has never been a fan of difficult to read fiction (as opposed to non-fiction), I feel the obligation to state that lazy reading is a perfectly viable state of being a reader-for-pleasure.

—-Hahaha, riiiiight. Like Lazy Boy and TV, hmmm?

Intrinsically, this story is what you call playing on motif. So the question is: what is the motif? What is common among all the names? What connects them? Because the usual reader might think that they are not connected, as if the names are just slides in projection or just weird episodes (and the weirdness making it all under “speculative”).

By “usual reader” that’d be me I think. I already said that I didn’t see the need to draw a narrative connection between each segment, but as far as a common theme, my anchor was the title itself: each segment used the idea of alternative names to show alternative realities (in my reading, all the protagonists are the same woman, in different worlds), and within each segment, the etymology of the name was interpreted through a short narrative.

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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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