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. [...]


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 [...]


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 [...]


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 [...]


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 [...]


Trinidad, Celestine

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 8 - 2009ADD COMMENTS

Celestine Trinidad is newly licensed physician, currently taking up her residency training in Pathology, but she still tries to read and write as much as she can in her (now unfortunately very little) free time. Much to her surprise, she won the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature for her short story for children “The Storyteller and the Giant”.

RRT: Favorite Philippine Speculative Fiction Story

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 8 - 20098 COMMENTS
RRT: Fave Pinoy SF Story
RRT: Fave Pinoy SF Story

Taking our cue from SF Signal, in Rocket Round Table, we pose a single question to those who toil in the fields of Philippine SF. Our aim is to promote reflection and discussion, as well as to simply compare notes on the genre we know and love. This month we ask the question:

What is your favorite Filipino-created Speculative Fiction story?

The story can be prose or komiks, a movie or a television show… any medium by which a narrative can be told is fair game. One caveat though: let’s limit ourselves to works whose authorship is certain, and not Philippine myths/legends. In other words, Florante and Laura qualifies but “Ang Alamat ng Pinya” doesn’t. Let’s leave those for another day. ^_^

Here are the first batch of answers–I’ll compile any further replies in a subsequent post.

Adam David: [Blog]

==Indie publisher, published author, opinionated blogger. He recently released “A Week of Kindness” - seven works from seven writers written in seven days revolving around seven images/elements/themes.==

Barring my own set of scintillating sensurround scifi scintillations, the best Pinoy SpecFic story would be the unfortunately still largely unread “Pericos Tao” by Andrew Drilon. It was supposed to be part of Drilon’s Kare-Kare Komiks print remix a bunch of people – me included – tried their best to make manifest around the middle of 2008. I was the layout artist so I was privy to the actual finished pages – “actual finished pages” being actually “virtual” as Drilon assembled everything on computer – and I was one of maybe ten or so people who have seen the whole book (maybe I still am). The publisher ran out of money, so the project didn’t push through. The book was 96 pages of Drilon’s full-colour ChemSet strips, and a handful of new ones to round off the collection, some of which already saw publication in places, but not “Pericos Tao” for some reason.

“Pericos Tao” is one of those too few gay stories that’s ABOUT being gay and at the same time ISN’T in the sense that it isn’t pushing an agenda. It’s about a young man trying to escape the past, and, unsuccessful, finally decides to come to terms with it in his own terms. It makes use of a few characters/creatures from Visayan tradition and somehow making them not clunky as how most of these things are on the page more often than not. It also employs some formal play by way of recreating the young man’s Visayan childhood via impeccably mimicking Larry Alcala’s unmistakable cubist brushstrokes, while the present rendered as how Drilon renders his usual, only slightly better, all of these things running in synch all focused on telling the story, and telling it well. Of everything I’ve read by Drilon, or any one else’s in SpecFic for that matter (and I’ve probably read about 90% of what’s been published so far as of 05:04AM of 7 September 2009), “Pericos Tao” remains to be the most honest and most complete and most heartfelt and really just one of the best stories I’ve ever read, printed (or not) on paper. It’s really all just downhill from here for Drilon. I hope more people will get the chance to read “Pericos Tao,” before he decides to sell out and go manga on everyone. Make it so, Andrew!

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On the Far Shore: An Interview with Kate Aton-Osias

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 8 - 2009ADD COMMENTS

“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 Kate Aton-Osias, author of “Light.”

Could you tell us a bit about your story “Light”?

The story is essentially about unrequited love and knowing your place in the world (although both I had hoped to present in a different way). It started as a writing challenge to write in ‘traditional’ fantasy (that is to say to use tradfan tropes) without it being too ‘traditional’ or common.

How did you hear about the Farthest Shore anthology?

From Dean Alfar’s blog.

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

Nope (unless you count futuristic fiction which, I would argue is a secondary world, but I know I’m severely outvoted in the literary world).

Ah, but dissent enriches discussion, so fire away! How would you describe a secondary world story?

A world that is not known by people living in the present. Which is why I don’t count alternate histories (unless it is sufficiently removed from actual history) as second world. If it’s futuristic fiction, how could anyone ‘know’ it? I understand though, that certain kinds of futuristic fiction – especially the ones that only project less than a generation ahead – is too close to the present to be considered secondary world. But fiction that deals with things that common people right now find fantastic – robots (even if they already exist), androids, a clean Philippines (haha) – I think that could count as secondary world.

How long did it take you to write the story?

A little under a month.

What aspect of the writing did you enjoy the most?

Reading the first draft. :)

Really? Hm. Your first drafts must be much nicer than mine are. How many drafts do you usually go through before you submit a story? Do you have anyone else read them first?

Not really. Actually, they’re quite horrid. But the first draft is my first taste of completion. After that, I can edit and polish (and edit, and polish), but I already have something. Anything before the first draft is incomplete, and potentially, will never be complete. The first draft makes the story ‘real’. As for number of drafts – I would prefer to go through a zillion drafts, but I’ve realized lately that my stories receive better comments when I stop at 3. Generally speaking, my husband reads the draft to check for any obvious grammatical mistakes, and then I’m on my own.

What aspect did you find most difficult?

Trying to incorporate traditional fantasy tropes.

Were there any particular sources of inspiration for your story?

Dungeons and Dragons source book! (the spells, the spells)

Are you working on any new stories or projects now?

Yep, for the LitCritter deadline in October as well as (hopefully) SpecFic. [Ed. Note: Philippine Speculative Fiction V]

If you could write in a secondary world created by another (literary, television etc.), which world would that be? What kind of story would you write?

Hmmm… this one’s tough. My first answer is unfair since I would like to write for a fantasy setting that a close friend of mine had built for the solitary purpose of a role playing game (which I’m actively playing right now). For a more accessible reference, I think I would like to write a story for the Fading Suns RPG.

Have your experiences during gaming, say the settings, adventures or the characters, spill over or influence your writing?

Most definitely. I learned a lot about characters, and dialogue, through gaming (it doesn’t hurt that our GM is an award winning playwright and fictionist). I try not to write it down directly, though, because I prefer to write something out of my own imagination – or at least, my own interpretation of it (which goes beyond simply using the same characters and exactly the same setting with a different plot) – rather than play in someone else’s sandbox. That is not to say I’m against fanfiction, but its just a personal choice to challenge myself to do something different.

Where else can we find your work?

Bewildering Stories, Magical Realism Online, A Time for Dragons, Spec Fic 2 and 4.

Thanks for agreeing to do this interview Kate!

The Mind Museum: Epic Science

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 8 - 2009ADD COMMENTS

In the introduction of her book “The Canon,” Natalie Angier relates how she harangued her sister for letting the family membership in the local science museum lapse. While Ms. Angier was trying to make a point about how science seems to have lost its cachet and fun-factor in the eyes of the general population, my reaction was a tad more basic:

They had memberships at a science museum? Lucky kids.

Nowadays we have places like the Science Discovery Center, but back when I was a child, the science exhibits I visited were for the most part half-hearted, fading things, like a tired three ring circus just going through the motions of wonder in its final tour.

Luckily that’s beginning to change… and how. While on the hunt for scientists willing to lend a hand to the local Speculative Fiction crowd, I was introduced to the gracious Maria Isabel Garcia, science writer for the Philippine Star’s De Rerum Natura column, author of “Science Solitaire: Essays on Science, Nature and Becoming Human“… and the curator of a little thing called the Mind Museum.

Why does it take me so long to learn about the cool things in life?

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Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On August - 27 - 2009ADD COMMENTS


No, this isn’t going to be about why I chose the name “Rocket Kapre”—that much is simple enough:  I wanted something that was distinctively Spec Fic and distinctively Filipino, and the instant I put “Rocket” and “Kapre” together, the logo sprung into my brain, fully formed. I don’t believe in Fate, but I do believe in Occam’s Razor.

This very first (original) post is going to be about why I’m putting Rocket Kapre up in the first place, why I want to do this—need to do this—before I can do anything else with my life. Those of you allergic to personal reflection or sentiment can rest assured that I will make an effort to keep both out of future posts, but as this is the inaugural post for Rocket Kapre, I feel that I may be allowed a bit of leeway. As saying goes: “ang taong ‘di lumilingon sa pinanggalingan ay ‘di makakarating sa paroroonan.” [One who does not look back at where he/she has come from will never reach his/her destination.]

After I resigned from my position at the law firm, many of my friends and acquaintances assumed that I had done so to pursue my childhood dream to be a writer. While I appreciated their support and good intentions, their assumption was wrong on two levels: first, while I would certainly work on my writing, I was resigning to become an Editor-Publisher, not a writer; and second, becoming a writer had never been a childhood dream. When I was a child I dreamnt of being an indomitable lawyer, or a tireless Ombudsman, or even a valiant policeman (Mom almost had a heart attack). On evenings where I allowed my fancy to really fly free, I allowed myself to believe I could be President of the Philippines.

But a published writer? Never.

It was not that I didn’t love stories—I was a voracious, insatiable reader. When I was a child, I trawled through my Mom’s books indiscriminately, reading everything from religious texts to autobiographies to a very educational parenting guide which dealt with the many tricks children use to manipulate their parents (needless to say, this book was promptly reverse-engineered to suit my nefarious six year old purposes). Once I read my first genre novel though—a secondary world fantasy entitled “The Sleeping Dragon” by Joel Rosenberg—there was no turning back for me:  from that point on, Science Fiction and Fantasy were my drugs of choice.

So why didn’t I dream of being a genre writer? Because when I was a child it simply was not possible.

After all, for young Pao, who could properly be called “genre writers”? David Eddings, J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Brooks, Piers Anthony, Orson Scott Card, Robert Jordan, Tad Williams… these were the authors who filled the SFF store shelves of my childhood, and all the books that bore their embossed names came from the United States (or, if I’d bought the book in Hong Kong, the United Kingdom). Hell, that could be said about most of the non-genre books as well, with locally authored books being lumped together under the aggressively unhelpful category of “Filipiniana” (unless, of course, they were Tagalog Romances). No one was publishing genre novels (I was interested in no other form of fiction) locally, and I had been dead set against migration for as long as I could remember so that was not an option. So I turned my attention to more attainable dreams, such as the Presidency of the Republic, for even as a child I could see that the “genre author” door was closed to me because of where I had been born, and would stay closed because of where I chose to remain.

That was then. Today I say that door is open—and if it isn’t, it’s time we broke it down.

The Internet allows for instantaneous international delivery of content. Computers allow people access to this content when they want it, how they want it. Stories are just another form of content, and if going digital allows us to reach a wider audience, then I say we go for it. We’ve got great stories here, stories that no one else can tell, and I don’t see why we should let little things like geography get in between readers and a great story.

Of course, some writers could care less about the size of their readership, intent instead on crafting that perfect story to embody their artistic vision. Yet wouldn’t it be great if hundreds of thousands of people around the world could share that vision? Wouldn’t it be great if, because enough people bought your books, you could spend your days doing nothing but writing?

Some dream huh? But it’s a dream I want Filipino children (in body and in spirit) to have, and I want to help make those dreams a reality… because it is not the impossibilities that excite me, that keep me awake at night.

It’s the possibilities. And today, those are endless.

Komikon Awards 2009: Nominees and Voting

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On August - 8 - 2009ADD COMMENTS

The Komikon (non-summer edition), which will take place in October 2009, has recently released its list of nominees for this year’s Komikon Awards.

The voting period will be from August 10 to September 20, 2009. While some online voting mechanism is planned, physical voting ballots will be available in the following stores:

  • Comic Odyssey (a) Robinson’s Place, Level 3 Ermita,Manila; (b) Robinson’s Galleria, Level 3 Expansion Mall,Edsa cor. Ortigas
  • Comic Quest (a) Lower Ground Floor Bldg. A, SM Megamall; (b)2nd Floor Main Bldg., SM City North Edsa

Congrats to all the nominees! The list of nominees is a bit long, so you can find it after the cut. Good luck with the Comic Aid award guys… Lots of deserving folk there.

Note: the lists and relevant links can be found here and here.

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Yu, Kenneth

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On August - 8 - 2009ADD COMMENTS

Whether he admits it or not, Kyu (as he is fondly known) is one of the most prominent figures in Philippine Speculative Fiction. A graduate of Xavier School and the Ateneo de Manila, Kyu is a tennis aficionado and literacy advocate. He’s the publisher and editor of the Digest of Philippine Genre Stories, and his fiction has been published in The Town Drunk, the Philippine Graphic and AlienSkin magazine. The PGS blog is a daily staple for anyone interested in Philippine Spec Fic.

Koo, Crystal

Posted by JeremyT On August - 6 - 20091 COMMENT

Crystal Gail Shangkuan Koo was born and bred in the Philippines, where she studied for a BA in English Literature. After spending a year in Beijing studying Mandarin, she went to Sydney for a Master’s degree in Creative Writing. In 2007, she won a Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature for her short story “Benito Salazar’s Last Creation.” Currently an English lecturer at the College of International Education of Hong Kong Baptist University, she has been published online and in print in various international venues. Her play, “The Foundling”, was performed in Hong Kong by Burnt Mango Theatre Productions in 2009. She will have a short story in the anthology “The Dragon and the Stars” coming out in 2010 from DAW books.

Locus Reviews PSFIV and A Time for Dragons

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On August - 4 - 2009ADD COMMENTS


The July 2009 issue of Locus, the U.S. magazine of the science fiction and fantasy field, carried a pleasant surprise for fans of Philippine speculative fiction: a review of not one, but two local anthologies, namely “Philippine Speculative Fiction IV” and “A Time for Dragons” by Rich Horton.

The two reviews are not available online, but with the help of relatives I was able to order a copy (which became a less arduous  task when I called off the bookstore hunt after I learned that Locus wasn’t being sold in brick-and-mortar stores @_@). I just got my hands on it this weekend and thought I’d share some of the contents of the review, given the fact that an issue of Locus can be a tad difficult to chase down.

In his dual review, Mr. Horton stated that “[i]n feel these two books are entirely consistent with similar products from the American and English small press” and the fact that many stories are set in the Philippines makes these stories “just unfamiliar enough to most readers to pique additional interest.”

Mr. Horton went on to name a few of his favorites from each anthology, which I’ll list here along with any comment he might have had that didn’t involve a summary of the story. Note that some of the praise he had for these stories was tempered by less positive comments, usually having to do with predictability, but since he did cite them as the best stories, I’m probably safe in assuming that the good he saw in each outweighed the bad.

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Fantastic Filipinos on Deviantart

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 30 - 2009ADD COMMENTS

If I’d had access to deviantart and a scanner in my high school days, I think it might have taken me more than four years to graduate: the heady mix of art, peer review and community (with a smattering of e-commerce opportunities) could have jealously devoured my time, free and otherwise.

It can be tough to find Filipino artists, so I thought I’d list a few of my favorites, as compiled from posts on the Bahay Talinhaga blog here and here.

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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.