RK Recommends: Horn by Peter M. Ball

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 22 - 2011

My review of “Horn” by Peter M. Ball (Twelfth Planet Press) is up on Fantasy Faction. I enjoyed the novella, even if I had a few issues with it, and it’s well worth the read if you’re interested in something darker than your usual urban fantasy fare, with a distinct heroine and a dash of subversion. Here’s an excerpt:

Unicorns. They’re a staple of the fantasy genre, and while there are many works that treat the unicorn with respect, they are also regularly dismissed in popular culture as being representative of the flighty, whimsical, and escapist character that, in the eyes of opponents of the genre, make it possible to take fantasy seriously. Or, as the tongue-in-cheek jacket copy of “Zombies vs. Unicorns” puts it: “Unicorns are sparkly and pastel and fart rainbows.” (An awareness of why it can be hard to write good unicorn stories is part of what makes that anthology so much fun.) Unicorns, the argument would go, belong with fairy godmothers and magic spindles and princes-turned-into-frogs, the objects of fairy tales which we put aside along with the rest of our childish things, once we grow up, once we become adults and the world loses its luster, the wonder in our souls replaced by a gnawing cynicism…

But what if we take the concept of the unicorn, and re-imagine it within the confines of the “adult” world, a seedy world of crime and debauchery, where innocence is a technicality and the only happy endings belong to the man with the gun? What it we take a unicorn, and place it into a piece of noir fiction?

You can read the full review here.

Reminder: Komikon 2011 is Tomorrow

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 18 - 2011

Lest anyone forget, the annual Philippine Comic/Komiks Convention, or Komikon, will be held tomorrow, Saturday, from 10AM to 7PM at the Bayanihan Center in Pasig (across Pioneer Supermarket).  Don’t miss out on the cornucopia of indie comic offerings, not to mention what may be your only chance to get a physical copy of High Society. I’ll be at the Flipside Digital Content booth with less than a hundred copies of High Society ready to sell, and I might have to leave at around 5PM so that’s your window of opportunity.  My partner in crime, the amazing Hannah Buena, will be at the con as well, but–being as in demand as she is–she’ll be flitting from booth to booth, so your best time to get your copies signed by Hannah will be sometime after lunch, maybe around 3PM.

Beneath the cut is a map of the venue–Flipside is at E-31 to E-32, so that’s where I’ll be. Looking forward to seeing everyone there! (And here’s a map to the Bayanihan Center if you need directions.) And, of course, there will be many other komiks at the con, most of which are only available during conventions. Macoy has a partial list and Flipgeeks has some previews as does the 100 Araw ng Komiks Facebook community.

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PSF6 Review: Carpaccio (or, Repentance as a Meat Recipe) by Arlynn Despi

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 17 - 2011

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.

—Ugly title.

I’m probably not the ideal reader for this story, given that my appreciation for the fine art of cooking is limited to my enthusiastic consumption of its more fattening products.

—-Haha dude, the unisex battle with the gut (and the thunder thighs and the flabby arms) is like the law of gravity especially when you hit the 30’s.

[Pao: Bah, I knew I should have pigged out more in 2008…]

Hahahaha! Man you just crack me up!

Nevertheless, I have to say that this being the first story I’ve ever read from Despi, I’m looking forward to reading more from her. She’s skilled at slipping the appropriate details into a descriptive sentence, to make a setting more concrete.

Yeah, it did make me initially hungry then it made me feel like I was watching a dragging cooking show because of these details. And because of the latter, the story lost its gruesome effect, that macabre effect in delicious cannibalism. C’mon, I wanted it to make feel “Yuuuuuuuuck…Sarap!” Just the way every time I watch Hannibal Lecter eating brain makes me want to eat Isaw or Ox Brain or Sisig.

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High Society News: Giveaway, Komikon, iTunes, Reviews

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 15 - 2011

Bonus Art from "High Society" artist Hannah Buena


Some news on the High Society front: first off, the comic is part of the Kindle Komix Krazy giveaway of Flipreads. You can click the link for more detailed  instructions, but basically all you need to do is send in a picture of yourself using a Kindle or a Kindle App, write a bit about your love of local comics, and you’ll get High Society on the Kindle for free. If you’d rather pay for your copy–and hey, I certainly wouldn’t turn that down–High Society is also currently going for a reduced price of $0.99 (US price) for a limited time.

Edit: If you’re reading this before November 18, Tina is also giving out a free Kindle copy of High Society to someone who comments on her review of the comic.

If you’d rather get your copies from the iTunes store,you can get your copy here. As I also mentioned yesterday, you can also get an ePub or PDF copy from Flipreads, the new Philippine digital bookstore, here.

Of course, there are also readers who’d prefer a physical copy of High Society (whether instead of or in addition to the digital one), and if so, do pass by the Flipside table at this Saturday’s (November 19) annual Komikon, at the Bayanihan Center in Pasig. We’ll be selling a limited number of photocopied versions of High Society, and Hannah and I should both be at the table at some point (probably not for the whole day) for anyone who wants signed copies. And hey, you know what? If you bring your digital copy of High Society on your ereading device (Kindle, iDevice, Android, Laptop, etc.) I’ll sell you the physical copy at a discounted price.

For prospective readers still on the fence about whether or not High Society is for them, you can check out reviews from some of the country’s most popular komiks review sites: Flipgeeks has comments from Norby Ela and Earl Maghirang; Mark Rosario, on the other hand, reviews High Society at Planet Markus.

Edit: We’ve also begun to receive reviews from intrepid book bloggers, such as Tina over at One More Page, one of the few readers who’ve seen both the old and new versions of “High Society”–lucky for us, she liked both versions.

Launch: FlipReads.com, Philippine Digital Bookstore

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 14 - 2011

Flipside Digital, my publisher for “High Society“, has just launched what I think is the first dedicated digital bookstore in the country. You can now buy a copy of “High Society” in ePUB format or screen-optimized PDF e-book format at Flipreads.com, as well as other Flipside Digital titles from the likes of Manix Abrera, Tweet Sering, Carljoe Javier, Ian Rosales Casocot, and Charlson Ong. Here’s the press release from the event:

Filipinos can now have easier access to eBooks through the online eBookstore,  Flipreads.com. Likewise, authors and publishers can now distribute their eBooks more widely and securely through the same website, which was launched on November 11 2011 from 4-7PM at the Celebrity Sports Club Grand Ballroom.

Flipreads.com is owned and developed by Flipside Publishing Services, a sister company of Flipside Digital Content. Flipside Digital Content, previously just a conversion house catering to four of the top six international publishers, is responsible for publishing and co-publishing more than 70 Filipino and Asian eBooks on Amazon, Apple iBookstore, and Barnes and Noble just in its first six months of operation. Most of these international eBookstores, however, are not available to the local populace. Filipinos can only buy from Amazon, albeit with an added cost of $2 per book.

Now, Flipside is making eBooks more accessible especially for Filipinos through Flipreads.com. Readers can download eBooks onto their Apple or Android devices. They can even download it onto their PCs or Macs. Whereas before, Filipinos could only buy eBooks legitimately if they had credit cards, but with Flipreads, they may use other payment gateways such as CashSense and, in the near future, Globe GCash, and Smart Money. Flipreads also serves as a secure distribution platform for Filipino publishers, authors, and other
content providers. Therefore, publishers can now sell their eBooks securely through Flipreads.com.

Authors can also opt to independently publish their titles through the site. Other institutions and entities can also distribute their digital materials safely through Flipreads. eBooks distributed through Flipreads can be made secure through the use of Adobe Content Server’s DRM. DRM stands for Digital Rights Management and is the means by which eBooks are protected from casual piracy. Alternatively, authors and publishers may choose to distribute their eBooks for free through the Flipreads site.Flipreads also hopes to provide a venue to publishers and authors to bring previously out-of-print titles back into circulation. Since everything is online, these titles will also be available to an international market.

For more information, email business@flipreads.com or call +632-5709255 or +63917-6206244

Bert Lopez at Komikon

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 12 - 2011

Gerry Alanguilan has a post about the plight of comic artist Bert Lopez, who was recently featured on “Wish Ko Lang”. Head over there to read the details and watch the videos, but suffice it to say that it would be good to pass by Mr. Lopez’s table at the Komikon this coming Saturday, November 19.


PSF6 Review: “Ashland” by Elyss Punsalan

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 10 - 2011

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.

This is probably my favorite story in this volume of PSF6. “Ashland” is the story of a widow who is assigned to monitor an area where a strange type of ash falls, an ash that consumes sound. We’re never quite sure if this is a place on Earth or beyond it, but that just heightens the feeling of isolation that is essential to the story.

Really? I thought it was about ash. I’m kidding! I’m kidding! This is a good example of a story that is anchored on setting.

What I like the most about “Ashland” is how well the core concept of the story pulls all the other aspects of the story together. One of the things that distinguishes the best fiction from real life is the ability to create a sort of unity to events, a commonality of theme: as you might guess from the synopsis, most of “Ashland” revolves around sound, both its presence and its absence.

—- Aaaaw Counsel you’re getting poetic right there— the absence that is a presence and vice versa—- But yeah, I like the attempt of this story on deconstructing “sound”.

[Pao: Just goes to show how far I usually am from "poetic" if my using that kind of juxtaposition merits an "Aaaaw" ^_^]

— Hahahaha!

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Animated Film: Andong Agimat: Kanya ang Kalye

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 29 - 2011

Those of you who’ve read Arnold Arre’s “Ang Mundo ni Andong Agimat” should get a kick out of this 4-minute animated film, featuring Andong Agimat going up against a pickpocket (yeah, you know that isn’t going to last much longer than four minutes). For those unfamiliar with Andong Agimat, or those who might want more background information about why Arre made the film, go read the description of the video on youtube.

Call for Submissions: Bangungot Horror Film Festival 2011

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 20 - 2011

Personally, my idea of a horror film is the Star Wars Blu-Ray, but for those more keyed into the horror aesthetic, you may want to give this a shot: the Bangungot Horror Film Festival is looking for 10-15 minute videos (no limit to the number of entries) for a showcase of indie films on November 11, 2011. They’re especially on the look out for films featuring Philippine folklore, which places this right up the alley of most Rocket Kapre readers. Contact details are on the poster, so give it a go if you’re cinematically inclined.

Just go easy on the “Nooooo”s, okay?

[Image from Kakatakutan]

Event: Zombiethon 2011

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 19 - 2011

Being a lazy bum, I never could understand the fascination with running. But shambling? I totally get that.

Apparently, I’m not alone. On October 30, zombie fan organization “Dead Zone” will be holding a Zombiethon in Makati. Prizes await the undead with the best (by which I assume is meant the “ugliest”) looking outfit, so if you’re looking to get your shamble on, mark the date!

(Now, if only someone would organize a simultaneous “Plant-a-thon”, we’d really be cooking with fire…)

[Image via Geekmatic]



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.