PGS Online: “Stars” by Yvette Tan

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On August - 5 - 2011

Looking for some weekend reading? The newest story on Philippine Genre Stories Online is “Stars” by the co-editor of the latest batch of stories, the inimitable Yvette Tan (site), author of “Waking the Dead”. The other stories in this set are “The Confessional” by Cyan Abad-Jugo ,“Sweet” by Marguerite Alcazaren de Leon and “Malvar” by yours truly.

The First Filipino Reader Conference

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On August - 4 - 2011

Avid readers used to be seen as engaging in an unhealthy form of withdrawal. A few people still see things that way, sadly (and often mistakenly), but the advent of the Internet has opened up a grand new vista for social interaction amongst readers. It’s a frontier that people are only beginning to explore, but whether this is a sea change in how people read, or simply a revival of the Book Club, there are few things more enjoyable for a book lover than engaging with other people who are passionate about books.

On that note, the first ever Filipino Reader Conference will take place during the Manila International Book Fair, and the organizers plan to explore the topic of social reading, and discuss the hows, whys, and best practices of book bloggers and book clubs. See this link for the schedule and speakers, and follow PinoyReaderCon on Twitter for updates.

EDIT: And here’s the Official Site.

Week 2: Sandaang Araw ng Komiks (100 Days of Komiks)

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On August - 2 - 2011


The Sandaang Araw ng Komiks (100 Days of Komiks) event entered its second month yesterday, and the focus has shifted from personal creations (i.e. creators plugging their own works) to celebrating the works of other creators. Here are the guidelines for August, as per Joanah Tinio Calingo:

For the month of August, all posts will be about:

a)       Komiks artists and authors (other than your self).  Whether they’re still active or not.  It can be in a form of trivia, or  interviews (not necessarily done by you), or link to their sites.  Posters are encouraged to promote komiks artsts outside their own group (pero pwede pa rin na kagrupo kung artist posts lang)

b)       Other existing komiks.  If you have reviews, or recommendations, now is the time to post it.  It can also be in a form of links to an image of the cover or the pages. Titles for recommendations and reviews, should of course, be still available  in the shops or cons, or online (or else where where people can get them, like kindle).  Also, recommendations should be for titles outside your own comic group.

c)   The post can also be a fan art of any local komiks character (this can also be a form of recommendation for existing titles).

The goal for August is to introduce komiks artists (veterans and newbies, mainstream and indie) and their works to other people, and to your circle (since everybody in your circle already knows that you are making komiks).

This is also a chance to know other artists, their works and their contributions.  And also, to introduce the new gen artists to komiks readers.  It’s also a heads-up if you’re going to local komiks events.  At least alam niyo na kung sino sila.

Format –> 100 Araw ng Komiks: (post/link/etc.)

[Logo c/o Rommel Estanislao ]

Charles Tan Nominated for World Fantasy Award

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On August - 1 - 2011

Philippine speculative fiction writer and advocate Charles Tan has been nominated in the Special Award, Non-Professional category of the 2011 World Fantasy Awards for his tireless work at his blog, Bibliophile Stalker. Congratulations to Charles and we wish him the best of luck (and hope that he can make it to the ceremony)!

Flipside Ebook Publishing Webinar

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 27 - 2011

Flipside Digital Content, the Philippine company responsible for publishing books such as Carljoe Javier’s “Geek Tragedies” and–through their Flipside Komix imprint–komiks titles such as Kubori Kikiam, Tabi Po and The Long Weekend, will be holding a free Webinar on Ebook Publishing for those who want to learn more about the business (or, to be more specific, to learn more about how Flipside conducts its business, for those who may be interested in publishing with them) at 10:00 pm tomorrow, July 28. The speaker will be Anthony de Luna, Flipside CEO, and he’ll talk about the process of getting your manuscript ready for digital publishing, and an overview of Flipside’s operations. I’ve heard good things about Flipside from its authors, so prose writers and comics creators may want to hear what the company has to say. If so, be sure to register at the webinar site, or head there anyway to view the video overview of the webinar. Again, it’s free, and the lecture should only take thirty minutes, so it’s worth a shot.

Amazon’s “The Big Deal” Sale: Genre Books

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 22 - 2011

One of the advantages to owning a Kindle which I hadn’t anticipated is the fact that Amazon’s Kindle Store seems to go on sale with delicious regularity, and genre books tend to be well represented. Currently, Amazon is holding a sale it’s calling “A Big Deal“, and this ends on July 27. As with the previous “Sunshine Deals” sale, I trawled through the 900+ books on sale and picked out titles that seem to fall within the speculative fiction genre, or which would be of interest to the spec fic fan. (Quite a few of the Smart Pop YA series’ are on sale.) Pyr Books is once again participating, and there are a lot of the Classics+Supernatural mash-up books on sale as well. I’ll start with the books I’ve heard good things about, but first let me mention a book that isn’t part of the Big Deal but is on sale nevertheless–Yukikaze, from Haikasoru.

Now, on with the spending show!

Zoo City by Lauren Beukes

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack, The (Burton & Swinburne) by Mark Hodder

Hard Spell: An Occult Crimes Unit Investigation (Angry Robot) by Justin Gustainis

Hunter’s Run by Gardner Dozois, George R. R. Martin and Daniel Abraham

Blood of Ambrose by James Enge

Archimedes to Hawking : Laws of Science and the Great Minds Behind Them by Clifford Pickover

The Anime Art of Hayao Miyazaki by Dani Cavallaro

Fast Forward 1: Future Fiction from the Cutting Edge by Lou Anders, Kage Baker, Stephen Baxter and Elizabeth Bear

The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games by Michael J. Tresca

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Ian Rosales Casocot Reviews “Waking the Dead”

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 21 - 2011

Ian Rosales Casocot, author of the recently released “Heartbreak & Magic” short story collection, has a very positive review of Yvette Tan’s “Waking the Dead” up on his blog. You can read it here. Always good to see reviews of local spec fic–there haven’t been that many this year. If you review/find a review of a work of Philippine spec fic, let me know and I’ll link up to it here.

Flipside Komix (an imprint of Flipside Digital Content, a leading independent publisher of e-books) has an ongoing promotion where you can get free Kindle editions of three of their titles: Kubori Kikiam, Tabi Po and The Long Weekend.

You’ll recall “Tabi Po” from my recent interview with creator Mervin Malonzo; Kubori Kimiam is an adult humor strip which is a perennial Komikon Awards nominee; “The Long Weekend” is a a hundred-page road movie romantic erotic komix novella by outspoken writer and critic, Adam David. Here’s what you need to do to get your free komiks, copy-pasted from the Flipside Komix Facebook page:

Get Kindle editions of three Pinoy digitals Kubori Kikiam, Tabi Po and The Long Weekend for FREE!

1. Like Flipside Komix.

2. Share a link to this note on your wall.

3.Tell us what device you have on our wall.

4. Download the Kindle app for your device and create an Amazon account.

5. PM us your email address for your account. Email your amazon account email address to jessa.vicente<at>flipsideconte?, but please state your device on the wall of the Flipside Komix Facebook page

6. We’ll send your FREE gift Kindle copies of these three awesome Pinoy eKomix for your device.

Good until end of July only. ;)

“Malvar” by Paolo Chikiamco on PGS Online

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 18 - 2011

It’s been a year or so since I last had a new story available online, so I’m pleased to announce that my story “Malvar” has been published at PGS Online. It’s an alternative history story that deals with the consequences of a curse fueled by the Bataan Death March, and delves into the muddy border between vengeance and heroism. It was a tough story to write – I don’t think any story of mine has gone through so many revisions – but I hope the end product manages to entertain, or at least divert. This is the third in a set of four being co-edited by publisher Kenneth Yu and Yvette Tan, and I’d like to thank them for their feedback and support. Let me know what you think about the story, either here or at PGS. Thanks for reading!

Komik Review: Filipino Heroes League, Book 1

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 5 - 2011

Paolo Fabregas’ “Filipino Heroes League” is the latest Visprint acquisition from the world of independent komiks. The back copy does a good job of describing the central concept of the work: “Undermanned and under-funded, the Filipino Heroes League does what it can to fight against injustice. It’s tough being a superhero, but it’s even tougher being a third-world superhero.” This low budget angle immediately sets it apart from the more traditional take on super heroes found in komiks such as “Bayan Knights“, as does the fact that FHL is not meant to be a launching pad for a universe of spin-offs, a fact which allows it to concentrate on telling a more focused story.

On a thematic level, the story benefits from this. As Gerry Alanguilan points out in his blurb, (referencing his blog post on “The Difficulty of Doing Superheroes in the Philippines“) our country’s socio-economic reality means that simply transposing the Marvel/DC super-heroic paradigm to the Philippines stretches the bounds of credulity. FHL deals with this issue multiple ways, the most effective of which is the idea that superheroes simply can’t make a living here, so most become “Overseas Workers”, either because of the money or because the ideal of success for many, even superheroes, is to be seen as having “made it” in America. Another tactic FHL employs is to show how poor the remaining local heroes are–this would have been more effective, however, if it was made more clear why these heroes were unable to use their celebrity status to acquire higher levels of income. (Very, very few celebrities in the Philippines are poor, even those without any talents to speak of.) Non-compliance with a law against secret identities may help explain this (ala Spider-Man post One More Day) but without more in the way of context, we’re left guessing.

Nevertheless, the dirt poor status of (most of) our heroes leads to another of the book’s strengths: let’s call it the tragicomedy of poverty.  The image of Kidlat Kid and Invisiboy on the pedicab at the back of the cover (which, to my mind, should have been the front) encapsulates the style of FHL’s humor best. Other winning scenes include the revelation of the real FHL headquarters, the obsolete supercomputer, and the last line of dialogue during the Payatas recruitment. The book’s light hearted sense of humor is its best quality, but not its sole selling point.

FHL is paced well–with the exception of the superhero staple of “briefings in front of the big screen”, which go on for too long–and the action scenes are, in general, well choreographed. Add a vague, yet unambiguous, narrative conflict, and you get a comic that is an enjoyable and easy read, in spite of its flaws.

[Spoilers from here on out.]

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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.