Recent Scheherazade’s Facade Reviews (December 2012)

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 18 - 2012

I saw a few new reviews of Scheherazade’s Facade–the anthology of gender bending stories that I’m a part of–this week (not including the ones on Goodreads), so I’m linking to them here, to encourage readers to give the anthology a try.

The first review comes from Jarla Tangh and, if you don’t mind some spoilers, it provides brief, stylized, summaries for each of the stories in the book.

The second review is from Kellan Sparver, with what is now my favorite one-line review for one of my stories ever: Stories I found of special mention: …  ”Kambal Kulam”, by Paolo Chikiamco, for being pure crack-fic.” Bonus points: The quote that starts the review comes from my story as well. Woo hoo!


BLTXXX: Better Living Through Xeroxography, XMas 2012 Edition

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 4 - 2012


Just in time for your Christmas needs, December 7 is the third installment of the semi-annual small press expo Better Living Through Xeroxography! It’s still at Ilyong’s, like the previous events, so if you’re interested in viewing/purchasing/sampling the independent and DIY publishing scene, head on over.

“Talking to Juanito” by Mia Tijam at Bewildering Stories

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 26 - 2012

Our good friend Mia Tijam has a new piece of fiction up on “Bewildering Stories“, for their 504th issue. “Talking to Juanito” told from the perspective of a child, but it is not a children’s story– or, rather, the material may not be for children. In another sense though, it *is* a children’s story because it deals with their fused awareness of the real and the imagined, as well as the rules imposed by adults so different as to seem to be from another species. For those who enjoy stories where the line between real and unreal is blurred, this one may be for you.

The editors of Bewildering Stories had this to say about it:

The story mingles languages very effectively. The subordinating conjunction ta is essential: it means “because, and it’s a bad thing…” And the interjection Ta… ta… recurs frequently. Readers can imagine the “lolas” muttering darkly, “Bad… very bad.”

Signing Event: Leinil Yu and Gerry Alanguilan at Comic Odyssey

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 23 - 2012

From Komix 101:

Team INDESTRUCTIBLE: Leinil Yu and Gerry Alanguilan will signing at Comic Odyssey on November 24, 2 to 5 pm. Be there for the launch of Indestructible Hulk #1, written by Mark Waid. Don’t be late… they don’t like it when you’re late! GGRRRAAAHHH!!!

Flipreads Black Friday Sale

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 22 - 2012

To coincide with the massive sales taking place in the United States for Black Friday, is having a Black Friday Sale of their own from today, November 22, to November 25. They’ve got a lot of ebooks going on sale that will be of interest to Rocket Kapre readers, ranging from the Philippine Speculative Fiction series, to U.P. non-fiction titles, to YA titles from Rocket Kapre contributors such as Eliza Victoria and Raissa Falgui. Go check it out!

Charles Tan Interview at Read in a Single Sitting

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 20 - 2012

The interview came out weeks ago when I didn’t have time to post about it, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point you all to an interview with Charles Tan over at the Read in a Single Sitting blog. In the interview, Charles talks about why he put together Lauriat, his anthology of Filipino-Chinese Speculative Fiction (which contains my story, “The Captain’s Nephew”.) Give the interview — and the anthology — a read, if you haven’t already.

Mini-Komiks Convention: Read-Lit District

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 14 - 2012

As part of Read Lit District, the 3rd Philippine International Literary Festival, a few select komiks will be sold at the 3rd floor of the Ayala Museum tomorrow, November 15, from 6-8 in the evening. The event will also serve as the launch of Crime Fighting Call Center Agents book 3. Check it out if you;re in the Makati area.

Launch: “Scheherazade’s Facade” anthology now available digitally

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 7 - 2012

Scheherazade’s Facade, the U.S. anthology of gender-bending/cross-dressing/transformation spec fic that I’m a part of, is now out in digital form. You may remember it from the successful Kickstarter or the positive Publisher’s Weekly review it received (where my story “Kambal Kulam” got mentioned, woohoo!). It’s a great anthology, a different type of anthology, and I hope you all give it a try.

Contributors include Tanith Lee(!), Sarah Rees Brennan, and Aliette de Bodard, and it’s edited by renowned reviewer (and now renowned editor?) Michael M. Jones. The print copies will arrive in stores (in the U.S. I assume) soon, but for now you can find it at these fine establishments:

As further incentive, here’s an excerpt from my story in the anthology, “Kambal Kulam.” It takes place in a world much like our own, except that sorcery is common enough that one can make a living from the curse-protection racket. “Kambal Kulam” is about desperate sorcerers, a Quiapo fortuneteller, and why you should never assume that a curse is meant to kill…

Read the rest of this entry »

Trese 5 Dual Launch

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 6 - 2012

While more than 500 lucky readers were able to pick up copies of the newest Trese volume (number 5)  at the recent October Komikon, the book will also soon be available at all National Book Store, Power Books and Bestsellers outlets with an exclusive dustcover by Kajo Baldisimo. To celebrate this, as they did last year, the Trese crew will have a book launch — but this time they will have two book launches: one in Bestsellers Galleria this Saturday, and the next for our friends in the south of the Metro, at the NBS at Alabang Town Center on November 24.

I recently interviewed Budjette Tan about Trese 5, and I’ll put that interview up tomorrow so be sure to check back. Until then, here’s that dustcover I mentioned. Shiny!

Komiks Review: Manila Accounts 1081: Good Criminals Wear White #1

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 31 - 2012

Let me get this out of the way first: Manila Accounts 1081: Good Criminals Wear White #1 [Wan Mañanita, Aaron Felizmenio, Alyssa Mortega, RH Quilantang], is worth your money. It stands beside Crime Fighting Call Center Agents and Tatsulok: A Vision of Dust as one of the most promising new komik properties I’ve seen in the past two years.

That being said, there are quite a few nits I have to pick, but I think that those flaws jab at me more because the concept (or what I’ve seen of it so far) is so novel and exciting that I want the execution to match it.

But we’ll get to that later. Let’s start with the good stuff. Issue #1 has two stories, GCWW, and the Coup d’etat  backup story. There isn’t as much to say about the latter, except for the fact that I love the idea of L.I.H.I.M., but I wish that Quilantang had been as rigorous with his interior artwork as he was with his cover art — the art in Coup d’etat is serviceable, but not in the same league as his beautiful line art for the cover.

[Spoiler warning.]

The art is the most striking thing about GCWW. At its best — during the scenes focused on the thieves — the characters are expressive and rendered with personality, and the soft inks give the art an overall style that fits well with the heist genre (or maybe I’ve just been reading too much Darwyn Cooke). The choice of “camera angles” for the panels also adds a cinematic flair to the presentation–the best example of this is when the thieves leave their meeting room.

Another big plus is the setting — it’s no secret that I’m an alternative history fan,  and I’m looking forward to seeing how GCWW explores the idea of a Martial Law that has an intelligence agency that trains superheroes. That hybrid nature in itself — heist + superheroes — is appealing to me, but even without that fusion, I’m itching to read a komik set in the Martial Law days. Arre’s “Martial Law Babies” aside, I don’t know of many komiks that take place in that era, much less one that mixes in speculative elements. But it’s a good choice for a komik where the protagonists are thieves–there is no other point in time, post-independence, wherein being a criminal could easily be seen as something virtuous. The use of faux newspaper articles from the period as exposition also helps underscore the historical aspect of this alternative history.

For a short comic, the issue managed to create more than its fair share of “moments”:  the reveal of the heist’s target, the “they’re past curfew” scene, and the very last image, are all moments that spur a reader to talk about this comic.

Okay, now for the stuff that didn’t work for me.

While the story has its moments, the script is rather raw. There’s a certain forced quality to the dialogue that permeates many of the scenes — not bad, per se, but awkward. It’s not much of an issue in the superhero scenes — we’re used to a certain pomp and bombast amongst masks — but it hurts the scenes with the protagonists, because we expect their banter to sound like the easy and familiar jousting of old friends. The awkwardness extends to the Articles as well.

I’ve already praised the art, but while it excels in the scenes focused on the thieves, the art gets muddled during the superhero fight scenes, with some not-ideal angle and shading choices. (The one exception was the “splash” page, no pun intended.) The death scene, in particular, would have had more of an impact if it were more readily apparent what had happened, and who the parties involved were (we can’t see the face of the victim, and the attacker came from nowhere and his chevron was obscured).

Speaking of the death, I found Anthony’s reaction to that to be a bit incoherent — he seems as shocked as the others in one panel, but in the next panel he seems rather blasé about the whole thing. (“Man…”)

Finally, for a first issue, GCWW #1 doesn’t really give us a good handle on our protagonists–we know their goal, and their costume, but not their motivation, nor their backgrounds, nor their abilities, nor of any threat primarily aimed at them. We actually get a bit more of that in the free comic book day issue, but I hadn’t read that before I picked up issue #1, and I don’t think I’ll be the only one. It’s fine not to show the reader everything, but if I didn’t have a visceral reaction to “martial law oppression”, I wouldn’t care what happened to this gang of thieves.

In sum, again, Manila Accounts 1081: Good Criminals Wear White #1 is worth your money. It’s a gem, but don’t except a cut and polished diamond ready for mounting. However, even in its raw and unprocessed form, there’s something mesmerizing about it. Here’s hoping for more.



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.