Future of the Book Conference 2010: Day Two Videos

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 20 - 2010


The first Future of the Book conference was held last week at the UP-Ayala Technohub in Quezon City (here’s a great overview of the conference at Coffeespoons), which brought together publishers, writers, teachers, readers – and yes, even lawyers – to discuss the changing aspects of publishing throughout the world, and in the Philippines in particular. I was there on the second day, to talk about how independent publishers can thrive in the digital age, and I managed to take videos of a few of the other speakers as well.

A few caveats though: First, the latter half of the footage of Charles Tan’s talk has atrocious video quality – my Vado is quirky that way apparently – but the audio is still good, so I uploaded it because it was a great talk, and you can at least still listen to it (or indulge in Max Headroom nostalgia by watching it).

The second caveat is that because of time constraints, a few of the speeches had to be rushed or cut short. After the videos, I’ll have the full text of my speech and links to a few others.

I’d like to congratulate the conference organizers for a successful conference, and I hope we can all work together to maximize the benefits of this new world of publishing for all interested parties. But I swear to God, the next time I hear someone say Filipinos don’t have a reading culture, I’m shoving a textbook up his ass…

And now, the videos!

First up is Charles Tan, (Bibliophile Stalker) prolific blogger and Philippine Spec Fic advocate, on the topic of the consumer experience in the age of ebooks.

More after the cut

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Book Launch: Kobayashi Maru of Love

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 2 - 2010

Master scribe of all things geek related, Carljoe Javier (author of “And the Geek Shall Inherit the Earth”), is set to launch his new book – The Kobayashi Maru of Love – on September 6, 2010. 8 pm @ Ilyong’s. Project 4. Kalantiaw St., Cubao, Q.C. For those who don’t recognize the Star Trek reference (and yes, there are geeks who don’t know their Trek, like me), here’s s link to an explanation of what Kobayashi Maru usually refers to.


Pinoy Pop Launch

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 1 - 2010


Guess who has a new day job? With Carljoe taking over the reigns at Metakritiko, the Philippine Online Chronicles decided to give me an entirely new section to edit, which just launched today. It’s called Pinoy Pop, and while I could try to explain what that means here (or what I’ve decided it means at least), that’d be a waste of the handy introductory column I made. Suffice it to say it’ll be covering a lot of stuff that Rocket Kapre readers will find interesting – for instance,would you like a rundown of the promotions and freebies for today’s Free Comic Book Day? You can find that here.

Also, with the release of Iron Man 2 yesterday, Free Comic Book Day today, and I-will-be-your-hero-if-you-vote-for-me Day next week, we’ll be doing a lot of superhero focused articles in the coming week (let’s call it Spandex Week), with articles about their origins, rationale, and how Filipinos relate to them. We’ve also got some thoughts on the use of armor in science fiction and fantasy, as well as a review of superhero komik Bayan Knights.

I’ve got a few familiar Spec Fic writers on the team as well -  Eliza Victoria will be contributing an article on her introduction (initiation?) into tabletop gaming, Carljoe will be contributing articles on comics and an Iron Man 2 review, and Adam David will be doing komiks reviews. Speaking of komiks, I’ll also have an interview with the much respected Mr. Gerry Alanguilan, on the need for komiks criticism, while komiks creator Macoy gives us a perspective of life at the indie tables during the Summer Komikon.

I’m excited to be working with these wonderful individuals, and covering the fantastic, fun, geeky stuff we all know and love. I hope you can make us a part of your daily reading habit. ^_^ And please, if you have a story you think we should be covering, do let us know!

Re-Establishing the Lines: Interview with Carljoe Javier (Part 2)

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On March - 26 - 2010

CarljoeCarljoe Javier is the author of “And the Geek Shall Inherit the Earth“ (he also did a recent guest post for the site), and an avowed geek whose particular background and history gives him a unique view of life and geekdom in the Philippines. We published the first part of the interview a while back–here’s part two, where we talk about his life as a writer and a critic.

Let’s talk about your own writing now. How did “And the Geek Shall Inherit the Earth” come about?

The first essays I wrote in the book were written for MA classes in nonfiction that I was taking under Prof. Jing Hidalgo. Based on that output, she asked me if I could submit a manuscript to Milfores, which is owned and run by her husband, Antonio Hidalgo. It took me a while to piece it together, but as I was writing it became clear that the things I was writing about all had to do with some type or other of geekiness. So that’s when I had a unifying element, and I came up with the title after I finished the manuscript.

You had a prior draft of the book that was lost due to a computer virus. How did you cope? What were the essays that were lost?

How did I cope? Well, first off I switched to Mac (Hello, Apple Marketing execs, are you out there? I’m endorsing you right now. please give me free stuff. Please.) Then I kind of avoided the book for a while. Some of the finished essays had been presented in classes, or sent out, so I was able to recover those. But I lost a lot and I felt bad about it so I wrote some other stuff or a while. I don’t know what it is thought, maybe selective memory, but at the moment I can’t remember what those essays were about anymore. Then, since I’d promised Milflores a manuscript I had to get back to it, so I finished by writing lots of new material. It’s kind of a blessing in that I think that the essays in the book are better than the ones that I lost.

What was it like, the first time you entered a bookshop and saw your book on the shelf?

The first time I got a copy of my book I was in the middle of the shooting of a webseries that I was trying to make. It didn’t really mean too much at the time, since I was focused on directing and stuff. But a few weeks later, we had a launch, and that’s when it really sank in. And I’d go to bookstores and see my book on the same rack as Nick Joaquin and F. Sionil Jose, Stevan Javellana and I thought, wow, I was just goofing when I was writing, but this is something really meaningful.

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Demons of the New Year is now live

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On March - 24 - 2010


The latest online spec fic anthology from Estranghero Press has now gone live. Go check it out! From the site:

These are the Filipino horrors: the garden-variety demons from hell with plastic forks and spongy tails, the ones in your head that come out to play at midnight, the spirits that make up most of your lives like a Frankenstein monster. We’re letting out all of these things that haunt our days in 2010.

“Demons of the New Year: Horror from the Philippines, edited by Joseph Nacino & Karl de Mesa” is published electronically to make this collection of stories available to a wider international audience. Through this anthology we will be able to show the world that the Filipino writer can create horrors that can scare with the best of them.

RRT: Fiction Without the Speculation

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On March - 9 - 2010

It’s officially Palanca Awards season again, writers from all genres and walks of life are  gearing up for two months of feverish writing (or hand-wringing). While works of speculative fiction can and have won the Palanca, it’s hard to shake the impression that the prestigious body (and ever changing panel of judges) is more receptive to stories of love lost and regained, when the method of “regaining” that love doesn’t involve the dark art of necromancy. Thinking about a submission for the Palanca Awards is about the only time I even consider writing a story without speculative elements, and it’s always been difficult for me to shift gears. With the 2010 awards opening for submissions this month, I became curious as to how other speculative fiction writers go about writing non-specfic pieces–which meant I finally had an excuse to start the second Rocket Round Table:

How different is your experience writing a story without speculative fiction elements, as opposed to writing Spec Fic?

Yeah, I know, it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue does it? On to the answers then, and many thanks to the authors who found the time to sate my curiosity.

RRT2 Slider_s


==Marianne is the author of several short story collections, and has been a finalist for the Philippines’ National Book Award. She teaches creative writing for the UCLA Extension Writers Program, and her latest short story collection, “The Lost Language”, was released by Anvil last year.==

Very interesting question!

I’m not a writer of speculative fiction, but I do like to “play” in the genre occasionally –  as I also like to play in the “crime” genre, or poetry, or anything.  Because experimenting is what keeps writing fun!

It always starts, for me, with an emotional trigger.  It’s when I find I can’t end my story properly that I start turning to more non-traditional elements.  Then I go back and start again, but with the non-traditional elements as a fixed part of the story.  Then I see if I can finish it.

So, it’s always how to end that bothers me.  And I’ll try anything, ANYTHING, to see how I can get to the end.  And if I have to throw in some speculative fiction elements along the way, so be it.


==Adam is an indie publisher, published author, opinionated blogger. He was recently awarded the Madrigal Gonzalez Best First Book Award for his book, The El Bimbo Variation==.

Nothing really significant as far as authorial mindset is concerned. I used the same amount of braincells when I wrote *snip* as when I’m writing my 365 Stories book, the same amount when I wrote the El Bimbo Variations when I’m writing my terribly irregular essays on komix kritisism. The language is different in various levels, as well as in their little textual effects and affectations, but all those things are only merely decoration – or at their highest level, gilding – for the real substance of the thing, which never changes no matter the medium, whether audience or producer, critic or buyer: art is something you work on.

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And the Geek… : Carljoe Javier Interview (1 of 2)

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On February - 3 - 2010

Carljoe Javier is the author of “And the Geek Shall Inherit the Earth“ (he also did a recent guest post for the site), and an avowed geek whose particular background and history gives him a unique view of life and geekdom in the Philippines. In the first of a two-part interview, we talk to him about that background, and what the word “geek” means to him.

What’s your family like? Are they geeks like you or the type who love you in spite of the Emma Frost action figures?

My mom is totally non-geeky. She’s very supportive, but I get the sense that she kind of just nods along and thinks, O sige anak kung yan ang gusto mo.

My younger brother, who is also back in the States, is a bro in geekhood as well. Though there’s a five year gap between us, we share a lot of geekhood, we used to hang out in the comic book store and he went a step further by actually working at the comic book store (whereas I just worked at the library). He’s also got a much better Magic: The Gathering ranking than me. And we played a lot of video games together; we’d have our specialties. I could never beat him at fighting games, but I always pwned him at sports games.

I’ve also got a younger sister who I am trying to influence in geekiness, but she’s in high school so she’s still worried about looking cool and fitting in.

As for the extended family, cousins and the like, I’m a bit of an outsider, no geeky group around.

I know that you spent part of your formative years in Los Angeles. How long did you live abroad?

Yeah my mom and I moved to the States when I was three. I’m the eldest, so by the time we moved back to the Philippines when I was fourteen, we were making the trip back with my younger bro and my sister who was a baby at the time.

What was the biggest adjustment you had to make when you moved back to the Philippines?

Oh, the heat. haha. That and the mosquitos. Seriously, I spent the first couple months in air-conditioned rooms and the mall.

But culturally, I found myself in a pretty middle class neighborhood and I had come to the country assuming that I would have to learn and assimilate whatever was in front of me.

In that sense then, language was the hardest thing. I came back to the Philippines armed with enough Tagalog that I could hold a conversation, but the idioms were very different, (the only spoken Tagalog I’d been exposed to other than that spoken by other Fil-Ams came from Tito Vic and Joey and Rene Requeistas movies). People would use words and I’d look them up in the dictionary and they wouldn’t be there. Case in point, “Pare, ang lupit nung flipkick mo kanina.” I’d run home and look at the dictionary and it would say “Cruel.” And I’d be wondering how a flipkick could be described as cruel.

Also, on my first day of school, people laughed at my accent, and I’ve made a conscious effort to not have that accent since then. But then sometimes when I’ve been drinking the accent will sneak out and make an appearance.

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Futurism and the Filipino

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 7 - 2010

cowofthefutureAn interesting discussion is taking place in Adam David’s blog concerning Futurism and Philippine Speculative Fiction, most particularly the lack of “homegrown Futurists” amongst Filipino Spec Fic writers. (Adam’s post has a NSFW pic–consider this a warning–but you can find the post here.) As Adam put it:

“[The local Spec Fic scene's] output has been overwhelmingly Nostalgist/Nativist – from MagRealist fables to (if ever) back-to-basics postapocalypses to manananggal-raver mashups to Brockanian urban dystopias – and if ever someone does do a Futurist take on the Philippines, it is almost always politically infantile, its idioms largely borrowed from another culture’s, ie, Hollywood and Wired.”

The post has elicited some interesting responses in the comments section (which is now much longer than the actual post), with comments from Spec Fic writers like Joseph Nacino, Kenneth Yu, Carljoe Javier and Eliza Victoria. Topics discussed in the comments include: clarifying what is meant by “futurism”, how to get writers to write about specific topics, the socio-cultural background of a Filipino SF writer, the nature of editing, and the future of the Digest of Philippine Genre Stories, amongst others.

(Image source: Behold the cow of the future by thewamphyri CC Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic)

Guest Post: Omega Level by Carljoe Javier

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 23 - 2009

Carljoe Javier is the author of “And the Geek Shall Inherit the Earth“. He still hopes that he can one day become a Jedi Knight, a member of the anti-Skynet resistance, or a member of the A-Team. The following essay is part of a new collection he is in the process of writing, so consider this a sneak preview. He’s looking for feedback as well, so be sure to let us know if you like it–it’ll be too late for complaints once the book is on the shelves ^_^:

The first night she spent at my house my friends went crazy for her. I was having a party and the moment that they saw her, their jaws dropped. They huddled around her, much to the dismay of the girlfriends and wives present. “Dude, how?” My friends asked me. And all I could do was smirk and shrug, not affording them the satisfaction of an explanation.

“Carl, why?” one of the girlfriends asked.

To which I answered, “Why not?”

“Well, duh! Hello? What are you thinking?”

“What do you mean what am I thinking? Look, all the guys love her!”

She looked at me, sighed, and then slumped her shoulders. There was a slow nod, which I could only interpret as disapproval.

Later in the night, we caught her boyfriend fondling the new girl’s breasts.

“Dude, not cool,” I said.

His girlfriend had a rather more extreme response: “What the Hell are you doing?”

I came to his defense, “He can’t help it.”

“How can he not help it?”

“Well, they are now saying that she’s an Omega-Class Mutant. As a telepath, she can project images, manipulate your mind, and that’s just for starters. I mean, Cyclops wasn’t immune to her wiles, and he had a potentially worlds-destroying girlfriend at the time.”

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Confessions of a Shipper – A Discussion of Fanfic

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 12 - 2009

Anna Felicia Sanchez is a published author, a professor at the University of the Philippines, and a Palanca Awardee. She is also, (refreshingly) unabashedly not only a fan of anime/manga but also a fanfic writer, and one of the few people I’ve found locally who deem fan writings to be an important aspect of popular culture worthy of academic study. I missed her fanfic writing seminar last summer, when I heard that the UP Lingua Franca organization was having her as a guest speaker to talk about fanfiction, I decided it was worth braving the Katipunan school day traffic to hear what she had to say.


Over roughly one and a half hours, Professor Sanchez discussed, amongst others, definitions of Geek and Fan (and what role gender/sex plays in each definition), how it feels to be a girl surrounded by geeks, the Noranians-Vilmanian War, “Aca-Fans”, Consumerism/Cosplay/Community in fandom, Subject and Object in the Shoujo genre and what the real world advantages are to writing fanfic.

With the gracious consent of the organizers and Professor Sanchez, I’ve uploaded excerpts from her talk “Confessions of a Shipper: The Joys and Transgressions of Fan Writing” which she gave in front of a packed classroom in the UP College of Arts and Letters. Enjoy!

More video excerpts under the cut:

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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.