Alternative Alamat (Expanded Print Edition)

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 15 - 2014

FAQ: ALTERNATIVE ALAMAT, THE EXPANDED PRINT EDITION

Hello there! I’m Paolo Chikiamco, editor of Alternative Alamat, and thank you so much for showing interest in the new, expanded, print edition! I’m here to give you some basic information about the book in a more informal manner, since that’s how I roll (and apparently, you as well!) but if you found your way here by mistake and want the more formal press release, I’m working on that. But for now…

What is Alternative Alamat?

Short version: It’s an anthology of short stories that re-imagine Philippine myths and legends, written in English by Filipino authors.

Long version: Philippine mythology is full of images that ignite the imagination: gods of calamity and baldness, of cosmic time and lost things; the many-layered Skyworld, and weapons that fight their own battles; a ship that is pulled to paradise by a chain, and a giant crab that controls the tides… yet too few of these tales are known and read today.

Alternative Alamat gathers thirteen stories by contemporary authors of Philippine fantasy, which make innovative use of elements of Philippine mythology. None of these stories are straight re-tellings of the old tales: they build on those stories, or question underlying assumptions; use ancient names as catalysts, or play within the spaces where the myths are silent. What you will find common in these thirteen stories is a love for the myths, epics, and legends which reflect us, contain us, call to us–and it is our hope that, in reading our stories, you may catch a glimpse, and develop a hunger, for those venerable tales.

“Alternative Alamat” also features interior illustrations by Mervin Malonzo (“Tabi Po”), a short list of notable Philippine deities, and in-depth interviews with Professors Herminia Meñez Coben and Fernando N. Zialcita.

What is the Expanded Print Edition?

Alternative Alamat was originally a digital-only anthology with eleven stories. This is the first print edition of Alternative Alamat, and we’ve taken advantage of this opportunity to add some new content that keeps with the theme of re-imagined mythology.

What is the additional material?

This print edition adds two more stories,  a short comic from Andrew Drilon, and a new story from Eliza Victoria, set in the same universe as “Ana’s Little Pawnshop on Makiling St.” I’ve also done a minor update to the Appendix on researching Philippine mythology.

Where is it available?

It’ll be available at the launch on July 19,   Saturday [EDIT: LAUNCH HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO JULY 25, FRIDAY, 4PM, SAME VENUE] , as part of a four-title launch that takes place  at Powerbooks, Greenbelt. It will be available at bookstores nationwide soon after, but we don’t have exact dates yet.

How much does it cost?

250 pesos.

What are the non-fiction sections?

I have five appendixes at the end of the book, meant to provide greater context for the stories, and aid those who want to study Philippine mythology.

Appendix A: A Few Notable Philippine Deities

Appendix B: Interview with Professor Herminia Meñez Coben

Appendix C: Interview with Professor Fernando N. Zialcita

Appendix D: On Researching Philippine Mythology

Appendix E: Glossary of Selected Terms

Is it illustrated?

Yes, each of the original eleven stories is preceded by an illustration of a Philippine deity by Mervin Malonzo (“Tabi Po”). Aside from Andrew Drilon’s comic, there is no new artwork in the print edition, although a greyscale version of Mervin Malonzo’s cover for the digital edition is included.

Is the anthology suitable for young children?

In general, no, as there are several stories which tackle difficult/mature material.

Any there specific trigger warnings?

Sexual abuse; violence against women and children.

I’d like to review this book!

Great! Look forward to hearing from you.

Um, could I get a copy to review?

Drop me a line at rocketkapre[at]gmail with a link to your site/blog or name of your publication and I’ll try to set you up with a digital copy (of the print edition).

Should I buy the book?

I certainly think so! But then, I may be biased, so take a look below at what some people had to say about the original edition:

 

PGS Online: Stories Selected by Exie Abola

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On March - 5 - 2012

Catching up with some PGS Online news: the set of stories selected/co-edited by Exie Abola has run its course. Including Exie’s own story, these are:

The current co-editor/story selector is Joseph Nacino. Two stories so far have been released–complete links when the set is complete.

 

Alternative Alamat Interview: Celestine Trinidad

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 27 - 2011

Alternative Alamat” is now available from Amazon.com, Flipreads.com, and iTunes. I’ll continue to speak with the contributors to gain some insight into the stories found in the book. Celestine  Trinidad  is  a  newly  licensed  physician  who  still  tries  to  read  and  write  as  much  as she  can  in  her  (now  unfortunately  very  little)  free  time.  Her stories have appeared in other publications such as Philippine Genre Stories, Philippine Speculative Fiction IV,  Philippines Free Press,  and  Usok.  Much  to  her  own  surprise,  she  won  the  Don  Carlos  Palanca  Memorial  Award for Literature in 2008 for her short story for children “The Storyteller and the Giant”.

Without spoiling anything essential, could you tell me a bit about your story?

Maria Sinukuan, guardian deity of Arayat, is called upon to solve the murder of a young woman from one of the towns under her care. One of her suitors, Juan, insists on tagging along, much to her annoyance. But nothing is as it seems in this mystery—not even her suitor.

I know that you’re a fan of Maria Sinukuan. What is it about Maria Sinukuan (as portrayed in the legends) that makes her so appealing to you?

I like that she is such a strong character—she is called “Sinukuan”, after all, as proof of the strength of her power. According to Damiana L. Eugenio’s Philippine Folk Literature Series (“The Legends”), she was able to defeat everyone who put her power to the test, even those who were said to possess an anting-anting. The young men who came to woo her never stood a chance with her. I love the kind of attitude that I think she would have, based on these legends. She seemed like the kind of character who wouldn’t take crap from anyone, and who can be ruthless, but only if she felt you deserved it. (And yes, it was said that she did turn people into pigs!) I would greatly respect such a person even in real life, though I would probably be very careful not to make her angry.

What part of the story–or the writing process–was the most fun for you?

The banter! Mixing someone like Maria with someone as irritatingly persistent and as enigmatic as Juan seems like a recipe for disaster, and that, of course, is fun to write.

What part of the story–or the writing process–was the most difficult for you?

As with every story I write, I always struggle with the middle of the story, since I already knew how to write the beginning and also the ending, but it’s always such a difficult journey writing what goes on in between. I wouldn’t want to give away too much so the mystery is already predictable, but I also wouldn’t want to give away too little that the reader would feel cheated. It’s a struggle, yes, but a challenge I actually enjoy.

How were you first exposed to Philippine mythology?

When I was still very young I liked watching this series on TV, “Ora Engkatada”, which my grandmother appeared in (she played Lola Torya, the grandmother who read from the big book of magical stories, hehe). And then later on, since my parents saw that I liked the fantasy genre so much, they bought me this book entitled, “Mga 55 Piling Alamat ng Pilipinas”, by Pablo M. Cuasay, a collection of various origin legends, which I loved reading even back then.

Is there any myth, epic or legend that you wish would be adapted into a novel, or comic, or movie?

It’d be great if Juan and Maria could be made into a movie, haha! Since I do plan on making this into a series.

Seriously though, there’s this a lesser-known legend about a woman named Tonina, who due to trickery on the part of the other wives of Rajah Solaiman, was raised away from the palace, not knowing she was a princess. But in the end, she managed to save two kingdoms from the invading Spaniards, and reclaim her birthright. (There is also a part there where she cross-dresses and almost defeats her future husband in a duel.) I think having a movie on that would be pretty epic!

Who is your favorite character from Philippine mythology, and why?

Maria Sinukuan is my favorite out of all the goddesses, but you probably expected that, didn’t you?  I like female characters that defy conventions, or even redefine them.

Release Day: Alternative Alamat Now Available

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 14 - 2011

Cover for "Alternative Alamat" by Mervin Malonzo

The day has come!

Alternative Alamat“, our digital anthology of stories inspired by Philippine mythology, is now available for US$4.99 at the following fine establishments:

  • Amazon.com – US$4.99 (note there’s an extra US$2.00 charge for certain non-US territories/accounts, including, unfortunately, the Philippines)
  • Flipreads.com (epub file) – PHP235.00
  • [iTunes and Barnes & Noble/Nook editions to follow]

I hope that by now you’re all excited to get your hands on the book (or, rather, the hardware holding the file), and if so, thank you and what are you waiting for? If you’re still on the fence even after the preview of our contributor and story introductions, and our author interviews (Raissa, Mo, Eliza), then read on (or download the press release here)!

As a celebration of today’s launch, I’d like to give you a glimpse of some of the non-fiction segments of the book, as well as the wonderful artwork of Mervin Malonzo, creator of “Tabi Po“. You’ve already seen the beautiful cover Mervin made for us, but you may not have realized he’s also doing internal artwork as well. Each book is graced with eleven original illustrations by Mervin, where he gives his spin on eleven of the most interesting gods and goddesses of Philippine mythology. I don’t want to give too much away, so here’s a montage-teaser using elements from all eleven pieces:

After the cut: one full sample of Mervin’s interior artwork, the full text of the book’s introduction, and excerpts from my interviews with Professor Herminia Meñez Coben and Fernando N. Zialcita.

Read the rest of this entry »

Alternative Alamat: Cover, Release Date, Story Introductions

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 1 - 2011

Cover for "Alternative Alamat" by Mervin Malonzo

 

EDIT: Alternative Alamat is out now on Amazon and Flipreads!

On December 14, 2011, “Alternative Alamat“–our anthology of stories inspired by Philippine mythology–will be released on Amazon.com, Flipreads.com, and the iTunes store. This anthology has been more than a year in the making, and it is near and dear to my heart, so any help spreading the word would be greatly appreciated. I’m excited, not the least of which because of the excellent cover art provided by Mervin Malonzo (creator of “Tabi Po“, who also provides the interior illustrations), and because I believe we’re attempting something that hasn’t been done before, in the context of Philippine mythology.

Philippine mythology is full of images that ignite the imagination: gods of calamity and baldness, of cosmic time and lost things; the many-layered Skyworld, and weapons that fight their own battles; a ship that is pulled to paradise by a chain, and a giant crab that controls the tides… yet too few of these tales are known and read today. “Alternative Alamat” gathers stories, by contemporary authors of Philippine fantasy, which make innovative use of elements of Philippine mythology. None of these stories are straight re-tellings of the old tales: they build on those stories, or question underlying assumptions; use ancient names as catalysts, or play within the spaces where the myths are silent. What you will find in common in these eleven stories is a love for the myths, epics, and legends which reflect us, contain us, call to us–and it is our hope that, in reading our stories, you may catch a glimpse, and develop a hunger, for those venerable tales.

“Alternative Alamat” also features a cover and interior illustrations by Mervin Malonzo, a short list of notable Philippine deities, and in-depth interviews with Professors Herminia Meñez Coben and Fernando N. Zialcita.

If you are a book blogger or book reviewer and would like to review/feature Alternative Alamat, please do contact me at rocketkapre[at]g mail. To give you a sneak peek of what to expect from the anthology, after the cut I’ve included the introductions for each of the eleven stories, which also serve as the bios for each of the contributors.

Read the rest of this entry »

Alternative Alamat

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 1 - 2011

Philippine mythology is full of images that ignite the imagination: gods of calamity and baldness, of cosmic time and lost things; the many-layered Skyworld, and weapons that fight their own battles; a ship that is pulled to paradise by a chain, and a giant crab that controls the tides… yet too few of these tales are known and read today. “Alternative Alamat” gathers stories, by contemporary authors of Philippine fantasy, which make innovative use of elements of Philippine mythology. None of these stories are straight re-tellings of the old tales: they build on those stories, or question underlying assumptions; use ancient names as catalysts, or play within the spaces where the myths are silent. What you will find in common in these eleven stories is a love for the myths, epics, and legends which reflect us, contain us, call to us–and it is our hope that, in reading our stories, you may catch a glimpse, and develop a hunger, for those venerable tales.

“Alternative Alamat” also features a cover and interior illustrations by Mervin Malonzo, a short list of notable Philippine deities, and in-depth interviews with Professors Herminia Meñez Coben and Fernando N. Zialcita.

[Page still under construction - some details/links to be added later.]

Alternative Alamat: Table of Contents

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 13 - 2011

It gives me great pleasure to finally be able to announce the table of contents of our first commercial anthology “Alternative Alamat: Stories Inspired by Philippine Mythology”. It’s been a long road, but I’ve enjoyed every step of the way. The book will be digital-only for now, and will be published in cooperation with Flipside Digital before the end of the year. I’ll be releasing more information about the anthology in the coming weeks.

“Ana’s Little Pawnshop on Makiling St.” by Eliza Victoria

“Harinuo’s Love Song” by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz

“The Last Full Show” by Budjette Tan

“The Alipin’s Tale” by Raymond G. Falgui

“Keeper of My Sky” by Timothy James Dimacali

“Conquering Makiling” by Mo Francisco

“The Sorceress Queen” by Raissa Rivera Falgui

“Beneath The Acacia” by Celestine Trinidad

“Offerings to Aman Sinaya” by Andrei Tupaz

“Balat, Buwan, Ngalan” by David Hontiveros

“A Door Opens:  The Beginning of the Fall of the Ispancialo-in-Hinirang” by Dean Alfar

Appendix A: A Few Notable Philippine Deities

Appendix B: Interview with Professor Herminia Meñez Coben

Appendix C: Interview with Professor Fernando N. Zialcita

Appendix D: On Researching Philippine Mythology

Cover and interior artwork by Mervin Malonzo

TOC: Diaspora Ad Astra

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On June - 23 - 2011

Estranghero Press has revealed the table of contents and cover art (by Oscar Alvarez) for its Science Fiction anthology “Diaspora Ad Astra”. The digital anthology is scheduled to be released this month. Here’s what you can look forward to reading:

  1. War Zone Angel, by Professor Emil Flores
  2. The Day the Sexbomb Dancers Invaded Our Brains, by Carljoe Javier
  3. The Malaya, by Dean Francis Alfar
  4. The Cost of Living, by Vince Torres
  5. Ina Dolor’s Last Stand, by Raymond P. Reyes
  6. Oplan Sanction, by Alex Osias
  7. The Keeper, by Audrey Villacorta
  8. Ashes Ember, by Dannah Ruth S. Ballesteros
  9. Rizal, Eliza Victoria
  10. Gene Rx, Katya Oliva-Llego
  11. Robots and a Slice of Pizza, Raydon Reyes
  12. Lucky, Raven Guerrero
  13. A List of Things We Know, Isabel Yap
  14. Taking Gaia, Celestine Trinidad
  15. Space Enough and Time, Anne Lagamayo

RP612Fic 2010: The Stories

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On June - 16 - 2010

If there’s one theme that I’d say unites many of the stories in this year’s RP612fic, it’s this: a need for catharsis. We’re coming off a decade under an unpopular President, and while many are hopeful for the coming administration, there still remains a lot of unsettled issues, a lot of unpsent anger. Luckily, catharsis is one of the functions that fiction can undertake in the life of both writers and readers, and I hope that participating in this year’s Independence Day micro story tweet fest helped a few of us get ready for the new challenges that face us, while helping us remember what has come before.

I’d like to thank everyone who participated, especially Dominique Cimafranca who was impressively prolific during the RP612fic period. We generated over one hundred and fifteen stories over the Independence Day weekend–here are a few of my favorite stories:

RP612fic 2010 faves

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t point to Adam David’s essay on freedom, over at the Philippine Online Chronicles.

The rest of the stories run the gamut from science fiction, to horror, to fantasy (from the fantasy that means “magic” to the fantasy that means “how I wish this were true). Some are meant to be read alone, others in sequence (although there was a limit to how I could arrange them in anything but the reverse chronological order of a Twitter search.) Some aren’t stories in so much as hopes, dreams, or ideas and that’s fine too.The usual disclaimer applies: these stories are meant as fiction, and are not to be taken as allegations of actual facts, nor as statements of actual intent.

And now, beneath the cut, are the rest of the stories. (2009′s stories are here.) Enjoy, and see you all next year!

Read the rest of this entry »

Usok Interview: Celestine Trinidad

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 19 - 2010

slider_Celestine_Usok_Int

Here’s the fourth, and final, Usok #1 interview, featuring our youngest author in this issue, Celestine Trinidad. Celestine is the author of “The Coming of the Anak-Araw” which now has an illustration by Benjo Camay.

Tell us a bit about how you came up with the idea for your story.

I had originally written a story about a storyteller (the same character in my story, “The Storyteller and the Giant”) and his apprentice, and that was the story I was supposed to be writing for the Palancas, but it ended up too long that I eventually decided to just turn into a novel—which, as with most ideas, had a life of its own, I swear—morphed into a series in my head. In that series, the storyteller and his apprentice will eventually face the same anak-araw that appeared in “The Coming of the Anak-Araw”, and they will be helped by other characters found in this story. I guess this is sort of a prequel to that, of sorts.

That is, if I ever get around to writing that series.

What aspect of the story gave you the most difficulty?

As Pao can probably attest, this story was very different originally, before he did some wonderfully extensive editing, hehe. Mostly I struggled with the pacing of the story, since in my head it was already part of that series of books I wanted to write, but this is a short story, and hence should be written differently.

Do you remember the first short story you ever wrote? What was it about?

I think I wrote a short story (complete with really horrible illustrations, hehe) about an alien woman whose planet was destroyed, so she sought refuge on our planet, and became a teacher. I…think she battled the aliens who destroyed her planet? And fell in love with this human co-teacher who guessed her secret, probably—I always was a sucker for romances like that. I lost the original version of that story, alas.

Does your cultural background influence how you write, or what you write?

Of course, as mostly I like writing about Philippine mythology, and those stories are the ones I am most comfortable with writing. I find our myths on the whole really fascinating, and love how you can play around with them, reinterpret them in so many ways. Being a doctor also influences my writing, because I always tend to include medical-related things in my stories (Sari is a healer in this one, after all, and works with herbs I once studied), I guess these are things I can’t help either.

What was the best piece of writing advice you ever read or received?

From my former Creative Writing 10 teacher in UP: “Keep reading and writing. Don’t let what other people say stop you from doing so.” It’s really simple advice, I know, but whenever I face rejections and feel like I can never be any good at this, I remember all those workshops we had with him, when he always found something nice to say about what we wrote, while still offering advice on how we could make those stories better. He was never harsh, and I’m immensely grateful for it. I’ve kept on writing, because of those first lessons I learned from him.

TAG CLOUD

Sponsors

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.

Photos

PSF6_P1020212PSF6_P1020211PSF6_P1020193PSF6_P1020190