The editor-publishers of the Philippine Speculative Fiction anthology (available now in digital format at Amazon, iTunes, Flipreads, Barnes and Noble…) have released a free sampler (not to be confused with the Philippine Speculative Fiction Sampler of Mia Tijam and Charles Tan) for those who want to see what the anthology series has to offer, without committing to a paid volume. You can get it from iTunes or Flipreads.
Here’s the cover of Philippine Speculative Fiction volume 7, with art and colors by Les Banzuelo, art direction by Adam David. The volume will be launched this Saturday, July 28, 2012, 2:00pm at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf-Shangri-la Plaza, Edsa. You can see the table of contents here.
For the first time, this latest volume will launch as a digital book. For those who want to take home something tangible from the launch, however, rest assured that the good folk at Flipside Digital are preparing beautifully packaged CDs for the event:
PSF launches are always fun, as you can see from this video excerpt of last year’s PSF6 launch. Hope to see you all there!
It’s a big, big week for Alternative Alamat contributors! Eliza Victoria (“Ana’s Little Pawnshop on Makiling St.”) and Raissa Falgui (“The Sorceress Queen”) both have new novellas out – only one is clearly speculative fiction, but both are worth checking out. Also out this week is the digital edition of Philippine Speculative Fiction 6, where “Offerings to Aman Sinaya” by Andrei Tupaz, first appeared. (Mia Tijam and I have also been doing a story-by-story review here.)
THE VIEWLESS DARK by Eliza Victoria
When Anthony found Flo dead, locked overnight in one of the reading rooms of the university library, he knew it must have something to do with Mary. Mary Prestosa, fourth year graduating Philosophy student, whom they had been investigating. Mary, who surprised her roommate one night by suddenly standing up from her bed, throwing the windows open, and jumping down, headfirst, to the dormitory grounds below. Mary, whose memory marked the trail of mysterious deaths and bizarre occurrences that followed her own fateful fall: the fifth-year Computer Engineering student who prowled the campus on all fours, thirsty for blood, believing he was a wolf; the revelation of an all-girls’ satanic cult; the demonic possession of a fourth-year student from the Department of Psychology; and now—Flo, dead.
The students traced it all to Mary. They believed Mary didn’t commit suicide. They believed Mary tapped into something dark, and released it, and was consumed.
WOMAN IN A FRAME by Raissa Falgui
In a darkened hall in a plain white box of a building was a portrait of a woman, a girl, really—an old-fashioned girl in a modern frame, leaning against the wall. Other paintings similarly arrayed surrounded her, waiting to take their places in the gallery.
Voices echoed in the room, a young man’s jeering and a young woman’s more tentative tones. Cool hands with long, delicate fingers lifted the portrait.
Perhaps what drew the young woman to this painting was the incongruity of a girl, grave and formal, set within the vibrant, flowing curves of the carved art nouveau frame. Perhaps it was the sense of kinship she felt. For the young woman, Ning, was the daughter of an artist, dreaming of becoming an artist. She knew nothing of the girl in the portrait, only that the intensity captured in the glimmer of its brush-stroked eyes reflected her own.
So begins Ning’s journey to her country’s colonial past to uncover the story behind the portrait—the story of Marcela.
It is 1896, and Marcela, of the renowned Simbulan artist family from Pino, Laguna, has fallen in love with Julio Benitez, a Spanish peninsular just come from Europe to woo the town’s belle: Raquel Riola, mestiza heiress. Torn between loyalties to family and nation, desire and social expectations, childhood and maturity, Marcela must learn to navigate dreams and deceptions to free her silenced love and stifled craft.
PHILIPPINE SPECULATIVE FICTION Volume 6 edited by Nikki Alfar and Kate Osias
- The Big Man by Asterio Gutierrez
- Alternative Histories by Ian Rosales Casocot
- Ashland by Elyss G. Punsalan
- Carpaccio (or, Repentance as a Meat Recipe) by Arlynn Despi
- The Grim Malkin by Vincent Michael Simbulan
- From the Book of Names My Mother Did Not Give Me by Christine V. Lao
- Prisoner 2501 by Philip Corpuz
- A Smell of Mothballs by Mailin Paterno
- Villainoguing by Joseph Montecillo
- On Wooden Wings by Paolo Chikiamco
- Break in at Batay Street by Francis Gabriel Concepcion
- The Kiddie Pool by Kenneth Yu
- Eternal Winter by Maria Pia Vibar Benosa
- Lament of the Counselor by Jay Anyong
- The Bookshelves of Mrs. Go by Charles Tan
- Offerings to Aman Sinaya by Andrei Tupaz
- Resurrection by Victor Ocampo
- Strange Adventures in Procreation by Andrew Drilon
- Hollowbody by Crystal Koo
- The Storyteller’s Curse by Eliza Victoria
- The Impossible and the R.S.C. Gregorio del Pilar by Alex Osias
- Simon’s Replica by Dean Alfar
Philippine Speculative Fiction volume 7 will be launched on Saturday, July 28, 2012, 2:00pm at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf-Shangri-la Plaza, Edsa. You can see the table of contents here. PSF launches are always fun, as you can see from this video excerpt of last year’s PSF6 launch.
In other PSF news, the ebook version of Philippine Speculative Fiction 5 by Flipside Digital Content is now out on Amazon.com (for U.S. registered accounts anyway) Flipreads, and iTunes.PSF5 is particularly special to me as it represents my first appearance in the anthology, with my science fiction story “Carbon”. Fun fact – it’s also the first story I wrote which elicited something approaching praise from my partner-in-criticism, Mia Tijam, so that’s gotta mean something right?
With PSF 6 set to be released soon (within the month I think), it seemed as good a time as any to show off the great work being done by Les Banzuelo, and Adam David on the ebook covers, each of which is an image inspired by one of the stories inside.
Continuing the digitization of the first and longest running Philippine published speculative fiction anthology, volumes 3 and 4 of the Philippine Speculative Fiction anthology have now been released by Flipside Digital Content. (Volumes 1 and 2 were released in April.) I remember PSF4 very well, because it’s the first PSF launch I attended. It’s also the first anthology I attempted to review (never did finish it, but here are parts one, two, and three.)
Here are the descriptions and TOCs from Amazon:
PHILIPPINE SPECULATIVE FICTION 3 (Dean Alfar, Editor.)
A diet drug gone wrong; A boy born with winged feet; A murder mystery set in a refrigerator. The Philippine Speculative Fiction series are anthologies that showcase the rich variety of Philippine literature: between these covers you will find magic realism next to science fiction, traditional fantasy beside slipstream, and imaginary worlds rubbing shoulders with alternate Philippine history — demonstrating that the literature of the fantastic is alive and well in the Philippines.
- MRR Arcega
- FH Batacan
- Joanna Paula Cailas
- Ian Rosales Casocot
- Dominique Cimafranca
- Marguerite Alcazaren de Leon
- Timothy Dimacali
- Andrew Drilon
- Raymond Falgui
- Sarge Lacuesta
- Apol Lejano-Massebieau
- Joseph Nacino
- Alexander Marcos Osias
- Elyss Punsalan
- Rodello Santos
- Yvette Natalie U. Tan
- Charles Tan
- Mia Tijam
- Marianne Villanueva
- Alfred A. Yuson
[PSF 4 after the cut.]
Speaking of “Alternative Alamat”, I’d like to thank everyone who has already bought a copy, and everyone who continues to spread the word about the anthology–we must have received a few sales over the last few days, as we jumped back up to #5 on the Kindle Fantasy Anthology bestsellers list last Saturday. For anyone who’s still on the fence about the anthology, maybe a very positive story-by-story review from Jaymee Goh will do the trick? Jaymee posted this almost a month ago, and while I re-tweeted it robustly then, I only just realized that I forgot to link to it on Rocket Kapre. Jaymee is a fellow Southeast Asian author and an insightful critic with a perspective that I think readers of Philippine speculative fiction will appreciate. You can also find her on Silver Goggles, her postcolonialist steampunk blog (which you may remember from the in-depth review of “On Wooden Wings”).
The Philippine Speculative Fiction series is the first and longest running Philippine published speculative fiction anthology, but while it has achieved critical success, the limited print runs have made the books, particularly the earlier volumes, difficult to find (volume 1 in particular has been sold out for-ever). This is especially true for anyone who doesn’t live in the Metro Manila area, and all the more for those who live outside the Philippines.
Fortunately, the publishers/editors of the series have reached an agreement with Flipside Digital Content to re-release the series in digital form. As of today, the first two volumes (both edited by Dean Francis Alfar) are available on Amazon.com and Flipreads, at very attractive prices:
- Philippine Speculative Fiction vol. 1 – US$0.99 on Amazon, PHP 80.00 on Flipreads (epub)
- Philippine Speculative Fiction vol. 2 - US$3.99 on Amazon, PHP 195.00 on Flipreads (epub)
If you’re missing these books from your PSF set, or if you’ve been waiting for the right time to try the series out, here’s the perfect opportunity. Complete table of contents for both volumes after the cut. If you want to read a sample story, I reprinted Yvette Tan’s “The Child Abandoned” from PSF2 in Usok #1. Read it here.
I bought a physical copy of “Writing the Other” last year, but now that there’s an ebook edition out, I decided to write a review that will hopefully encourage more people to buy and read this very important writing. book. We Filipino authors especially should never forget that, as the book says, “difference is not monolithic.” You can find the review at Fantasy Faction, or just read on for the text:
I’m a Filipino, and a geek, but I’m not used to feeling like an Other, like I’m not a part of the mainstream. I live in the Philippines, so I am, in fact, part of the majority, and my geek-ish pursuits tend toward reading books, watching anime, and playing video games, all of which are activities I can indulge in by myself.
But in the world of mass media, particularly genre media, my race ensures that I’m not part of the majority. I know what it feels like to read a story where my country is never mentioned, or watching a movie when the only character that is Filipino is a maid. While I’d wish it were otherwise, I don’t generally view stories created outside of my country to be the venue where I’m going to find plentiful and authentic representations of Filipinos and Philippine culture. As a Filipino writer, I think that’s one of my responsibilities.
But as I mentioned, in the Philippines, I am part of the Dominant Paradigm, the person of Unmarked State (we’ll get to that later). The Philippines is home to many indigenous communities that have often been marginalized by both our local media and popular culture–as a contrast, I live in Metro Manila, “Imperial Manila” as some of our southern brethren call it, who grew up pretending to be part of G.I. Joe or one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, instead of being a Tikbalang or the hero Lam-Ang. And yet, as often as I can, I try to tap into the rich intangible heritage of our indigenous mythologies when I write… and, while I do it out of love and in order to promote those myths, it often scares me out of my mind. When I recently put together “Alternative Alamat“, my greatest fear was that I would be engaging in a form of colonization or appropriation (especially since the anthology is in English). And yet, I know that there are stories that need to be told, even if I’m not a member of the Ifugao, or the Mangyan, or the Tausug.
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.
The mysterious steampunk comic book collaboration between myself and the wonderful Hannah Buena has now been released! Flipside Komix has published “High Society” (formerly “Kataastaasan“) on Amazon as a Kindle comic. It’s an alternative history story that mixes automata, Philippine folklore, and the British invasion of Manila in the 1760s. It’s also the first comic book story set in the world of the “Wooden War”, which was also the setting of my story in Philippine Speculative Fiction 6.
There’s not a lot of Philippine steampunk stories out there (I’m eagerly awaiting “The Marvelous Adventures of the Amazing Doctor Rizal”), and none that mix it up with Philippine mythology quite the way that Hannah and I do here, so if that interests you, please do buy a copy and help spread the word. If not for me, then for Hannah’s amazing art. Maybe some preview pages/panels will seal the deal?