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:

 

Alternative Alamat Interview: Rochita Loenen-Ruiz

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 4 - 2012

It’s a new year, and for the first interview of 2012, it’s my great pleasure to present a short question and answer session with Rochita Loenen-Ruiz. Rochita  attended the Clarion West Writer’s Workshop in 2009 as that year’s Octavia Butler Scholar. Her work has been published in print and online, both abroad as well as in the Philippines.  Some  of  the  publications  she  has  appeared  in  are:  Weird Tales  Magazine,  Fantasy  Magazine,  Apex  Magazine,  and  the Philippine  Speculative  Fiction Anthology (second and fourth volumes). She has stories coming out in the Second Apex Book of World SF and Realms of Fantasy.  She is currently working on a tribal sf novel.

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

The inspiration for this story came from reading the poetry in Mangyan Heritage. I had an exchange with the curator of the Mangyan Heritage Institute and I expressed my desire to use the poetry in some of my work.

Harinuo’s love song was an experiment in combining mythic storytelling and the Ambahan. In a certain sense, Harinuo’s Love Song resembles the story of the Star Maiden. It’s not the same though.

What made you think of using elements from Mangyan poetry and Ifugao folklore in the same story?

To be honest, I didn’t set out with a definite plan. I was reading the poetry and I allowed myself to be led by it to the story which turned out to be based on Ifugao folklore. I suppose this was influenced by my absorption in tribal lore at the time of writing. I was very much inspired by the poetry of the Mangyan and wanted to showcase it against a background that was much more familiar to me which was the Ifugao culture.

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

What I enjoyed the most about writing this story was how it just flowed. I wasn’t really concerned about whether it was publishable or not. I just wanted to put the words on the page. To me capturing that image and the feeling was very important. In writing this story, I didn’t pay attention to the conventions of story writing. I think I was more immersed in the language and the rhythm of the language. I was not so much concerned with writing a traditional story as being true to the spirit of the telling.

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

Letting go and sharing it with readers. As I said, it was very much a personal experiment. Stuff like this isn’t easy to let go of. I guess, it’s also because it exposes the artist’s vulnerable soul.

How were you first exposed to Philippine mythology?

I think that we grew up with it in a certain sense. It’s kind of impossible to be unaware of certain mythologies when you grow up in a tribal area. Later, I became more fascinated with Philippine myths and I wanted to read more and more that was Filipino.

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

Aponibolinayen and the Sun.” It was this tale about a maiden who got married to the sun. I liked that story a lot.

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

I am rather fascinated by the character of Bugan. Perhaps because this name is the default for a lot of female characters in Ifugao mythology. In any case, I find myself speculating on Bugan and wondering what if she was a recurring being. I’m still pondering on it and I know I’ll probably write something about that sometime in the future. But to me, Bugan is fascinating because the myths connected to that name allow the imaginer to travel diverse pathways and still in a sense remain tied to the original tale.

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.

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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.

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