Two horror anthologies are launching at the end of November. “Horror: Filipino Fiction for Young Adults”, edited by Dean Francis Alfar and Kenneth Yu, and a print edition of “Demons of the New Year”, edited by Karl de Mesa and Joseph Nacino, both launch officially at5PM on November 29, 2013 at the West Wing Gallery of the Vargas Museum in UP Diliman. Drop by if you have the chance!

Guest Post: Eliza Victoria on Why We Read Horror

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On June - 18 - 2013

Various commitments have me unable to post on Rocket Kapre as often as I like, so I’ll be reaching out to other Filipino writers/creators to do posts for the blog. First up is Usok and Alternative Alamat contributor (and friend) Eliza Victoria, who happens to have a new book out: Unseen Moon. Enjoy! – Paolo

I posted an announcement about my new collection of dark fiction, Unseen Moon, the same month two pressure cooker bombs exploded during the Boston Marathon. The following month, three women escaped from a house on Seymour Avenue in Cleveland, freeing themselves from a decade of sex slavery and confinement. In the face of real-life tragedy, who needs horror stories? I continue to write them, and I continue to read them, even as I sit paranoid in commuter buses and lock (and double-lock) my apartment door at night. Even my own poetry deals with crime and death.

In a recent interview with Neon Literary Magazine, I said that I am very interested in exploring the capacity of humans to be both kind and terrible. How kind? How terrible? According to reports, the alleged Cleveland kidnapper allegedly (don’t you just love/hate that word?) caused one of the captives to have miscarriages by punching her in the gut. In 2012, a 23-year-old woman in Delhi was raped by six men inside a bus, and died from her injuries days later. Can you imagine the kind of injury that woman’s body endured in order to cause her death? In 1974, five people in Utah were forced by armed robbers to drink Drano, a corrosive drain cleaner. It peeled away the flesh around their mouths.

And I haven’t even mentioned the Khmer Rouge massacres, the lynch mobs, the rape of our women during wartime, what happened in Maguindanao. And on and on.

That’s how terrible we are.

But why are we like this? Why do we commit these terrible deeds? Looking for the answer, some end up with clinical studies, and I end up with horror fiction.

Horror is a fact of life,” says Joyce Carol Oates, “and as a writer I’m fascinated by all facets of life. As H.P. Lovecraft has said, ‘The oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.’ Horror or gothic literature is the most imaginative of all literatures, bearing an obvious relationship to the surreal logic of dreams.”

I enjoyed writing the stories in Unseen Moon. Dark fiction is challenging to write, and as a writer, you need constant challenges in order to improve your craft.

As a reader, I turn to dark fiction because it excites me, it intrigues me. In good horror tales, something always happens, and something always changes. And these tales share with you the kind of horror you can face head-on, unlike the horrors of the real world. You can finish a tale and be stunned and shaken, but still have enough cheer to sit down with your loved ones for dinner.

Robert McCammon, one of the founders of the Horror Writers Assocation, said, “Horror fiction upsets apple carts, burns old buildings, and stampedes the horses; it questions and yearns for answers, and it takes nothing for granted. It’s not safe, and it probably rots your teeth, too. Horror fiction can be a guide through a nightmare world, entered freely and by the reader’s own will. And since horror can be many, many things and go in many, many directions, that guided nightmare ride can shock, educate, illuminate, threaten, shriek, and whisper before it lets the readers loose.”

It “questions and yearns for answers”, but above all, it is a “guided nightmare ride”.

A horror story may be unsettling and shocking, but I know someone wrote it for me, and I know that someone will guide me, until the end.

Let me guide you, too.

Eliza Victoria‘s fiction and poetry have appeared in several online and print publications in the Philippines and elsewhere. Her work has won prizes in the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature and the Philippines Free Press Literary Awards.

 

Unseen Moon, a collection of five stories, is her latest book. For more information, visit http://elizavictoria.com.

The 2010 Philippine Spec Fic Review Roundup

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 30 - 2010

This post continues my 2010 roundup of reviews that may be of interest to Rocket Kapre readers. A few days ago I posted my list of 2010 komiks reviews, whether or not the komiks were speculative in nature. Today I’m doing the same for reviews that came out this year for books by Filipinos in the fantasy, science fiction, and horror genres (regardless of the publication date of the book – it’s the date of the review that matters). The list is much shorter than that for komiks, but then, there are fewer works of prose speculative fiction than there are komiks. I do hope that this changes in the future, both in terms of content and commentary, but I’m heartened that we have a very active book blogging scene here, and Chachic over at Filipino Book Bloggers notes when someone has reviewed a local book. With due respect to Bob Ong, I believe that both reviews and critiques (two different things, really) play a part in both improving the quality of fiction and increasing public awareness of a book, something which is very helpful to writers who aren’t residents of the bestseller lists. All of the book bloggers and reviewers I’ve met do what they do out of love, and I agree with Marianne Villanueva when she says that every review is a service. I hope that those who provide these services, whether they be bloggers or academics, receive more respect in the future.

Now, on to the list. As always, if I missed anything, please let me know in the comments section.

Video: Karl de Mesa at UST

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On August - 25 - 2010

Karl de Mesa is a horrible man – and by that I mean he’s one of the more prolific purveyors of horror at the moment, coming fresh from his co-editing stint for Estranghero Press’ “Demons of the New Year” anthology, he’s all set to launch his collection of horror novellas, “News of the Shaman” at the Bookay Ukay bookstore, on August 28.

He also spoke at the recent “Literature From Shakespeare to Bob Ong: Bridging the Divide Between the Popular And the Canonical” conference, held at the UST on August 18, 2010. Here’s the video of the talk. (The Q and A will be uploaded in another post)

Parts 2 and 3 under the cut.

Read the rest of this entry »

Philippine Horror Panel: Coronel, Hontiveros, Tan

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On August - 19 - 2010

Here’s the Horror Panel (featuring Budjette Tan (Trese), David Hontiveros (Penumbra novellas, Pelicula), Bart (G. M.) Coronel (Tragic Theater)) from the “Literature From Shakespeare to Bob Ong: Bridging the Divide Between the Popular And the Canonical” conference, held at the UST on August 18, 2010. (The Q and A will be uploaded in another post)

The first question, which I didn’t capture on video, is “What are you most afraid of?”

Part 2 and 3 under the cut.

Read the rest of this entry »

Literature from Shakespeare to Bob Ong: Video Hub

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On August - 19 - 2010

VisEventUst2010

Yesterday, I trooped down to UST to attend the second day of the  “Literature From Shakespeare to Bob Ong: Bridging the Divide Between the Popular And the Canonical” conference, by Visprint in collaboration with the UST Faculty of Arts and Letters: Dept. of Literature, Thomasian Writers Guild, The Literary Society and The Varsitarian. Many of the speakers were horror writers from Visprint’s stable, so it was a good opportunity to check the pulse of the genre here in the country, or at least to get the opinions of some of those at its vanguard. Komiks (in general, not horror komiks) were also represented, with Manix Abrera walking the audience through several of his strips.

I took a few videos of the talks and Question and Answer segments, and I’ll use this post as a hub as I slowly (yes I have slow a slow connection) upload the different videos. I’ll upload the talks first, and then lump the open forum segments in the last post. Siege Malvar, Alan Navarra, Nida Ramirez, and Eros Atalia were also on hand for some insightful talks, but my coverage here will focus on the komiks/spec fic content, although I’ll try to sneak in some videos of the others.

(Note that some of the links below are NSFW – many of these people specialize in horror, remember? ^_~)

Video 1: Horror Panel, featuring Budjette Tan (Trese), David Hontiveros (Penumbra novellas, Pelicula), Bart (G. M.) Coronel (Tragic Theater)

Video 2: Karl de Mesa (Damaged People, News of the Shaman)

Video 3: Manix Abrera (Kikomachine, 12)

Horror is Transgression: An Interview with Karl De Mesa

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On June - 21 - 2010

karldemesaint_slider

I did a quick-and-dirty interview with Joseph Nacino when Demons of the New Year first launched, and now I have an in-depth interview with his co-editor, horror scribe Karl De Mesa, up at Pinoy Pop–not just about Demons of the New Year, but his life and his newly released book “News of the Shaman”, published by Visprint. You can see the first part here, and the second part here. An excerpt:

Did they know from the start that you were a writer, and that you tend to write about people around you?

Yes, although maybe some of them would be surprised to see themselves in my fiction. But a lot of my friends aren’t really big fiction readers. My family doesn’t read my fiction for the most part. I’d tell them about a launch and they’d say “okay” but not show up, which is a good thing in general, because some things I’ve written, especially my non-fiction essays about growing up in the Philippine left, might make them angry.

Is it a different experience, writing about these experiences without even the venner of fiction?

Very. People have asked me why I don’t just become an overtly political writer. The truth is, hindi ako natutuwa sa ganoon eh. That’s actually the feedback I received from writing workshops: “Ikaw, ang dami dami mong material, bakit hindi ka na lang magsulat tunkol sa status ng Pililipnas?” Eh hindi talaga ako natutuwa eh.

When you’re dealing with taboos, with that kind of transgression, you take the reader far beyond their comfort zones. How do you ground them?

You ground them with characters who are real people, with sympathetic concerns and motivations. This is something Philip K. Dick was great at. Even monstrous creatures can have drives that people will understand: hunger, for example, is something we’re all familiar with–I used that for my were-dog story in “Tales of Enchantment and Fantasy”. Other creatures can be motivated by a need for control, say a Tikbalang in a crime family. The characters can be inhuman, but their motivations can still be human. They may have special needs, but that’s still a motivation that can be sympathetic.

I think this is one of the powers of horror: defamiliarization. That can also work to make the central form of a metaphor stronger.

You might also want to check out Fidelis Tan’s two part review of Demons of the New Year itself. Part one / Part two.

Webkomik Launch: Tabi Po by Mervin Malonzo

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 3 - 2010

TabiPoSlider

Over at indie komplex, Mervin Malonzo has announced that his new webcomic, “Tabi Po” has officially launched as of today, with the first six pages having been posted online. Now, this komik is not for minors, nor for people who have weak stomachs (so you can tell it’s also NSFW), but if you don’t fall under either of those categories, the art alone makes it worth a visit, as you can see from the teaser page below (with the NSFW bits cut out).

TabiPoTeaser

“Tabi Po” will feature, in Malonzo’s words, “mga tauhang tiyak na iyong kagigiliwan – mga aswang, maligno, lamang-lupa at iba pang kagiliw-giliw na mga nilalang” so I’m sure it will interest readers of Rocket Kapre. From the looks of it, the posting schedule appears to be once a week, every Monday, so check back after voting next Monday for some new pages. Good to see more Filipino artists putting out webcomics, which I think are a great way to build an audience.

Chained Links: 7 April 2010

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 7 - 2010

summerkomikon2010_s

Back from Tokyo (more on that later) and there’s a lot to catch up on, so let’s get to it.

Now, here are a few new-ish SF fiction markets (via the specficmarkets lj community) and a contest (via email from chiles samaniego):

Finally, some events to mark on your calendars (Let me know if I’m missing anything):

Chained Links: 11 February 2010

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On February - 11 - 2010

Writing (and Writer) News:

  • Dominique Cimafranca shares his presentation on Online Literature for the Tabaoan Writers Conference (yes, he does mentions us ^_^). The conference is ongoing at the moment, so do check Dom’s blog for coverage (he has Day 0 and Day 1 impressions up on his site.)
  • Speaking of writers getting together, Ian Rosales Casocot has posted a call for submission of manuscripts to the 49th Silliman University National Writers Workshop.
  • Ruin and Resolve contributor Catherine Batac Walder tells us she’s got a story out in this week’s Philippine Graphic. It’s entitled “Hey Soldier”. Congrats Catherine!
  • In further congratulatory news, I’ve read that (via macoy’s blog) it seems that Gio Paredes’ Kalayaan indie superhero series might see some U.S. distribution.
  • Via Yvette Tan’s, we’ve learned of Filipino Scares, a tumblr site with short (flash-length) horror stories.
  • Over at the Philippine Genre Stories blog, Kenneth Yu has a post on ongoing local writing competitions, and another on a workshop for online writing from Luis Katigbak (the first is on the 15th).
  • Kenneth also informs us that the launch of Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol. V will take place on April 24, 2010, 3 p.m. at the UView Theatre of Fully Booked at Bonifacio Global City.

WLF

Events:

  • For those looking for a twist on typical Valentine’s fare, science writer and curator of the upcoming Mind Museum (and friend of the site) Ms. Maria Isabel Garcia dropped us a line to let us know of When Love Falls an evening of love and science on February 12, where psycho-analyst Dr. Agnes Bueno will discuss love gone awry. You can see the poster here.
  • I think we’ve mentioned it before, but let me remind everyone that KomiksTrip, the first UPLB comics convention, is taking place on February 13.
  • Speaking of comics, the Renaissance Project, a comics/komiks event for the benefit of Filipino artists who have fallen on hard times, seems to be pushing through on February 20 21 at the SM Megamall Megatrade hall.

Reviews:

  • Some reviews of interest over at Metakritiko (which I’ll be leaving soon, unfortunately. Although I’m sure you’ll all be pleased with the new man at the helm ^_^). I take on Lola by J. Torres and Elbert Or  (it’s also been reviewed by Ruel de Vera)
  • Also on Metakritiko, Fidelis Tan reviews Underpass. You can actually read her favorite story of the lot (by the Trese pair of Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo here or here). Also on the channel, Mighty Rasing reviews Legion and Marrianne Ubalde praises Kapitan Sino.

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