Remember that fundraising event for Philippine representatives to the Global Graphic Novel Conference at Oxford, England? Well, our reps are back from the conference, and Karl de Mesa has an article on Rappler covering their journey, with profiles and excerpts from their papers. Go check it out!
Last June 5, science fiction master Ray Bradbury passed away. GMA7 News Online had an article up yesterday featuring the thoughts of Filipino speculative fiction writers on the death of the great author. Included in the piece are Karl de Mesa, Joseph Nacino, Carljoe Javier, Dean Francis Alfar, and Timothy James M. Dimacali.
Freelance Writers’ Guild of the Philippines, an organization of Filipino freelance writers, has been organizing the monthly OpenBook events since September 2011. It all began with Samantha Sotto (Before Ever After), then Tweet Sering (Astigirl), Bebang Siy (It’s A Mens World), Ricky Lee (Amapola), Joel Toledo (Ruins and Reconstructions), and Norman Wilwayco (Responde).
For April 2012, FWGP presents UVAS Talks (Parang TED Talks Lang), featuring Visprint authors Eros Atalia (Ligo Na U, Lapit Na Me), Karl R. de Mesa (News of the Shaman), Budjette Tan (Trese series), and Carlo Vergara (Zsa Zsa Zaturnah).
The group, otherwise known as the United Visprint All-Stars (UVAS), will be talking about their respective books, their creative process, and whatever stories, imagined or otherwise, they’d care to share with the captured audience on that night. Those who will attend are encouraged to prepare ammunition for the question and answer portion at the end of the program.
This month’s OpenBook event will be hosted by Atty. Marnie Tonson and Ren Aguila, who will be pinch-hitting for our regular host(ess) Ms. Bebang Siy.
UVAS Talks (Parang TED Talks Lang) will happen on April 20, Friday, 7:30 p.m. in Chef’s Bistro (where else?). Entrance fee is more affordable this month at a student-friendly rate of P150. (Seriously, FWGP only charges a fee so we could pay for the LCD projector.)
Readers, fans, followers, stalkers of the Visprint hotshots are invited to attend. This is your chance. There will be a photo-op. Those who haven’t read any of their books are also encouraged to come so you’ll know whether the books are going to be worth your money.
For details and reservations, get in touch with Ime through 0917-9378617.
The indefatigable Charles Tan has uploaded audio recordings from the recently concluded 1st Annual Visprint Readers’ Day event entitled “WIT” or “Writers in Talks”, including presentations by speculative fiction writers such as Budjette Tan, Karl de Mesa, Paolo Fabregas, Karen Francisco and Carlo Vergara. There’s a lot of material here aimed at creating your own works of fiction/komiks, so aspiring writers and creators, take note.
Visprint–publishers of such Philippine speculative fiction titles as Trese, the Filipino Heroes League, News Of The Shaman, and Naermyth, as well as fan favorites such as Kikomachine Komix and the books of Bob Ong–will be having its first annual “Reader’s Day” on September 10, this coming Saturday, at the SMX Convention Center, Meeting Rooms 7, 8 & 9. Entitled “WIT”, the event promises to feature an exhibit of never-before-seen artworks by Visprint artists; behind-the-scene revelations by the book creators; talks on creativity; and a sneak peek of upcoming Visprint titles.
Now, this is the first of what will be an annual event, but if you’d like to get a taste of what WIT might be like, you can check out my videos from “Literature From Shakespeare to Bob Ong: Bridging the Divide Between the Popular And the Canonical”
EDIT: Here’s the updated poster:
This coming Friday, November 19, Visprint will be having a book signing/ launch for three of its newest titles: Karen Francisco’s Naermyth, Karl de Mesa’s News of the Shaman, and Manix Abrera’s Kikomachine Komix Blg 6. Also in attendance will be Kajo Baldisimo-Moring, Siege Malvar, Eros Atalia and Alan Navarra.
The event will be at 53/600 pm at Quantum Cafe, FERON Building, 9590 Kamagong cor. Bagtikan St, Makati. (See the map below.)
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.
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 2: Karl de Mesa (Damaged People, News of the Shaman)
Video 3: Manix Abrera (Kikomachine, 12)
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.
With the launch of Estranghero Press’ new horror anthology, Demons of the New Year, we cornered EP founder and anthology co-editor Joseph Nacino for a short interview. Here are Joseph’s thoughts on the second anthology, the existence of demons, and the state of the horror genre in the Philippines.
Congratulations on the new anthology! Were there any lessons you learned from The Farthest Shore that you applied here?
Thanks Pao. I suppose if there’s a primary lesson I learned from the first anthology, it’s that it’s possible. That if there is something you want done, you have to do it yourself. I’ve always heard Filipino writers (myself included) lamenting the lack of local writing markets. So actually having completed The Farthest Shore convinced me that I could actually do this.
This is also your second time collaborating on editing duties (Estranghero Press’ fantasy anthology, The Farthest Shore, was co-edited by Dean Alfar). Why go down that route, rather than monopolizing the editorial reins?
Well, don’t you get bored at times of hearing only yourself in your head? (Of course if you start hearing someone else, I suggest you go see a shrink.) I figured it would be great to have different editorial perspectives of what the Story is, what it means. So rather than limiting it to my perspective, I thought it would be great to share the fun with other writers and making them guest-editors.
Do you and Karl share the same taste in stories?
Well, we have different tastes– I think he goes for the more edgier stuff while I dig the weird shit– but both of us have the same reverence and joy of horror stories. I’m primarily a fantasy reader/writer but horror is a close second favorite in my clockwork world.
How did you settle on the theme of demons/horror for the anthology?
I threw a number of topics to Karl and he picked one and threw it back to me. From there, it was just a matter of selecting the right title. (And really, once you have the right title, everything else is easy.)
Are any of the writers included in the anthology new to you?
One thing I like with this whole gig is that I get to read– and introduce– new writers to the world. There are some writers here and in The Farthest Shore that I’ve heard about but never worked with (or read) before. And there are some writers that are new to me, i.e. it’s the first time I’ve seen their names, and they have stories that expand what Philippine Speculative Fiction is.
What do you think of the state of the horror genre here in the Philippines? Not just in fiction necessarily, but even in film, the state of the fandom/s, etc.
I do think that among the genres, horror is the one most alive and well in the Philippines. All you have to do is look at the moviehouses during the year-end film festivals with Shake, Rattle and Roll series, movies like Sigaw, Feng Sui and Sukob. TV as well with Wag Kukurap, E.S.P. and Nginiig. Print you have writers like Yvette Tan, Karl de Mesa, and David Hontiveros– as well as the Psicom horror series. Obviously, some people would disagree on the quality of the horror genre locally but still– unlike science fiction– it’s there. You might say this stems from the Filipinos’ need to scare themselves silly when relating ghost stories during the wee hours of the night. Or it could be due to our inherited memories of a time when there were no bright lights and big cities, when it was always dark once 6 p.m. rolled around, and we had to shutter ourselves in our bahay kubos at night.
Are you a believer, insofar as the darker side of the supernatural/paranormal spectrum is concerned? (From the introduction, Karl seems to be.) Does that affect your writing at all?
Do I believe in ghosts? Yes, though I’ve not actually seen one. As with most people, I have seen some things from the corner of my eye. Do I believe in demons and monsters? Well, I keep an open mind– it’s easier to run away when you’re not asking stupid questions in the face of “the jaws that bite, the claws that catch”!
What’s next for Estranghero Press?
Well, given that I’ve already done one per genre leg of fantasy and horror, there’s only one left– science fiction! Now to look for a guest-editor!