It’s the first of June, which means that in less than two weeks, on June 12, we celebrate Independence Day here in the Philippines. It is an occasion which I, and a growing number of Filipino writers and artists, like to commemorate with a little something we call #RP612fic.

For anyone late to the party, here’s all you need to know:

  • What is #RP612fic?It’s Filipino authors coming together on Twitter to create tweet-length stories (130 characters, because you need to leave space for the hashtag) and sending them out into the wild with the #RP612fic hashtag. When the event is over, I’ll collate all submissions into a single post here on the site.
    • What’s a Hashtag? It’s a word/code you put in your tweet after the “#”. It acts as a label of sorts and makes it easier for me to find all participating stories.
  • When does this take place? At least once a year on Independence Day, but sometimes we participate in other events, such as a Blog Action Day. For any compilation or selection post I do, I’ll be looking for stories sent from 6PM on June 11, to 6AM of June 13.
  • What kind of stories should I submit? For Independence Day, I’d love to see alternative history stories, but it’s not like I’m going to tell you to delete your 130 character realist micro fiction opus.
  • What if I’m not on Twitter and I want to participate? Just send me your tweet length stories via rocketkapre[at]gmail.com and I’ll try to tweet them out myself.
  • Artists are also free to participate. Just tell your stories with a single picture instead of a single tweet, and send it out on Twitter, or to my email account, with or without text (but if you put text, keep it to the Twitter limit, which includes the link to your image, if possible.) If you decide to illustrate one of the old RP612fic stories, from my previous compilations, please indicate the username of the original author, as found in the list.

I’ve pretty much given up on coming up with a comprehensive archive of #RP612fic tweets — to give you an idea of how big the celebration has become, here’s a reminder that we were the #1 hashtag in the world for a time last year — but will of course retweet any that catch my eye, from my personal twitter account (@anitero) or the rocketkapre account (@rocketkapre).

I don’t think we can get any bigger this year — though I’ve been wrong before — but I would like to see more #RP612fic illustrations this year. If you’re in a doodling mood during the next week or so, and want to try to get some new eyes on your art, you could do worse than envisioning an alternate Philippines and uploading your art with #RP612fic on June 12. We usually get local news sites compiling choice tweets and artwork with the hashtag, so it could be a good opportunity. I’ll also try to compile artwork with the hashtag. If you’d like to see how artists have contributed before, here’s a gallery of Studio Salimbal artwork from last year.

Alternative Alamat Book Signing at the MIBF

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 15 - 2014

Alternative Alamat and other Visprint titles will be sold from the Precious Pages booth at this year’s Manila International Book Fair, and both Mervin Malonzo and I will be there for a signing on Friday, the 19th, at 1PM. Merv will primarily be there as the creator of the bloody awesome “Tabi Po” but as he provided illustrations for Alamat as well, readers of AA can get a rare two-for-one signing. So come on down if you’re free :)

New Alternative Alamat Book Launch Details

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 22 - 2014

Here’s the new poster and some new details for the new launch date of the expanded Alternative Alamat print edition. It will be on July 25, Friday, from 4PM onwards, at Powerbooks Greenbelt 3 (2nd floor). Here’s the official Facebook event page.I’ve also updated the Book FAQ page to reflect the suggested retail price of PHP250. See you there!

In the run-up to the print launch, I’ll be reposting old material on Alternative Alamat that’s still relevant for the new, expanded edition. Today, I’ll be reposting the relevant parts of an interview (conducted by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, a contributor to Alamat)  that originally appeared on the late, much-missed, World SF Blog. It provides some insight into the editorial side of things, and why I initially went the digital only route.

Hi! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. First off, what made you decide to start Alternative Alamat?

First, my more selfish reason: I was very into mythology as a child–but it was always Western mythology, not Philippine mythology. I only discovered Philippine myths well into my teens, and was mortified both by my ignorance and by the fact that I couldn’t see many modern writers drawing from these old stories. The reason I put up Rocket Kapre was to allow me to produce/encourage stories of the type that I would want to see on the market, and from the very beginning, I knew that one of my first projects would be to create an anthology which would bring together such stories, or give those stories a reason to be written.

My second reason was to help, in some small way, to promote awareness of both modern Philippine speculative fiction and Philippine mythology. In a sense, both are still invisible, internationally and in the Philippines itself, and one of the most effective ways I know of becoming more visible is simply by producing more content. To put out a book is, I think, the literary equivalent of “showing up”.

How did you first become acquainted with speculative fiction?

I grew up on a steady diet of fantasy and science fiction. The first novel I ever read was a fantasy novel (YA wasn’t a category back then). I’m an only child and, in what I’m sure is a familiar story, I found a haven in these other worlds.

Now, my encounter with specifically Philippine speculative fiction came much later, in the form of, first, the Mythology Class comics, and second, the Philippine Speculative Fiction anthology.

Did your experience as a slush reader for Fantasy Magazine come into play when editing the stories for the anthology?

Yes, in the sense that my experience in the slush pile helped me refine my personal taste in short fiction. I find it much easier now to decide whether or not a story is a good fit for me. I did, however, have to always remember that I was an editor as well as a slush reader. As a slush reader, it doesn’t usually matter if a story is “fixable”–it’s a pass or fail. As an editor, those aren’t my only options.

What was your criteria in selecting the stories?

The presence of a mythological element–whether that be in the form of a character, a concept, an artifact–was the first factor I considered. Equally important to me, however, was for the stories to have a clear and coherent arc–even with the more experimental formats employed in the last two stories of the book, readers will know what the stories are about. One of the goals of the anthology was to offer a glimpse of our cultural heritage, and it didn’t serve that purpose to have stories that were amorphous or unclear.

Who was your target reader for the book? Were you gearing it towards local readers or to an international audience?

I tried to make a book that would appeal to any fantasy reader who was interested in mythology–particularly the lesser known mythologies. As far as nationality goes, I didn’t make a distinction between a Filipino and non-Filipino reader because the sad fact is that Philippine mythology is, for the most part, a mystery to both Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike. It’s one of the reasons I put so much non-fiction content in the anthology.

What made you decide to go with an eBook release?

Lower costs, wider distribution, and faster turnaround. That and the fact that I probably buy ten books a month for my Kindle, so while I still love physical books, I love digital books just as much. That being said, I am still considering a print run, if only so I can put Alternative Alamat on library shelves.

Alternative Alamat: Expanded Print Edition, Launches on July 25

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 10 - 2014

It’s been a long time coming, but the much-requested print version of Alternative Alamat is heading to bookstores near you — and sooner than you think! The good folks at Visprint are launching it on July 19,   Saturday,   [EDIT: LAUNCH HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO JULY 25, FRIDAY, 4PM, SAME VENUE] part of a four-title launch that takes place from 11AM to 6PM at Powerbooks, Greenbelt. Not only is this a print edition of Alternative Alamat, but it’s also an EXPANDED edition, with  a new 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 updated a bit of the bibliography to help with your Philippine mythology research needs.

Of course the rest of the book is still intact, with eleven stories that re-imagine Philippine myths and legends, each preceded by a gorgeous rendition of a Philippine deity by Tabi Po’s Mervin Malonzo. And in case you’ve forgotten what people said about the book when it first came out…

Winner: Best Short Story Anthology, Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards 2012: “Alternative Alamat does for Philippine deities what Neil Gaiman’s American gods did for the lesser-known gods of europe, Asia and Africa. Readers will find that the gods, goddesses and supernatural beings of the Philippines are as fascinating as those of any other nation’s pantheon. By turns shocking, tragic, even malevolent—the beings featured in this collection of stories are given new shape and form in stories that traverse the past and the present of Filipino culture. If myth is said to form a nation’s collective subconscious, then Alternative Alamat gives Filipino readers a much-needed injection of myths that are truly ours, and truly deserving of more widespread attention. Because of this collection, we’ll never view Filipino mythology the same way again.”

One of GMA News Online’s Notable Books from 2011

“[A] treasure trove of Philippine myths and legends reexamined and rendered for modern readers…lyrical…ground-breaking” Angelo Ancheta, Philippines Graphic (December 25, 2011 – January 2, 2012)

OK, if you only read one anthology all year, please let this one be it.” - Jaymee Goh(Scroll all the way down – this post reviews three books.)

“[B]rings Philippine mythology closer to modern readers like no scholarly book of myths possibly could… delightfully diverse.” - Meann Ortiz, The Girl Who Read

“Somehow, I felt that this book and the stories in this collection were mine — mine because I am a Filipino…” -  Tina Matanguihan, One More Page.

“…an excellent work indeed, well done!” – Catherine Batac Walder

“[A] marvelous attempt to gather in one volume some of the finest renditions of Philippine folklore.” - Kristine Ong Muslim (Amazon review)

“Different, but clever. Brilliant.” - Monique, Bookish Little Me

“This anthology came to me late in the year, but rocked my world on most counts. Between the illustrations by Mervin Malonzo and the intelligently done interviews at the back of the book, it was difficult to put this one down…” Katrina Stuart Santiago, Facebook

“I know nothing of Filipino culture, and these stories were all brand new to me. And I loved them!” -Robin Edman, Goodreads.

 

Studio Salimbal Website Launch

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 2 - 2014

Ladies and gentlemen, thanks to Mervin Malonzo’s herculean efforts… WE ARE LIVE!

http://www.salimbalcomics.com/

Consider this an active beta of the site. Webcomics by/involving Filipino creators, on a weekly basis. Please, if you have any affection for me — or more likely, my studio mates Mervin Malonzo Cristina Rose Chua John Michael Carreon Robert Sinaban Jules Gregorio Paul Quiroga Mico Dmgb Tintin Pantoja Elbert Or John Amor Butch Mapa Noel Pascual and Budjette Tan — please, please, help us spread the word, and let us know what you think!

Let’s Talk Philippine Comics on April 6

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On March - 27 - 2014

To celebrate the Studio Salimbal launch, we’d like to talk about comics. Philippine comics, to be exact. Studio members — this includes Team Mythspace, Mervin Malonzo (Tabi Po), Noel Pascual (Crime Fighting Call Center Agents) and Elbert Or (Bakemono High, and editor of the forthcoming Abangan anthology) — will be joined by other local comic creators for an informal, free-wheeling discussion about the craft, business, and future of comics in the Philippines.

Nothing will be sold at the event, but there will be artists giving free sketches, and the event itself is free. So if you’re a creator who wants to talk shop, an aspiring creator who wants to learn the craft — or if you’re a komiks aficionado, or a comics fan interested in the local scene, or even someone who simply wants to learn about comics in general and the men and women behind them, please do come by. There’s never been a better time to talk about Philippine comics.

Confirmed Writers/Artists: Elbert Or, Noel Pascual, Mervin Malonzo, Tintin Pantoja, Paolo Chikiamco, Butch Mapa, Koi Carreon, Borg Sinaban, Paul Quiroga, Cristina Chua, Mico Dimagiba, Jules Gregorio.

Authors for the Philippines: Your Name in Slammed!

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 18 - 2013

Hi everyone! My contribution to the awesome Authors for Manila Typhoon Yolanda relief auction is now up. If you, someone you know, would be interested in having your name as a character name in Slammed! (my Interactive Fiction wrestling novel from Choice of Games), now’s yoour chance! Bidding ends Wednesday, 8PM GMT. No amount is too small (or too big!), so please help me spread the word (and check out all the other awesome items for bidding while you’re there — over 400 now!)

ITEM: Your name in Slammed!, the Pro-Wrestling Interactive Fiction Game by Manila-based author Paolo Chikiamco.

DETAILS: I have an interactive fiction piece/app that is already out, but if you help us get some aid to my countrymen, then via the magic of app updates, I can put your name/a name of your choice into the game in a variety of ways:

* I can add your real first name and surname to the list of possible options for player characters in Chapter 1.
* I can add a wrestling name of your choice to the list of possible options for player characters in Chapter 1 (just don’t ask me to put in a real pro wrestler’s name).
* I can change the name of one of the supporting characters (if you’ve played the game, the man or woman who are tormented with your former wrestling coach in one of the branches of the game) to your name.

Discount Code for Lauriat: A Filipino-Chinese Speculative Fiction Anthology

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 26 - 2013

Lauriat, the Filipino-Chinese Speculative Fiction Anthology edited by Charles Tan, is being discounted on Smashwords until October 25. While listed at 6.99 US dollars on the site, just use this coupon code at Smashwords, you can purchase the ebook of Lauriat for $0.99: NG66N. You can read an interview I did with Charles about Lauriat here.

Lauriat was reviewed positively in Publisher’s Weekly, and includes my alternate history story (mentioned in that review) called the “Captain’s Nephew.” It mixes General Jose Ignacio Paua — the Chinese General of the Katipunan — and one of the Philippines’ most famous folklore creatures. Here’s an excerpt:

Batangas.1896.

The forest that covered the slopes of Mount Pico de Loro was thick with dense underbrush and slim, swaying trees whose trunks formed a lattice of rough bark and sharp edges. The trunks were almost invisible beneath the shelter of the forest canopy, deeper lines of black obstructing stray beams of moonlight and frustrating the efforts of one Chinese man. Jose Ignacio Paua swung his bolo once more at a particularly stubborn patch of bamboo, then stopped to wipe his brow. Not for the first time that night, the Katipunero mused that the forest was a decidedly unwelcoming place. This was not, however, an observation that deterred him. Paua was a man accustomed to walking where he was not wanted, in places where he was in danger from far worse than an errant branch.

Of course, there was always the chance that something more sinister than a tree was lurking on this mountain. In fact, that was what Paua was counting on.

After a good three hours of stumbling and hacking his way up the mountainside, Paua eventually emerged onto a flat outcropping within sight of the beak-shaped summit which gave the mountain its name. This high above sea level, the night breeze was cold enough to make Paua shiver, and strong enough to make his queue — his long, braided ponytail — dance. For a moment, the Katipunero looked to the east, and fancied he could see all the way to Imus, and the scowling visage of Pantaleon Garcia.

“This is a fool’s errand,” Pantaleon had told him. “You’re chasing after tuba-fueled nightmares, or some oddly shaped shadow.”

“Shadows don’t smoke cigars,” Paua had replied as he mounted his horse. “I’ll be in the area anyway for recruitment. No harm in taking a look.”

“Of course not. Not for you. Not when there’s an adventure to be had.”

That was partly true. At twenty four years old, Paua still had much of the restless energy which had driven him, six years ago, to leave China for the Philippines. But it was more than that. Paua moved to the very edge of the outcropping and took in the sight of his adopted home. To the south, the mountains of Batangas rose above the rolling green countryside; to the north the island of Bataan was just visible over the water. Pantaleon was his friend, but there was no way that anyone who had lived for forty years in this country could fully understand Paua’s hunger to explore it. 

It was only when Paua reluctantly tore himself away from the view that he realized that he was not alone. A man in dark red clothes leaned against one of the taller trees, a somewhat twisted looking plant with round, low-hanging leaves. The overhanging branches kept most of the man’s face in shadow, but Paua could see enough to identify him as Chinese.

“Are you lost, neighbor?” said the man in red. “You’re a long way from home.”

When Paua made no reply, the other man moved out of the shade of the tree. As the man moved closer, Paua scrutinized his face carefully under the moonlight.

“I could show you the way back down the mountain,” said the man in red. His face was round and ruddy, his smile open and guileless. “I’m on my way back down myself.”

“Oh, I remember you now,” said Paua in Hokkien. “That’s clever.”

The man in red stopped, his expression darkening. “I’m sorry, I did not quite hear you.”

“I was commending you on your ingenuity,” Paua said, shifting back to Tagalog. “I figured it would be difficult to try your usual trick, given that none of my relations would be anywhere near Cavite, let alone this mountain. Taking the face of an almost forgotten cousin and assuming the role of a helpful stranger… that was unexpected.”

The man in red drew a large cigar from his pocket, and placed it between his lips. The tip of the cigar flared, and in that instant the man vanished. In his stead hulked a gangly figure that easily topped seven feet, its arms so long that one hairy hand was at the level of its knobby knees. The other hand still held the cigar, and against the backdrop of the night sky, the dull red light cast the figure’s equine head into relief. 

 

“A hunter.” The Tikbalang’s sigh sounded like a horse’s nicker. “Hunters make for such poor sport. As you will, then. Shall it be salt first? One of your Christian beads? Or simply the business end of your blade?”

“What? No, no.” Paua slowly returned the bolo to the sheath which hung from his waist. “I’m not here to hurt you.”

The Tikbalang whinnied, and gave its head a shake, its long mane trailing behind like a coarse and tangled pennant. “Let us presume for a moment that your intentions have any bearing on what actually happens this night. Why are you here then, banyaga?” 

Paua felt a rush of anger, but fought it down. One did not begin a courtship with threats and bombast. Instead Paua forced a smile and said: “I’m here to recruit you.”

LONTAR #1 is Now Available (in Singapore)

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 19 - 2013

I’m happy to announce that the first issue of LONTAR, the Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction, is now available — well, in Singapore. BUT, it will be available as a digital download sometime in the future, and I’ll let you know when that happens. I have a non-fiction piece in this issue, in the form of a fictional course guide for a university where you can major in courses such as Philippine Sorcery, Relic Magic (anting-antings), and Healing Magic. The book seems beautifully designed, so if you’re in Singapore or have a friend there, check it out!

EDIT: You can order the physical copies online at BooksActually Web Store (http://booksactually.bigcartel.com/product/lontar-edited-by-jason-erik-lundberg) and HipVan (http://www.hipvan.com/products/lontar-edited-by-jason-erik-lundberg).

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