High Society News: Giveaway, Komikon, iTunes, Reviews

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 15 - 2011

Bonus Art from "High Society" artist Hannah Buena

 

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.

PSF6 Review: “Ashland” by Elyss Punsalan

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 10 - 2011

This post is a part of our story-by-story review of Philippine Speculative Fiction volume 6. You can see the introductory post, and our disclaimers here. Bold font is Mia Tijam, everything else is Paolo Chikiamco.

This is probably my favorite story in this volume of PSF6. “Ashland” is the story of a widow who is assigned to monitor an area where a strange type of ash falls, an ash that consumes sound. We’re never quite sure if this is a place on Earth or beyond it, but that just heightens the feeling of isolation that is essential to the story.

Really? I thought it was about ash. I’m kidding! I’m kidding! This is a good example of a story that is anchored on setting.

What I like the most about “Ashland” is how well the core concept of the story pulls all the other aspects of the story together. One of the things that distinguishes the best fiction from real life is the ability to create a sort of unity to events, a commonality of theme: as you might guess from the synopsis, most of “Ashland” revolves around sound, both its presence and its absence.

—- Aaaaw Counsel you’re getting poetic right there— the absence that is a presence and vice versa—- But yeah, I like the attempt of this story on deconstructing “sound”.

[Pao: Just goes to show how far I usually am from "poetic" if my using that kind of juxtaposition merits an "Aaaaw" ^_^]

— Hahahaha!

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PSF6 Review: “Alternative Histories” by Ian Rosales Casocot

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 3 - 2011

This post is a part of our story-by-story review of Philippine Speculative Fiction volume 6. You can see the introductory post, and our disclaimers here. Bold font is Mia Tijam, everything else is Paolo Chikiamco.

—Title’s obvious.

If you’ve ever witnessed our #RP612 Twitter fiction events, you know that Twitter-length alternative history stories are right in my ballpark.

So that’s what it’s called? Twitter fiction? Twition? Twitfic? Twific? And if it’s good do you say “Tweet!” And when it’s bad twitter fiction— what do you call it? Finger fart? Twit? Twat? Just asking.

The key to really short stories, from what I’ve seen, is to be able to construct them in a way that they read as something immediate, as opposed to something academic. Jotting down a one sentence summary of a story idea is not the same as crafting a piece of microfiction.

— It’s the whole application of 140 max characters as the constraint. In Media Res at its core. Question is was this constraint maximized?

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PSF6 Review: “The Big Man” by Asterio Enrico N. Gutierrez

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 27 - 2011

This post is a part of our story-by-story review of Philippine Speculative Fiction volume 6. You can see the introductory post, and our disclaimers here. Bold font is Mia Tijam, everything else is Paolo Chikiamco.

— The title? It just made me shrug. What do you think of it?

[Pao: A nice play on words, since that's a common term in basketball.]

Gutierrez’s story has been the most well received by readers so far (it recently won first place in the coveted Palanca Awards, in the Short Story in English category) and there is a lot to like in the story.

I see why this one won the Palanca. The crafting of the story is right up that award’s alley. It has that polished/smart/epic feel to it and brought median reverberations of Douglas Candano and Pocholo Goitia stories. If it is the most well received by readers then it’s because the whole thing just flows (right after you get into the groove of it by page 3) on the readability radar.

As an old-school PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) fan–I started way back during the Tanduay-Ginebra feud, when my Mom worked at La Tondeña and I wouldn’t shake Robert Jaworski’s hand even if I was paid to–I appreciated the level of research that went into the story.

I’m not a basketball fan though I remember that period. And it’s good that the detailing in the story provides that grounding in history… And this story is way better than the Ronald Cruz basketball mascot story in PSF 4.

That degree of detail helped immerse readers in this alternative Philippines, and on a more mundane level, the world of the PBA, which may as well be a secondary world to quite a few readers nowadays, considering the dip in the league’s popularity in recent years.

— Haha, yeah, it sure made me feel my aging in this alternative Philippines. And in real-time Philippines, Big Bird is a PBA player.

I also appreciate the feat Gutierrez was able to achieve in making a story about a kapre basketball player be about basketball, and not about the existence of kapres.

Definitely the story puts all those lectures I attended on sports writing when I was in high school in mind. So, hey, kids who are in the sports writing category in the Secondary Schools Press Conference— You can write speculative fiction and win a Palanca someday! Yay!

It brought also to mind how non-spec readers who love basketball would appreciate this story (Paging Leo Malapo! Paging Leo Malapo! The book is available in Fully Booked for 350 pesos! Buy now!)

The fantasy becomes the idea of a Filipino player in the NBA, not the reality of a mythical creature–or as the story put it: “Sure, the kapre is real, but is he for real?” This helps create the normalization of the fantastic that is important to an immersive, secondary world fantasy (and that’s the kind of story I think that “The Big Man” is, even if it’s ostensibly set in our world), but the manner by which this technique is deployed here is also one of the problems I had with the story: “The Big Man” normalizes the kapre by bracketing its supernatural qualities, precisely what makes the kapre a fantasy, and placing them aside.

— Tadadun…There goes the bomb!

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Filipino Bibliophile Podcast: Interview with Paolo Chikiamco

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 19 - 2011

You know you’ve moved up in the world of speculative fiction when Charles Tan sits you down for an interview. After all, for years he’s been interviewing the likes of  RA Salvatore, Tim PrattEllen Datlow and Catherynne M. Valente on his personal blog as well as the official blogs for the Nebula and Shirley Jackson Awards. So I was more than happy to sit down with him this week for his new “Filipino Bibliophile” podcast. We spoke about Alternative Alamat, High Society, Rocket Kapre, and slush reading for Fantasy Magazine–Charles has a more comprehensive list of topics on the episode page, either at his blog, or at the podcast site.

Thanks to Charles for the opportunity, and for once again finding new ways to promote Filipino authors. Do check out the first episode of his podcast, where he has an interview (two interviews really) with Eisner-award nominated komikero Gerry Alanguilan.

“High Society” Philippine Steampunk Comic – Now on Amazon

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 14 - 2011

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?

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RK Recommends: “Child of Fire” by Harry Connolly

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 26 - 2011

I’m contributing monthly book reviews over at Fantasy Faction, a fast-growing hub for fantasy fans that updates daily with writing tips, interviews, and reviews. My first assignment is Harry Connolly’s highly enjoyable first novel in his Twenty Palaces series, “Child of Fire.” You can read the review here. Let’s have an excerpt shall we?

“Child of Fire” is the first novel in Harry Connolly’s “Twenty Palaces” urban fantasy–well, perhaps urban horror would be a more appropriate term–series (three books long so far), featuring ex-convict Ray Lilly and the precarious situations he finds himself in due to his association with the Twenty Palaces Society. The Society is a group of mages who are less like benevolent protectors of humanity, and more like an autonomous black-ops crew. The Society eliminates magical threats, and damn any collateral damage to innocents or allies or poor ol’ Ray.

The thing that surprises me the most about “Child of Fire” is that, on paper, it should not be the type of book I enjoy.

I’m not a big fan of horror in general, and Lovecraftian horror in particular, that subgenre of horror which deals with the insignificance of humanity in the face of unknowable cosmic entities. There are a lot of well-written Lovecraftian tales out there, but I’m simply not the target audience, given my taste for stories that focus on human agency, on people and their choices. (That and I’m a scaredy-cat.) However, while “Child of Fire” borrows liberally from aspects of Lovecraftian horror, with creatures and scenes which I found to be viscerally disturbing, it also allows the actions of human beings to matter, and allows them to push back against the darkness.

Go here for the full review, but if you haven’t read the novel yet, I urge you to check it out. It’s only US$0.99 on the Kindle.

“Malvar” by Paolo Chikiamco on PGS Online

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 18 - 2011

It’s been a year or so since I last had a new story available online, so I’m pleased to announce that my story “Malvar” has been published at PGS Online. It’s an alternative history story that deals with the consequences of a curse fueled by the Bataan Death March, and delves into the muddy border between vengeance and heroism. It was a tough story to write – I don’t think any story of mine has gone through so many revisions – but I hope the end product manages to entertain, or at least divert. This is the third in a set of four being co-edited by publisher Kenneth Yu and Yvette Tan, and I’d like to thank them for their feedback and support. Let me know what you think about the story, either here or at PGS. Thanks for reading!

“The Confessional” and “Sweet” at PGS Online

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 10 - 2011

All parts of “The Confessional” by Cyan Abad-Jugo and “Sweet” by Marguerite Alcazaren de Leon have been uploaded to Philippine Genre Stories Online. These are the first two stories in a set of four being co-edited by publisher Kenneth Yu and Yvette Tan. Kenneth has an interesting post up where he discusses that one of the benefits of going online is the ability to publish longer stories, but that he still decided to split both stories into two parts each.

The last story of the set will be from Yvette herself and the next one will be from me. As is becoming common for me, it’ll be an alternative history story with a good helping of the fantastic. I’ll post here when it goes live.

RP612Fic 2011: The Stories

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On June - 17 - 2011


So… RP612fic 2011. Let’s crunch the numbers.

427 stories. Four hundred twenty seven stories were contributed this year (and that’s not even taking into account the forty-nine sent on the 8th for Philippine corals blog action day) and as someone who laments the lack of Philippine alternative history fiction–that brings a smile to my face. Some may quibble about the definition of “story” here, but even counterfactuals can make the reader stop and think about what actually happened, what could have happened, and all the space in-between–and that’s part of what I’d like people to do on Independence Day.

An even better number: 56. Fifty six people–poets, bloggers, Palanca winners, film makers, comic creators, anime fans–contributed stories this year (65 if you include those who only sent in on the 8th) and as someone who believes we need more writers–especially spec fic writers–that brings a smile to my face.

But best of all, for me, was seeing the somewhat amused bewilderment with which non-contributors met the deluge of strange tweets with the #RP612fic hashtag, many retweeting some of their favorites. That means we were successful at raising awareness, whether that be awareness of Independence Day, Philippine alternative history, Philippine microfiction, or all of the above. That’s a good thing, and I’m grateful to have Twitter as a platform for this sort of campaign.

That being said Twitter is not the most stable place to host 400+ stories for any length of time, so I’ve aggregated the RP612 contributions for 2011 in this post (at least, those in the public timeline and/or by my Twitter contacts). I’ve done this via screen capture (except for some tweets that weren’t on the public timeline) because it was easier than transcription, but EK Gonzales has graciously created a word file of contributions as of noon of June 13. You can find that here.

I’ve blacked out some of the non-story tweets (upon review I realized I missed a few) and I’ve left in some of the praise/compliments and highlighted them in green, because I need affirmation. As with any twitter search, it’s reverse chronological, so if you want to read from start to finish (again, with a few exceptions), head to the bottom of the post first, and read upwards.

Before we get to that though, I’d like to give a shout out to all the contributors, and list them here so that you can add to the people you follow on Twitter if you so desire :) Once again, thank you everyone, and I hope you had as much fun as I did. See you all next year!

1. adamfuckindavid

2. aeditor91

3. ageofbrillig

4. aghostworld (via email)

5. alexeivee

6. allify

7. almeldiel

8. amosias

9. Anitero

10. Andreal

11. Apil (via email)

12. Beerkada

13. biaxident

14. brilums

15. Budjette

16. charlesatan

17. chemikhazi

18. chinosingson

19. clickmomukhamo

20. DeanAlfar

21. dcimafranca

22. diveabout

23. Ekmisao

24. elizawriteshere

25. Et_Al_Crazy

26. Francis_d_twit

27. freakypencils

28. headpointernext

29. isangboses

30. jpedrovaldes

31. jpxv

32. KaEnchong

33. Kannibal

34. Kate Aton-Osias (via email)

35. Kenneth_Yu

36. kennethgyu

37. komikero

38. layangabi

39. lengthofwords

40. listenshadow

41. luckychan

42. lyzalust

43. magnetic_rose

44. marcosumayao

45. melanchoholik

46. miithinks

47. mitchcerda

48. moyzie01

49. nerveending

50. nobbiekenobi

51. Plsburydoughboy

52. shinkaide

53. skipdlc

54. smirksweetly

55. stormberry

56. tinlao

57. transparentboy

58. Transparentboy

59. umichii

60. unlawyer

61. voltaire

62. wagmagalit

63. wulffrick03

64. yvette_tan

65. zekemachine

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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.

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