KyusiReader Reviews PSF6

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 1 - 2011

Over on his blog, “KyusiReader“, Peter Sandico has a review up of Philippine Speculative Fiction volume 6. In the review, Peter mentions how he discovered the book when fellow blogger Honey picked it for the August Book of the Month of the Flips Flipping Pages Shelfari book club. Peter goes on to talk about a few of his favorite stories, and calls the anthology as a whole “a very satisfying read”.

It was a pleasure to discuss the book with Peter and other Flippers during the book club discussion a few weeks back. The story that emerged as a fan favorite was “The Big Man” by Asterio Gutierrez. Other members of the Flippers have also expressed their thoughts about the PSF6 stories in this forum thread.

It’s always great to see what Filipino readers think about Philippine spec fic. If you have a review of PSF6, or any work of Philippine science fiction, horror, or fantasy, drop me a line and I’ll post it here on Rocket Kapre.

PGS Issue 4 Review at Black Gate

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On August - 15 - 2011

Over at the online magazine Black Gate, C.S.E. Cooney has reviewed The Digest of Philippine Genre Stories #4, and has a lot of good things to say about the issue, particularly “Psychic Family,” by Apol Lejano-Massebieau, and the two Forlorn stories, “The Last Stand of Aurundar” by Vincent Simbulan and “In the Dim Plane” by Dean Alfar. (PGS has since gone online, if you’ll recall.) Another reason to find complete your collection of PGS print issues, if you haven’t already, and hey, while you’re at Black Gate, why not see if any of their issues appeal to you?

As an added note, reading about how Ms. Cooney received her copy of PGS (and Philippine Speculative Fiction VI) through the efforts of Charles Tan serves to remind us all why the success of the World SF Travel Fund (which will send Charles to the World Fantasy Convention) isn’t just good news for the Bibliophile Stalker, but for Philippine speculative fiction (prose and komiks) as well. Charles will be The World SF Travel Fund’s first beneficiary (the Fund was set up to enable one international person involved in science fiction, fantasy or horror to travel to a major genre event), but if you want to help ensure that World SF is better represented in future major conventions, feel free to keep the donations coming.

Ian Rosales Casocot Reviews “Waking the Dead”

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 21 - 2011

Ian Rosales Casocot, author of the recently released “Heartbreak & Magic” short story collection, has a very positive review of Yvette Tan’s “Waking the Dead” up on his blog. You can read it here. Always good to see reviews of local spec fic–there haven’t been that many this year. If you review/find a review of a work of Philippine spec fic, let me know and I’ll link up to it here.

“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!

Philippine Spec Fic Review Roundup (as of July 2011)

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 7 - 2011

Charles Tan has a review of Heartbreak & Magic by Ian Rosales Casocot at his site, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to point to a few reviews of Philippine speculative fiction (prose-form) and related books that I’ve seen this year. If anyone knows of any more, please feel free to add them to the comments.

Venues for Philippine Speculative Fiction in 2011 (So Far)

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On June - 8 - 2011

Charles Tan (Bibliophile Stalker) recently put up two posts discussing the various publications/venues that have released Philippine speculative fiction stories this year. It’s easy to find Philippine spec fic in publications that specialize in the same–such as Philippine Genre Stories Online , Pakinggan Pilipinas, and Usok–but what Charles has done is go through general fiction publications to find stories of fantasy, science fiction, or horror. His search unearthed new stories and authors and his two posts on the subject Philippine Speculative Fiction 2011 Overload and Random Thoughts and More Random Thoughts on Philippine Speculative Fiction 2011 are well worth reading, both for writers and fans of Philippine speculative fiction. He also lists story recommendations in each post, some of which you can read online.

If you want to help Charles find other Philippine speculative fiction stories published this year, you can contribute to his online database.

Videos: PGS Crime Issue and PSF 6 Issue Launch

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 31 - 2011

Here are videos from the joint PGS Crime Issue and PSF6 launch. First up is the PGS Crime launch in its entirety, split into two parts.

Don’t let Kyu’s modesty fool you, PGS is a very important part of the local genre scene, and I’m personally thrilled to see it online and reaching a wider audience.

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PSF6 Launch Photos

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 29 - 2011

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The launch for the sixth volume of Philippine Speculative Fiction took place last Saturday, with the inimitable Dean Alfar once again serving as master of ceremonies and all-around entertainer–the PSF launches usually turn into roasts for the editors and contributors (and being absent is no defense) and a grand time was had by all. I’ll have videos from the launch and the earlier launch of the crime issue of Philippine Genre Stories later this week, but first here are some photographs from the event.

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In spite of the rains, (and some *ahem* premature storm warnings), the UView Theater of Fully Booked was jam packed–this photo is from early in the proceedings, and by midway people were lining the walls, in spite of the addition of the monobloc cavalry. The downside to that is the volume sold out minutes after the launch was over–if you want another print run, make sure you make your voices heard!

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Nikki Alfar and Kate Aton-Osias Talk PSF6

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 26 - 2011

The latest installment of the Philippine Speculative Fiction series will be launched on Saturday (5PM at the UView Theater, Fully Booked at Bonifacio High Street, for those interested–it’s also the launch of the PGS Crime issue). Volume 6 is the first to be edited by two women, Nikki Alfar and Kate Aton-Osias, and they graciously agreed to a short interview leading up to the launch. We spoke about how the series has evolved through the years, the difference between being an editor and a contributor, and what makes this volume special.


For those unfamiliar with the Philippine Speculative Fiction anthology, could you explain briefly what the series is?

Nikki Alfar: Philippine Speculative Fiction is the annual end result of our yearly semi-open call for submissions of horror, fantasy, science fiction, and related sub- and cross-genre short stories.

We say ‘semi-open’ because contributors must be of Filipino ethnicity and/or nationality; by soliciting and consistently publishing their work, our goal is not just to provide a medium for these authors to reach a reading public, but also to chart and, hopefully, nurture the ongoing evolution of speculative fiction in the Philippines.

Philippine Speculative Fiction is published by leading Philippine specfic advocate Dean Francis Alfar, through his company Kestrel DDM.

 

Kate, you’ve been a contributor to the anthology before, but this is your first time in the editor’s chair. What was the experience like from the other side, so to speak? Is the grass really greener?

Kate Aton-Osias: Editing has its own challenges, different from writing. The most difficult part for me was in being able to articulate acceptance and rejection letters well. I believe in being transparent; I also believe that authors deserve to know what made their stories work, and why it did not. But the sheer physical limitations of an email, as well as constraints of time and language (People have varying degrees of literary vocabulary; I, for one, know less of the formal terms used for literary criticism than I would like) makes it difficult to convey how we, as editors, felt about a work of fiction. Though I only wrote 3-5 sentences per story, it was still a struggle to get those 3-5 sentences out, especially when rejecting a story that had solid technicals, but was ultimately turned down because of our poetics (see below for definition of ‘Poetics’).

That being said, the process has been extremely helpful (My own submission letters will never be the same again!), illuminating, and of course, satisfying. It was good to hear from the authors – whether or not they were accepted – that they appreciated our comments and compliments.

 

Nikki, you’ve been involved with PSF from the very beginning, and have been both a contributor and an editor. How has the anthology changed from volume one to the present?

Nikki: I’ve actually been copy-editing (meaning checking for typos and grammatical errors) the series since volume 1, though I didn’t start content-editing (working with authors on a story level, as well as actually selecting the stories) until Dean formally asked me to co-edit, on volume 3. (Yes, I’m married to our publisher, which never helped get me published, but which did help him get me to copy-edit, haha!) So I’ve read nearly all the submissions, published and unpublished.

As I mentioned earlier, part of the goal of the SpecFic series is to chart the development of Philippine specfic writing, and if you look back at the previous volumes of the antho from the beginning, you can see that themes seem to emerge every year. Early on, our authorship seemed to be primarily concerned about romantic love, but as you go forward through succeeding volumes, you can see that the contributors and their concerns are maturing, with later themes more focused on subjects like loss, family, identity, and so on.

Thankfully, as well, there’s been a marked reduction in stories which are basically “I will write a fanfic based on my favorite anime, just change the names, and submit that.” We used to get a huge chunk of those in the first few years—and I’m sure these texts have their market, but it is not Philippine Speculative Fiction; we are simply not interested in stories that explore someone else’s already-well-developed milieu—but nowadays it’s down to just a few.

So, in sum, I’d say the anthology has progressed as the field seems to be progressing; there’s significant improvement, year after year—not just in terms of what Filipino specfic practitioners are writing about, but in the quality and experimental nature of how we are writing it.

 

Is there anything about this volume that makes it different from the others?

Nikki: We’ve been laughing for some time over this being the very first “two-chick SpecFic”! This is the second time that Dean has not been directly involved in the selection and editing process, the first having been last year’s volume 5, which I co-edited with Vincent Michael Simbulan.

As publisher, Dean has been changing up the mix of co-editors, because he doesn’t believe that Philippine speculative fiction (neither the antho nor the field) should be an exclusive reflection of one person’s (or two people’s, counting me) poetics. (A very simplified definition of ‘poetics’, in case anyone should be wondering, is ‘the kind of writing an individual prefers’.)

So 2010’s SpecFic was a reflection of Vin’s and my poetics—which are diametrically opposed in many aspects, by the way—whereas this one is Kate’s and mine, which tend to be more harmonious, but also (we found out!) startlingly different in various ways. With Dean and me having nailed down the foundations of the series’ style and substance in volumes 1 to 4, we feel that keeping the editorial mix fresh will continue to keep the anthology fresh and exciting.

Speaking of which—there’s going to be a possibly surprising announcement at the volume 6 launch, so don’t miss it! ;)

 

We have a lot of science fiction, fantasy and horror readers in the Philippines, but few are familiar with the works of local spec fic authors. Speaking to this typical reader for a moment, why should he/she check out PSF6?

Nikki: I doubt that many people know this, but Philippine speculative fiction (again, both antho and field) is getting a lot of positive attention from speculative fiction writers and editors around the world. Many stories from several of the volumes of SpecFic have been cited and/or published by some of the most respected names in the field, and members of the international writing community are actually quicker than our local audience to tell us that the next volume is taking too darn long!

In this upcoming volume alone, we’ve got stories about a basketball-playing kapre, a Muslim artificer (shout-out to you, Paolo!), and a therapist to aswangs and diwatas. These are just the most obvious examples of why Filipino specfic is special—it’s been (frequently!) recognized to be on par with global standards in terms of quality, yet with a fresh perspective, a fresh approach; and it’s all ours.

Redstone SF Interviews Charles Tan (Part 1)

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 9 - 2011

Redstone Science Fiction has part one of a two part interview with Charles Tan. For those who don’t know Charles, he’s an author, editor (Philippine Speculative Fiction Sampler; Best of Philippine Speculative Fiction 2009), Philippine spec fic advocate and prolific blogger (he runs Bibliophile Stalker , and contributes to SF Signal and The World SF Blog, amongst others).

The interview touches upon quite a few topics, including the fact that Charles is more well known abroad than in the Philippines, local cyberpunk, and the Philippine authors most likely to become well-known. An excerpt:

Who do you think will become the first Filipino science fiction writer to become well-known?

Science fiction, or does fantasy count, too?

 

Let’s do both.

Well, there’s no real hard science fiction writers that are active, just some people who dabble in science fiction. I dabble in science fiction, and I think that Rochita, also, might dabble in it from time to time. I don’t think that there’s really anyone who is going to make a big impact, although Eliza may, in a few years, through sheer quantity, if nothing else [laughs]. Dean Francis Almar is the first Filipino to be published in “Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror”. He was first internationally published in “Strange Horizons”. He will probably be the first Filipino to have a true international following. Whenever I give a book to a foreign writer or friend, it is his.

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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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