Launch: Philippine Speculative Fiction 6

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 1 - 2011

I’ve just received word that the sixth volume of the annual Philippine Speculative Fiction anthology, edited by Nikki Alfar and Kate Aton-Osias, and published by Kestrel DDM, will be launched on May 28, 2011, Saturday, 5PM at the UView Theater, Fully Booked at Bonifacio High Street.

If you’re at all interested in science fiction, fantasy, and horror written by Filipinos, do try to come — it’s one of the rare times local authors, editors, and fans are gathered in one place. The launch also traditionally occurs before the volume sees widespread distribution, so if you want to snag a copy, this is the best time to do so. The launch itself is an informal, informative, and typically hilarious affair — you can check out some videos I took of last year’s launch to see for yourselves.

The anthology includes my steampunk (woodpunk?) story “On Wooden Wings”, which is set in the same world as the upcoming “Kataastaasan” comic. Here’s a complete list of the contributors to this volume (or you can go here for a text version):

Launch: Philippine Genre Stories Online

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 18 - 2011

Kenneth Yu’s “Digest of Philippine Genre Stories” was one of the reasons why I even realized it was possible to write and publish speculative fiction in the Philippines, and it gave new writers such as myself a chance to be recognized as authors. It’s hard to overstate the importance of having a regular publication that was open to submissions year round and accessible to young writers.

That’s why it gives me great pleasure to announce that PGS has been reborn online. You can read about the journey to the digital domain and the changes to the magazine here, or jump in and read the new story, “What You See” by Ian Casocot (art by The One Left Behind), the first of three selected by sub-editor Charles Tan. Expect a bit of chaos as PGS finds its place, as Kyu says in his introduction:

PGS online (as with the print digest before it) is a work-in-progress. I hope to improve it bit-by-bit over time, and I’d also like to see how this site fares over the next 12 months or so. The goals are the same: To get more people—especially younger folk, most especially Pinoys, but anyone would do—to discover the pleasures of and develop the habit of reading through fiction, fiction written by fellow Filipinos, in particular.

Congratulations to Kyu, Charles, and Ian, and best of luck on the new endeavor!

“Skygypsies” – Free Philippine SF Comic, Now Online

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On March - 1 - 2011

Filipino artist John Raymond Bumanglag illustrated a comic adaptation (originally a thesis) of a prose story from Timothy James Dimacali entitled “Skygypsies”, which was published in “Philippine Speculative Fiction Volume 3.” The result is a classically illustrated comic book adaptation of “Skygypsies” which has been posted on John Raymond’s blog in its entirety, for your viewing pleasure.

It’s quite an unexpected treat, and a quality read. The artwork is meticulous and it is clear how much care and love went into its production. As for the tale, Philippine space-based science fiction stories are something of a rarity, and the fact that this features one of our more distinct indigenous cultures is a bonus. The Sama Dilaut (or Sama-Laut, as referred to here) are sea nomads who tend to avoid violent confrontations. I’m no expert, but based from what I’ve read about the Sama Dilaut, their portrayal in the story seems consistent with their history–they have a tradition of male bonding that develops from the prolonged isolation of each ship, and suffered discrimination at the hands of some of the more aggressive cultural groups. They could find their way across the seas through the use of sailing songs, kalangan tebba, which helped them commit to memory precise alignments or landmarks. [Herminia Meñez Coben, "Verbal Arts in Philippine Indigenous Communities"]

May I extend my congratulations to both creators, as well as my thanks–I’m thrilled to be able to use the tag “Sama-Laut Science Fiction” in a post. (And thanks to Budjette Tan as well for bringing this comic to my attention.)

Philippine Speculative Fiction 6 Table of Contents Announced

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 24 - 2011

The lineup for the next volume of the annual Philippine Speculative Fiction anthology (this time edited by Nikki Alfar and Kate Osias) has been announced. I’m happy to say that my story, “On Wooden Wings” (set in the same world as the Kataastaasan comic) made the cut. Here’s the entire table of contents, as announced at Kate’s blog, Wishcatcher (head there for more statistics on the stories in this volume):

  1. Alternative Histories by Ian Rosales Casocot
  2. Strange Adventures in Procreation by Andrew Drilon
  3. Lament of the Counselor by Jay Anyong
  4. The Grim Malkin by Vincent Michael Simbulan
  5. A Smell of Mothballs by Mailin Paterno
  6. Ashland by Elyss G. Punsalan
  7. Carpaccio (or, Repentance as a Meat Recipe) by Arlynn Despi
  8. Eternal Winter by Maria Pia Vibar Benosa
  9. From the Book of Names My Mother Did Not Give Me by Christine V. Lao
  10. Hollowbody by Crystal Koo
  11. Offerings to Aman Sinaya by Andrei Tupaz
  12. On Wooden Wings by Paolo Chikiamco
  13. Prisoner 2501 by Philip Corpuz
  14. Resurrection by Victor Ocampo
  15. Simon’s Replica by Dean Alfar
  16. Break in at Batay Street by Francis Gabriel Concepcion
  17. The Big Man by Asterio Gutierrez
  18. The Bookshelves of Mrs. Go by Charles Tan
  19. The Impossible and the R.S.C. Gregorio del Pilar by Alex Osias
  20. The Kiddie Pool by Kenneth Yu
  21. The Storyteller’s Curse by Eliza Victoria
  22. Villainoguing by Joseph Montecillo

Congratulations to all the authors, and to Nikki and Kate!

Review of Dean Alfar’s “Salamanca” by Jay Lake

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 20 - 2011

There’s a new review online for Dean Alfar’s award-winning spec fic novel “Salamanca”, this time by speculative fiction author Jay Lake (author of books such as Mainspring and Green). He seems to have thoroughly enjoyed the book, so give the review–and Salamanca of course–a read if you can. Congrats to Dean as well for another positive review.

Keeping Time by FH Batacan on Pakinggan Pilipinas

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 5 - 2011

Philippine podcast site Pakinggan Pilipinas has its first story out for 2011, namely “Keeping Time” by F.H. Batacan (best known for her crime novel, “Smaller and Smaller Circles”) from Philippine Speculative Fiction volume 3 and the Philippine Speculative Fiction Sampler. The story is read by spec fic author Alex Osias. Over at Pakinggan Pilipinas’ facebook page, they also have a note from F.H. Batacan regarding the origins of the story.

[Images from Pakinggan Pilipinas.]

Bewildering Stories’ Mariner Awards 2010

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 30 - 2010

Bewildering Stories just held their Annual Review and released the list of Mariner Award winners for 2010, which includes stories by our very own Filipino authors Dean Alfar (“In the Dim Plane“), Nikki Alfar (“Adrift on the Street Formerly Known as Buendia“), and Elyss Punsalan (“Pursuit of the Litaniera“). Check out their stories if you haven’t already, as well as those of the other award winners. Congratulations to Dean, Nikki and Elyss!

Future of the Book Conference 2010: Day Two Videos

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 20 - 2010

fotb10_s

The first Future of the Book conference was held last week at the UP-Ayala Technohub in Quezon City (here’s a great overview of the conference at Coffeespoons), which brought together publishers, writers, teachers, readers – and yes, even lawyers – to discuss the changing aspects of publishing throughout the world, and in the Philippines in particular. I was there on the second day, to talk about how independent publishers can thrive in the digital age, and I managed to take videos of a few of the other speakers as well.

A few caveats though: First, the latter half of the footage of Charles Tan’s talk has atrocious video quality – my Vado is quirky that way apparently – but the audio is still good, so I uploaded it because it was a great talk, and you can at least still listen to it (or indulge in Max Headroom nostalgia by watching it).

The second caveat is that because of time constraints, a few of the speeches had to be rushed or cut short. After the videos, I’ll have the full text of my speech and links to a few others.

I’d like to congratulate the conference organizers for a successful conference, and I hope we can all work together to maximize the benefits of this new world of publishing for all interested parties. But I swear to God, the next time I hear someone say Filipinos don’t have a reading culture, I’m shoving a textbook up his ass…

And now, the videos!

First up is Charles Tan, (Bibliophile Stalker) prolific blogger and Philippine Spec Fic advocate, on the topic of the consumer experience in the age of ebooks.

More after the cut

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Spec Fic Guide to MIBF 2010

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 17 - 2010

So, I went to this year’s Manila International Book Fair determined to only get one or two books, and scope out the lay of the land for another Spec Fic Guide to the MIBF (as I did last year). Our family is preparing for a new arrival, after all, so I figured I’d hold back a bit.

Believe it or not, that’s still me holding back. And hey, at least I got something baby related!

Now, while I have a bigger haul this year than last year, there’s actually less spec fic on the shelves of this year’s book fair: A Different Bookstore wasn’t present this year, which meant no bargain priced Jonathan Lethem novels for me. Visprint wasn’t there either, which surprised me, since I thought they’d want News of the Shaman and other recent releases to have a presence in the book fair. That being said, a lot of Visprint titles were available at the Rare Books booth. Vibal launched their digital book imprint, Vee Press, at the book fair (which will publish ebook versions of Carljoe Javier’s “Kobayashi Maru of Love” and Adam David’s “El Bimbo Variations”), but I don’t think that the ebooks are available until next week.

While there wasn’t a lot of new speculative fiction on the shelves, the old guard had a strong presence, particularly the Digest of Philippine Genre Stories, as copies of every issue were available at the Anvil booth: Yes, issues 1-4, and the special Christmas and Horror issues were all ready for the taking. BUT – as of this afternoon, they were shelved in the humor section for some reason, so try there first if you want to complete your collection. (I finally found the elusive 4th issue!)

While there was little fiction of interest to me this time around, there was a truck-load of non-fiction. First off, the perimeter bargain bins of National Bookstore had some ridiculously good bargains, although those were getting snapped up fast. (I also saw a rare copy of Stephen King’s “On Writing” guide for writers in the non-bin section.) The National Historical Commission/National Historical Institute booth also had a lot of good material – I hope they restock Religion of the Katipunan though, because I swiped the last copy ^_^ Not much new (of SF interest) from the UP and UST Presses, but Ateneo’s “Verbal Arts in Philippine Indigenous Communities” was an instant buy for me, as was “Oral Literature of the Ifugao” which I found at the Tradewinds booth.

One booth I would have really splurged on in days past was the Megatexts Philippines booth, which had a lot of very interesting books on very specific topics. Expensive stuff, but the older books were going for as much as 80% off, and there were a lot of topics that would be of interest to the SF writer or fan, such as “Manga from the Floating World“, “Leonardo on Flight” and “Strange Concepts and the Stories They Make Possible“.

That about does it for this year I think. Sumintheblue has a very detailed general interest guide here. Good hunting!

RRT: Favorite First Lines in Speculative Fiction

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 9 - 2010

RRT_FaveFirstLines_s

One year ago, 9/9/09, Rocket Kapre officially launched. In celebration of our first year anniversary, here’s a new installment of one of our most popular features: the Rocket Round Table. For this batch, the question – to coincide with the anniversary – is: “What is your favorite first line in speculative fiction?” Prose and graphic novels/comics were fair game (movies and television were not), as were local and foreign works – I only asked that the respondents include any first lines from Filipino-made spec fic that stood out for them. Feel free to add your own in the comments!

Thanks to all those who took time to participate in the round table, and for all those who have supported Rocket Kapre in its first year. Here’s to many more to come!

[Warning: Some language may not be safe for work, or children, or adults who like to pretend they're as innocent as children.]

ELBERT OR Comic book creator, university lecturer, graphic designer, freelance writer, entrepreneur (he’s part of Brain Food, which gives speech and writing workshops) Elbert is a jack of all trades and master of… well, lots. He currently runs Global Art and the Komiksabado Comics Workshop.

Happy first year, RK! How time flies!
I owe much of my interest in current Philippine SF to Dean Alfar’s “Kite of Stars,” and its first line/ paragraph which grabbed firm hold of me and has still not let me go:

The night when she thought she would finally be a star, Maria Isabella du’l Cielo struggled to calm the trembling of her hands, reached over to cut the tether that tied her to the ground, and thought of that morning many years before when she’d first caught a glimpse of Lorenzo du Vicenzio ei Salvadore: tall, thick-browed and handsome, his eyes closed, oblivious to the cacophony of the accident waiting to occur around him.

I wish I could say though that memory allowed me to remember each word, but I admit only to committing the first eleven words. But the blame lies solely on me and my poor memory.

Here’s to the next ten years for Rocket Kapre!

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CATHERINE BATAC WALDERCatherine is based in England and works as a research group administrator at the Department of Earth Sciences, Royal Holloway University of London. From 2005 to 2007, she moved across Norway, Finland and Portugal for a European MPhil. scholarship. Her fiction appears in Big Pulp, Demons of the New Year, Philippines Graphic, Ruin and Resolve Anthology, Expanded Horizons, and Philippines Free Press. She blogs at http://deckshoes.wordpress.com/

Just when the idea occurred to her that she was being murdered she could not tell.” – The Small Assassin, comics adaptation of a tale by Ray Bradbury

At some time near dawn, on March 25, 1913, there came a loud knocking at the front door of the Uyterhoevens’ home in the Dayton View section of Dayton, Ohio.” – The Chess Garden by Brooks Hansen

At first glance, the picture looked like any other in a family album of that time, the sepia shade and tone, the formal poses, the men in solemn Sunday suits and the women, severely coiffed, in long skirts and billowing blouses.” – Fade by Robert Cormier

““I can do this,” I told my squirrel.” - Speed Dating and Spirit Guides by Rod M. Santos

In the tiny lifeboat, she and the alien fuck endlessly, relentlessly.” – Spar by Kij Johnson

My name is Kathy H. I’m thirty-one years old, and I’ve been a carer now for over eleven years.” – Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

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G.M. CORONELA Marketing Management graduate of De La Salle University in 1985, he is a first-time author with no literary background to speak of other than a genuine love of reading and a passion for writing. Coming across back issues of Writer’s Digest a few years ago started his writing career. Some previous personal encounters with the paranormal convinced him to pursue the horror genre. He believes that stories to tell and experiences to share are best put in written words. He is the author of Tragic Theater.

The night wind howls like a wounded dying animal.” (Trese Murder on Balete Drive) — This is a very compelling first line and it engages the reader’s interest in the story.

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DON JAUCIAN - Don regularly reviews books for several publications, both print and on-line. He is the resident bitch of the film blog Pelikula Tumblr. His book dump is http://chinoisdead.livejournal.com

The Ascension of Our Lady Boy – Mia Tijam (PDF of Expanded Horizons #14, which includes the story.)

Let us begin with my earliest memory as a lady: Daddy had complained to Iyay who was my yaya(and his yaya before and his mama’s yaya before that) that I was lacking something strong in my bones and in my hips.

Tijam’s Lady Boy is hands down one of my favorite spec fic stories. It effectively combined Philippine culture, gay-isms and the whole ‘triumph of the heart’ thing. I like how the first line promises a wonderful story, equal parts whimsical and endearing, like Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros and it really delivers.

Visitors – Luis Katigbak

When they first arrived, they transformed themselves into everything we ever secretly wanted to be.

Stories of ‘encounters’ are never amusing. They mostly run as dubious paranoiac rants but in a few words, Katigbak manages to brush off the fluff usually associated with this tripe. ‘Visitors’ is beautiful, a different approach into the Wonderful World of Alien Mysteries; humanized and hopeful.

Brigada – Joey Nacino

When the news came, Captain Fernando Tabora of the Philippine Navy was meeting with the two-man salvage team at the top of Manila Hotel.

I’m a sucker for post-apocalyptic stories and Manila Hotel underwater is just too awesome to ignore. Just like the head of Statue of Liberty chopped off in Cloverfield!

Flicker – Ian Rosales Casocot

Something had apparently come to live, or stir, in the house down the road, that old mansion on the corner before one turned left down Mango Street, which led toward the coconut groves that bordered the farthest end of the village.

Suburban horror stories always fascinate me and Casocot’s ‘Flicker’ definitely sustains the tension from the first sentence to the last. It is eerie, ominous and it’s refreshing to see a horror story devoid of hysterics and cheap scare tactics.

[More after the cut]

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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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