Mythspace #0: Free Until September 6

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On August - 27 - 2013

The nomination phase of the Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards 2013 has finished, and we’re happy to announce that Mythspace #0 was one of the comics that were nominated — thanks to everyone who threw our name in the hat! Now comes the second phase of the awards, the popular vote, which will narrow the field down to a select few semi-finalists, from which the winner of the awards will be chosen.

To this end, we’re making a PDF copy of Mythspace #0 available as free download for the duration of the voting period, which ends on September 6. If you haven’t read Mythspace #0 yet, now’s your chance to do so — and our chance to win your vote, if you’re so inclined. If you’ve already read Mythspace #0 (or Mythspace: Lift Off [Part 1] — the 0 issue is Part 1 plus previews of the other Mythspace titles), then please, spread the word, so others can see if we merit their vote.

All read up? Great! If you like what you’ve seen, you can vote for Mythspace #0 here.You can also purchase Mythspace titles at Comic Odyssey, Robinsons Galleria.

If you’re wondering if it’s worth the download, here are a few of our more favorable reviews:

First, from none other than Noel Pascual, the co-creator of the wonderful Crime Fighting Call Center Agents comic. Here’s an excerpt from his review, the full text of which is here:

Koi Carreon’s art is amazing. As I was browsing through the pages the first time, it’s the character design that really stood out. There’s quite a bit of a manga influence in there but the human characters— from the lead character to the secondary characters (especially the secondary characters!)— all look quite Pinoy. In a story dealing with Pinoy myths, that goes a long way when it comes to adding to the overall effectiveness of the piece.

The plotting really works, going from flashback to present day without confusing the reader. The scenes picked enhance the drama of the story without crossing into melodrama. The rebellious teen who is our lead also doesn’t come close to crossing the line into being an unsympathetic character. Chikiamco also manages to provide his life history without sounding like it’s being done for the sake of dumping info onto the reader. In Liftoff as well as in the other stories, we get a sense that this is a fully realized world, with one element resonating with the next.

Second, from EK over at Jumper Cable:

“Collectively the comics are all presented on a professional level rarely seen outside of the Sacred Mountain, Komikero, Gunship Revolution, and Point Zero groups. Some of the best inking and detail work among the recent komiks releases are here — and I’ve just seen partial results. The typesetting for the dialogue balloons are grammar-corrected and nearly faultless. The paneling is also professional, at par with the best of the Western comics.

On the script level, the two presented stories are as unique from each other as adobo and sinigang, even if they are made by the same cook. Be assured that there is much variety expected among the six presented stories, that it would not be boring even if they were all from the same writer. Both given stories are paced without a glitch, with a clear understanding of writing in general and the comic medium in particular. The author’s hand in the development process is also visible. There is almost no useless panel, and it is clear that the illustrators understand what to illustrate and how.”

Third, from from Francis at Hawkersmag.com:

“Just enough information is given about the main character, Ambrosio, leaving a lot of room for speculation and anticipation of what’s to come.

Although I tend to stray a bit away from angst-ridden teenagers, reasons for Ambrosio’s anger are justified, and it would be interesting to see how his character has changed now that his whole worldview has turned itself over.

There is scarce dialogue, which makes for very efficient story-telling. Chikiamco’s dialogue does what it is intended to do: move the plot forward and reveal character. It doesn’t get in the way of the action and suspense that spills throughout the pages, and that’s a very good thing when it comes to pacing.”

And last but not least, from Tina Matanguihan, from One More Page, where she gave it it 5 out of 5 stars! Here’s an excerpt:

This new series plays on the idea that the creatures we know from folk tales and movies not simply monsters from our grandparents’ stories, but you know, creatures from outer space. Sounds crazy, yes?

But you know what? It actually works.

I also liked reading the previews for the two longest stories there, with Liftoff having that mystery-in-space type of story with a somewhat angst-ridden hero, and Unfurling of Wings reminding me so much of the chimaera world in Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

Mythspace in the Philippine Star

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 22 - 2013

Last Saturday’s edition of the Philippine Star featured three new comics from the Summer Komikon, and the Mythspace series was one of the stories chosen (alongside ‘Sixty Sixty’ by Russell Molina and Ian Sta. Maria, and ‘Dark Colony: Book 1’ by Budjette Tan, Bow Guerrero, and JB ‘Taps’ Tapia).

Here’s what the Star had to say about Mythspace:

“Writer Paolo Chikiamco isn’t happy with creating one or two characters in his space opera mixed with Filipino folklore. He has set out to build a universe with Mythspace comics. His ambition to soar has churned out four one-shot books for the Komikon. Each book focusing on a different part of his universe and written with a specific genre in mind. It is illuminating to see this kind of work out there as Mythspacedoesn’t just expand its own universe but the literary scene as well.”

Huzzah!

SF Signal’s “Outside the Frame” reviews Trese

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On March - 20 - 2013

, who writes the Outside the Frame column for major SF site SF Signal has reviewed the Trese series by  Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo and found a lot to love. Specifically, she mentions five things, and says that “Those of you who are just hearing about Trese for the first time have been missing out on something amazing.”

It’s a great opportunity for more people to be introduced to Trese, but even long-time fans will enjoy the review. Go check it out!

New Review of “Alternative Alamat” at inkalicious

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 24 - 2013

Nothing like a positive review to brighten your day: just found a new review of “Alternative Alamat” by author Michele Albert on her reading blog. It’s a positive, detailed review — my favorite kind — with something about each of the stories, as well as the art. Here’s a taste:

“Alamat” is the Filipino word for “legend,” and the “alternative” part of the title is self-explanatory. I enjoyed this anthology; it introduced mythologies unfamiliar to me and the stories and author styles were nicely diverse. The stories ranged from the sort of urban fantasy you’d find in a Charles DeLint or Neil Gaiman book to something more along the lines of the kick-ass heroine in a city full of weird. One story read like a fairytale and another like a more straightforward mythic tale. The oddest was the story told in footnotes!

xxx

I enjoyed all the stories, but if I had to pick a favorite, it would be Keeper of My Sky. A creation myth with an alternative time stream twist, it was sad and hauntingly beautiful. The bit with the rain, and the reason why Tungkung Langit and Alunsina could never be together, was lovely. Fans of N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy would probably enjoy this story too, although it takes place in our modern world.

 

 

Recent Scheherazade’s Facade Reviews (December 2012)

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 18 - 2012

I saw a few new reviews of Scheherazade’s Facade–the anthology of gender bending stories that I’m a part of–this week (not including the ones on Goodreads), so I’m linking to them here, to encourage readers to give the anthology a try.

The first review comes from Jarla Tangh and, if you don’t mind some spoilers, it provides brief, stylized, summaries for each of the stories in the book.

The second review is from Kellan Sparver, with what is now my favorite one-line review for one of my stories ever: Stories I found of special mention: …  ”Kambal Kulam”, by Paolo Chikiamco, for being pure crack-fic.” Bonus points: The quote that starts the review comes from my story as well. Woo hoo!

 

Mythspace Mondays: Advance Reviews

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 22 - 2012

For the three Mondays of October before the Komikon, I’ll be talking about my newest comic book project, “Mythspace: Liftoff”. The #0 issue will be available at the Komikon on Oct.27. The first Mysthspace Monday was a look into the concept behind Mythspace, the second was about the way we re-imagined folklore creatures as aliens, and today we feature some advance reviews.

Last week I began to send out digital review copies of Mythspace: Liftoff #0 to bloggers/critics/reviewers, and a few have been kind enough to post their impressions of our zero issue online. So today I’ll let other people do the talking… it should be patently obvious by now that I love what our team has been doing, but does that translate to the impartial reader?

Short answer: YES. (So far!)

 

The most recent is from none other than Noel Pascual, the co-creator of the wonderful Crime Fighting Call Center Agents comic. Here’s an excerpt from his review, the full text of which is here:

Koi Carreon’s art is amazing. As I was browsing through the pages the first time, it’s the character design that really stood out. There’s quite a bit of a manga influence in there but the human characters— from the lead character to the secondary characters (especially the secondary characters!)— all look quite Pinoy. In a story dealing with Pinoy myths, that goes a long way when it comes to adding to the overall effectiveness of the piece.

The plotting really works, going from flashback to present day without confusing the reader. The scenes picked enhance the drama of the story without crossing into melodrama. The rebellious teen who is our lead also doesn’t come close to crossing the line into being an unsympathetic character. Chikiamco also manages to provide his life history without sounding like it’s being done for the sake of dumping info onto the reader. In Liftoff as well as in the other stories, we get a sense that this is a fully realized world, with one element resonating with the next.

The first one is from EK over at Jumper Cable:

“Collectively the comics are all presented on a professional level rarely seen outside of the Sacred Mountain, Komikero, Gunship Revolution, and Point Zero groups. Some of the best inking and detail work among the recent komiks releases are here — and I’ve just seen partial results. The typesetting for the dialogue balloons are grammar-corrected and nearly faultless. The paneling is also professional, at par with the best of the Western comics.

On the script level, the two presented stories are as unique from each other as adobo and sinigang, even if they are made by the same cook. Be assured that there is much variety expected among the six presented stories, that it would not be boring even if they were all from the same writer. Both given stories are paced without a glitch, with a clear understanding of writing in general and the comic medium in particular. The author’s hand in the development process is also visible. There is almost no useless panel, and it is clear that the illustrators understand what to illustrate and how.”

The second is from Francis at Hawkersmag.com:

“Just enough information is given about the main character, Ambrosio, leaving a lot of room for speculation and anticipation of what’s to come.

Although I tend to stray a bit away from angst-ridden teenagers, reasons for Ambrosio’s anger are justified, and it would be interesting to see how his character has changed now that his whole worldview has turned itself over.

There is scarce dialogue, which makes for very efficient story-telling. Chikiamco’s dialogue does what it is intended to do: move the plot forward and reveal character. It doesn’t get in the way of the action and suspense that spills throughout the pages, and that’s a very good thing when it comes to pacing.”

Thanks to both EK and Francis! We’d love for you all to come by the Rocket Kapre booth this coming Saturday and see for yourselves what Mythspace is all about. If you post your reviews online, let us know and we’ll link to them here on the site.

See you all on Saturday!

Last month, Lethe Press published “Lauriat: A Filipino-Chinese Speculative Fiction Anthology”, edited by Charles Tan (and with a story from yours truly). Charles took a moment from his busy schedule to say a few words about the anthology.

“Lauriat” is an anthology of Filipino-Chinese speculative fiction that is being published by a U.S.-based publisher. How’d the idea for the antho come about, and what let to it being published outside the Philippines?

I was brainstorming possible anthology ideas when I realized no one yet has done a speculative fiction anthology based on Filipino-Chinese culture, which has its own set of complexities, relationships, and drama. Lethe Press has always been supportive of my work, and the publisher was willing to publish the anthology and pay the contributors.

When you say “Filipino-Chinese”, what do you mean by that?

The problem when people ask “Are you Filipino?”, “Are you Chinese?”, or something else (Are you Singaporean, American, Japanese, Australian, Indian, etc.) is that it’s usually misses out on the question whether we’re talking about nationality, ethnicity, etc. And it’s a question that comes up year after year, especially in the Philippines where there’s controversy over our athletes, our politicians, etc.

One personal bias I’ve experienced is how many Filipinos don’t consider the Chinese community here as Filipinos, even if we’re part of their culture. Many recognized Filipino icons for example has roots in the Filipino-Chinese community: Jollibee, SM, Pancit Canton, Taho, etc.

But when the term Filipino-Chinese is usually encountered, it usually means, at the very least, someone whose nationality is Filipino, and has had Chinese roots somewhere. I leave the last part ambiguous, whether this means to be part Chinese in culture, heritage, ethnicity, legacy, etc.

What aspects of Filipino and Chinese heritage would you say complement, or are similar to, each other? What aspects cause friction?

I think again, there is a misconception here. The “Chinese” in the Philippines aren’t the Chinese in China. The two have entirely different values, although it’s probably a misconception (even among the Filipino-Chinese community) that they do. There is a difference in the mindset between the Filipino-Chinese and non-Chinese Filipinos, but I don’t think isolating this and that element as “Chinese” and “Filipino” would be too easy.

For example, I think both Filipino-Chinese and non-Chinese Filipinos are fiercely loyal to people they consider their kin. They will fight to the death for them and take their side in a lot of arguments. On the other hand, this is also the source of conflict: for some Filipino-Chinese, those not “Chinese” aren’t as respectable (hence the taboo against marrying someone not Chinese), while many Filipinos consider those not ethnically Filipino to be against them (hence some enmity against the Filipino-Chinese community whom they consider separate from them).

There’s a lot to talk about with regards to the subject and unfortunately discussing each point would be too long for the interview.

Are there any unique challenges or opportunities that present themselves to Filipino-Chinese authors writing in English?

In terms of market, well, there is always the problem of finding a market in the Philippines that’s not limited to your cultural heritage (just look at the output of our fiction books vs. that in which we import and clearly the latter sells better than the former). As for the craft, there is the hurdle of writing for what is a multilingual culture and condensing it into a single language (English), when that isn’t always how we speak (we speak in Tag-lish, Chi-Tag-lish, and Chinese-Tagalog). Which isn’t that unique (it’s the same plight a lot of Filipino writers face), but remains there nonetheless.

Can you tell me a bit about a few of the stories you selected for the anthology, and go into why you selected them, or what struck you most about them?

I think each story in the anthology has something going for them, either on the craft level, cultural level, personal level, or some combination. What makes me enjoy the first story in the book isn’t what makes me appreciate the last. But I did want every story to factor in that this is a Filipino-Chinese anthology, so I wanted the culture to be a factor: some factor into the plot significantly (some stories for example dealt with the taboo of non-Chinese romance) while others are in the background.

Personally I leave it for readers to decide what they think is best. And this is an anthology, so I don’t expect every story to strike a chord in them, but hopefully a few do. I tried to encompass a lot of subjects and genres. There’s horror. There’s urban fantasy. There’s historical fantasy.

What does “Lauriat” have to offer to Filipino-Chinese readers? What about to those unfamiliar with the culture, or even with Philippine or Chinese culture separately?

First, I think Lauriat features a lot of terrific stories–which is subject to my bias of course. Second, it’s written by talented authors that the rest of the world hasn’t heard of. Third, while there’s some speculative fiction being written about Filipinos, not a lot of them deal with the Filipino-Chinese experience, and I hope the anthology rectifies that. Fourth, regardless of your knowledge about either culture, I think the stories stand well on their own.

What has the early feedback on the book been like?

For me the biggest challenge is getting the word out. I’d like to thank Publishers Weekly for reviewing it in their publication (http://christinevlao.blogspot.com/2012/06/publishers-weekly-reviews-lauriat.html) as well as Locus for mentioning it under their New Books (http://www.locusmag.com/Monitor/2012/08/new-books-14-august/). As far as feedback is concerned, a lot of the reviews are on Goodreads (http://www.locusmag.com/Monitor/2012/08/new-books-14-august/).

Where can the book be purchased?

Here’s a direct link to the Amazon page (http://www.amazon.com/Lauriat-Filipino-Chinese-Speculative-Fiction-Anthology/dp/1590212541) but it should can be ordered through bookstores and the eBook is available in a lot of online retailers such as Smashwords, Weightless Books, Wizard’s Tower Books, etc.

New Alternative Alamat Review (Robin Edman)

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On June - 27 - 2012

I didn’t see this until yesterday, but in May, “Alternative Alamat” received a great new review on Goodreads from one Robin Edman. No, it’s not great because of the rating – although that’s awesome – but because this is how I was hoping the anthology would be received by those unfamiliar not only with Philippine mythology, but Philippine culture as a whole.

For those who are looking for additional reviews of “Alternative Alamat”, I’ve compiled some of them on the book page, including the wonderfully in-depth story-by-story review from Jaymee Goh. (Scroll all the way down – this post reviews three books.)

Publisher’s Weekly Reviews “Lauriat”

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On June - 26 - 2012

It’s always cool when local speculative fiction gets reviewed by international publications. This time around it’s a Publisher’s Weekly (hooray!) review of “Lauriat”, the upcoming Filipino-Chinese speculative fiction anthology edited by Charles Tan. It’s a largely positive review, and my story “The Captain’s Nephew”, gets a nice mention. The book will also have stories from Kristine Ong Muslim, Christine Lao, Fidelis Tan, Andrew Drilon, Yvette Tan, Kenneth Yu, Gabriela Lee, Crystal Koo, Margaret Kawsek, Isabel Yap, Erin Chupeco, Marc Gregory Yu, and Douglas Candano.

The anthology is being published in the U.S. by Lethe Press, and I hope the local bookstores order copies. It will be released on August 1, though you can pre-order from stores like Amazon as early as now.

“Alternative Alamat” on the Nook and Three Reviews

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 17 - 2012

Good news for Barnes & Noble Nook readers–”Alternative Alamat” is not only available on the Nook, it’s also been discounted there to US$3.99 (B&N’s decision, not ours) so now would be a great time to check it out, or spread the word to a Nook loving friend.

I’d like to point to three recent reviews of “Alternaitve Alamat”. The first is by Filipina writer Kristine Ong Muslim, and is on the Amazon page of “Alternative Alamat”, Kristine calls it “fine volume which showcases the contemporary retelling of Philippine myths” and gives it 4 out of 5 stars. Thanks Kristine!

The second review comes from GMA News Online (courtesy of Melay Guanzon Lapeña), and it’s a very positive review, and she calls the book “an impressive collection of stories”.  Of Rochita Loenen Ruiz’s “Harinuo’s Love Song”, Melay says it is “[b]eautifully told, the words swirl as the story unfolds” and she also says that “[f]ans of Budjette Tan’s hit graphic novel “Trese” are in for a treat” with the Trese prose story, “Last Full Show”. Melay takes the time to say a little something about each story, even if it’s just a brief description, and that’s greatly appreciated. Thanks Melay!

The third review comes from book blogger (and fellow lawyer!) Monique, who gives the book a perfect 5 out of 5 rating, and calls it “[d]ifferent, but clever. Brilliant.” Thanks Monique!

Don’t forget, you can find Alternative Alamat at these fine establishments:

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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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