“Mouse and I” – a story by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz + a call for donations

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 22 - 2015

Rochita Loenen-Ruiz has been one of the most supportive Filipino writers that I know, always trying to find ways to help Filipino writers have a platform or be heard in the West. She’s also one of the best speculative fiction writers I know, and her story in Alternative Alamat remains to be one on my favorites. She’s facing some tough times now — she’s asked for the details to be kept confidential, so for those of you who know why, don’t mention it in the comments — and every little bit helps. Her friend Aliette de Bodard has put up a GoFundMe for her, and any donations or help spreading the word is much appreciated.

Here’s her story, “Mouse and I” — she created it specifically for Ruin & Resolve (our Ondoy charity anthology) even if I was accepting re-prints. Rochita has a habit of going above and beyond that way. Please help if you can.

Mouse and I

By Rochita Loenen-Ruiz

Around us, the jungle shivers with life.  It moves, it creaks—its gears click and turn.  Trees bend and sway, synchronized as always.  Sun sets.

Shadows chase us through the foliage.  Here we are, Mouse and I.  The jungle rotates on its axis and hunters shift through hollow space and metal grass.

“Shhh,” says Mouse.

We crouch behind night-dark bush and watch as light elongates and changes the shapes of hunters and hunted.

Mouse rolls behind rock shadow.  His smooth steel skin reflects the darkness under the leaves.  Close to the rock, he’s almost invisible.  My skin is made of tin, there are orange stripes down my back, and I reflect no light.  I’m glad for the give in my body as I try to bend myself to the shape of trees and moving grass.  We lie still, and wait, and listen while drums beat, voices chant and hunters hunt.

It’s been like this ever since.  Every morning, we wake to the singing of the gears.  The bush comes alive with the cha-cha-cha of wind-up monkeys.  Here, stranded birds flutter their wings in vain, while the last of the sinuous serpents creeps over the cold earth.  In the distance, a tiger roars, but we know better than to be afraid of the tiger.

The tiger is not the hunter.

At night, we listen to grass and bushes bend, we listen to the mournful cry of whomever, and we cower away as the ripping sound of metal tears into the quiet fabric of dark.  We tremble because we know survival isn’t a guarantee.

Daylight offers temporary reprieve.  In the day, there are no knives and spears.  There is no clamor of drums, and no pounding of feet, there is no thrum-thrum sound of a heart going mad.

Out on the plains, the sun shines hot, white, and pure.  Scattered remains tell us the story of Eland’s demise.

Mouse beckons and we join the search for nuts and bolts and bits of wiring.  Eland was our friend. I think of her leaping through the air, sun glinting off her gold-edged flank, and I know we won’t find much of her skin.

“Here,” Mouse says.  He stuffs Eland’s key into my paw. I nod and tuck it into my pouch.  Keys are necessary for survival.

By the time the heat grows unbearable, there’s nothing left on the plain and we head on out towards Umberto´s hut and the oil slick.

Umberto looks almost like the hunters, but we know he isn’t one of them.  For one, his body is made of the finest steel, and when he oils himself, he gleams all over.  Like us, Umberto must wind himself up everyday.

Umberto travels far.  Sometimes he’s gone for days and when he comes back he’s always got a pack filled with metal strips, odds and ends, nuts and bolts and tiny screws, and keys to fit any notch you can imagine.

When we get to his place, Umberto’s hut is deserted.  We mill around and wait.  Maybe he can put together the bits and pieces we’ve got and resurrect Eland.  I think of my own resurrection; if not for Umberto, if not for Mouse, I’d still be scattered about in the wind.  I´d be nothing but gears and metal rusting away under the heat of the sun.

“Do you think he’s gone walking to the edge of the world?” I asked Mouse.

Mouse shakes his head and looks worried.  Soon it will be night, and when dark descends, the drumming starts.  We can’t stick around Umberto’s hut for long.

Mouse and I talk about the drumming.

“Maybe the jungle is sick,” says Mouse.  “Maybe it’s wearing down, and soon we’ll all fall prey to the hunters.”

“But we can’t let that happen,” I say.

Mouse sighs.

“There’s nothing to be done about it, Fant.  We all wind down sometime, and there aren’t any spare parts left to keep the jungle from falling apart.”

“At least we could try,” I reply.  “Maybe Umberto can help us fix the jungle.”

Four days later, when we go down to the slick, we see that scavengers have been at work.  There’s almost nothing left of Umberto’s hut.  There’s nothing except an oil rag that he used to wipe his face with.

“Where’ll Umberto stay when he gets back?” I ask Mouse.

Mouse doesn’t reply.  His eyes shift and he looks away towards the East.  He looks out towards where the jungle ends and the plain begins, where the hunters come from when dark sets in.

“We can’t just wait for the jungle to fall apart,” I say. “We can’t just wait for the hunters to come with their sharp knives and their twisty hands.  This is our home, damn it.”

“It’s the way it’s always been,” says Mouse.  “Hunters hunt and we hide.”

I wish Umberto would come back soon.  I want to see the sun glinting off his steel frame as he strides towards us.  If Umberto were here, we could make plans. Maybe we could even trap the hunters.  If we strip off their skins maybe we’ll find the solution to the jungle’s illness.

There’s the remainder of a word on the skin of my back.  Umberto shaped my new skin from strips of metal he’d found on one of his journeys.

“F-a-n-t,” says Mouse. “Fant. That’s what we’ll call you from now on.  It’s your resurrection name, short for fantastic.”

Umberto taught Mouse to read, and I envy him this gift.  But when Umberto brought me back, when he turned the key in my side, it was Mouse’s turn to be jealous.

I turn the key now, and I jump far and high.

“Come back,” Mouse calls. “You can’t go jumping about all by yourself.  Think what will happen if the hunters catch you.”

“But if I jump far enough, they won’t be able to catch me,” I reply.

Mouse crosses his paws and looks annoyed.

“You’re not jumping without me,” he says.

“I’ll take you in my pouch,” I say.  “Maybe if I jump far enough, we’ll find the center of the jungle.  Maybe if I jump strong, we could jump clear out of the jungle into another place all together.”

I shiver when I say those words and I wonder if there is indeed another place beyond the jungle.  Is there a place where Mouse and I can live without the fear of hunters coming after us when darkness falls?  Will we still hear the clicking of gears and the beating of the jungle’s heart when we’re so far away?

Dark descends quicker than before.  The drums beat slower and a slice of dread causes my heart to miss a beat.

“It’s the jungle’s heart,” Mouse whispers.  “It’s slowing down.”

From far away, we hear the hunters shriek.  We hear the sound of metal on metal, and we fall silent.

In the morning, we awake to the chattering of the monkeys.  They make such a clamor that everyone runs out into the clearing.

And there’s Umberto.  He’s lying by the slick with rivers of black pouring out of him.

“We found him,” the monkeys cry, hopping up and down in agitation.

Mouse shakes his head, as if he can’t believe it. I tiptoe forward and call Umberto’s name, but he doesn’t seem to hear me.  His eyes blink open and shut, his fists open and close, and the black keeps pouring out of him.

“Someone’s taken his key,” Mouse says.

And we know Umberto’s dying and there’s nothing we can do about it.

“Is this the end?” we whisper to each other.

We can’t bear to strip Umberto.  These metal hands have helped us all. We’ve seen him gather bits and pieces of what the hunters left over.  We know his patience and attention to detail.

Besides, what’s the point of stripping him?  Of what use are spare parts when none of us knows how to put them together? We can’t bring the dead back to life.

I lift one of his hands between my paws.

“I’ll miss you,” I say to him.

“It’s those damned hunters,” Mouse says. “Why can’t they leave us alone?  Just because their hide isn’t made out of metal, just because they aren’t keyed–do they think they’re better than we are?”

We sit and wait until sundown’s hostile glare turns the slick into a fiery lake.  Soon the drums start beating, and we’re up and running towards the shadow of the jungle, towards the shelter of bushes and the maze of vines and tangled weeds.

Around us, the jungle comes alive.  The gears click-clack and the trees move in slow motion.  The landscape changes, and Mouse and I, we’re caught in the glare of the hunter’s moon.

“Run!” I scream.

The hunters pound behind us.  The jungle whirls away, it gyrates, it spins.  I can almost feel the pain of those twisty hands tearing through my skin. I remember falling into darkness with the sound of my gears winding down to silence.

“Run!”

I run towards the bush, towards the shape of trees and grass.

“We’re safe. Mouse, we’re safe.”

But Mouse isn’t anywhere.

Out under the moon, Mouse faces the hunters.  He’s up on his hind legs, his paws stretched out, his teeth bared.

“Mouse.”

He doesn’t even turn.

Dammit, Mouse.

My voice is a sob in my throat.  My key’s wound down and my hands have lost their strength. I beat the ground with my feet.  But the hunters won’t be distracted.  The moon shines full on their faces.  They gnash their teeth, they snap their fingers, and I howl when I see twisty things appear where hands should be.  There’s that whirring sound.  High and keen, I’ve heard it before.

“Mouse!”

I watch as they close in.  They’ve found his key.  Metal screeches and tears, and Mouse is on the ground.  He’s kicking, he’s fighting, his voice turns shrill as they strip off his skin to reveal the gears turning underneath.

Day is a thin light in the East by the time they’re done.  All that’s left of Mouse are strips of metal, tiny cogs, and nuts and bolts scattered every which way.  The hunters rise, and I rush out into the open, waiting for them to tear me apart.

“Kill me too,” I want to say.

But they just pass on by, without looking my way.

Mouse is dead.  Mouse is gone.

I scrounge in the bush until I find his key.  I put this in my pouch next to Eland’s key. I go and sit beside the spot of black where Mouse’s life leaked out of him, and I think long and hard.

Eland’s dead.  Umberto’s dead.  Mouse is dead.  I could be next and there’ll be no coming back this time.  I take Mouse’s key out of my pouch, and I think of our conversation:

“If I jump high enough, do you think I could jump clear out of this jungle into another place?”

“Who knows? But you’re not jumping without me.”

I hold his key in my hands, I think of the smooth sound of gears whirring and turning inside the compact casing of his skin.

“I’m not jumping without you,” I whisper.

I twist his key into my notch.  It’s freshly oiled and it fits just like an old friend.  I feel my springs wind up into a tight little ball.  I close my eyes, listen to the sound of the key whirring and turning, and I jump.

Alternative Alamat (Expanded Print Edition)

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 15 - 2014

FAQ: ALTERNATIVE ALAMAT, THE EXPANDED PRINT EDITION

Hello there! I’m Paolo Chikiamco, editor of Alternative Alamat, and thank you so much for showing interest in the new, expanded, print edition! I’m here to give you some basic information about the book in a more informal manner, since that’s how I roll (and apparently, you as well!) but if you found your way here by mistake and want the more formal press release, I’m working on that. But for now…

What is Alternative Alamat?

Short version: It’s an anthology of short stories that re-imagine Philippine myths and legends, written in English by Filipino authors.

Long version: Philippine mythology is full of images that ignite the imagination: gods of calamity and baldness, of cosmic time and lost things; the many-layered Skyworld, and weapons that fight their own battles; a ship that is pulled to paradise by a chain, and a giant crab that controls the tides… yet too few of these tales are known and read today.

Alternative Alamat gathers thirteen stories by contemporary authors of Philippine fantasy, which make innovative use of elements of Philippine mythology. None of these stories are straight re-tellings of the old tales: they build on those stories, or question underlying assumptions; use ancient names as catalysts, or play within the spaces where the myths are silent. What you will find common in these thirteen stories is a love for the myths, epics, and legends which reflect us, contain us, call to us–and it is our hope that, in reading our stories, you may catch a glimpse, and develop a hunger, for those venerable tales.

“Alternative Alamat” also features interior illustrations by Mervin Malonzo (“Tabi Po”), a short list of notable Philippine deities, and in-depth interviews with Professors Herminia Meñez Coben and Fernando N. Zialcita.

What is the Expanded Print Edition?

Alternative Alamat was originally a digital-only anthology with eleven stories. This is the first print edition of Alternative Alamat, and we’ve taken advantage of this opportunity to add some new content that keeps with the theme of re-imagined mythology.

What is the additional material?

This print edition adds two more stories,  a 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 done a minor update to the Appendix on researching Philippine mythology.

Where is it available?

It’ll be available at the launch on July 19,   Saturday [EDIT: LAUNCH HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO JULY 25, FRIDAY, 4PM, SAME VENUE] , as part of a four-title launch that takes place  at Powerbooks, Greenbelt. It will be available at bookstores nationwide soon after, but we don’t have exact dates yet.

How much does it cost?

250 pesos.

What are the non-fiction sections?

I have five appendixes at the end of the book, meant to provide greater context for the stories, and aid those who want to study Philippine mythology.

Appendix A: A Few Notable Philippine Deities

Appendix B: Interview with Professor Herminia Meñez Coben

Appendix C: Interview with Professor Fernando N. Zialcita

Appendix D: On Researching Philippine Mythology

Appendix E: Glossary of Selected Terms

Is it illustrated?

Yes, each of the original eleven stories is preceded by an illustration of a Philippine deity by Mervin Malonzo (“Tabi Po”). Aside from Andrew Drilon’s comic, there is no new artwork in the print edition, although a greyscale version of Mervin Malonzo’s cover for the digital edition is included.

Is the anthology suitable for young children?

In general, no, as there are several stories which tackle difficult/mature material.

Any there specific trigger warnings?

Sexual abuse; violence against women and children.

I’d like to review this book!

Great! Look forward to hearing from you.

Um, could I get a copy to review?

Drop me a line at rocketkapre[at]gmail with a link to your site/blog or name of your publication and I’ll try to set you up with a digital copy (of the print edition).

Should I buy the book?

I certainly think so! But then, I may be biased, so take a look below at what some people had to say about the original edition:

 

Dean Alfar and Joey Nacino Interview on Chie and Weng Read Books

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 3 - 2013

Authors interviewing authors! Rochita Loenen-Ruiz has an interview up on her book blog with Dean Alfar and Joey Nacino, where they talk about their processes, and the challenges of Philippine science fiction and fantasy. Go check it out.

Rochita Loenen-Ruiz and the 2013 World SF Travel Fund

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 21 - 2013

Filipina author (and Alternative Alamat contributor) Rochita Loenen-Ruiz has just been short-listed for the 2012 British Science Fiction Association Awards for her story “Song of the Body Cartographer”” (published in country’s very own Philippine Genre Stories). Congratulations, Rochita!

And the nomination couldn’t come at a better time, as I hope it introduces more people to Rochita’s fiction, and in turn, I hope those new readers will consider contributing to this year’s World SF Travel Fund. The fund was set up to enable one or two international persons involved in science fiction, fantasy or horror to travel to a major genre event — you’ll recall it was successful in bringing Charles Tan to the World Fantasy Convention in 2011. Rochita is one of the beneficiaries this year (alongside Csilla Kleinheincz, a Hungarian-Vietnamese writer) and it would be wonderful if she got the chance to attend a major United States genre convention, so do check out the Peerbackers page.

Talking Points: Decolonizing and World SF

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 21 - 2012

There were several posts that went up last week dealing with matters that will be of interest to Philippine SF writers and readers. Couple this with the recent discussion on diversity, and you’ve got a very enlightening series of articles on the state of the genre. Check them out:

  • World SF Blog‘s Non-Western SF Roundtable (Part One) (Part Two). Participating authors are  Aliette de Bodard (France), Joyce Chng (Singapore), the controversial blogger known as Requires Hate (Thailand), Rochita Loenen-Ruiz (Philippines/The Netherlands), Ekaterina Sedia (Russian/USA) and Rachel Swirsky (USA, in Part 2).

Excerpts:

Aliette: … There are lots of factors at play that explain why outsider narratives are more popular; but one of the main reasons is one of audience: as Ekaterina mentions in her blog post: at this junction in time, the dominant audience in the field is Western (of US/European culture), and outsider narratives have a better grasp of how to present (ie exotify) elements of a setting in a digestible manner for the mainstream (White) audience. This is very much regrettable, and I really do wish that people would stop using the word authenticity altogether, as it’s either used as an exclusionary factor, to police who within a community has the right to write about the culture (something I find utterly fraught with problems); or as a well-meaning but somewhat hollow reassurance that the writer’s world feels real (the only ones equipped to judge authenticity of, say, a story set in Brazil are Brazilian people, and I certainly would never dream of qualifying someone’s story set there with that word!).

xxx

Ekaterina: Another point is that the insiders will disagree. Some will like it, some won’t, and some will hate it because it is by an outsider. And the lesson for the writer there is not to say “Well, screw it, haters gonna hate, I’ll just write whatever because you cannot please anyone”. You’re still responsible for doing as good a job as you can. And accepting that your best might not be good enough for some people, and their opinions are also valid. Don’t trot out the natives who loved your work, don’t tell people who dislike it that they’re wrong because another person from the same culture liked it. So really, if you want approval, stay out of other people’s cultures. Nations won’t get together to sign waivers that say that you are free to appropriate whatever and no one can say anything about it ever. People will be angry, and they will be right to be angry. If it upsets you, reconsider your motivation.

Rachel: … Speaking as a western writer, and as someone who has attempted to engage in writing with other kinds of privilege, I am inclined to agree that it’s inescapable that a privileged person will write a narrative that is rooted in their privilege. One can minimize exoticism, I hope, but I don’t think it’s possible to erase it.

As a writer of science fiction, particularly, though, I see myself as having an obligation to present a future that is, as Joyce says, for everyone. As I should have said in the other roundtable, despite the American propensity (including mine) toward tunnel vision, reality is global, and (barring certain speculative scenarios), the future should be global or globally influenced as well. I think there’s an obligation for Western writers who work within science fiction to engage with both western and non-western cultures. Otherwise, we do end up with white-washed (western-washed) futures and I think that the effect of this on the cultural imagination is wholly negative; the future isn’t just for white westerners. I think it’s a particularly pernicious form of erasure.

Excerpt:

In “Betraying the Babaylan,” Araneta Cruz describes the technique of divide and conquer which the Spanish employed to disempower the Babaylan and effectively erase them. The first thing that the Spanish did was to alienate the effeminate Babaylan from the women priestesses. They also gained the support of the tribal elite in their cause to wipe out the Babaylan through the use of bribery and promises of power. With the male Babaylan and the elite on their side, the Spanish friars went on to accuse the Babaylan of being of the devil and of practicing witchcraft.

While I narrate events that are specific to the Philippines, I find myself wondering if such events were also mirrored in countries that were colonized by foreign powers. How pervasive is that other culture? How much has it stolen from or killed of the original culture?

When I look at my country, I see how much these things have harmed our psyche and I also see the resilience of our culturebearers who employed whatever means was at their disposal to preserve our culture. Even so, the wounds have spread deep and there are certain things that demonstrate to us how deeply rooted colonialism is.

Even to this day, we see young women buying whitening creams because white is perceived as the ideal color. I long to tell my fellow Filipinos, there is nothing more beautiful than kayumanggi (brown).

What I’m Reading: Two Sides of Eastercon

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 11 - 2012

I never used to know when a major science fiction/fantasy convention is going on, but with Twitter, it was impossible not to be aware (and envious) of the fact that Eastercon was taking place a few days ago. By most accounts, it seems to have been a wonderful experience, filled with insightful talks, interesting people, and the occasional swordfight. An article in the Guardian also pointed out strides made in terms of increasing diversity of representation.

Nevertheless, as is to be expected from most undertakings, there were aspects of the convention that merited critical comment, and for Filipino writers of speculative fiction–or readers of Philippine speculative fiction–I think it’s safe to assume that if you come to Rocket Kapre, you’re one or both–I think that the following blog posts are worth a read:

Also worth reading–but not really a “critical comment” on the convention, so I’m segregating it– is the “thoughts from eastercon 2012 part one” post from Filipino writer (and Alternative Alamat contributor) Rochita Loenen-Ruiz.

It’s unfortunate that Ms. MacFarlane seems to have taken heat on Twitter for her Eastercon post. As a neutral observer who doesn’t know much about Eastercons past or present, the impression I got from reading her post was that the convention was, overall, quite wonderful, and the “fails” were isolated incidents that show the work that must still be done, without disparaging the improvements that have already been put in place. I know that I’d love to go to an Eastercon if I have the chance, and her post in no way dissuaded me.

[Image: Screencap from the Guardian.]

Release: Apex Magazine #35 (International SF Themed Issue)

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 4 - 2012

The special international SF themed issue of Apex Magazine has just been released. This issue is of particular interest to readers interested in Philippine speculative fiction, as it has “Alternate Girl’s Expatriate Life“, a story by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz (one of our “Alternative Alamat” contributors) and an essay by Charles Tan entitled “World SF: Our Possible Future.” If you enjoy the magazine (the contents of the current issue are available for free) , be sure to buy the issue at Apex or Amazon.

Alternative Alamat Interview: Rochita Loenen-Ruiz

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 4 - 2012

It’s a new year, and for the first interview of 2012, it’s my great pleasure to present a short question and answer session with Rochita Loenen-Ruiz. Rochita  attended the Clarion West Writer’s Workshop in 2009 as that year’s Octavia Butler Scholar. Her work has been published in print and online, both abroad as well as in the Philippines.  Some  of  the  publications  she  has  appeared  in  are:  Weird Tales  Magazine,  Fantasy  Magazine,  Apex  Magazine,  and  the Philippine  Speculative  Fiction Anthology (second and fourth volumes). She has stories coming out in the Second Apex Book of World SF and Realms of Fantasy.  She is currently working on a tribal sf novel.

Without spoiling anything essential, could you tell me a bit about your story?

The inspiration for this story came from reading the poetry in Mangyan Heritage. I had an exchange with the curator of the Mangyan Heritage Institute and I expressed my desire to use the poetry in some of my work.

Harinuo’s love song was an experiment in combining mythic storytelling and the Ambahan. In a certain sense, Harinuo’s Love Song resembles the story of the Star Maiden. It’s not the same though.

What made you think of using elements from Mangyan poetry and Ifugao folklore in the same story?

To be honest, I didn’t set out with a definite plan. I was reading the poetry and I allowed myself to be led by it to the story which turned out to be based on Ifugao folklore. I suppose this was influenced by my absorption in tribal lore at the time of writing. I was very much inspired by the poetry of the Mangyan and wanted to showcase it against a background that was much more familiar to me which was the Ifugao culture.

What part of the story–or the writing process–was the most fun for you?

What I enjoyed the most about writing this story was how it just flowed. I wasn’t really concerned about whether it was publishable or not. I just wanted to put the words on the page. To me capturing that image and the feeling was very important. In writing this story, I didn’t pay attention to the conventions of story writing. I think I was more immersed in the language and the rhythm of the language. I was not so much concerned with writing a traditional story as being true to the spirit of the telling.

What part of the story–or the writing process–was the most difficult for you?

Letting go and sharing it with readers. As I said, it was very much a personal experiment. Stuff like this isn’t easy to let go of. I guess, it’s also because it exposes the artist’s vulnerable soul.

How were you first exposed to Philippine mythology?

I think that we grew up with it in a certain sense. It’s kind of impossible to be unaware of certain mythologies when you grow up in a tribal area. Later, I became more fascinated with Philippine myths and I wanted to read more and more that was Filipino.

Is there any myth, epic or legend that you wish would be adapted into a novel, or comic, or movie?

Aponibolinayen and the Sun.” It was this tale about a maiden who got married to the sun. I liked that story a lot.

Who is your favorite character from Philippine mythology, and why?

I am rather fascinated by the character of Bugan. Perhaps because this name is the default for a lot of female characters in Ifugao mythology. In any case, I find myself speculating on Bugan and wondering what if she was a recurring being. I’m still pondering on it and I know I’ll probably write something about that sometime in the future. But to me, Bugan is fascinating because the myths connected to that name allow the imaginer to travel diverse pathways and still in a sense remain tied to the original tale.

Loenen-Ruiz, Rochita

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 3 - 2012

Rochita  Loenen-Ruiz attended the Clarion West Writer’s Workshop in 2009 as that year’s Octavia Butler Scholar. Her work has been published in print and online, both abroad as well as in the Philippines.  Some  of  the  publications  she  has  appeared  in  are:  Weird Tales  Magazine,  Fantasy  Magazine,  Apex  Magazine,  and  the Philippine  Speculative  Fiction Anthology (second and fourth volumes). She has stories coming out in the Second Apex Book of World SF and Realms of Fantasy.  She is currently working on a tribal sf novel.

Release Day: Alternative Alamat Now Available

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 14 - 2011

Cover for "Alternative Alamat" by Mervin Malonzo

The day has come!

Alternative Alamat“, our digital anthology of stories inspired by Philippine mythology, is now available for US$4.99 at the following fine establishments:

  • Amazon.com – US$4.99 (note there’s an extra US$2.00 charge for certain non-US territories/accounts, including, unfortunately, the Philippines)
  • Flipreads.com (epub file) – PHP235.00
  • [iTunes and Barnes & Noble/Nook editions to follow]

I hope that by now you’re all excited to get your hands on the book (or, rather, the hardware holding the file), and if so, thank you and what are you waiting for? If you’re still on the fence even after the preview of our contributor and story introductions, and our author interviews (Raissa, Mo, Eliza), then read on (or download the press release here)!

As a celebration of today’s launch, I’d like to give you a glimpse of some of the non-fiction segments of the book, as well as the wonderful artwork of Mervin Malonzo, creator of “Tabi Po“. You’ve already seen the beautiful cover Mervin made for us, but you may not have realized he’s also doing internal artwork as well. Each book is graced with eleven original illustrations by Mervin, where he gives his spin on eleven of the most interesting gods and goddesses of Philippine mythology. I don’t want to give too much away, so here’s a montage-teaser using elements from all eleven pieces:

After the cut: one full sample of Mervin’s interior artwork, the full text of the book’s introduction, and excerpts from my interviews with Professor Herminia Meñez Coben and Fernando N. Zialcita.

Read the rest of this entry »

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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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