Alternative Alamat: Cover, Release Date, Story Introductions

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 1 - 2011

Cover for "Alternative Alamat" by Mervin Malonzo

 

EDIT: Alternative Alamat is out now on Amazon and Flipreads!

On December 14, 2011, “Alternative Alamat“–our anthology of stories inspired by Philippine mythology–will be released on Amazon.com, Flipreads.com, and the iTunes store. This anthology has been more than a year in the making, and it is near and dear to my heart, so any help spreading the word would be greatly appreciated. I’m excited, not the least of which because of the excellent cover art provided by Mervin Malonzo (creator of “Tabi Po“, who also provides the interior illustrations), and because I believe we’re attempting something that hasn’t been done before, in the context of Philippine mythology.

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 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 in common in these eleven 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 a cover and interior illustrations by Mervin Malonzo, a short list of notable Philippine deities, and in-depth interviews with Professors Herminia Meñez Coben and Fernando N. Zialcita.

If you are a book blogger or book reviewer and would like to review/feature Alternative Alamat, please do contact me at rocketkapre[at]g mail. To give you a sneak peek of what to expect from the anthology, after the cut I’ve included the introductions for each of the eleven stories, which also serve as the bios for each of the contributors.

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Alternative Alamat

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 1 - 2011

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 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 in common in these eleven 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 a cover and interior illustrations by Mervin Malonzo, a short list of notable Philippine deities, and in-depth interviews with Professors Herminia Meñez Coben and Fernando N. Zialcita.

[Page still under construction - some details/links to be added later.]

Alternative Alamat: Table of Contents

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 13 - 2011

It gives me great pleasure to finally be able to announce the table of contents of our first commercial anthology “Alternative Alamat: Stories Inspired by Philippine Mythology”. It’s been a long road, but I’ve enjoyed every step of the way. The book will be digital-only for now, and will be published in cooperation with Flipside Digital before the end of the year. I’ll be releasing more information about the anthology in the coming weeks.

“Ana’s Little Pawnshop on Makiling St.” by Eliza Victoria

“Harinuo’s Love Song” by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz

“The Last Full Show” by Budjette Tan

“The Alipin’s Tale” by Raymond G. Falgui

“Keeper of My Sky” by Timothy James Dimacali

“Conquering Makiling” by Mo Francisco

“The Sorceress Queen” by Raissa Rivera Falgui

“Beneath The Acacia” by Celestine Trinidad

“Offerings to Aman Sinaya” by Andrei Tupaz

“Balat, Buwan, Ngalan” by David Hontiveros

“A Door Opens:  The Beginning of the Fall of the Ispancialo-in-Hinirang” by Dean Alfar

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

Cover and interior artwork by Mervin Malonzo

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.

Filipinos and the Genre, September 2010

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 24 - 2010

FilipinosAndtheGenreSept2010

A few of our countrymen-and-women have been making news in the genre (and genre) related front, and I’m starting up this new type of post “Filipinos and the Genre” so that I have a place to collate all the news, in case I fall behind.

The most recent bit of information we have comes from Kenneth Yu over at Philippine Genre Stories, where he informs us that PGS contributor Alex Paman has a book out that will definitely be of interest to Rocket Kapre visitors:

PGS contributor Alex Paman‘s first book, Asian Supernatural, is now out and available at Amazon! (see above scan of its cover)

As described in the book’s preface, it is “an attempt, for the very first time, to truly catalog ghosts and monsters from all the Asian and Pacific cultures in a single volume. Its contents come from oral tales, old anthropology books, travel narratives, and other native resources that were written before the advent of the internet.”

It’s pretty comprehensive; looking at the table of contents, it covers not just China, Japan, and Korea–arguably the first cultures that come to mind among many when “Asian supernatural creatures” are mentioned, but also countries like India, Tibet, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and yes, the Philippines.

In other news, Joseph Nacino, editor of Estranghero Press, recently had his story Logovore republished over at Fantasy Magazine. The magazine also has an interview up with Joey, where he graciously mentions our humble site. Thanks man!

Logovore is but one of many speculative fiction stories by Filipino authors picked up by international publishers. The Philippines also has two representatives in the recently announced table of contents for the Apex Book of World SF Volume 2: Rochita Loenen-Ruiz’s “Alternate Girl’s Expatriate Life” (from Interzone 229) and Andrew Drilon’sThe Secret Origin of Spin-man” (from Philippine Speculative Fiction Volume 4). Many of these foreign sales are available online–here are a few of the most recent, and you can also take a look at Charles Tan’s database for stories published in 2010:

June 2010

September 2010

My Interview with Rochita Loenen-Ruiz

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 27 - 2010

Oh, hey, look whose turn it is on the other end of the (figurative) microphone? Fantastic Filipina writer Rochita Loenen-Ruiz ( who is currently guest blogging at Ecstatic Daysinterviewed me, and Lavie Tidhar posted the conversation over at the World SF News Blog. Here’s an excerpt:

Q: What do you think are the obstacles or challenges that we face as Filipinos writing in a field that’s dominated by the West?

The first challenge is that, as I touched upon a little earlier, most of us Filipino speculative fiction writers are ourselves products of that domination. The books we read in our youth gave us many of the tools and techniques that enable us to be writers, but which, at the same time, might not be right for the kind of stories we now want to tell–at least not without some adaptation. Even the language many of us write in, which approximates American English, while serving as the basic tool of our profession, seems to add a layer of alienation any time we choose to write certain types of stories. You see that a lot in the komiks scene here, particularly the local superhero scene, where you can see creators struggling to decide when to use English, or when to use Filipino, or how to translate a concept or experience from one context/language to another.

There was a recent discussion with regard to the viability of the classic superhero in the Philippines–the type who only focuses on halting crime rather than effecting any social change–given that the scale of problems such as poverty and corruption here. And yet, classic superheroes are exactly what many of the creators grew up wanting to do. In the same way, I grew up wanting to write The Belgariad, or the Wheel of Time, but now that I’ve realized I want to write stories influenced by the historical Philippines rather than historical Europe, I find that there is no great body of fiction that I can turn to and build upon. (Which is one of the reasons I’m all for discovering Philippine myths and legends.) It’s a blank slate, and for a writer that is both exciting and terrifying.

The other challenges are more practical in nature, and apply more specifically to Filipinos who live in the Philippines and want to publish novels.  While the short story market is becoming more and more accessible to writers from across the globe, it’s still difficult for someone who doesn’t live in the West to get a book published in the West, even when we just factor in logistical matters, such as the fact that a writer who lives in the Philippines is less likely to be able to network at a convention, or attend a writing workshop like Clarion. The sad thing is, it’s not any easier for a Filipino writer to get a spec fic novel published here in the Philippines. Most publishers don’t appear interested in spec fic in general, and spec fic novels in particular. There are no literary agents here, nor conventions where an aspiring writer can approach an editor or publisher. That’s one reason why I believe that many authors in the future will take the self-publishing route–they simply don’t have a way to get the attention of publishers. I hope that Rocket Kapre can help change that in the future.

You can read the rest of the interview here.

Thanks to Rochita for taking time from her writing to interview me, and thanks to Lavie for sharing the interview.

Call for Submissions: Alternative Alamat

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 19 - 2010

[EDIT: "Alternative Alamat" has already been published. We are no longer accepting submissions.]

[Note: If you want to head straight to the story guidelines, head here. If you'd like a bit of a background as to why I'm looking for this particular type of story, read on.]

The Philippines is blessed with a multitude of mythologies and legends, yet too few of these tales are known and read today. While it is understandable that the modern reader might find it difficult to relate to ancient oral tradition, we’ve all seen how the gods/goddesses and heroes/heroines of other cultures have remained relevant (or at least well-known) because of writers who incorporate the old myths and legends in modern tales. (See: The Percy Jackson series, or the many re-imaginings of the King Arthur myth.)

mythology_class_1(Image from Komiklopedia)

My first encounter with our mythic heritage, outside of school (which tends to suck the joy out of many a topic), was one such re-imagining: Arnold Arre’s “The Mythology Class” (the original four issue version, not the collected graphic novel).  I loved that story to pieces (it was the first time a local work ever moved me to indulge in fan art and fan fic) and it remains dear to me as an example of how a well told story in the present can lead to an appreciation–even a hunger–for the foundational tales of our ancestors. A more recent example is Rochita Loenen-Ruiz’s Hi Bugan yi Hi Kinggawan over at Fantasy Magazine.

I think we need more Filipino tales in that vein–and with that in mind, I’d like to announce a call for submissions for Rocket Kapre’s first commercial anthology: Alternative Alamat.

Alternative_Alamat_Call_Slider

But Mr. Editor, you say, I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I don’t know many of our myths and legends. I’ve anticipated this, dear writer–after all, I wouldn’t be trying to raise awareness about our mythic heritage if I felt it was already common knowledge–so what I’ve done is I’ve gone through my collection of books and done a bit of research online and in libraries, and I’ll be putting up the resulting list of myths and legends sometime this week. Somewhere down the line, I’ll also put up a similar list of Philippine deities.

So I’ll be doing my part, and I hope you’ll do yours. Submission guidelines are after the cut.

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Chained Links: 7 April 2010

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 7 - 2010

summerkomikon2010_s

Back from Tokyo (more on that later) and there’s a lot to catch up on, so let’s get to it.

Now, here are a few new-ish SF fiction markets (via the specficmarkets lj community) and a contest (via email from chiles samaniego):

Finally, some events to mark on your calendars (Let me know if I’m missing anything):

Ruin and Resolve – Cover and TOC Reveal

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 22 - 2009

Given all that the country has been through in the last two months, September 2009 might seem a lifetime away to some of us.  Yet the damage from Ondoy and Pepeng still remains, and in the coming year the typhoons will return, as they always do.  As Filipinos, as writers, as Spec Fic lovers, we want to do our part to help those who are still recovering from the storms, and to support those who will be at the vanguard of future relief efforts.

Last October, I sent out a limited call for submissions for Ruin and Resolve, an ebook anthology which Rocket Kapre would put up for sale, donating any profits received to the Philippine National Red Cross.  Seventeen heeded that call, and in the span of less than three months, we’ve managed to compile nineteen stories and five poems, to offer as an incentive for those who want to share their blessings, especially during the Christmas season. On December 28 (fingers crossed) the anthology will go on sale at Smashwords.com, and I’ll need everyone’s help to get the word out. But for now, I’ve set up a book page for Ruin and Resolve (ignore the sample and mediakit portions for now) with the table of contents and the cover image (artwork provided free of charge by the awesome Artspice! Studios) of which I’ve provided a larger version below.

The list of stories/poems and authors is on the book page, but I’m also putting it in this post, after the cut.

Once again guys – December 28, don’t forget!

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Rochita Loenen-Ruiz on the Context of Culture

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 9 - 2009

RochitaOBScholarpicFilipina writer and 2009 Octavia E. Butler Scholar Rochita Loenen-Ruiz has a guest post up at Jeff Vandermeer’s Ecstatic Days where she speaks about why she attempts to be true to her culture (as a Filipina who grew up in the Mountain Province) in her writing. Here’s an excerpt:

That a lot of Filipinos believe in the superiority of what’s foreign is a sad truth. It’s just like how Filipinos insist on bleaching their beautiful brown skin because they believe white is a superior color.

But I love the Filipino color. I love our beautiful brown skin and I don’t see why we need to be whiter. It’s just in this way that I love our beautiful Filipino culture. It is bright and colorful and filled with so many nuances. We are not just the color of earth, we are not just the beating of gongs, what we are includes the interweaving with other cultures. We are indigenous and multicultural at the same time.

If you’d like to read some of Rochita’s stories, her most recent tale, “59 Beads“, appears in the latest issue (December 2009) of Apex Magazine. We’re also honored to have two of her stories slated to appear in our Ruin and Resolve anthology.

[Photo sourced from Munting Nayon News Magazine]

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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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