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Launch: Tabi Po International Page
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Mervin Malonzo’s “Tabi Po” is a wonderful Filipino webcomic about a group of Aswang in the pre-20th century Philippines. While the webcomic is written in Filipino, the first two books have been translated into English and released as digital books, and now Mervin has put together an excellent website for his English speaking audience. (Can you tell he’s a web designer in his dayjob?) Explore it by scrolling downward to get the full effect.

Crossposted from Rocket Kapre - Fantastic Filipino Speculative Fiction
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Now Available: Philippine Speculative Fiction volume 7
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The seventh volume of the annual Philippine Speculative Fiction anthology (edited by Kate and Alex Osias) is now available for purchase at Amazon and Flipreads (with others to follow). Yep, it’s digital only for the time being. You can see the full table of contents here - this volume includes my story “Oblation”, and I thought I’d post the first few paragraphs of the story here, as a preview of what you may find in this volume.

“Oblation” is a departure for me in that it’s my first superhero short story, and my first story told using only female POVs. Also, likely because I’ve been hanging out with Mia too much, I tried to say something with the form of the story, not just with the content, and I hope that comes through (God knows, I’m not very subtle.) Enjoy!

OBLATION

By Paolo Chikiamco

I’m wearing my hair in a tail today. That means I’m ready to go to war.

You wouldn’t know it by looking at me. You look at me–and trust me, you’ll look–and all you know is that your day’s been made. Yes, I’m that pretty. No bragging, just fact. Mom’s genes are gooood. Not as good as Dad’s, but not everyone can be a superhero telepath.

‘Course, that doesn’t mean he can get in my head. He wishes. Brainwashing me is the only way I’d ever be okay with missing the prom. Sometimes, I wish that he could see into my head, so the great Kapitan Isip would realize just how little I care about his excuses. Like it’s the first time he’s ever been stationed in the Middle East, like it’s the first time he’s gotten threats, or that Mom and I have been “at risk”. Get real. No Kontra is brain-dead enough to go after a Klark’s family, not after what happened in Marikina when Bakunawa went berserk…

Seriously. They still show those horrible clips in history class. The boys loved it of course. Boys and violence. It’s why they get a thrill when they see my pony tail bobbing–but even guys know better than to come near me. The tail means “STAY AWAY”, all caps, and most of the school is smart enough to–

Is that… is that Sarah Novales waiting for me by the water fountain?

Wonderful.

#

I saw Michelle’s eyes narrow at the sight of me, and couldn’t help but remember the first time I’d ever seen her. My first day at Barrameda, the guidance counselor had seemed upset that I didn’t seem too impressed by the Academy. I’d barely uttered an “ooh” or “aah” when the he had shown me the school’s top of the line gymnasium, or introduced me to the duo (actual Persons-With-Powers, he’d proudly proclaimed) who served as campus security.

All that changed when we stepped into the cafeteria. It took a while for the counselor to realize he was explaining the scintillating food choices to the empty air.

“Who’s that?”

The counselor didn’t even follow my gaze. “That is Michelle Felinas, Queen of the Hill. Be careful with that one.”

Michelle was holding court in the center of the cafeteria, asking everyone to support the school football team. I say “asking” only because she used phrases like “would you” and “will you”–her tone made it clear that support was expected. From the way everyone hung on to her every word, they’d have it no other way.

When it became obvious that Kapitan Isip’s daughter was not a PWP, the media had gone on a feeding frenzy. (They’d never liked the Kapitan, who was understandably tough to interview.) But the Kapitan was never anything but proud of his daughter, and it was easy to see why. After all, normal didn’t mean ordinary.

“I’m serious, Ms. Novales.” The counselor steered me firmly away from the cafeteria. “Her father may be a hero, but his daughter is bad news. Stay away from her.”

And now, two years later, here we were. I felt a smile grow on my face. I was anxious when I wasn’t at school, even for a day. But now everything’s all right.

Don’t worry ‘Chelle.

I’m here.

Aaaand, that’s it for the preview. If you’d like to read the rest of the story, do consider buying Philippine Speculative Fiction volume 7. Congrats to Kate & Alex and all the contributing authors, as well as the publishing team.

Crossposted from Rocket Kapre - Fantastic Filipino Speculative Fiction
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PSF7: Cover Reveal; Launch Reminder
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Here’s the cover of Philippine Speculative Fiction volume 7, with art and colors by Les Banzuelo, art direction by Adam David. The volume will be launched this Saturday, July 28, 2012,  2:00pm at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf-Shangri-la Plaza, Edsa. You can see the table of contents here.

For the first time, this latest volume will launch as a digital book. For those who want to take home something tangible from the launch, however, rest assured that the good folk at Flipside Digital are preparing beautifully packaged CDs for the event:

PSF launches are always fun, as you can see from this video excerpt of last year’s PSF6 launch. Hope to see you all there!

Crossposted from Rocket Kapre - Fantastic Filipino Speculative Fiction
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Panelists and YA Book Discount for the 1st Kwentillion Young Adult Readers Carnival
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Poster by Frantz Salvador

 

We’re only nine days away from the 1st Kwentillion Young Adult Readers Carnival, so it seemed an opportune time for a few things: first, the unveiling of the now official poster for the event – not too much has changed, but if you will notice that one additional line of text…

Yes, similar to what National Book Store does with graphic novels when there’s a big graphic novel launch, to coincide with the YARC, Bestsellers Robinsons Galleria will be having their first ever YA Books Only Sale, exclusively for registered participants in the YARC. Upon registration, participants will be given a coupon for 20% off on all imported Young Adult Titles, valid for a one-time purchase for that day at Bestsellers Robinsons Galleria.

Need more incentive to attend? How about this list of panelists!

For the Kwentillion Panel:

For the Philippine Young Adult Creators Panel:

All this plus, a Book Preview Wall, an Art Wall, and participants get a chance to win a part of Kwentillion history – some of the actual proofs used in the editing and production of Kwentillion #1 (we’ll be giving some away at Saturday’s Indieket as well!). So do mark your calendars – July 21, 1-5PM, Bestsellers, Robinsons Galleria. See you all there!

Crossposted from Rocket Kapre - Fantastic Filipino Speculative Fiction
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Guest Post: Freelancing – The Unexpected Upsides of Living Dangerously
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Gunship Revolution is an art and design group currently making waves in the country and abroad, with some of the top local talent in the field today. They’ve been running a series of workshops–dubbed Creation Live!–for the benefit of aspiring creators, and their latest one, Sellswords, will veer away from art tips and into the murky-yet-rewarding world of freelancing. I asked Gunship’s Marthy Angue to give us a little preview of what he’s got in store for Sellswords, and he graciously agreed to write a guest post on the topic for Rocketkapre.

FREELANCING: THE UNEXPECTED UPSIDES OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY
By M. Arguelles Angue of Gunship Revolution

The smart thing, of course, would be to not quit your regular job. Steady work means steady pay and most companies do provide some semblance of insurance in case your boss decides to toss you off the building after being caught playing Angry Birds on company time once too often. That’s the kind of good, clear-minded sense that gives parents confidence that their children aren’t throwing their lives away. Conversely, walking out of your nine-to-fiver (or its night-shift equivalent) to pursue freelancing is pretty much the most spot-on illustration possible for that old bromide “out of the frying pan, into the fire.” Stomping off, especially in this economy, is like breaking free from a bag of Jalapeno-flavored Cheetos and realizing after that glorious split-second of liberty– “oh snap, I’m gonna get eaten out here.”

Then again, it could also be noticed that history is seldom made by people doing “the smart thing”. “The smart thing” was never to go past the horizon on your moldy, rat-infested ship nor was it ever attempting to fly using a pair of highly-flammable wings propelled through the air by explosions. “Adventure” has always been taking the worst bits of the human experience and insisting that there was something in the journey that made it all worth it. The rogue little cheeto could have escaped to go on a Pixar-esque adventure or it could have been eaten but either fate, one might be led to believe, would be preferable to staying inside the bag. In the same way, Freelancing is made more bearable when it is seen as an adventure. The problems don’t stop being problems but you may find that some harrowing experiences are worth the trouble after all. To note a few:

1.) Freelancing is a Voyage of Self Discovery

You’re no longer an employee. Heck, you’re not even self-employed (you have clients, after all.) You are now both a product and a service primed up to be sold for the highest bidder. When you’re trying to come up with ways of promoting yourself, you are pretty much indulging on one of the fundamental themes of human existence: “Who Am I?” You can either make this a matter of leveraging your education or your work experience and making a four-page CV out of it for your email blast. Or you can promote yourself as being more than a list of statistics and a glossy 2×2. Whichever rocks your boat, as they say.

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Crossposted from Rocket Kapre - Fantastic Filipino Speculative Fiction

Alyson Noël is Coming to Manila
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Kwentillion Magazine is thrilled to be a partner of National Book Store and Power Books as they bring Alyson Noël, bestselling author of The Immortals series, to Manila! The signing takes place on July 20, 6 pm, at Powerbooks, Greenbelt 4 — and that weekend is shaping up to be a great one for Young Adult readers in Manila (stay tuned for more). You can see a video invitation from the author herself at this link.

 

Crossposted from Rocket Kapre - Fantastic Filipino Speculative Fiction
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RP612Fic 2012: The Stories
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Another year, another #RP612fic… is what I’d like to say, but the rate at which our twitter-fiction celebration grows from year to year never ceases to astonish me. We even made the news this time, with GMA and ABS-CBN and Katipunan Magazine each doing stories on #RP612fic, and listing their favorite stories.We were also named Hashtag of the Week by the Philippine Star Supreme:

It’s reached the point where I can’t do my usual screengrab-and-paste aggregation of all the stories. What I’ve done instead is turned the search results for #RP612fic into a PDF–a 506 PAGE PDF, to be precise. It’s not as pretty as a screen capture, but my poor, old, PC just couldn’t take the size of the image, and it would take me too long to efficiently cu it by batches.

Before I give out the link to the PDF though, a few disclaimers: it includes every instance that #RP12fic was used in a tweet over the last few days, and while most of these are stories, some are not. This is also a raw list, as again it wasn’t feasible for me to pick and choose, so there are some bad eggs here, personal attacks masquerading as fic, or “jokes” in bad taste fueled by an ugly racism… but these are in the minority. A few bits of adult content – nothing raunchy – and a ton of slash fic, so if you’re offended by that, proceed with caution.

As a whole though, there was a lot of humor in this batch, and most people seemed to have a lot of fun looking sideways at history – and it shows. Here’s the PDF.

Here are around 30 of my personal favorites. Once again, thank you all for participating, and see you next year!

 

There are more Philippine Dr. Who fans on Twitter than I thought. A *lot* of WHO-related tweets…Who else would wear a mobile suit?

And then we were all obliterated, Independence Day style.
Ol’ Douglas is fast catching up to Magellan as the most popular foreign character in #RP612fic.

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Crossposted from Rocket Kapre - Fantastic Filipino Speculative Fiction

Filipino Spec Fic Authors on Ray Bradbury’s Importance
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Last June 5, science fiction master Ray Bradbury passed away. GMA7 News Online had an article up yesterday featuring the thoughts of Filipino speculative fiction writers on the death of the great author. Included in the piece are Karl de Mesa, Joseph Nacino, Carljoe Javier, Dean Francis Alfar, and Timothy James M. Dimacali.

Crossposted from Rocket Kapre - Fantastic Filipino Speculative Fiction
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Call for Submissions: LONTAR – The Journal for Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction
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LONTAR is a new quarterly literary journal of Southeast Asian speculative fiction in English, published and distributed by Math Paper Press in Singapore. It’s now open to unsolicited submissions — it uses an online submissions system (you can’t submit by email) and you can find that and the guidelines here. They are accepting not only fiction, but non-fiction, poetry, and comics. Of special interest to Filipinos is that the poetry editor is none other than our very own Kristing Ong Muslim.

Here’s an excerpt from their guidelines, which should give you an idea of what they’re looking for:

The editors of LONTAR are looking for quality literary writing with elements of the fantastic*, which is in some way connected with the cultures, traditions, mythologies, folk religions, and/or daily life in Southeast Asia**. While we are happy to look at works by writers outside of the region, we want to actively encourage Southeast Asian writers to submit your work.

Crossposted from Rocket Kapre - Fantastic Filipino Speculative Fiction
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Talking Points: Decolonizing and World SF
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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).

Crossposted from Rocket Kapre - Fantastic Filipino Speculative Fiction
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