Monthly Archives: July 2009

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow: Get It

Before I begin: you’ve all got copies of Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother already right? It recently won (jointly with Ian MacLeod’s “Song of Time”) the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel of 2009, and the Prometheus Award for libertarian SF; it has also been shortlisted/nominated for the Locus Awards and the Hugo Awards; it’s been praised by Neil Gaiman, Elizabeth Bear, Brian K. Vaughn, John Scalzi and Scott Westerfield.

And oh, did I mention you can get the ebook for free?

I’ll be working on a more detailed review for POC, but for now I just want to let people know (or remind them if, like me, knowing it’s there and free makes them keep putting it off) and encourage everyone to give it a read. I wouldn’t place its craftsmanship and prose on my “Top” lists, but it is a stimulating, galvanizing read. As fiction it’s adequate, but as speculation, manual, manifesto and catalyst–it’s high, high up indeed.

Oh, and while we’re on the topic of Cory Doctorow, don’t forget that his latest book, Makers, is being serialized online free of charge by the good folks at Tor.com.

The Farthest Shore: Partial List of Stories

Slightly old news (and somewhat self-serving I know, but hey, I would have posted this regardless) but Joseph Nacino and Dean Alfar have announced “after much deliberation” the list of stories accepted for the “Farthest Shore” the upcoming anthology of Filipino secondary world fantasy (which you might remember from here). In no particular order, the stories and authors are as follows:

1. Balancing Darkness- Rodelle Santos
2. Hindsight- Paolo Chikiamco
3. Rite of Passage- Dominique Cimafranca
4. The Just World of Helena Jimenez – Eliza Victoria
5. Spelling Normal- Mia Tijam
6. Emberwilde – Nikki Alfar
7. Light – Kate Aton-Osias
8. They Spoke of Her in Whispers – Bessie Lasala
9. In the Arms of Beishu – Vincent Simbulan
10. Wildwater- Crystal Koo

Two more stories will be added, one from each of the editors, to bring the total number to twelve. “The Farthest Shore” is intended to be released in digital/online form sometime late August.

I’m really excited for this one, even setting aside for the moment that my story will be in it. Still, it’s good to know that all that toil and research was not in vain.

GBB Aftermath: Receipts, Evidence and Testimony Wanted

Sure, the Great Book Blockade is over, but the price of peace (or duty-free books in this case) is eternal vigilance–let’s not forget that even before the GBB, there were already people being taxed when they sought to bring books from abroad into the country. If you’ll recall, Chingbee Cruz shared her own experience here:

I’d heard that books were tax-exempt but didn’t know enough to have any conviction in making that argument, and so all I really wanted to do then was pay the right amount, official receipt and all. As I was fishing my hard-earned thousands of pesos out my wallet, I told CD that he made it very hard for people like me not to be corrupt. That his dramatic tossing of documents and convoluted explanations to my questions made it clear that he was discouraging me from doing the right thing. (When I asked him to please explain why his clerks were handing out tiny pieces of paper with the wrong tax amount for cheaper, resibo-less claiming of packages, he said he wasn’t at liberty to talk about such things. WTF?) Of course, he had nothing to say to all this. The only time he had something to say was when I mentioned that maybe next time I should keep my purchases to fifty dollars or less so I wouldn’t be charged taxes. “Ikaw bahala,” he said. “Kung may paraan ba lumusot sa rules, e, di ba’t di gamitin?” To which I quickly pointed out, short of biting his head off, that no, I wouldn’t be breaking any rule to begin with if I did my theoretical fifty-dollars-or-below purchase, and so no, I wouldn’t be getting away with anything.

UP Law Dean Marvic Leonen had a similar experience (as Chingbee narrates here) and RockEd Philippines has been trying to gather proof of similar cases of illegal taxation–receipts, or even simple narrations of the events–so that Atty. Leonen or another able lawyer might be able to file the appropriate legal suit. However, over at Twitter, in response to a query from @MLQ3, @gangbadoy of RockEd told me that people have stopped emailing such receipts and stories since the GBB was lifted.

[More after the cut]

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World Ebook Fair

Mmm, the smell of free ebooks in the morning. That’s what I like.

From July 4 to August 4 2009, the 4th World eBook Fair will be taking place (note if you click the link there’s a movie with audio that automatically plays-just a heads up if you’re at work or have a sleeping toddler on your lap). What is this ebook fair you ask? Well it’s a project brought to you by the likes of Project Gutenberg, the World Public Library, Digital Pulp Publishing, Ask.com, he Internet Archive, Mobilebooks and Baen Books by which they hope to make over 2 million free ebooks (as well as other commercial books for purchase) available on the World Ebook Fair site. A lot of the free ebooks are already available for free at other sites but the Ebook Fair brings them all to one place.

There are ebooks available from sources such as the CIA’s Electronic Reading Room, Etana: Ancient Near Eastern Archives, International Law Library and The Sound of Literary Works (an audio book collection). Of course for the genre reader, the most obvious attraction are the books from the Baen Free Library (from whence the cover images in this post are from).

[More after the cut]

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Jeffrey Ford Reviews Philippine Speculative Fiction IV

Awesome news for Philippine Spec Fic: Jeffrey Ford, world renowned fantasy author  (whose works have won and/or been nominated for the World Fantasy Award, the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Award, the International Horror Guild Award, the Fountain Award, the Edgar Allan Poe Award) recently reviewed Philippine Speculative Fiction IV, edited by Dean Alfar and Nikki Alfar, and found much to his liking, singling out in particular stories by Andrew Drilon, Noel Tio, Maryanne Moll, Charles Tan, Celestine Trinidad, Isabel Yap, Paolo Jose Cruz, Kate Aton-Osias and Adam David.

From the review:

I don’t know how many US readers and writers are aware of it, but there is a vital and growing SF/F community in the Philippines these days. Good evidence exists for it in this latest volume of the anthology, Philippine Speculative Fiction IV.

One need not delve too deeply into this Philippine literary phenomenon to quickly realize that there is a treasure trove of talent there. Volume 4 of the series is, in my humble opinion, the best yet in the series.

I’ve only touched on a representative handful of stories here. There were other pieces in the anthology that I liked as well as these. The book is well worth your time.

Congratulations to Dean and Nikki, as well as to all the authors-especially those given special mention. Now all you guys need to do is make the 5th even better right? No pressure.

If you want to show Mr. Ford some love, his website can be found here, and he keeps a livejournal account here. His excellent books and collections are also available on Amazon amongst other fine retailers (can’t recall if I’ve seen any here).

KOMIKON AWARDS 2009: Nominations Now Open

Every artist likes affirmation right? God knows a lot of our wonderful creators out there deserve more credit and accolades than they are currently receiving. If you want to support your favorite komiks creators, you might want to nominate them for the Komikon Awards–only the second in history–and wouldn’t you know it, nominations just opened yesterday (July 1); hurry though as the period for nomination is only until July 15.

Here are the details, taken from here. I also found an equivalent deviantart post here with a tad more detail, but I can’t seem to get into DA this evening.

The first ever KOMIKON AWARDS was held back in 2006 on the 2nd year of the Philippine Annual Komiks Convention. It is with great delight that we bring it back in a bigger and better venue and in celebrating the event’s 5th year. Once again, let us give recognition to those who continue to pour their heart, soul and income to a said “ailing industry” that still thrives to bring entertainment to future generations.

The categories are as follows:

Best Comic

This is for the ultimate… the chosen one. This is for the best among the rest. This means that the comic has achieved its ultimate potential; it’s all that and then some. This covers the mainstream comics, published and sold in the major local bookstores. This is for those that have reached the pinnacle of comic making; it’s up there, head and shoulders above the rest, looking down on us through a magnifying glass. This is for the comic that embodies all the things that made us love comics in the first place. The Best Comic award is divided in four categories:

Best Graphic Novel / Anthology*
Graphic Novels are defined as novels whose narrative is related through a combination of text and art, often in comic-strip form. On the other hand, an anthology is a collection of stand alone comic book stories collected in one publication by a group or one author. This award aims to honor the best comic book creator or group of creators for their exemplary work.
Best Serialized Comic*
A comic series published regularly in a magazine, newspaper or comic book publication.
Best Comic Magazine
This award is given to the best comic book magazine still seeing print be it a single story or made up of several.
Best Comic Strip Compilation

Here’s a step from the day-to-day print to more lasting impressions. One strip is never enough.

Best Comic Creator/s*

This award recognizes the talents of a solo artist or team of artists in making the best comic there is.

Best Cover*

A cover dictates how people see your comic. Sales also depend on the cover. And here we salute those covers that made us look and look hard. And the effort to it took to conceptualize, pencil, ink, and in some cases, to color the cover. The award shall go to the artist or group of artists that created such masterpiece.

[More award descriptions after the cut]

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