We have lift off ladies and gentlemen.
After months of planning, I’m proud to announce the official launch of Rocket Kapre Books and rocketkapre.com.
Rocket Kapre Books is a digital publishing imprint dedicated to bringing the very best of Filipino-made Speculative Fiction (Fantasy, Science Fiction and other works of a fantastical nature) to a worldwide audience by means of affordable and accessible ebooks (stories contained in digital files that can be read from computers, smart phones or ebook readers).
Rocketkapre.com endeavors to serve not only as the online headquarters for the imprint, but also as a home for creators and fans of Philippine Speculative Fiction, incorporating an active blog that will showcase interesting links as well as generate exclusive content such as interviews, contests, writing tips and original fiction.
So come on over and join the fun! For launch day we’ve got a round table discussion of our favorite Filipino-created fantastical stories, a preview of the ambitious Mind Museum going up at the Fort, and an interview with Kate Aton-Osias regarding the upcoming Farthest Shore anthology. And hey if you want a more complete explanation as to why I put up Rocket Kapre, you’ll find that there too.
Hope to see you there! And please, spread the word: feel free to use our banners and promotional comic strip to get the message out: there’s a new home for Fantastic Filipino Fiction.
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.
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]
There was once a time where I was a proud-member of the rear guard when it came to social media technology: I was the last of my barkada to get a text/SMS capable phone, I scoffed at friendster and downloaded icq–only to stay invisible most of the time. The only borderline “social media” tech I remember embracing with enthusiasm was–and I know this will date me–a pocketbell beeper. Ah, high school romance in the 90s… Sweet nothings mediated through operators who couldn’t distinguish “Princess” from “Vincent”…
But where was I? Oh, right–I used to think social media technology was useless to me.
When I first heard of twitter, I couldn’t understand the appeal. Going from lengthy-yet-instantaneous YMs and texts to 140 characters seemed kind of backward. It probably also didn’t help that my first exposure to twitter was via Penny Arcade.
When I decided to try my hand at digital publishing, I knew that I was going to have to take social media seriously: by that time, Facebook was a part of the daily routine of most of my peers, and Multiply had become the nation’s virtual mall. Yet while both Facebook and Multiply are great social network sites, as a publisher and as a writer, it’s twitter that has proven most useful to me. Here’s why:
- Tweets can be a conversation: This in itself isn’t very unique–text messaging, instant messaging, these can be used to conduct conversations as well. With twitter however, conversations are open (unless you’ve locked your account) and if you’re talking about a matter of general interest, other people can chime in. You can choose to look for those replies or allow them to slip past your radar, but open conversations does create an opportunity to, say, get personal advice from people you respect but don’t personally know.
- Tweets can be asynchronous: Sure you can scribble off delayed replies in instant messenger, but I always feel a bit rude whenever I ignore an instant message, since it feels like I’m undermining the entire point of the technology (ditto with being invisible). With Twitter, which doesn’t have an indication of my online status, that isn’t an issue, and I can take as long as I need to compose a reply. Continue reading
While I was mining the internet for data regarding speculative fiction demographics, I ran across an interesting link that led me to this image: purported statistics on the comparative popularity of speculative fiction magazines, done up in a visual style that would not be amiss in a conceptual-shot of a galaxy core– or a game of Katamari Damacy:
The site is called Many Eyes, a “collection of data visualizations” meant to “allow the entire internet to upload data, visualize it, and talk about their discoveries with other people.” (Out of curiosity I did a search for “consoles” but the graphs were tame; then again, my specific search for “console wars” generated no hits. I can think of several quite graphic visualizations for those, but I digress…)
Many Eyes is quite clear that it in no way guarantees that the data on the site is accurate, but the site states that the users who upload the data generally cite the source of said data. A bit of poking around with the interface, and I was led to the data source for the above mentioned chart, which turned out to be another interesting link I’d yet to encounter: Submitting to the Black Hole, a subpage of the Critters website. The page has a laudable goal–to document the average time it takes an SF mag to respond to a submission, or in the site’s own words: “an attempt to locate verifiable response time data as well as “horror stories” for markets that have kept (or are keeping) manuscripts far longer than one might consider reasonable.” It was just updated 9 June 2009 so it’s being kept up to date, and it is a very useful database for writers in the trenches wondering if somehow the internets ate their story.
I’m assuming that the Many Eyes visualization uses the “data points” column, which I take to mean the number of authors who reported the response times for each magazine; even if we suppose the subsection of authors who have been submtting data to the Black Hole site are not an accurate representation of the majority, the chart is interesting enough in itself, and finding the Black Hole page makes it all worthwhile.
Twitter is turning out to be very good at directing my attention towards news and links I actually find important, so my twitter account has been getting a bit of a workout. I sent out a re-tweet of this tidbit I got from Joanna Penn of the Creative Penn, but I think it bears a more thorough post here–Writer’s Digest has just put up a list of their 101 Best Websites for Writers 2009.
Most writers prefer to spend their time … well, writing. Here, we’ve attempted to make that job a little easier.
Introducing our 11th annual 101 Best Websites for Writers. This year we sifted through more than 2,700 nominations and pulled the best of the bunch. The list, which features more blogs and free market listings than in years past, has been divided into eight sections: Creativity and Challenges, General Resources, Agent Blogs, Publishing Resources, Jobs and Markets, Writing Communities, Genres/Niches and Fun for Writers. We’ve also included symbols (see the key on the opposite page) with each listing so you can quickly scan to see if the site offers what you’re seeking: blogs, chatting, critiques, classes/workshops, contests, forums, jobs, markets, e-newsletters, podcasts and content for young writers.
The 2009 Categories:
Jobs and Markets
Creativity and Challenges
Fun for Writers
One site I found particularly intruiging was BookGlutton which “lets you share your manuscripts (in full, or chapter-by-chapter) with others, right in your browser, complete with built-in annotation and chat functions.”
I have to say this site intrigues me, not really insofar as commercial texts are concerned, but as a convenient way for multiple readers to edit/give comments on a manuscript. Bears watching. You can see a video of how the site works here, or simply sign up and try it out.
Here’s a rundown of free Kindle ebooks for you iPhone/Touch Kindle App users which I found after my initial post on the Kindle app. We’ve got the first book in a popular YA series, and a few more additions to the much appreciated Suvudu free library.
First up is Merchant of Death:
Amazon describes the book as follows:
In Pendragon: The Merchant of Death, D.J. MacHale, the creator of several popular television series and Afterschool Specials, transplants the Pendragon name from Arthurian legend to modern-day junior high school. Fourteen- year-old Bobby Pendragon has it all; he’s smart, popular, and a star basketball player in quiet Stony Brook, Connecticut. But a visit from Uncle Press soon topples all of that as Bobby learns that he is a Traveler, someone who can ride “flumes” through time and space. Bobby lands in Denduron, a medieval world where the gentle Milago are enslaved by the Bedoowan, and it’s Bobby’s job to free them. He reluctantly teams up with Loor–a girl his age from the warrior-territory of Zadaa–and other Travelers, recounting his adventures in journals that are magically transported back to his friends Mark and Courtney in Stony Brook. These first-person journals at times feel contrived–they’re riddled with terms like “coolio” and “bizarro” and gnarly descriptions of vile sights and smells–but the book’s thumping story soon scrubs away all such concern. The Merchant of Death keeps the pages flipping with steady action and near-constant mortal peril for its heroes, promising that both this and future volumes in the Pendragon series should be eagerly devoured. (Ages 10 and older)
Next we have three new additions to the Suvudu Free Library:
Weapon of Choice by John Birmingham:
A military experiment in the year 2021 has thrust an American-led multinational armada back to 1942, right into the middle of the U.S. naval task force speeding toward Midway Atoll and what was to be the most spectacular U.S. triumph of the entire war. Thousands died in the chaos, but the ripples had only begun. For these veterans of Pearl Harbor–led by Admirals Nimitz, Halsey, and Spruance–have never seen a helicopter, or a satellite link, or a nuclear weapon. What happens next is anyone’s guess–and anyone’s nightmare.
The internet is a great resource for information: it’s convenient, free and searchable. However some people are still a bit iffy about using the internet as a research tool, preferring the authority of data found between two preferably slightly musty covers. So where does one go if one seeks to do some old fashioned physical book research?
Uhm, well… the internet. Still. (Or at least that’s probably how it’ll be in the future.)
The amount of data potentially available through the Google Book Search is staggering. As of October 2008, Google stated that they had 7 million books searchable through Google Book Search. As such, I figured there might be a few gems there that relate to the Philippines – and lo and behold, there were a ton. So I thought I’d sift through the virtual stacks, and pick out a few that might be of interest.