Category Archives: Ebook Revolution

Rocket Kapre: Fantastic Filipino Fiction

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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.

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T-Minus One Day to Lift Off…

[click to enlarge]

Curious? Check back tomorrow, 9/9/09 at 9 a.m. (Manila time) for the launch of a dream.

[The awesome comic above is a gift from the awesome Dado de Guzman. Watch out for an interview with him, which will be released on the new site!]

9/9/09: The Future of Pinoy SF Wants You

Are you ready to soar?

Are you ready to soar?

Sorry if that was a bit dramatic but it got your attention didn’t it? And while there is a time for circumspection, for earnest modesty, this is not one of those times.

Some of you might remember these posts and the promise I made to establish a digital publishing house for Philippine Speculative Fiction. I’ve been hammering away at that dream for half a year now… and I’m about to take the first major step at making that dream a reality.

On 9 September 2009, our new imprint will launch its website/blog dedicated to all things relevant to the readers and creators of stories of the Philippine Fantastic. Our aim is that the site can serve  as a launching pad for great Filipino SF, and also a venue for a greater understanding of the magical, speculative and scientific aspects of our culture and heritage. But most of all, want we want the site to do is create a community, and for that we need your help. We want to hear what you guys want in a site that aims to be something akin to the io9 or Tor.com of the Philippine Fantastic.

Tell us: what kind of topics would you like to cover? What kid of features or posts would keep you coming back? Here’s a list of things we’re working on:

  • A free online zine with SF short stories from Filipino authors old and new
  • Interviews with creators/writers/artists
  • Reviews of Filipino created books and komiks
  • Roundtable discussions on important issues or interesting questions
  • Reviews of non-Filipino created media that would interest Filipino SF readers
  • Articles exploring our myths, legends, culture and history
  • Silly–but sincere–fan speculation about our favorite local characters (I’m working on a post pitting certain cast members of Trese ant the Mythology Class against each other)

If you have content you want to see on the new site, please let me know in the comments section (which will be moderation free). On September 9, at 9:00 a.m., we’ll post the address for the new site here (those of you who’ve already seen it please don’t make the URL or the imprint name] public–it’s not quite ready for prime time yet -_-).

Hold on to your seats everyone. Not sure where this journey will take us, but I promise you we’re going full speed ahead.

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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Kindle App: Version 1.1 Released

Apparently an updated version of the Kindle App for the iPhone came out last week. I found the news and a list of the updated features over at the MobileRead Forums:

NEW Features:
· Read in portrait or landscape mode
· Pinch to zoom images in books
· Select alternate background and text colors to improve
reading comfort in low light conditions.
· Tap on either side of the screen or flick to turn pages

Just updated my app and the landscape and “tap to move” features are good to have, elements that used to make the Stanza reader a more attractive option for certain readers–not that Stanza and the Kindle can really be said to be in competition anymore, since Amazon now owns Stanza. The background-text color combinations available are black-on-white, white-on-black, and black-on-sepia (for people who want to feel like they’re reading on parchment perhaps?). Don’t have a kindle book with images as of yet so can’t test that particular function.

TechCrunch has some photos of the new interface, as well as some impressions:

My favorite thing about the landscape/portrait mode is that while you rotate your iPhone to switch between the two, there’s a lock icon in the lower right hand corner to easily disable this rotation. I wish every app on the iPhone had that, as I cannot stand when things rotate even though I didn’t want them to. The background options of black or sepia along with the standard white is also a nice touch, as it can be hard to read on the white when the screen is fully illuminated.

UK site The Register also has some coverage, as well as some screen shots. The Reg mentions the fact that Amazon has made mobile access to its Kindle Store much more iPhone friendly recently, and speculates that there may be a clash of titans on the horizon:

As welcome as these developments are for those of us who prefer to read during our subway commute rather than listen to the latest from Lady Gaga, we also see a confrontation brewing on the horizon. As The Reg has oft mentioned, Google is busily locking up all the books it can consume, with the apparent goal of becoming the world’s monopolizer of printed content.

As with the Kindle App itself, the updated version is free so nab the version or the app via iTunes or the App Store.

Ebook Freebies: The Merchant of Death and Suvudu Additions

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.

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Using the Kindle (App) in the Philippines

As a book-lover–and one who doesn’t strictly define “book” as a physical item composed of ink and paper–the gadget that has always inspired the most envy in me is not a flashy phone nor an overclocked computer but the Amazon Kindle: not because of pleasing design (it’s quite clunky) or a surplus of handy features (it’s no smart phone) but simply because… well it’s a bookstore in my hand: what’s not to like?

Well, two things come to mind: (a) the price ($359); and (b) the fact that the “bookstore” element is only really available in the US. So when my old faithful Palm Zire went to the great gadget heap beyond, I decided not to wait for the inevitable international version of the Kindle and nabbed an iPod Touch instead–little did I know that, in a way, I’d gotten both.

This year Amazon released a Kindle App for the iPhone and iPod Touch which addresses both of my earlier concerns: (a) it is free; and (b) we can use it without leaving our tropical (oh man this summer heat) homes.

Here’s how:

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