Category Archives: Excuses to Create

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.

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.

Moxyland Short Story Contest

Fanfiction (or fanfic for short) is a phenomenon close to my heart. The first stories I ever wrote, before the Internet even reached the shores of the Philippines, were stories about my original characters running around other people’s worlds, whether it be the halls of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters or the or the End of Time. While fanfic and doujin productions seem to be embraced in Japan, the West has had a much more ambiguous relationship with it, which makes this new contest from Harper Collins and Angry Robot Books so interesting: they’re encouraging people to write short stories set in the universe of Lauren Beukes’ Moxyland novel, and up to three winners will have their stories published in Beukes’ next book, Zoo City, coming in May 2010. The contest ends on midnight 11 September 2009 (which I suppose means that 10 September is the last day). The announcement can be found here, the terms and conditions here, and some more information here. For the duration of the contest, you can read Moxyland at Authonomy or you can virtually browse the book. Of course you can also buy the book from Play.com, and for express delivery it is also available in ebook formats.

A few things prospective entrants should note: (a) you need to post your entries on the Authonomy page for Moxyland here (you can also see any entries already submitted which… seems kind of a strange way to run things) and that requires registration at Authonomy; (b) note that you don’t get monetary compensation if you win–the prize is publication and 5 copies of Zoo City; and (c) your story will be published under a Creative Commons 3 License.

Absence of royalties/monetary compensation aside, I have to admit it’s a very interesting promotion. Best of luck to everyone who intends to join!

Deadlines Ahoy! Shine Anthology (EDIT: August 2)

Just reminding everyone that the (previously extended) deadline for submission to the SHINE Anthology, “an anthology of optimistic near-future SF, edited by Jetse de Vries, published by Solaris Books” is fast approaching.The deadline was originally June 30, but this was moved to August 2.

Submission guidelines are here. Remember, Mr. de Vries has stated that he is very keen on getting submissions from beyond the United States. He’s been providing a lot of helpful tips with regard to what kind of stories he’s looking for, and I thought I’d index a few of them here, for those authors whose spirits are willing, but whose muses are weak (like myself *sob):

Good luck everyone!

Turning Points in Philippine History

The current theme for submissions over at Crossed Genres is Alternative History–and writers take note, they are not only especially interested in Alternate History stories involving non-Western cultures and civilizations but they are also seeing a drop in submissions for this theme–so it got me thinking: the primordial element in the construction of an alternate history story seems to me to be the isolation of a focal point in the timeline of a people or nation, and speculating how a particular addition or omission might radically alter the course of history. While weighing the possibility of submitting to Crossed Genres, I’ve come up with a list of “what ifs” grounded in turning points in our history, and I thought I’d list them here for purposes of discussion/critique, or in the event that they can aid anyone planning to write an alternate history set in the Philippines; not all are major events in and of themselves, but some of the best stories I’ve read have dealt with the chain reactions caused by a shift in a minor detail.

Note that while I have been trying to brush up on Philippine history, I’m by no means an expert and as such I’m open to suggestions if I missed or mistakenly added anything. Also, I’m limiting these to possibilities that had an actual chance of occurring (rather than any number of way-out alternatives such as “What if the Rice Terraces became sentient during World War II?”) — although of course for purposes of a Spec Fic tale, the reason why events took a different turn may be as fantastical as the writer desires.

  • 1400s – What if Muslim missionaries had spread across more of the Philippines, entrenching Islam before the arrival of the Spanish?
  • 1500s – What if Portugal had discovered the Philippines?
  • 1762 – What if the British had conquered the Philippines?
  • 1767 – What if the Jesuits had not been expelled?
  • 1887 – What if Noli Me Tangere had been written in Tagalog?
  • 1897 – What if Bonifacio had executed Aguinaldo?
  • 1898 – What if Aguinaldo had not accepted United States aid?
  • 1899 – What if Willy Grayson had not taken that shot?
  • 1902 – What if the Philippines had won the Philippine-American War?
  • 1941 – What if MacArthur had repulsed the Japanese attack against Clark?
  • 1942 – What if Corregidor had never fallen?
  • 1945 – What if the Philippines had remained under Japanese occupation?
  • 1945 – What if the Philippines had become a state of the United States of America?
  • 1946 – What if MacArthur had implemented Japanese-style reforms in the Philippines?
  • 1946 – What if Taruc and the other five Democratic Alliance candidates had not been denied their seats in Congress?
  • 1950 – What if the Huk had overthrown the national government?
  • 1957 – What if Magsaysay’s plane had not crashed?
  • 1972 – What if Marcos had never declared Martial Law?
  • 1983 – What if Ninoy lived?

[More after the jump/cut]

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Innsmouth Free Press: Multi-ethnic Issue

(Got the heads up from Charles Tan’s Twitter)

This one is for all you Lovecraftian-horror writers out there: Innsmouth Press, “a fictional newspaper publishing faux news pieces – lovingly called Monster Bytes – in a Lovecraftian/Cthulhu Mythos universe, as well as original short fiction stories” is looking for stories to fill a “multi-ethnic” issue in 2010. As an example, the guidelines do specifically state that they  “really, really want to read Filipino Lovecraft.” So what are you guys waiting for?

We’re running a multiethnic issue in 2010 and we want your scary, funny, exciting and plain-bizarre stories with a Lovecraftian twist.

Rules:

  1. Must have a minority character in a major role. We are trying to produce an issue that showcases diversity in speculative fiction. We get a lot of slush with characters with English backgrounds, and a lot of stuff set in the United States. We are trying to do something different this time around.
  2. Special attention will be paid to writers submitting from outside of the United States, so mention it in your cover letter. ‘Cause we don’t get that many of them and we really, really want to read Filipino Lovecraft.
  3. If you’re a Pakistani-Canadian, we’d like to know it. We’re trying to represent different regions of the world, so this is an important factor.

Send only from August 1, 2009 to October 31, 2009. Submit to: innsmouthfp@gmail.com, Subject line: Multi-issue, Story Title. Read our usual submission guidelines for pay rates, formatting info and tips.

The complete guidelines and a more in-depth FAQ can be found here. Also check out their usual submission guidelines (distinct from any special rules for the multi-ethnic issue). Note that the reading period starts in August, so don’t send anything in before then.

This one is way out of my usual proving grounds, but best of luck to everyone else!

RP612Fic: Celebrate Independence Day with Six Word Stories

Most of the time I don’t realize that a long weekend has arrived until I realize I’m not the only one in the house anymore–but tomorrow, June 12, is Independence Day… something worth celebrating regardless of how you may feel about what we’ve done with that independence.

While wondering what I could do to commemorate the occasion,  I stumbled across an admittedly dated–but still awesome–collection of six word stories over at Wired magazine, and I got to thinking: why not do some six word stories tomorrow to celebrate? And I knew just the place for it:

So, if you’re on twitter, and you want to do a six word micro SF story, tag it #RP612fic so I can track them down for posting here later. If you’re not on twitter, but still want to participate, just send the stories to me and I’ll post them when I do a round-up post on Saturday morning.

No real rules, though obviously I’d love a good spec fic micro story more than anything else; I don’t think it needs to be tied directly to independence: any story about/involving the Philippines or Filipinos should do.

As for me, I’m trying to come up with 24 that I can release every hour via Hootsuite – here’s a sample tweet:

#RP612fic Makati’s secret: the statues are alive.

I’ve already got contributions from @ekmisao and @blissery but there’s always room for more. C’mon–it’ll be fun! (and you can honestly say at the end of the day that you finished a story–always a good thing right? ^_^)

(Image of old school Philippine soldiers from Filipiniana.net – click the pic to see a translation of the Declaration of Philippine Independence)