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!

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Duties on Books: Who You Gonna Call?

Why isnt Winston here though? -_-

Why isn't Winston here though? -_-

As posted over at Philippine Genre Stories and via comment from Bookmarked! here’s a number concerned book lovers can call if their precious books are being unjustly detained:

Hi, you should not have to file for exemption for items that are non-taxable. From my understanding, exemption is only filed if you or your organization is tax-exempt.

Please call Mr. Jaime Regala of the BOC IIPD-CIIS
(Internal Inquiry and Prosecution Division-Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service)
(632) 5274522

On the Great Undead Blockade

Ah, my old foe… we meet again. Or do we?

So a commenter over at the Philippine Genre Stories blog has raised the specter (pun not intended) of a necromantic revival of the Great Book Blockade (credit for that particular metaphor goes to the New Worlds Alliance twitter). You can get a summary of these new developments at the aforementioned PGS post, or over at the Philippine Online Chronicles.

While it is clear that once again there are forces once again attempting to keep the precious pulpy goodness from our grubby hands, and this is something we should not stand for, it would be best to know whom it is we’re actually fighting.

The Problem: People are being asked to either pay customs duties on imported books, or get an exemption from the DOF.

We can divide the problem in to two aspects then: (a) The duties; (b) The exemption requirement. In each case what we need to ask is a question every reciting law student dreads to hear: “What is your legal basis?”

[Legal analysis. Oh, what fun!]

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Books. Matter. Stories. Matter. (Or: How a Book Made Me Cry After Six Pages)

Damn. Six pages in.

I don’t usually blog about personal matters but…

Books have brought me to tears before. I’m kind of a sap that way. Usually though this happens at the end of a novel, when I’ve become so attached to the characters that when the time comes for something, or someone, to be sacrificed in order to lend the heroes’ eventual triumph the proper degree of drama and pathos; or, rarely, in very personal non-fiction accounts such as Didion’s “A Year of Magical Thinking” where the language is so beautiful and the event (the death of a loved one) so close to our own hearts that sympathetic heart-wrenches are unavoidable.

But while reading a factual report of an event? Never happened before. And I’ve certainly never teared up six pages in to a book.

This is the culprit: Every Book Its Reader by Nicholas A. Basbanes. The subtitle is, fittingly enough “The Power of the Printed Word to Stir the World.” By all means click the image to peruse the first few pages of the book… Amazon’s preview covers the entirety of the section which had me sniffling, since it didn’t take that friggin’ long. (Go on, I’ll be here when you get back. Still sniffling probably.)

[All done? Join me after the cut.]

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Metro Comic Con ’09: Indie Komiks Panel

Indie Komiks Panel: Metro Comic Con 2009

To all future panel moderators, here’s a protip: know who the members of the panel are. I don’t know if Male Host #2 was joking when he asked whether Pol Medina was  amongst the waiting panelists but it was more of an awkward moment than a humorous one.

Inauspicious beginnings aside (the announcement about the missing laptop was also made before the panel began) the Indie Komiks panel proved to be an insightful glimpse in to the prevailing attitudes of some of the most successful veterans in the field of Independent Local Comics. The panelists were Heubert Khan Michael (Unstoppable), Reno Maniquis (Maskarado), Gener “Ner P” Pedrina (Sanduguan), Elbert Or (Bakemono High), Gio Paredes (Kalayaan), Gilbert Monsanto (Bayan Knights), Budjette Tan (Trese), and, in an appearance that was a surprise even to him, Andrew Drilon (The Love Eaters).

What follows is a summary of some of the salient points raised during the panel. If I missed anything significant or interesting, please feel free to let me know in the comments.

Q1: Why do you still call yourselves “Indies”? There is no longer a local comics industry right?

Gilbert: Well, in essence that’s correct. What we mean by “Indie” however is that we produce our komiks with our own resources, without depending on external corporate backers.

[Can’t remember if it was Gilbert or Elbert who mentioned that Liwayway still published, though their komiks are a different format. Psicom also gets mentioned, but for its foreign licensed DC and Marvel titles.]

Elbert: Actually, there are still some publishers. There is also the book publishing industry. The komiks industry is mature enough that there is much less of a distinction between komiks and books.

Budjette: Many of the local book publishers we’ve worked with, such as Visiprint and Adarna, give us a lot of creative freedom. Also, we are “Indie” in the sense that, unlike creators who work with Marvel and DC, we own our characters.

[More Q and A after the break.]

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Komikon Awards 2009: Nominees and Voting

While the Metro Comic Con takes places today and tomorrow, the Komikon (non-summer edition), which will take place in October has recently released its list of nominees for this year’s Komikon Awards.

The voting period will be from August 10 (this Monday!) to September 20, 2009. While some online voting mechanism is planned, physical voting ballots will be available in the following stores:

  • Comic Odyssey (a) Robinson’s Place, Level 3 Ermita,Manila; (b) Robinson’s Galleria, Level 3 Expansion Mall,Edsa cor. Ortigas
  • Comic Quest (a) Lower Ground Floor Bldg. A, SM Megamall; (b)2nd Floor Main Bldg., SM City North Edsa

Congrats to all the nominees! The list of nominees is a bit long, so you can find it after the cut. Good luck with the Comic Aid award guys… Lots of deserving folk there.

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Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

“Everything changes, nothing remains without change.”

Who am I to argue with the wisdom of those words? Hope you like the new WordPress theme people, courtesy of a great post on Editor Unleashed.

There will be a few more changes coming up, most of which I hope you guys will enjoy. More on that project as it develops ^_^ Until then, have a mysterious Gimp-ed image:

RK_mysterylogo2