summer komikon 2016, or there’s so much good stuff our budget flew out the window

It’s good to be back! I missed last year’s Summer Komikon so I made it a point to attend this year and ask kind folks online what good titles are out there.

There were a lot.

Summer Komikon 2016

What we got:

  • Lost (Rob Cham, Anino)
  • 12:01 (Russell Molina and Kajo Baldisimo, Anino)
  • Kare-Kare Komiks (Andrew Drilon, Anino)
  • Amorsolo Esperanza & Andres Celestial (Elbert Or, Anino)
  • ZsaZsa Zaturnnah sa Kalakhang Maynila Blg. 2 (Carlo Vergara, Visprint)
  • Congratulations, You’re a Girl! (Grickenfish, self-pub)
  • Bits & Pieces (Grickenfish, self-pub)
  • Ugh 1 & 2 (Hulyen, self-pub)
  • Gekorr (Pancho Karambola, self-pub)
  • Alaala ng mga Anino (Mike Esteves and Mikey Marchan, self-pub)
  • Ligaya (Fatima Bergonia and Adrienne Onday, self-pub)
  • Aswang de Manila (Ianthe Pimentel and Kevin Samala, Blue Indie Komiks)
  • Buhay Habangbuhay (Paolo Herras and Tepai Pascual, Meganon Comics)
  • + a couple of books from Charles Tan (not sold at the event–thanks Charles!)

We were very happy with our purchases and will spend the next few days going through them. My early raves and recommendations: Lost, 12:01, Congratulations, You’re a Girl!, Bits & Pieces, and Ugh. I hope to find the time and energy to review them one by one.

Thank you to everyone who dropped by the Visprint table! (Apologies if I forgot your name/got your name wrong/called you by a different name/asked for your name when I should obviously know who you are. It’s embarrassing. I’m really sorry. I’m bad with names.)

Summer Komikon 2016

Summer Komikon 2016

I’ll add more photos here as soon as I get them! (I remember posing with Alexandra Trese.)

We escaped the summer heat and dropped by Greeka Kouzina (which I also recommend) for dinner. It’s a short walk away from Bayanihan Center.

Summer Komikon 2016

Summer Komikon 2016

robots and humanity (speed magazine, january 2014)

The following essay originally appeared in the January 2014 issue of Speed Magazine. 

speedjanuary2014-marianrivera

What if we had robots? What if we had robots when Yolanda (Haiyan) struck? Imagine a quadripedal military robot carrying medical and survival equipment, helping residents evacuate, carrying loads surpassing the weight our own soldiers can feasibly carry. Imagine a bipedal robot swimming against the current and pulling survivors to safety, or else digging through the rubble and pulling out the dead so the bodies can be reunited with their surviving loved ones. Imagine little insect-like robots suturing wounds and applying gauze.

Sounds fantastic, but even a storm the size and strength of Yolanda seemed far-fetched, until it wasn’t.

Robots figure prominently in the world of Project 17, the science fiction novel I wrote in 2012 and which was published and released by Visprint in September 2013. In February 2013, I saw this article which said that Francis Tolentino, chief of the Metro Manila Development Authority, is thinking of having “robot traffic enforcers”. “The Robocop will spell the end of the kotong cops,” he says. I shared this with my publisher, amused, because this was what I was thinking when I started writing the novel.

Corruption is an insidious, perpetual problem in this country. Its roots run deep. Every single one of us has been touched by a form of it, from the petty (traffic cop asking for “pang-meryenda” with a smile and a knowing wink so he won’t write you a ticket) to the systemic (politicians who had managed allegedly to appropriate billions of pesos of taxpayers’ money). Some of us have even been participants, handing over that hundred-peso-bill just so we can shift gears and go on with our day.

Humans are fallible. They have desires and motivations, connections and limitations. Why do cops ask for bribes? We can consider several factors: 1) they are underpaid; 2) they have family with needs that exceed the salary they can bring home; 3) the system allows it (i.e. they can get bribes without legal repercussions due to poor monitoring and public participation –  some people actually offer it to wiggle out of tough situations).

Now, let’s go back to Mr. Tolentino’s robot traffic enforcers. You can’t bribe a robot. You can’t “appeal” to its good nature. It won’t be moved by your tears, and they won’t complain to you about their poor salary. Actually, they don’t have salaries, same way your cell phone is not on your payroll despite the fact that it works so hard for you.

Will having these robots lower the rate of corruption? Maybe? Maybe it can improve traffic, make those buses waiting for passengers move along faster on EDSA. But consider the hurdles before we can even get such a project approved. Who will build it for us? How do we go about bidding the project to private entities?

Remember the government’s $329-million National Broadband Network (NBN) deal with China’s ZTE Corp.? The project, which aimed to link government offices throughout the country, was alleged by whistleblowers to be overpriced (in the hundred millions) to cover kickbacks. It was eventually scrapped.

The path to a world without corruption is, well, paved with corruption.

Technology is a tool. It can negate our fallibility, or magnify it. Advances in medicine such as minimally invasive surgeries now equip doctors with the technical and technological ability to remove kidneys through a single tiny incision, while the availability of the semi-automatic assault rifle (among other factors) gave us the heart-wrenching tragedy of Sandy Hook.

What will stop politicians from accepting bribes so our hypothetical quadripedal military robots will reach certain families first? What will stop them from sticking their names on the face of our fantastic bipedal robot? From making the robot surgeons turn away women seeking post-abortion care because abortion is a sin?

A high GDP and technological advancements will mean nothing if we – and our officials – continue to act without conscience and compassion. Robots can’t help us there.

Only our humanity can save us.

Eliza Victoria is the author of the short story collection A Bottle of Storm Clouds and the science fiction novel Project 17, both published by Visprint. Visit her at http://elizavictoria.com.

For more information about Project 17, please click here.

36th manila international book fair: notes, tips, photos

My endless gratitude to those who dropped by Booth 78 (Komiket x Visprint) to say hi, buy books, and have their copies signed. I’m not a fan of crowds, but I always leave book events like this energized and pumped to write more.

Here are a few photos I was able to take. I wanted to take more shots but I was carrying a shoulder bag and a bag heavy with books, and the crowd. Oh, the crowd.

Before we headed to SMX, we went to the new Beni’s Falafel branch in SM MOA (South Building, near Gonuts Donuts if I remember correctly). Thank you to Honey de Peralta for the tip! If you’re in the area, you should try Beni’s Falafel.

Manila International Book fair 2015

Here is Booth 78 busy with buyers.

Manila International Book fair 2015

Manila International Book fair 2015

The Visprint x Komiket / Komiket x Visprint catalogue! After Lambana is already listed here. Hala ka, Mervin.

Manila International Book fair 2015

That empty spot was where copies of Dwellers used to be. The Visprint ladies said they bring 20 copies of each title every day. When I left, there was only one copy of Dwellers left for the day. Thank you, readers!

Manila International Book fair 2015

Jack Alvarez’s boots were so high and so awesome the guards thought he was going to the cosplay event. Probably my favorite story of the day. Haha!

Manila International Book fair 2015

3D printer. I enjoyed watching it at work, when a guy behind me said, “Last year pa kaya ‘yan.” E di ikaw na updated!

Manila International Book fair 2015

Manila International Book fair 2015

Saw this in passing. It was lovely, but didn’t get to buy it.

Manila International Book fair 2015

Signed copies.

Manila International Book fair 2015

Manila International Book fair 2015

Finally, my book fair haul:

  • Lunatic, Meganon Comics, various authors
  • Sixty-Six, Anino/Adarna, Russell Molina and Ian Sta. Maria
  • Janus Silang books 1 & 2, Adarna, Egay Samar
  • Histories, Ateneo Press, Charlie Samuya Veric
  • Cover (Story) Girl, Visprint, #romanceclass series, Chris Mariano (first read this as an ebook)
  • Piko, Anino/Adarna, various authors
  • Smaller and Smaller Circles, Soho Press, bought at the National Book Store booth, FH Batacan
  • Ang Autobiografia ng Ibang Lady Gaga, Visprint, Jack Alvarez
  • Married Women, Ateneo de Naga Press, bought at the Ateneo Press booth, Maryanne Moll

Manila International Book fair 2015

Manila International Book fair 2015

Manila International Book fair 2015

Some notes/tips:

  • The huge National Book Store booth has a good system for payment. Lots of cashiers, a single line, a la SM Hypermarket. Anvil, which shares space with NBS, has only two cashiers, I think.
  • Booth 78 is too small for signing, but I’m happy to see a lot of readers.
  • I don’t understand the booth numbering system. A map would be handy. I feel like I have missed a lot of interesting booths because I can’t figure out where everything was.
  • I do wish the aisles were wider, with seats where weary attendees can take a break and rest their aching feet.
  • Bring water. Definitely.
  • Wear a comfortable pair of shoes.

see you at the 36th manila international book fair!

I will be at the 36th Manila International Book Fair on Saturday, September 19, sharing the 3 to 4pm time slot with Jack Alvarez, author of Ang Autobiografia ng Ibang Lady Gaga and one of my co-Fellows at the UP National Writers Workshop.

See below for the map. Visprint books will be sold at a discount at Booth 78! Do drop by.

visprint booth

In other book-related news:

  • Dwellers is nominated for Best Novel at the Filipino Readers Choice Awards. Click here to vote for your favorite reads from 2014.
  • Visprint is going to the Frankfurt Book Fair this year from October 14 to 18. If you’re going to the fair (lucky you! shut up!  you’re making me envious!) and want to pre-order some books, read on below:

We’re attending this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair from October 14 to 18!

If you’re in Germany, we’re open to taking orders for Visprint titles to be claimed at the book fair. Send your orders to bestbookproposal@visprint.net by SEPTEMBER 20.

Use the Subject Line “Frankfurt Book Fair Book Order”
Include contact details, including: your name and contact number. We will reply with payment options and pick up date/time.

notes from the philippine literary festival 2015

    • There were still a lot of people despite the INC rally blocking EDSA. Probably people from the South of Metro Manila? Happy to see the crowd.
    • The moment I sat in the Visprint area, someone approached me to have copies of my books signed. Buena mano! Salamat, Kevin.
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Photo from Kevin.

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Philippine Literary Festival 2015

Philippine Literary Festival 2015

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Photo from EK

  • Our first stop was at the “Translation: A Creative Act” panel in the Namayan Room, with John Green English to Filipino translators Luna Sicat, Julz Riddle, Bebang Siy (who was cosplaying Margo Roth Spiegelman) and Ronald Verzo, moderated by Anvil’s RayVi Sunico. Happy to sit next to Elyss Punsalan. It was an excellent talk about the difficulty of translating not just language, but class, culture, and nuances in perspective. (How do you translate “fuck” when the word “sex” is used in the same sentence? How do you translate “state” when we don’t have an equivalent in Filipino? Do you use “lalawigan”? “nayon”? Why do American authors love using “my” — my floor, my bed, my room — and how do you translate that without sounding awkward in Filipino? How do you translate the “poverty” of living in a trailer park, when some Filipinos live in houses smaller than these trailers? How do you translate a story that is not believable to you, as a Filipino author and reader?) I really enjoyed it. Sulit ang pagpunta sa Makati.

Philippine Literary Festival 2015

  • Book signing pa more. Thank you Anne and the others who dropped by.

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  • Before the night ended, Mervin Malonzo and I were able to share a few pages from After Lambana. We were in a corner of Ballroom 2, sharing the time slot with Meganon Comics.
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    Photo from Meganon Comics’ Tepai Pascual.

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    Photo from Tepai.

  • Sharing with you some snapshots here (from pages 10, 14, and 16). Some people in the audience expressed excitement, so that’s promising!

Lambana, the realm of the Diwata, has fallen, the Magic Prohibition Act has been signed into law, and there is something wrong with Conrad’s heart. Only magic can delay his inevitable death, and so he meets with Ignacio, a friend who promises to hook him up with Diwata and magic-derived treatments, illegal though this may be.

But during the course of the night, Conrad may just discover Lambana’s secrets – and a cure to save his life.

from After Lambana

from After Lambana 2

from After Lambana 3

Thank you to the National Book Store and the Visprint team for making this happen. Sa uulitin!

Will Read for Feels’ ‘5 Filipino Speculative Fiction Authors to Watch’

Hands-down, one of our most prolific authors in the field is Eliza Victoria. Whether you crave science fiction, fantasy, or horror, Victoria has a story for you. She’s also written in a variety of formats, whether it’s short stories, novelettes, novella, poetry, and soon, comics. The only format that currently eludes her is the novel, but she has a large body of work to tide you over. It’s not just the sheer volume that makes Victoria stand out, but how consistent she delivers interesting and compelling stories.

Selected Bibliography:

A Bottle of Storm Clouds (Visprint/Flipside Publishing)
Project 17 (Visprint/Flipside Publishing)
Unseen Moon (Eliza Victoria)

From “Guest Post: 5 Filipino Speculative Fiction Authors to Watch” on Will Read for Feels. Thank you Charles Tan, Anne, Liana, and Marian! Please click through for more links and recommendations.

scenes from visprint writers in talks (wit) 2015

wit 2015Thank you to my publisher Visprint, the UST Literary Society, and to everyone who attended the Writers in Talks (WIT) 2015 event on March 21. I had so much fun, and I do hope the aspiring young writers in attendance learned a thing or two. There are photos floating around in the ether, but here are some of mine:

Visprint WIT (Writers in Talks) 2015This is at the beginning of Writer’s Lifestyle panel, which I thought was pretty fun. The host asks a question (“How often do you release new work?”) and the writers line up behind the choices (“A: Prolific, every month; B: Happy Birthday, once a year; C: Century egg” — you can guess what this option means.)

Visprint WIT (Writers in Talks) 2015Big crowd.

Visprint WIT (Writers in Talks) 2015This is from the Lost Covers exhibit — an exhibit of rejected covers. I wasn’t able to take a photo of the alternate Dwellers cover. (It was white instead of black.)

Visprint WIT (Writers in Talks) 2015Manix Abrera’s line of fans.

Visprint WIT (Writers in Talks) 2015

Boo!

The Komiks panel was facilitated by Paolo Fabregas.

Visprint WIT (Writers in Talks) 2015Mervin Malonzo showed old sketches from his childhood. Very interesting to see how his style evolved.

Visprint WIT (Writers in Talks) 2015

Visprint WIT (Writers in Talks) 2015

Visprint WIT (Writers in Talks) 2015

Visprint WIT (Writers in Talks) 2015Tepai Pascual talking about her manga influences.

Visprint WIT (Writers in Talks) 2015I facilitated the Publishing 101 panel with Paolo Chikiamco, Bebang Siy, Nida Ramirez, and Bart Coronel. We discussed: “red flags” in publication contracts, publication horror stories, services writers can expect from a traditional publisher, comparisons of digital/self/traditional publishing, and ways we can improve the local publishing industry. It ended on a great note, with Paolo talking about how important it is for writers to empower themselves. “Every time you look out for yourself as a writer, you look out for other writers. Every time you sell yourself short, you make it easier for publishers to sell other writers short. You will see that there are movements to create a situation wherein those who create benefit the least from their creations. You should not let this happen.”

Ferdinand Jarin serenading attendees.

Visprint WIT (Writers in Talks) 2015Manix Abrera gave away some cool prizes (I wanted the Alan Moore comics SO BAD — next time I’m going to stop by the registration table!) including a lifetime supply of Kikomachine Komiks. He was serious.

Visprint WIT (Writers in Talks) 2015Great cover, Manix!

Visprint WIT (Writers in Talks) 2015

Visprint WIT (Writers in Talks) 2015