The New Usok

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 18 - 2010


The title of this post has a dual significance: first, I’m happy to announce that the new version of Usok #1, with a brand new digitally painted illustration for each of the five stories, is now live. The art credits are as follows:

  • Tey Bartolome – “The Child Abandoned”
  • Benjo Camay – “The Coming of the Anak-Araw”
  • Kevin Lapeña – “The Startbox”, “The Saint of Elsewhere: A Mystery”, and “Mouths to Speak, Voices to Sing”

I think we can all agree that these artists have done a fantastic job. Thanks to Tey and Benjo, and especially Kevin for helping arrange the art despite his busy schedule.


The second thing I’d like to announce is that I’m changing Usok’s release schedule. I’m sure you’ve all noticed that we haven’t managed to keep to our quarterly release schedule, and the reason is simple: we just haven’t received enough stories. I’m holding on to one story right now, and working with an author on another, but that’s the grand total of publishable stories we’ve received in the roughly six months since we launched. I’ve tried soliciting stories as well, but, as every writer knows, it can be hard to determine when your muse will behave, and when he/she will go on extended vacation in Alaska.

So, as of now, Usok will be a somewhat irregular publication. We’re still open for submissions–so please do submit–but based on half a year’s worth of experience, I simply won’t know how long it will take before I can get enough stories for an issue (my magic number is at least three, but I may need to make an exception soon), and I hate labelling Usok as a “quarterly” magazine, then watching the quarters wave gleefully as they pass me by.The good news is that I hope the more flexible schedule will allow future issues of Usok to launch complete with illustrations from the talented CG Pintor crew.

That being said, I realize that more could be done to encourage story submissions, and to improve the quality of these submissions. While I don’t have the time to run a permanent forum based workshop (something that would provide a venue for critiquing such as the one which indie komplex provides for komiks creators), I’ll try to brainstorm some method by which I can provide some critiques for spec fic writers who want to improve their work.

Thanks for supporting Usok so far everyone, and please continue to support it in the future. There’s no real way to learn some things except through experience, so I’m having to learn a lot “on the job”, so to speak, but I promise I’ll keep soldiering onward.

5 Responses to “The New Usok”

  1. EK says:

    Try announcing a semi-annual sked, at the minimum, so at least you have a deadline to give people who like deadlines. ^^v

    • Paolo Chikiamco says:

      I wish I could, but I hate making promises I can’t keep, and, again, I’m not sure I’d have enough–remember in six months I’ve accepted two stories. That’s not enough for a semi-annual, especially if I want to have a buffer of stories. People who like deadlines can still submit to our anthologies so that base is covered :)

      • EK says:

        Find a way to entice people in from my (our?) half of the local writing world, is what I can suggest. Makapal lang mukha namin ni Celestine, and I’ve been made to feel my limitations. But I suspect there are several others who will show up if given a chance, and given that chance without being labeled as upstarts and wishful thinkers from fanfiction. There are also plenty who just know their half of the writing world. (The way I find out about Dean Alfar and then PGS is half by accident, actually.)

        If you can manage not to scare off people who write like me, but will never be able to write like, say, Sir Kyu, that will be cool.

        • Paolo Chikiamco says:

          Well, I’ve certainly tried to make it clear that I don’t think a fanfic background is a negative.

          As for being scary, well you’ve seen how I edit. Some can handle that, others can’t, but while I try to be gentle, I don’t pull punches. It’s not about the style of writing, so much as the rigor.

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Rocket Kapre is an imprint of Eight Ray Sun Publishing Inc. (a new Philippine-based publisher), dedicated to bringing the very best of Philippine Speculative Fiction in English to a worldwide audience by means of digital distribution. More info can be found at our About section at the top of the page.