Archive for 2019

Behind the Stories- A Guest Blog Post by Sarah Pinsker

(Award-winning author Sarah Pinsker’s first short story collection, Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea, was released from Small Beer Press on March 19th.  At the end of the post, there is a book giveaway you can participate in!)


In the title story of my new collection, Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea, a character answers questions from a fictionalized music documentary series, Inside the Music. For this blog post, I thought I’d talk about the music in a few of the collection’s stories.


“And Then There Were (N-One)”

This isn’t a music story as such, but I had a great time coming up with the songs that are Easter eggs within the narrative. If you write a few hundred close universes to your own, how can you not imagine the songs that don’t exist here but could have?

David Bowie and Sharon Jones were both still alive in this timeline when I wrote the story, so I had every reason to believe I could conjure up a reason for the two of them to collaborate on a new version of Bowie’s “Modern Love.” “Modern Love” itself was Bowie’s take on soul and Sharon Jones. Here’s her “Stranger to My Happiness” – now just imagine her singing lead on “Modern Love,” and Bowie coming in with the backing vocals. You can hear it, right? Me too.

I also know exactly how the John-Lennon-who-lived sounds on his 90s song “Change Your Tune.” World-weary, cynical, with a touch of humor. Maybe these tunes bled through the walls between universes, because they exist in my head.


“No Lonely Seafarer”

The music in this story is all sea chanteys, which was a fun bit of research. I think the main named song is “Married to a Mermaid,” since I figured I’d use a story with a different bit of mythology made real. Here’s the Smithsonian Folkways recording.

Songs like that have a lot in common with prose fantasy, because they ask you to accept as given the premise. In this case, that a young man fell off his boat, past the sharks and whales, and down to a mermaid at the bottom of the sea, like ya do.


“Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea”

I think most of the named songs in this story are things Gabby is complaining about, like “My Heart Will Go On.” I tried to think of all the songs somebody would get sick of playing on an endless cruise, the way there’s a whole list of songs you know somebody will request if you’re playing covers in a bar night after night.

Gabby is a mix of a few real people. Gail Ann Dorsey is one of my favorite bassists. I’ve seen her with David Bowie, the Indigo Girls, Dar Williams, Ani DiFranco, and a host of others. She has an incredible voice and stage presence, and three solo albums of her own, but she’s most well known as a backing musician. Ditto the great Sara Lee, who has played with the Gang of Four, the B-52s, and numerous others as well as her solo stuff. Neither of them has Gabby’s personality, as far as I know.


“Our Lady of the Open Road”

I’m not going to tell you what the band in this story sounds like. Numerous people came up to me after the story came out and told me what the band sounds like, and every single person had a different sound in their head. I love that! I don’t want to interfere any more than I have to.

I did mention a few real bands as references in other places in the story. They walk into a bar where a holographic recording of Bruce Springsteen is playing “She’s the One,” and Luce plays it again later when she has a few minutes to herself. “She’s the One” is a song that can get stuck in my head for days and I don’t mind. There’s a Bo Diddley-pulse that runs through it, sitting behind the slow part and then busting out when the song goes from wanting to exuberant.

Luce plays a couple of other songs in that second scene as well. One was Frightwig, a great feminist punk band that played through the 80s and inspired a lot of the Riot Grrrl bands that came after. They got back together a few years ago, and I had the good fortune to see them when they came to Baltimore.

In the same line, she mentions the Kathleen Battle School, which I invented, and then disappear fear. Disappear fear is my friend SONiA’s band, in whatever form she wants it to take. They’ve been a full rock band, a solo act, a folk duo. The band is her, and she is the band, no matter what form they take. She’s been one of my inspirations as a musician, and I couldn’t resist throwing her into the story. Luce would definitely be a fan.


“Wind Will Rove”

This story takes place during a middle generation of a generation ship’s journey. The narrator lives her entire life on the ship, but she was born into an old-time music family, and is charged with carrying on those traditions.

I was introduced to old-time music by my aunt. I’ve gone with her to a few of her old-time music gatherings, which usually involve a potluck dinner, a dozen fiddles, an upright bass, and an assortment of banjos and guitars. The fiddlers call the shots. I’ve described the experience in the story pretty much directly how it plays out.

I knew when I started writing the story that I wanted to invent a song, and to insert it between real songs to feel like it existed, and like it changed as it got handed down. The through-line of musicological/historical posts was the first thing I came up with. One of the neat things about the old-time players is that they study the provenance of the songs alongside the notes and fingerings. Here’s a YouTube video of “Midnight on the Water/Bonaparte’s Retreat.”

The first two minutes of the video are the performers setting up the background of the song, namechecking Aaron Copland and Alan Lomax, and talking about the special tuning they use, which is the tuning I chose for “Wind Will Rove.” The slower song gives way to a rave-up just after the five minute mark. “Bonaparte’s Retreat” is a great example of the kind of thing I wanted to invent. Songs called “Bonaparte’s Retreat” were being played on both sides of the Atlantic by the Civil War, though the origins were hazy. At various points, people added lyrics, and a bridge, then others stripped them out again.

I know what “Wind Will Rove” sounds like in my head. Maybe someday I’ll let you all hear.


SPACE UNICORNS! Would you like a chance to receive a copy of Sarah Pinsker’s collection Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea, courtesy of Sarah and Small Beer Press? Just leave a comment here (or Tweet with the hashtag #UncannyPinsker) with the name and artist of one favorite song of yours that you would love to see in an SF/F story! (Or no song if it is too hard to choose one!) You have until 11:59 pm Central on Wednesday, March 27! Five of you awesome people will be chosen at random for this phenomenal book!  

ETA: This is for US residents only. If you answered before this ETA was posted, though, we will still take care of the international shipping if you are randomly chosen.

Sarah Pinsker’s short fiction has won the Nebula & Sturgeon Awards, and she’s been a finalist for the Hugo and numerous other awards. Small Beer Press will publish her first collection, Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea, in March 2019, and her first novel, A Song For A New Day, will be published by Berkley in September. She’s also a singer/songwriter with three albums on various indie labels and a fourth on the way. She lives with her wife and dog in Baltimore, Maryland.

Uncanny Magazine Issue 27 Cover and Table of Contents!


All of the content will be available in the eBook version on the day of release.

The free online content will be released in 2 stages- half on day of release and half on April 2.

Don’t forget eBook Subscriptions to Uncanny Magazine are available from Weightless Books and Amazon Kindle, and you can support us on our Patreon!

Uncanny Magazine Issue 27 Table of Contents

Christopher Jones- Traveler 

The Uncanny Valley (3/5)

Karen Osborne- “The Dead, In Their Uncontrollable Power” (3/5)
Tina Connolly- “A Sharp Breath of Birds” (3/5)
Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam- “Every Song Must End” (3/5)

Marie Brennan- “Vīs Dēlendī” (4/2)
Silvia Moreno-Garcia- “On the Lonely Shore” (4/2)
A. T. Greenblatt- “Before the World Crumbles Away” (4/2)

Aliette de Bodard- “The Dragon That Flew Out of the Sun” (3/5)

Tracy Townsend- “Courage to the Sticking Place: Connecting SF/F Students with Creators” (3/5)
Briana Lawrence- “All in Good Fun: How Fanfiction Reignited My Passion for Writing” (3/5)

Marissa Lingen- “That Never Happened: Misplaced Skepticism and the Mechanisms of Suspension of Disbelief” (4/2)
Suzanne Walker- “We Are What They Grow Beyond: Star Wars and the Extended Universe” (4/2)

Beth Cato- “Childhood Memory from the Old Victorian House on Warner”  (3/5)
D.A. Xiaolin Spires- “Taho” (3/5)

Cassandra Khaw- “things you don’t say to city witches” (4/2)
Sandi Leibowitz- “Wendy, Waiting” (4/2)
Chloe N. Clark- “Other Forms of Conjuring the Moon” (4/2)

Caroline M. Yoachim Interviews Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam (3/5)

Caroline M. Yoachim Interviews  A. T. Greenblatt  (4/2)

27A (3/5)
Karen Osborne- “The Dead, In Their Uncontrollable Power,” as read by Stephanie Malia Morris
Beth Cato- “Childhood Memory from the Old Victorian House on Warner,” as read by Erika Ensign
Lynne M. Thomas Interviews Karen Osborne

27B (4/2)
Marie Brennan- “Vīs Dēlendī ,” as read by Erika Ensign
Cassandra Khaw- “things you don’t say to city witches,” as read by Stephanie Malia Morris
Lynne M. Thomas Interviews Marie Brennan

Six Uncanny Magazine Poems Are Rhysling Nominees!

Outstanding news, Space Unicorns! Six Uncanny Magazine poems are nominees for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association’s Rhysling Award for speculative poetry! Brandon O’Brien’s “drop some amens,” Betsy Aoki’s “Okuri Inu, or the sending-off dog demon,” and Fran Wilde’s “The Sea Never Says It Loves You” are all nominees for Best Short Poem. Nitoo Das’s “The Cat’s Daughters,” Beth Cato’s “The Fairies in the Crawlspace,” and Ali Trotta’s “Lorelei” are all nominees for Best Long Poem. Congratulations to Brandon, Betsy, Fran, Nitoo, Beth, Ali, and all of the Rhysling Award nominees!

And Yet by A. T. Greenblatt Is a Nebula Award Finalist!

Outstanding news, Space Unicorns! “And Yet” by A. T. Greenblatt is a 2018 finalist for a Best Short Story Nebula Award!

Congratulations, Aliza!

It is an amazing list of finalists. CONGRATULATIONS TO EVERYBODY!!!

From the SFWA Nebula Award announcement:

The Nebula Awards will be presented during the annual SFWA Nebula Conference, which will run from May 16th-19th and feature programming developed and geared toward SFF professionals. On May 18th, a mass autograph session will take place at the Warner Center Marriott Woodland Hills and will be free and open to the public.

The Nebula Awards, presented annually, recognize the best works of science fiction and fantasy published in the previous year. They are selected by members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. The first Nebula Awards were presented in 1966.

The Nebula Awards include four fiction awards, a game writing award, the Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, the Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book. SFWA also administers the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Awards, the Kevin O’Donnell, Jr. Service to SFWA Award, and the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award.

Best of Uncanny Hardcover Book Coming from Subterranean Press in December!

Fabulous news, Space Unicorns! The phenomenal Subterranean Press will be releasing massive hardcover and prestige editions of  The Best of Uncanny in December 2019! The Best of Uncanny is a collection edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas bringing together some of their favorite Uncanny Magazine stories and poems from the first few years of the magazine, including many works which were nominated for or won awards. Over 40 authors! And you can get a limited edition version SIGNED by all but one of them!!! HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!?!

You can pre-order either version right now at The Subterranean Press website!

Behold! The phenomenal Tran Nguyen cover and Table of Contents!

Limited: 250 numbered leatherbound copies, signed by all authors (with one exception noted below)
Trade: Fully cloth bound hardcover edition

Table of Contents

  • “The Uncanny Valley- An Introduction” by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas
  • “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies” by Brooke Bolander
  • “Blessings” by Naomi Novik
  • “Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang, translated by Ken Liu (translator signing, not the author)
  • “The New Ways” by Amal El-Mohtar (Poem)
  • “Fandom for Robots” by Vina Jie-Min Prasad
  • “Catcall” by Delilah S. Dawson
  • “Wooden Feathers” by Ursula Vernon
  • “The Long Run” by Neil Gaiman (Poem)
  • “Heat of Us: Notes Toward an Oral History” by Sam J. Miller
  • “Ghost Champagne” by Charlie Jane Anders
  • “Translatio Corporis” by Kat Howard
  • “Rose Child” by Theodora Goss (Poem)
  • “The Witch of the Orion Waste and the Boy Knight” by E. Lily Yu
  • “Monster Girls Don’t Cry” by A. Merc Rustad
  • “Midnight Hour” by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • “Henosis” by N.K. Jemisin
  • “The Persecution of Witches” by Ali Trotta (Poem)
  • “Restore the Heart into Love” by John Chu
  • “I Frequently Hear Music in the Very Heart of Noise” by Sarah Pinsker
  • “You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay” by Alyssa Wong
  • “肉骨茶 (Meat Bone Tea)” by S. Qiouyi Lu (Poem)
  • “She Still Loves the Dragon” by Elizabeth Bear
  • “If You Were a Tiger, I’d Have to Wear White” by Maria Dahvana Headley
  • “archival testimony fragments / minersong” by Rose Lemberg (Poem)
  • “Sun, Moon, Dust” by Ursula Vernon
  • “Planet Lion” by Catherynne M. Valente
  • The Hydraulic Emperor” by Arkady Martine
  • “Starskin, Sealskin” by Shveta Thakrar & Sara Cleto (Poem)
  • “Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time” by K.M. Szpara
  • “god-date” by Brandon O’Brien (Poem)
  • “Auspicium Melioris Aevi” by JY Yang
  • “Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand” by Fran Wilde
  • “An Ocean the Color of Bruises” by Isabel Yap
  • “Dancing Princesses” by Roshani Chokshi (Poem)
  • “Those” by Sofia Samatar
  • “Though She Be But Little” by C. S. E. Cooney
  • “Children of Thorns, Children of Water” by Aliette de Bodard
  • “Protestations Against the Idea of Anglicization” by Cassandra Khaw (Poem)
  • “My Body, Herself” by Carmen Maria Machado
  • “Ye Highlands and Ye Lowlands” by Seanan McGuire
  • “The Words on My Skin” by Caroline M. Yoachim
  • “And Then There Were (N-One)” by Sarah Pinsker
  • “The Sea Never Says It Loves You” by Fran Wilde (Poem)
  • “Pockets” by Amal El-Mohtar


ETA: Wow! The limited signed edition is already sold out! THANK YOU!!! You can still pre-order the regular hardcover edition!

Uncanny Magazine 2018 Poetry Eligibility

Hello, Space Unicorns! Nominating for the Rhysling Award for speculative poetry is now OPEN! If you’re a SFPA member, you can nominate short and long poetry up until February 15.


Long Poem (50+ lines or 500+ words)

The Fairies in the Crawlspace by Beth Cato

Convalescence by Alicia Cole

The Cat’s Daughters by Nitoo Das

the body argonautica by Robin M. Eames

All the Stars Above the Sea by Sarah Gailey

What Grew by Sarah Gailey

Persephone in Hades by Theodora Goss

Translatio by Sharon Hsu

Expecting a Dinosaur by Mari Ness


Lorelei by Ali Trotta

The Year We Got Rid of Our Ghosts by Ali Trotta


Short Poems (<49 lines, <500words)

Okuri Inu, or the sending-off dog demon by Betsy Aoki

hypothesis for apocalypse by Khairani Barokka

You Wanted Me to Fly by Julia Watts Belser

Osiris by Leah Bobet

smile by Beth Cato

Ctenophore Soul by Rita Chen

How to Fix a Dancer When it Breaks by Genevieve DeGuzman

1532 by Ana Hurtado

Found Discarded: A Love Poem, Questionably Addressed. by Cassandra Khaw

Octavia’s Letter to Marcus Anthony on the Discovery of His Faithlessness by Cassandra Khaw

core/debris/core by Rose Lemberg

drop some amens by Brandon O’Brien

The One by Brandon O’Brien

The Early Ones by Sofia Samatar & Del Samatar

The Knight of the Beak by Sofia Samatar & Del Samatar

Shadow-Song by Sonya Taaffe

די ירושה by Sonya Taaffe

Spatiotemporal Discontinuity by Bogi Takács

A View from Inside the Refrigerator by Andrea Tang

The Sea Never Says It Loves You by Fran Wilde

cardioid by Hal Y. Zhang

Swallow by Hal Y. Zhang

Uncanny Magazine 2018 Favorite Fiction Reader Poll Results!

Space Unicorns! It is time to announce the TOP STORY in our Uncanny Magazine 2018 Favorite Fiction Reader Poll!
It is…. *drumroll*

The Tale of the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters, and the Prince Who Was Made of Meat by Brooke Bolander!!!

Congratulations, Brooke! Brooke will be receiving a SNAZZY CERTIFICATE!
The rest of the Top Five are:

2- The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society by T. Kingfisher

3- How to Swallow the Moon by Isabel Yap

4- The Thing About Ghost Stories  by Naomi Kritzer

5 IS A TIE!!!

The Hydraulic Emperor by Arkady Martine

She Still Loves the Dragon by Elizabeth Bear

Congratulations to T (Ursula), Isabel, Naomi, Arkady, and Elizabeth!
Thank you to everybody who voted!
Don’t forget if you’re nominating for the Nebula or Hugo Awards, we have a list of all of our eligible stories here.

Seven Uncanny Stories Are on the 2018 Locus Recommended Reading List and Locus Award Poll!

SPACE UNICORNS! HAPPY DAY!!! There are seven Uncanny Magazine stories on the prestigious 2018 Locus Recommended Reading List! WE ARE SO CHUFFED! Congratulations to all of the authors!

“How to Swallow the Moon” by Isabel Yap (novelette)

“Contingency Plans for the Apocalypse” by S.B. Divya

“And Yet” by A.T. Greenblatt

The Hydraulic Emperor” by Arkady Martine

“Blessings” by Naomi Novik

“What Gentle Women Dare” by Kelly Robson

“You Can Make a Dinosaur, but You Can’t Help Me” by K.M. Szpara

This means you can vote for these stories in the 2019 Locus Poll and Survey which determines the Locus Awards! Voting is FREE TO ALL! Along with these stories, Uncanny Magazine is also eligible for a Locus Award in the Best Magazine or Fanzine category, and Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas are eligible in the Best Editor – Pro or Fan category! Vote for the things you liked, and you can even write in things that didn’t make the 2018 Locus Recommended Reading List! YOUR VOTE ALWAYS COUNTS!

And as long as you are in a voting mood, don’t forget to vote in the Uncanny Magazine Readers’ Favorite Stories Poll! It’s open until February 5, and the winning author gets a SNAZZY CERTIFICATE!

Shine on, Space Unicorns!


Uncanny on the Web and Where To Find Us

Hello, Space Unicorns, and happy mid-January! This is just a quick post to remind you of where to find us out in the world, because we want to stay in touch with you! We have accounts at—






—where we send out submission window announcements and news and show off the fantastic work of our spectacular authors and illustrators! Don’t be shy about tagging us; we love to hear from you! <3

(You can also find us at various desks puzzling out how to make a “Fantastic Beasts” pun out of this post title and throwing out no fewer than three attempts.)


Uncanny Celebrates Reader Favorites of 2018!

Hello, Space Unicorns! 2018 was a tough year. Though many things were hard and horrible, we are very proud of all of the amazing works we published in Uncanny Magazine. Everyone in the Space Unicorn Ranger Corps has been wonderfully supportive, and your enthusiasm has meant so much to us. It’s been fantastic to see how much our readers have been enjoying Uncanny’s fiction. And while we have our personal favorites, we’d like to know which stories YOU loved from Uncanny in 2018.

We’ve set up a poll for Uncanny readers to vote for their top three favorite original short stories from 2018. (You can find links to all of the stories here.)

The poll will be open from January 8 to February 5, after which we’ll announce the results. We’re excited for you to share which Uncanny stories made you feel!

snazzy certificate will be given to the creator whose work comes out on top of  the poll!

So please spread the word! And don’t forget, EVERY VOTE COUNTS!