Archive for 2020

Uncanny Magazine Issue 38 Cover and Table of Contents!

Coming January 5, THE THIRTY-EIGHTH ISSUE OF THE 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 HUGO AWARD-WINNING UNCANNY MAGAZINE!!

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 February 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!

The cover of Uncanny Magazine, Issue 38 (January/February 2021). A Black elf wearing silver armor and a red cape, while holding a sword, receives a blessing upon her bowed head from a pair of brown hands, with a bracelet and bangle around their wrists. The owner of the hands isn’t pictured further beyond a shimmery blue dress. The word “UNCANNY” and the names of the contributors border the image.

Uncanny Magazine Issue 38 Table of Contents:

Stars and Blessings by Nilah Magruder

“The Uncanny Valley” by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas
“Imagining Futures: Where Our Works Go from Here” by Elsa Sjunneson

“Tyrannosaurus Hex” by Sam J. Miller (1/5)
“A House Full of Voices Is Never Empty” by Miyuki Jane Pinckard (1/5)
“Pathfinding!” by Nicole Kornher-Stace (1/5)

“Distribution” by Paul Cornell (2/2)
“Femme and Sundance” by Christopher Caldwell (2/2)
“Beyond the Doll Forest” by Marissa Lingen (2/2)

“In That Place She Grows a Garden” by Del Sandeen (2/2)

“Weird Plagues: How Fear of Disease Mutated into a Subgenre” by John Wiswell (1/5)
“Milk Teeth” by Octavia Cade (1/5)

“Trash Fantasias, or Why Mass Effect 3’s Ending Was Bad Actually” by Katherine Cross (2/2)
“Hayao Miyazaki’s Lost Magic of Parenthood” by Aidan Moher (2/2)

“Medusa Gets a Haircut” by Theodora Goss (1/5)
“Kalevala, an untelling” by Lizy Simonen (1/5)
“bargain | bin” by Ewen Ma (1/5)

“Fish Out of Water” by Neil Gaiman (2/2)
“What The Time Travellers Stole” by L.X. Beckett (2/2)

Miyuki Jane Pinckard interviewed by Caroline M. Yoachim (1/5)

Paul Cornell interviewed by Caroline M. Yoachim (2/2)


Episode 38A (January 5): Editors’ Introduction, “Tyrannosaurus Hex” by Sam J. Miller, as read by Joy Piedmont, “Medusa Gets a Haircut” by Theodora Goss, as read by Erika Ensign, and Lynne M. Thomas interviewing Sam J. Miller.

Episode 38B (February 2): Editors’ Introduction, “Femme and Sundance” by Christopher Caldwell, as read by Matt Peters, “What The Time Travellers Stole” by L.X. Beckett, as read by Joy Piedmont, and Lynne M. Thomas interviewing Christopher Caldwell.


Uncanny Magazine Managing Editor Chimedum Ohaegbu Is Also Now the Poetry Editor!

Fabulous news, Space Unicorns! Uncanny Magazine’s Managing Editor Chimedum Ohaegbu is getting an additional title! Along with being Uncanny’s PHENOMENAL Managing Editor, Chimie will now have the additional title of Poetry Editor starting with issue 39!

We are super excited to have Chimie increase her involvement in this area. Congratulations, Chimie!

A reminder that Uncanny Magazine will be open to poetry submissions from January 4 to January 18!

Uncanny Magazine 2020 Award Eligibility

It’s the time of year when people post their year-in-reviews to remind voters for the different SF/F awards what’s out there that they might have missed and which categories those stories are eligible in (especially for the Hugo Awards and Nebula Awards). 2020 was the sixth full year of Uncanny Magazine (Issues 32 through 37). We are extremely proud of the year we had.

This year, Uncanny Magazine is still eligible for the Best Semiprozine Hugo Award. Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas are also still eligible for the Best Editor (Short Form) Hugo Award for editing issues 32-37. (Note: If you are nominating the Thomases in this category, please continue to nominate them together. They are a co-editing team.)

The stories listed below are eligible in either the short story or novelette categories of the SF/F awards. If you are a SFWA member nominating for the Nebula Awards, you can find eBook copies of these stories in the SFWA Forums.

Please also note that essays are eligible for the Best Related Work Hugo Award, and poetry is eligible for the Rhysling Award. As Uncanny is a semiprozine, all of the essays and original art also contribute towards the creators’ Best Fan Writer and Best Fan Artist Hugo Award eligibility.


Novelettes (7500-17,500 Words):

Where You Linger by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam

Burn or The Episodic Life of Sam Wells as a Super by A. T. Greenblatt

The Inaccessibility of Heaven by Aliette de Bodard


Short Stories (Under 7500 Words):

Badass Moms in the Zombie Apocalypse by Rae Carson

You Perfect, Broken Thing by C.L. Clark

My Country Is a Ghost by Eugenia Triantafyllou

And All the Trees of the Forest Shall Clap Their Hands by Sharon Hsu

The Spirit of the Leech by Alex Bledsoe

If Salt Lose Its Savor by Christopher Caldwell

The Sycamore and the Sybil by Alix E. Harrow

So You Want to Be a Honeypot by Kelly Robson

If You Want to Erase Us, You Must Be Thorough by L. Tu

Getaway by Nicole Kornher-Stace

Georgie in the Sun by Natalia Theodoridou

Through the Veil by Jennifer Marie Brissett

A Being Together Amongst Strangers by Arkady Martine

High in the Clean Blue Air by Emma Törzs

Dresses Like White Elephants by Meg Elison

We Chased the Sirens by Suzanne Walker

A Pale Horse by M Evan MacGriogair

A Love Song for Herkinal

as composed by Ashkernas amid the ruins of New Haven by Chinelo Onwualu

Once More Unto the Breach (But Don’t Worry, the Inflatable Swords Are Latex-Free) by Tina Connolly

The World Ends in Salty Fingers and Sugared Lips by Jenn Reese

The Nine Scents of Sorrow by Jordan Taylor

The Ruby of the Summer King by Mari Ness

Anchorage by Samantha Mills

Laws of Impermanence by Kenneth Schneyer

Metal Like Blood in the Dark by T. Kingfisher

Juvenilia by Lavie Tidhar

In The Space of Twelve Minutes by James Yu

The City of the Tree by Marie Brennan

Proof of Existence by Hal Y. Zhang

50 Things Every AI Working with Humans Should Know by Ken Liu

Words We Say Instead by Brit E. B. Hvide

The Bottomless Martyr by John Wiswell

The Salt Witch by Martha Wells

The Span of His Wrist by Lee Mandelo

Hope in Crisis: The Gift of Books– A Guest Post by Ginger Smith

According to Hesiod, Pandora opened a jar unleashing all the world’s evils. Hesiod’s tale is ancient, but I’m not sure 2020 could be much worse than the day Pandora opened that jar. We are faced with a great deal of crises that feels like more than any one person can bear. Similar to Pandora’s story, the world seems to grow darker and darker with every news report. The shadows in front of us make everything more difficult and dismal. It seems as if we have a bingo card of world-wide challenges: climate change, political strife, wildfires, destruction of the rainforest, and coronavirus. Oh, and don’t forget the murder hornets.

However, we must also remember what happened at the end of that story. Hope. Hope was left at the bottom of the box after all the misery had escaped. Hope is a multifaceted gem that sparkles and radiates a light of possibilities that pushes back against the darkness, even in the most desperate of times. This is the very reason authors must go on creating and readers must go on reading.

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote: “Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.” This is the time that people need the hope that books bring. We need the trope of the hero. It’s the reason people have told stories of heroes in all cultures across all of time—hope from hopelessness. Odysseus, Beowulf, Frodo Baggins, Luke Skywalker, T’Challa, Wonder Woman, and Murderbot join thousands of other heroes, both ancient and modern, that light a path through the darkness and show us how to go on when it seems there is no way to win. We need these stories of heroes overcoming great odds, so that we will have the strength to do the same.

I wrote The Rush’s Edge with the hope of heroes in mind. The hero’s journey shaped me as a kid and as an adult, and taught me that even when evil seems to have the upper hand, good people can band together to overcome it. The Rush’s Edge is a story about such people. Their universe, much like ours, is a place full of uncertainty and pitfalls. They struggle to make their way, they find family and forge relationships, and are inexorably drawn into a fight against darkness.

Hal, the main character, is a vat: a genetically modified, technologically enhanced solider who believes he has no hope for the future. Vats usually die chasing the rush that they’re engineered to crave, and Hal expects to have a short life. Together with his former commanding officer, they make a living salvaging technology from crashed ships on the Edge, but when they discover an artifact from an ancient culture, they become the target for a government that wants to silence them at any cost. During the book, there are times that Hal and his companions face the unknown, much like we face the unknown of today. It’s Hal’s connection to his found family that gives him hope and strength to overcome what fate has dealt him and gives him the momentum to do what has to be done.

I’ve been told my novel is a hopeful book. I want it to be. Nothing would make me happier than to know that I can repay the same gift of hope that was given to me by all those space operas and hero stories that I grew up on. I know other authors feel the same way.

The current state of world affairs makes books more important than ever. Books are a unifying force. They inspire courage and bravery in the face of hatred, bigotry, and division. They challenge us to be our best selves. I aspire to more because of the stories that have influenced me. I may not ever have become a Jedi or wielded a sword against Uruk-hai, but I have done those things through my connection with the heroes I’ve read about.

So, in the end, we must read, we must engage, and above all we must have hope. After all, it’s the last thing left in the box.

(You can find out more about The Rush’s Edge from Angry Robot Books here!)

Ginger Smith has worked as a record store employee, freelance writer, bookstore assistant manager and high school teacher of English. In the past, she has played in many tabletop RPG groups and even run several of her own. She collects vintage toys, sci-fi novels and comic books, as well as mid-century furniture. She currently lives in the southern USA with her husband and two cats, spending her free time writing and watching classic film noir and sci-fi movies.




Uncanny Magazine Issue 37 Cover and Table of Contents!

Coming November 3, THE THIRTY-SEVENTH ISSUE OF THE 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 HUGO AWARD-WINNING UNCANNY MAGAZINE!!

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 December 1.

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 37 Table of Contents

Treetops by Julie Dillon

“The Uncanny Valley” by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas
“Imagining Futures: They’re Trying to Sell You A Haunted House” by Elsa Sjunneson

“50 Things Every AI Working with Humans Should Know” by Ken Liu (11/3)
“Proof of Existence” by Hal Y. Zhang (11/3)
“Words We Say Instead” by Brit E.B. Hvide (11/3)

“The Salt Witch” by Martha Wells (12/1)
“The Span of His Wrist” by Lee Mandelo (12/1)
“The Bottomless Martyr” by John Wiswell (12/1)

“Cerulean Memories” by Maurice Broaddus (12/1)

“Evoking the Gothic: The House That Anxiety Built” by Meghan Ball (11/3)
“Black and White and Red All Over: On the Semiotic Effect of Color (11/3)
Printing in Genre Fiction” by Meg Elison (11/3)

“Traveling Without Moving” by Michi Trota (12/1)
“This Isn’t the End: On Becoming a Writing Parent” by K.A. Doore (12/1)

“Mourning Becomes Jocasta” by Jane Yolen (11/3)
“An Elder Resigns from the Chorus of Oedipus at Colonnus” by Peter Tacy (11/3)
“Cento for Lagahoos” by Brandon O’Brien (11/3)

“Making Accommodations” by Valerie Valdes (12/1)
“The Automaton Falls in Love” by Jennifer Crow (12/1)

Ken Liu Interviewed by Caroline M. Yoachim (11/3)

Lee Mandelo Interviewed by Caroline M. Yoachim (12/1)


Episode 37A (November 3): Editors’ Introduction, “Proof of Existence” by Hal Y. Zhang, as read by Joy Piedmont, “Mourning Becomes Jocasta” by Jane Yolen and “An Elder Resigns from the Chorus of Oedipus at Colonnus,” by Peter Tacy, as read by Erika Ensign, and Lynne M. Thomas interviewing Hal Y. Zhang.

Episode 37B (December 1): Editors’ Introduction, “The Salt Witch” by Martha Wells, as read by Erika Ensign, “Making Accommodations” by Valerie Valdes, as read by Joy Piedmont, and Lynne M. Thomas interviewing Martha Wells.


Tananarive Due’s “Black Horror Rising” Won the Best in Creative Nonfiction Ignyte Award!

Fabulous news, Space Unicorns! Tananarive Due’s “Black Horror Risingwon the Best in Creative Nonfiction Ignyte Award! A huge congratulations to Tananarive!

Once again,  congratulations to Christopher Caldwell, whose “Canst Thou Draw Out the Leviathan” was a finalist for a Best Short Story Ignyte Award, Brandon O’Brien, whose “Elegy for the Self as Villeneuve’s Beast” was a finalist for a Best in Speculative Poetry Ignyte Award, Tamara Jerée, whose “goddess in forced repose” was a Best in Speculative Poetry Ignyte Award finalist, and Uncanny Magazine Interviewer Caroline M. Yoachim, whose “The Archronology of Love” was a Best Novelette Ignyte Award finalist!

It was a fabulous ballot. Congratulations to all of the winners and finalists!

Why We Love the Uncanny in Fiction– A Guest Post by Paula Guran

The idea of the uncanny has been explored for 150 years or more by a host of brilliant minds—Sigmund Freud, Jacques Derrida, and Nicholas Royle to name only a few. Even if confined only to its context in fiction, current scholars still debate its definition.

Freud’s 1919 essay “Das Unheimliche” is, however, a universally cited reference when dealing with a description of the uncanny. We might as well start there.

Freud begins with the etymology of the German word unheimlich, which he says shows the uncanny is “that class of the frightening which leads back to what is known of old and long familiar.” Heimlich means “homely”—familiar, mundane, intimate, friendly. But here’s also an implication of secrecy, concealment, something being withheld from others. Add the prefix un (which shares its negative effect with English) to heimlich, and the result is a term for the eerie and uneasy. Freud then quotes German philosopher F. W. J. Schelling’s Philosophy of Mythology: “Unheimlich is the name for everything that ought to have remained… hidden and secret and has become visible.” Unheimlich: uncanny.

Now that we’re somewhat grounded, let’s keep it (overly) simple: when we encounter the uncanny in fiction we usually have started out in a familiar world or, at least, a world that is intimately recognizable to a story’s characters. Then a divergence occurs, the easily comprehensible is no longer so understandable, and a certain disorientation occurs. We feel uneasy. But within this discombobulation, there is also a change in perception, a revelation of sorts. Within the dream, there is awakening. We are awake, but we are changed. Fiction has realigned our reality.

Sounds all psychedelic or woo-woo, doesn’t it? But I think you know what I mean.

Consider some well-known classic examples: “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe (1839), A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (1843), The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (1898), or “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1892). Life seems “normal” until a literal crack appears in the edifice, or ghostly figures appear, or the wallpaper mutates. Things begin to unravel and the reader feels it.

Those stories affect me, stay with me. That’s why I love finding the uncanny in fiction.

I chose three stories from Uncanny Magazine’s 2019 issues for The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror, Volume One (despite the title, it is the eleventh in the series): Fran Wilde’s “A Catalog of Storms” (Uncanny Issue 26), “Nice Things” by Ellen Klages (Uncanny Issue 28), and “The Blur in the Corner of Your Eye” by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny Issue 29). Several more are also listed as recommended reads. Let’s look at the effect of the uncanny in one of them.

In Ellen Klages’s “Nice Things,” Phoebe Morris is sorting through her recently deceased mother’s belongings. A sad but mundane task—until a certain folder isn’t where she put it and, when discovered, includes a note in her mother’s “distinctive script.” Phoebe rationalizes this uncanny event and returns to the everyday and her orderly process.

The uncanny intrudes again with sounds and smells. The impossible is happening. By the end of the story we realize just how much has changed.

Neither this or the other stories are particularly scary; few would call them horror. But in all of them, the uncanny enters and they become unsettling tales—dark fantasy, for lack of another term. And, chances are, they will alter readers perceptions enough that those stories will stay with them for a long time.

That’s what happened to me when I read them. That’s how I wound up considering them among the “best” of the year.

As a reader of Uncanny, you may have already found these stories, but I promise that among the other twenty-one stories in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror, Volume One you will come across the uncanny again and again.

(You can find out more about The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror, Volume One here!)

Paula Guran has edited almost fifty science fiction, fantasy, and horror anthologies and more than fifty novels and collections featuring the same. She’s reviewed and written articles for dozens of publications. She lives in Akron, Ohio, with her faithful cat Nala, near enough to her grandchildren to frequently be indulgent.






Uncanny Magazine Issue 36 Cover and Table of Contents!

Coming September 1, THE THIRTY-SIXTH ISSUE OF THE 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 HUGO AWARD-WINNING UNCANNY MAGAZINE!!

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 October 6.

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 36 Table of Contents

Connected by Christopher Jones

“The Uncanny Valley” by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas (9/1)
“Imagining Place: Worldbuilding As” by Elsa Sjunneson (9/1)

“Metal Like Blood in the Dark” by T. Kingfisher (9/1)
“Anchorage” by Samantha Mills (9/1)
“Laws of Impermanence” by Kenneth Schneyer (9/1)

“Juvenilia” by Lavie Tidhar (10/6)
“The City of the Tree” by Marie Brennan (10/6)
“In The Space of Twelve Minutes” by James Yu (10/6)

“The Mouser of Peter the Great” by P. Djèlí Clark (9/1)

“Finding Myself in Speculative Fiction Again After Leaving Other Worlds Behind” by Del Sandeen (9/1)
“The Roots of Hope: Toward an Optimistic Near-Future SF in a Pandemic” by Marissa Lingen (9/1)

“Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Excellence” by Nibedita Sen (10/6)
“Sticks and String” by Christopher Mark Rose (10/6)

“Fin” by Terese Mason Pierre (9/1)
“My Cat, He” by Beth Cato (9/1)

“The Body in Revolt” by Rita Chen (10/6)
“As if My Flesh was Summer Soil” by Lora Gray (10/6)

Kenneth Schneyer interviewed by Caroline M. Yoachim (9/1)

Lavie Tidhar interviewed by Caroline M. Yoachim (10/6)


Episode 36A (September 1): “Metal Like Blood in the Dark” by T. Kingfisher, as read by Erika Ensign, “Fin” by Terese Mason Pierre, as read by Joy Piedmont, and Lynne M. Thomas interviewing T. Kingfisher.

Episode 36B (October 6): Editors’ Introduction, “In The Space of Twelve Minutes” by James Yu, as read by Joy Piedmont, “As if My Flesh was Summer Soil” by Lora Gray, as read by Erika Ensign, and Lynne M. Thomas interviewing James Yu.


Dominion Anthology- A Guest Post by Zelda Knight and Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki

Zelda Knight

Dominion was born of tragedy, but in many ways, it is one of the greatest blessings in my life. By 2019, I had been running my publishing house AURELIA LEO for four years and counting. I was also extremely burnt out. Truth is, small press publishing is not sustainable without a paying audience, and even for works that sold well, the stress involved in embodying an entire publishing house as one woman was and is exhausting. I was close to closing down my operation altogether to focus on my true passion: opening up a specialty bookstore for Queer, Southern, Trans, Black, Indigenous, and/or other Creators of Color under the banner of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. I was starting to make this shift, continuing to publish novel-length works, while sunsetting a majority of my publication in the process. But then, tragedy struck.

On July 16, 2019, my family survived a grease fire at our home. I sustained flash burns down my left arm and across my face, and my mother suffered full-thickness (3rd degree) burns on around 25% of her body. We all survived, but the scars from the accident and the trauma remain. After a near-death experience, one begins reexamining their life. I found myself wondering why I was sinking so much time and effort into an endeavor that didn’t bring me joy anymore? I’ve always published fiction, poetry, and art from across the spectrum of diversity beyond just race. However, I wanted to focus on something that was connected to my heritage. I gravitated to publishing Black speculative fiction. I needed to create a project rooted in my Christianity, my Blackness, my Womanhood, and all the pieces that make me me.

This anthology came about by picking up the pieces of my life. In my role as a public historian documenting racial violence in the Commonwealth of Kentucky for a documentary project, I came across The 1619 Project, directed by Nikole Hannah-Jones. I was blown away by the collaboration, and wanted to hear from those still living in the continent about 500 years worth of ramifications due to the global African slave trade. Then, I saw a short clip on the internet about The Year of Return sponsored by the Ghanaian government. This is what I was searching for! An explosion of academic and commercial dialogue was happening between Black Americans and the motherland. But how could I contribute? What could I contribute?

The final pieces of the puzzle that became Dominion had already been discovered. I just hadn’t put two and two together just yet. Henrique DLD’s Afrofuturistic artwork, Vagrant knight, became the cover of the untitled anthology project. Then, I tapped my soon-to-be co-editor Oghenechovwe, whose short story, “Ife-Iyoku,” shook me to my core. Aside from The 1619 Project, anthologies like Long Hidden & Hidden Youth, Dark Matter, New Suns, and [email protected] Rising inspired me to virtually reach across the Atlantic and build something unique with my co-editor. We were going to make history in the DIY spirit that made me love small press and micro-press publishing in the first place. The title, taken from Genesis 1:26-31, also embodied that spirit. What worlds would Black and African Diasporic writers send our way? How would they interpret the question, “What is the legacy and the future of Africa and the African Diaspora?”

We opened a call for submissions on a wing and prayer, and the authors and poets who submitted went above and beyond our expectations! We carried that momentum into a very successful Kickstarter campaign. But things have been a bumpy ride ever since. My health issues aside, COVID-19 changed the world as we know it, and has impacted the editorial process in surprising ways. From manufacturing enamel pins to general plummeting revenues all around, now more than ever, I am amazed by the positive response, and monetary support Dominion has received! Despite the hiccups along the way, I still feel like I’m walking in my purpose. During a time of open Black rebellion, we need to be centering Black voices. Both my co-editor and I hope you pick up a copy of Dominion, the first anthology to bridge African and African Diasporic speculative fiction and poetry!

Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki

My co-editor, Zelda, first approached me about partnering to make an anthology around July of last year. I had just signed a contract with her to publish my Africanfuturistic short story, “Ife-Iyoku”, in her magazine Selene Quarterly. I would later find out the story was one of the inspirations for the anthology. Thus began our year-long, taxing, but ultimately satisfying collaboration to produce the very first anthology of speculative fiction and poetry with writers from Africa and the African Diaspora!

 I jumped at the chance to co-edit the anthology because it would afford writers on the continent—and beyond—an opportunity to be heard and have their voices amplified. I realized immediately that Dominion offered a lot of benefits for Black and African writers, as well as tackled structural problems. The first problem the anthology solved was payment. Very few magazines or literary journals on the continent pay writers. Despite being a student pursuing her MA at the time—while managing to run a small press on the side—Zelda paid authors, a huge financial commitment. She confirmed that the writers in the anthology would be paid as well. I knew then that she had a strong and healthy respect for creators being paid. Dominion was going to chip away at an endemic problem of unpaid literature on the continent.

The second need the anthology fulfilled that encouraged me to embark on it was the fact that it created a safe space for writers. Dominion would allow their voices to be appreciated by editors, and amplified amidst other works by writers, of the same race. These editors see unfamiliar stories and styles as flawed due to them deviating from American and Western ideals, which are wrongly considered the default standard of quality fiction. So we were two editors, one man, and one woman, Diasporan and continental, as balanced as could be, hoping to do justice to Black and African speculative fiction as much as we could.

Despite a successful crowdfunding campaign, and an outpouring of support from the SFF community, it hasn’t all been a path strewn with roses. Firstly, there’s been quite a bit of queries from certain elements questioning why African speculative fiction and this anthology should exist, asking what the need for it was, and what purpose it served. The fact that people even asked those questions was the very answer to those questions. And, despite exceeding our Kickstarter goals, the funds raised were not for marketing and promotion. So, that had to be done manually and painstakingly by ourselves on social media, using our own unpaid time and limited resources. Sometimes this was disheartening as there’s only Zelda and I. We’re just two people, and the work just could not be done, even when finances weren’t an issue. Sometimes, finances were the issue. There were places we could not go, things we couldn’t do, as a small press.  And, we were unable to work when our devices had issues, and we couldn’t immediately fix or replace them. COVID-19 further complicated things. Due to collapsing revenue, our arrangement with an Italian publishing house to translate the anthology fell through. Anxiety over our health was also a factor as both I and my co-editor have pre-existing conditions.

While we wanted balance by having two editors, it also proved tricky to handle as we were working across continents, time zones, and cultural barriers. Communication was frequently an issue. But we persevered. And despite all these obstacles, I dare say we have created one of the most important speculative fiction books, anthologies of the year. We have gotten press from a number of reputable places, like Den of Geek, and reviews from Quick Sip Reviews, blurbs from some of our favourite authors, and the anthology shows a lot of promise for its coming launch. I hope that it will overall improve the impact and value of Black and African speculative fiction and show writers, as it aims to, that their voices are highly needed and valued in the speculative fiction community.











Zelda Knight writes speculative romance (horror, science fiction, and fantasy). She’s also a cryptozoologist in training. Under the pen name Odyssey Rose, Zelda explores science fiction romance. She pens LGBTQIA+ speculative romance using the pen name Iris Sword. Keep in touch on social media @AuthorZKnight. Or, visit You can also email [email protected]











Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki is a Nigerian writer and editor. He has been awarded an honourable mention in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest, twice. His short story “The Witching Hour,” won the Nommo award for best short story by an African. He has been published in Selene Quarterly, Strange Horizons, Tor, and other venues, and has works forthcoming in several other venues.

He has guest edited and co-edited several publications, including The Selene Quarterly, Invictus Quarterly, and the Dominion Anthology.
He is a member of the African Speculative Fiction Society, Codex, the Horror Writers of America, the British Science Fiction Association, and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
You can find him on Twitter at @penprince_NSA and on his website

An Uncanny Story, 2 Poems, and an Essay Are Ignyte Award Finalists!!!

Fabulous news, Space Unicorns! An Uncanny Magazine story, 2 poems, and an essay are Ignyte Award finalists! Congratulations to Christopher Caldwell! “Canst Thou Draw Out the Leviathan” is a finalist for a Best Short Story Ignyte Award! Congratulations to Brandon O’Brien! “Elegy for the Self as Villeneuve’s Beast” is a finalist for a Best in Speculative Poetry Ignyte Award! Congratulations to Tamara Jerée! “goddess in forced repose” is a Best in Speculative Poetry Ignyte Award finalist! And Congratulations to Tananarive Due! “Black Horror Rising” is a Best in Creative Nonfiction Ignyte Award finalist!

Plus, congratulations to Uncanny Magazine Interviewer Caroline M. Yoachim! “The Archronology of Love” is a Best Novelette Ignyte Award finalist!

It is a fabulous ballot. Congratulations to all of the finalists!

From the Ignyte Award website:

The FIYAHCON 2020 Committee is thrilled to announce the finalists for the inaugural Ignyte Awards. The Awards seek to celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of the current and future landscapes of science fiction, fantasy, and horror by recognizing incredible feats in storytelling and outstanding efforts toward inclusivity of the genre. To that effect, the committee feels that these creators, creations, entities, and perspectives from 2019 represent the brightest lights in speculative fiction’s future. We encourage you to seek out the nominees unfamiliar to you on this list, engage with their works of fiction or acts of community, and to use those experiences to inform your vote.

The short list is derived from 15 BIPOC voters on the FIYAHCON staff, of varying genders, sexualities, cultures, disabilities, and locations throughout the world. They are referred to as the Ignyte Awards Committee. Committee members were not permitted to nominate their own works or works of which they were a part. The Committee was not limited to selections authored or otherwise created by BIPOC. Public voting on the shortlist does not permit write-in nominations. We intend to ask one year’s winners to be part of the subsequent year’s committee to ensure fresh perspectives and to help prevent repeated nominations of the same popular authors as recognized in many other genre awards. Details on that process as well as the longlist and the process of submitting works for consideration will be released after FIYAHCON 2020

Voting is now open to the public through September 11th at 11:59 PM Eastern Time. Click here to vote.

Inquiries can be forwarded to director(at)