Well, Space Unicorns, this is goodbye. It’s been a wonderful couple of years of discovering beautiful poems, reprinting favorite stories, and making wonderful connections with authors, readers, and colleagues, but the time has come for me to take off my Space Unicorn Ranger uniform and sign off from the glittercom.
Of course I can’t just go quietly, though. Instead, Issue 19 gets to have a poetry extravaganza! All the remaining poems I chose in my last reading period are together here, seeing us through the end of the calendar year, and paving the way for our new poetry editor to dazzle us all in 2018. I am so excited to see what Mimi Mondal chooses. I’m also really looking forward to seeing and hearing the interviews Shana DuBois does. Both Mimi and Shana are great, and I know they will do awesome things. I love being a consumer who gets to luxuriate in the curated selections of other people. It feels so decadent.
Editing is a strange job. It’s mostly invisible to the reader, but there’s also a sort of personality that is unique to every editor. Tastes vary even when they overlap significantly, and that makes seeing what another editor chooses exciting to me. It makes me think about things in new ways. It leads me to discover new favorites. Uncanny is a great magazine for that kind of discovery. It’s well-designed and full of fascinating stories and beautiful art and all kinds of great things. I’m glad I had the chance to help curate some of that wonder for a while, and also glad that it will keep on being wondrous after I leave.
Uncanny has given me many wonderful experiences. I worked with old and dear friends like Shveta Thakrar and C. S. E. Cooney and Amal El-Mohtar, I discovered new favorites like Ali Trotta and Betsy Aoki and Brandon O’Brien (okay, but let’s be real: all the poets and authors are my favorites), I got to interview so many fascinating people, to taste amazingly purple and delicious ube cake that our own brilliant Michi brought to WisCon (and have a very memorable dinner with Michael and Lynne that weekend as well), and of course there was that time in Helsinki when I got a very shiny rocket. Working with the Uncanny staff has been lovely, too. Steven and Erika and Michi and Michael and Lynne are all efficient and organized, which made my own workflow smooth and fabulous.
More than any of the things I just mentioned, what I love most of all about working in this field is the community. I love that there is a solid core of authors, editors, publishers, and fans who deeply care about the genre, and each other, and the world at large. When Lynne and Michael announced that I was leaving, I received a torrent of love from friends and strangers alike. Many people expressed sadness about my departure. I told them that I wasn’t really going to be gone. I’m still here. I’m still a reader and a podcaster and a writer and an editor.
My new role as Fiction Editor at Fireside means I get to keep on finding wondrous stories to share with people, and I get to do it with another group of people who are committed to fighting fascism, boosting underrepresented voices, and engaging thoughtfully with our community. We’re a mutually symbiotic cluster of magazines—we feed each other, and as I said in my Hugo acceptance speech, our diversity is our strength. Fireside’s Managing Editor, Elsa Sjunneson-Henry is part of the editorial team for Uncanny’s Disabled People Destroy issue, and Uncanny donated issues to the Hurricane Bookstore that Fireside set up to help raise funds for people affected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. We’re the Space Unicorn Ranger Corps and the Antifascist Fiction Club, and we look out for each other and do good where we can because we care. I am grateful to everyone I have worked with, to everyone who has written or edited things I love, to everyone who loves and supports those things in a fan capacity, and to everyone who uses their voices to create beauty and encourage progress. I am going now, but I am not gone. Thank you (yes, you!) for being part of my community.
© 2017 by Julia Rios