The Uncanny Valley

I hate endings.

I’m writing this in the same chair I’ve written the previous 17 “Uncanny Valleys.” It’s a squishy leather chair in the corner of the living room in our house, The Milford.

The Milford is a Sears Catalog House—a kit that came to DeKalb on a train and was pieced together in 1938. Our time with this house started in 2004. Lynne and I were 29. Caitlin was 14 months old. Lynne was starting her new gig as the Curator of Rare Books at Northern Illinois University. We fell in love with this charming Cape Cod during our first walkthrough. The down payment came from money Lynne’s late mom left us—her last gift to our family.

In the 13 ½ years we’ve lived in the house, Lynne built up the NIU Rare Books collection (including adding the archives of over 75 SFF authors and it becoming the official archives of SFWA), co-wrote one academic book and co-edited another, co-edited five anthologies, presented on two popular podcasts (SF Squeecast and Verity!), and won five Hugo Awards and two Parsec Awards, along with receiving many nominations for other awards. I ran a few disability organizations, co-edited two anthologies, presented on two popular podcasts (SF Squeecast and Down and Safe), and won two Hugo Awards and one Parsec Award, along with receiving many nominations for other awards. Together, Lynne and I co-edited 26 months of Apex Magazine and now 36 months of Uncanny. Caitlin had three major surgeries, thousands of hours of therapy, completed elementary and middle schools, and went on hundreds of adventures with us and our friends around the world.

We met thousands of wonderful people. We lost some on the way, but every one of them filled our lives with more wonder, kindness, stories, beauty, art, and fun.

And now, we’re leaving this place. A few minutes ago, people walked through The Milford with a realtor.

We will miss this house. We filled it with love and memories.

The reasons for leaving, though, are wonderful! Lynne is starting her dream job in a few weeks as the Head of the Rare Book and Manuscripts Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is taking over one of the most important university rare book collections in the United States—the same place that she served as a grad student 20 years ago.

And so, we are now moving back to Urbana, the city where we met. The city where Lynne first kissed me, 18 years ago, “Just to see.”

Endings and beginnings.

(We are not leaving Uncanny Magazine! The newest Kickstarter funded and there will be lots of Uncanny to look forward to in the future!)

But before we leave, we have wonderful news! Uncanny Magazine won its second Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine! We are deeply honored by this Hugo Award. It was a stellar group of finalists.

A magazine is the work of numerous people, so we want to thank our 2016 staff of Michi Trota, Julia Rios, Erika Ensign, Steven Schapansky, Amal El-Mohtar, and Deborah Stanish; all of our submissions editors and guest podcast readers; our webmaster Jeremiah Tolbert; and, of course, our ombudsman and world’s greatest daughter, Caitlin. Thank you to every single member of the Space Unicorn Ranger Corps and all of the Hugo voters. We couldn’t do this without the support of this community.

Once again, congratulations to the two Uncanny Magazine stories which were finalists for the Hugo Awards: “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies” by Brooke Bolander for Best Short Story and “You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay” by Alyssa Wong for Best Novelette.

Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas didn’t win the Best Editor—Short Form Hugo Award, but did come in second, which is phenomenal! Congratulations to the winner, Ellen Datlow.

Finally, “Seasons of Glass and Iron” by Uncanny Podcast Reader Amal El-Mohtar from the Saga Press anthology, The Starlit Wood (edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe, who was also a Hugo finalist for Best Editor—Long Form), which we reprinted in Uncanny Magazine, won the Best Short Story Hugo Award, just like it won the Nebula and Locus Awards! Congratulations Amal!

More award news!

TWO pieces of Uncanny Magazine Issue 10 have won awards! First, “You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay” by Alyssa Wong won the Locus Award for Best Novelette! Congratulations, Alyssa!

Second, Galen Dara’s Uncanny Magazine Issue 10 cover Bubbles and Blast Off won the 2017 Chesley Award for Best Cover Illustration: Magazine! Congratulations, Galen!

Finally, “Rose Child” by Theodora Goss from Uncanny Magazine Issue 13 won the SFPA 2017 Rhysling Award for Best Long Poem! Congratulations, Theodora!

Even more excellent award news, Space Unicorns!

The World Fantasy Award Finalists have been announced! Once again, Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas are finalists for the Special Award, Non-Professional World Fantasy Award for Uncanny Magazine! Also, “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies” by Brooke Bolander is a finalist for the Best Short Story World Fantasy Award! Congratulations to Brooke and all of the finalists!

(Michael will be at the World Fantasy Convention in San Antonio representing Uncanny, probably with the ICFA alligator who attends most conventions with him.)

On top of that, Uncanny Magazine is a British Fantasy Awards—Best Magazine/Periodical Finalist!

We are thrilled and honored. Once again, congratulations to all of the finalists!

As we write this, the Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction/Uncanny Magazine Year 4 Kickstarter has funded and achieved every stretch goal except for the physical book edition of the special issue. Since you are in the FUTURE, you will know if we did that, too!

Even if we didn’t make it to that final stretch goal, we are overwhelmed and ecstatic about all of the community support we received. Uncanny Year 4 with the Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction special issue and the Shared-World Dinosaur issue promises to be very special. This is your magazine, Space Unicorns. You make this possible.

We have some melancholy news, Space Unicorns. Amal El-Mohtar is stepping down as one of our podcast readers after this issue. As you all know, Amal’s career as a writer and academic has been growing and growing, and she needed to shed some responsibilities to focus on her upcoming projects.

Amal has been an extremely important part of Uncanny Magazine since its beginning. Nobody did more to support this dream. We wish her all the best in every future endeavor.

One more thing.

Fuck Nazis. Fuck racism. Fuck misogyny. Fuck antisemitism. Fuck Islamophobia. Fuck homophobia. Fuck ableism. Fuck all of the fascist white supremacist hate groups and the politicians who represent them, especially the American fascist conman president and his entire corrupt, treasonous regime.

This is the final Issue of Uncanny Magazine Year 3. Thank you to everybody who supported that Kickstarter. You are truly the best, Space Unicorns.

And now, the contents of Uncanny Magazine Issue 18! Our fabulous cover is Inspiration by Ashley Mackenzie, and was originally a Poster illustration for OCADU’s 99th Annual Graduate Exhibition. Our new fiction this month includes N. K. Jemisin’s intricate story of awards and fans “Henosis,” Fran Wilde’s powerful and evocative tour “Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand,” C. S. E. Cooney’s playfully dark post-apocalyptic playhouse “Though She Be But Little,” Catherynne M. Valente’s exuberant tale of extradimensional slacking “Down and Out in R’lyeh,” Vina Jie-Min Prasad’s charming story of friendship “Fandom for Robots,” and Delia Sherman’s time-traveling tale of self-discovery “At Cooney’s.” Our reprint is Malinda Lo’s “Ghost Town,” originally published in the 2013 anthology Defy the Dark.

This month’s essays include Sophie Aldred discussing being a voice-over actor, Cecilia Tan challenging the old writing adage about showing and not telling, Sarah Kuhn taking down the there-can-be-only-one problem of movie representation, Sam J. Miller & Jean Rice discussing activism over the long haul, and Sabrina Vourvoulias exploring ageism in SF/F.

Issue 18’s gorgeous poetry includes Jo Walton’s “Too Much Dystopia?”, Brandon O’Brien’s “Birth, Place,” Ali Trotta’s “A Lovesong From Frankenstein’s Monster,” and Gwynne Garfinkle’s “The Golem of the Gravestones.” Finally, Julia Rios interviews C. S. E. Cooney and Delia Sherman about their stories.

The Uncanny Magazine Podcast 18A features N. K. Jemisin’s “Henosis” as read by Stephanie Morris, Fran Wilde’s “Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand” as read by Amal El-Mohtar, Jo Walton’s “Too Much Dystopia?” as read by Erika Ensign, and Julia Rios interviewing Fran Wilde. Podcast 18B features Catherynne M. Valente’s “Down and Out in R’lyeh,” as read by Heath Miller, Ali Trotta’s “A Lovesong From Frankenstein’s Monster” as read by Amal El-Mohtar, and Julia Rios interviewing Catherynne M. Valente.

As always, we are deeply grateful for your support of Uncanny Magazine. Shine on, Space Unicorns!


Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas

Lynne and Michael are the Publishers/Editors-in-Chief of Uncanny Magazine.

Ten-time Hugo, British Fantasy, and 2-time Parsec Award-winner Lynne M. Thomas was the Editor-in-Chief of Apex Magazine (2011-2013). She co-edited the Hugo Award-winning Chicks Dig Time Lords (with Tara O’Shea) and Hugo Award-finalist Chicks Dig Comics (with Sigrid Ellis).

Seven-time Hugo, British Fantasy, and Parsec Award-winner Michael Damian Thomas was the former Managing Editor of Apex Magazine (2012-2013), co-edited the Hugo-finalist Queers Dig Time Lords (with Sigrid Ellis), and co-edited Glitter & Mayhem (with John Klima and Lynne M. Thomas).

Together, they solve mysteries.

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