The Uncanny Valley

The sun streams through leafless branches in our Urbana neighborhood as I write the first editorial for 2018. The brisk wind hurtles across the plains, but we are safe and cozy inside our new house, listening to Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings funking up a soul Christmas party, mostly happy in the glow of the blinking lights of our tree.

2017 is nearly over. It was both a nightmare and sort of magnificent. The Trump regime was as horrific as we expected—equal parts corrupt, bigoted authoritarianism and total incompetence. We all resisted. We fought. We came together as a community. The resistance won on the ACA for the moment, but lost on many other things. Hopefully, the results of the Alabama special senatorial election bode well for the 2018 elections and a blue wave flipping our legislature.

For the Thomases, this was the year everything changed (as you know if you follow these editorials or our social media accounts). Lynne’s dream job and our large move were phenomenal successes, but we also suffered losses, as one often does with such big changes. Most recently, our beloved Marie Cat passed away. She was a gentle, sweet cat who has been through so many things with her family. We miss her greatly. We are, and remain, deeply grateful to the friends who were there for us during this turbulent year.

Entering 2018, Caitlin is happy and healthy (and in HIGH SCHOOL!), which is really all we hope for every year.

Thank you, Space Unicorns. Thank you for sticking together and fighting back against the darkness with love, art, beauty, stories, friendship, activism, and moxie. We will continue to do this together.

As many of you know, 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 these stories are eligible in (especially for the Hugo Awards and Nebula Awards). 2017 was the third full year of Uncanny Magazine (Issues 14 through 19). 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. (Note: If you are nominating the Thomases in this category, please continue to nominate them together on the same nomination line. They are a co-editing team.)

The stories listed on the website blog post are eligible in either the short story, novelette, or novella 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.

Another World Fantasy Convention came and went in November. Uncanny didn’t win any awards, but much fun was had. Michael and the ICFA alligator wandered San Antonio with friends, ate a lot of Tex-Mex food, and Michael perhaps pretended to be a dinosaur with Sarah Pinsker in a very odd, random hallway stone garden that looked like an empty diorama. We are very happy for all of the World Fantasy Award winners, and look forward to the next WFC in Baltimore.

A few weeks after WFC, the Uncanny Magazine staff of the Thomases, Michi Trota, Steven Schapansky, and Erika Ensign were all at Chicago TARDIS in Michi’s former hometown of Lombard, Illinois. There were plenty of shenanigans amongst the friends. Also, some people who performed in Doctor Who were there.

The Thomases will be home for all of January and February, unless something odd happens.

In exciting Thomas convention news for the spring, we will be Guests of Honor at Mo*Con from May 4-6th, 2018, in Indianapolis, Indiana, with Mikki Kendall, John Urbancik, and Jennifer Udden! Mo*Con is a “mini-convention built around food, community, and conversations (typically around the topics of spirituality, art, and social justice)” hosted by author, editor, and wonderful troublemaker Maurice Broaddus. We hope to see you there!

We have some staff news for this issue. First, this is Mimi Mondal’s first issue as Poetry Editor along with being Reprint Editor. Woo Mimi!

We also have some bittersweet staff news. Shana DuBois will be moving on from her interviewer position here. Shana is sensational, and we wish her all the best on her future projects. In the interim, fabulous author Caroline M. Yoachim conducted the print interviews, and Lynne is handling the podcast interviews.

Finally, Uncanny Magazine will be adding a paid intern. They will likely have already started working with Michi as this issue goes to press!

The Uncanny Magazine Year 4 Kickstarter featured two upcoming special issues—Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction and a shared-world dinosaur issue. Both will have open submissions, and we posted the guidelines in case you would like to submit something for either.

Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction Guidelines!

Uncanny Magazine Dinosaur Special Issue Guidelines!

We can’t wait to see your pieces!

And now the contents of Uncanny Magazine Issue 20! The marvelous cover is the stunning Sleepless on the Silk Road by Tran Nguyen. Our new fiction this month includes Elizabeth Bear’s powerful character study “She Still Loves the Dragon,” S.B. Divya’s heartbreaking and heart-racing “Contingency Plans for the Apocalypse,” Arkady Martine’s tale of collecting and sacrifice “The Hydraulic Emperor,” Marissa Lingen’s smart and snarky magical exploration “Lines of Growth, Lines of Passage,” Sunny Moraine’s visceral and angry “Your Slaughterhouse, Your Killing Floor,” Vivian Shaw’s intense story of discovery “The Utmost Bound,” and R.K. Kalaw’s fun and dangerous “The Date.” Our reprint fiction is Vandana Singh’s “Conservation Laws,” originally published in her 2008 collection The Woman Who Thought She Was a Planet and Other Stories (collection reprinted in 2013).

This month’s essays include a personal journey by Fran Wilde, a list of favorite 2017 narrative games by John Wiswell, a tale of tech and matchmaking by Iori Kusano, a look at a true apocalypse by Rebecca Roanhorse, and an examination of the Salem witch trials by Sarah Monette.

Issue 20’s gorgeous poetry includes “The Early Ones” by Sofia Samatar (illustrated by Del Samatar), “The Knight of the Beak” by Sofia Samatar (illustrated by Del Samatar), “The Cat’s Daughters” by Nitoo Das, “Shadow-Song” by Sonya Taaffe, and “1532” by Ana Hurtado. Finally, special guest interviewer Caroline M. Yoachim interviews S.B. Divya and Sunny Moraine.

The Uncanny Magazine Podcast 20A features “She Still Loves the Dragon” by Elizabeth Bear, as read by Stephanie Malia Morris, “The Cat’s Daughters” by Nitoo Das, as read by Erika Ensign, and Lynne M. Thomas interviewing Elizabeth Bear. The Uncanny Magazine Podcast 20B features “Lines of Growth, Lines of Passage” by Marissa Lingen, as read by Erika Ensign, “1532” by Ana Hurtado, as read by Stephanie Malia Morris, and Lynne M. Thomas interviewing Marissa Lingen.

As always, we are deeply grateful of 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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