The Uncanny Valley


Now that we have Hugo off of the laptop… As we write this, the temperatures in Urbana have plummeted from highs in the humid 80s to drizzly and miserable lows in the 50s over a three-day period. (We greatly enjoyed our 15 minutes of autumn on Wednesday. Woo Illinois weather!) Our new Uncanny Kitten, Hugo The Cat, is not fond of this new cold thing in his kitty bones! As he was born in May, this is not a surprise. Though it would be nice if he would stop trying to overturn the laptop in order to get our heat.

Anyway, welcome, Space Unicorns, to the first issue of Uncanny Magazine Year 5! It’s been awhile since the Uncanny Thomases have written one of these. Thank you again to our phenomenal guest editorial team for the absolutely stupendous Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction special issue: Editor-in-Chief/Nonfiction Editor Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, Editor-in-Chief/Fiction Editor Dominik Parisien, Reprint Editor Judith Tarr, Poetry Editor S. Qiouyi Lu, and Personal Essays Editor Nicolette Barischoff. We also want to thank interviewers Sandra Odell and Haddayr Copley-Woods, and copyeditor Suzanne Walker. Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction exceeded all of our hopes and dreams and said so many important and gorgeous things. Thank you all for supporting and reading it! (We are still working on the print copies. We promise.)

As you will see from the rest of this editorial, it has been a busy time for the Uncanny Thomases. Between Lynne’s day job and Uncanny, we have been almost constantly traveling and working. It has been hard, especially with the constant background of horrors in the world. We pushed through because we have wonderful friends. But that doesn’t mean the terrors didn’t shake us or make us want to give up and hide.

Today (if you are reading this on launch day), many of you will get a chance to change things for the better. You have the opportunity to let your votes speak and spark changes. WE ARE POWERFUL TOGETHER, SPACE UNICORNS! WE WILL USE THAT POWER TO CHANGE THE WORLD FOR THE BETTER! VOTE!

And now, the million Uncanny things that have happened since May! 

You are reading this because the Uncanny Magazine Year Five: I Want My Uncanny TV Kickstarter Funded! After an exciting month of shenanigans, the Space Unicorn Ranger Corps made another year of Uncanny Magazine happen with many great solicited authors and artists. And that’s not all! You funded a pilot episode of Uncanny TV! It will be the launch of our community-based vid channel, featuring exclusive geeky content related to Uncanny and the Space Unicorn Ranger Corps community!

Matt Peters & Michi Trota will host a short (20-30 min) variety talk show, Uncanny Magazine-style: highlighting creators in SF/F working in a variety of art forms and projects, focusing on people building and nurturing their communities, particularly highlighting marginalized creators. They’ll talk about topics that can be serious, but the overall tone of the show will be to celebrate the things we enjoy and the people who make our communities good places to be in SF/F.

Hopefully, once the pilot episode is out in the world, we will find a way to give you an entire season of this show!

We have more wonderful news you probably already know! Uncanny Magazine won its third Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine! We are so 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 again our main 2017 staff of Managing Editor Michi Trota, Poetry/Reprint Editor Julia Rios, and Podcast Producers/Readers Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky, all of whom shared this award with the Uncanny Thomases and joined us onstage at Worldcon 76. We also want to thank our former Poetry Editor Mimi Mondal, our former Interviewer Shana DuBois, our current podcast reader Stephanie Malia Morris, our current Editorial Intern Chimedum Ohaegbu, our current Interviewer Caroline M. Yoachim, all of our submissions readers, every Uncanny contributor, all of the Hugo voters, the Worldcon 76 staff, and every single member of the Space Unicorn Ranger Corps, who have supported us.

Also, Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas won their first Hugo Award for Best Editor—Short Form! This was another stellar group of finalists, and we are so honored and humbled to have won this.

This has been an epic journey as editors, from Michael being Associate Editor on Lynne’s essay anthology Chicks Dig Time Lords (co-edited with Tara O’Shea), to being Lynne’s Managing Editor at Apex Magazine, to being her official co-editor (with John Klima) on the anthology Glitter & Mayhem, to finally arriving here together four years ago as the Co-Editor-in-Chief gestalt of Uncanny Magazine.

We learned so much from our time at Mad Norwegian Press and Apex Magazine. Thank you, Catherynne M. Valente, for thinking Lynne would make a good fiction editor—we would not be here without that initial opportunity. We have been blessed with so much help and cheerleading, especially from John Joseph Adams and Christie Yant in our early days when we needed that shove. Thank you friends, family, staff, the ICFA alligator, and colleagues, all, for your support of Uncanny, and of the notion that short fiction is not a zero sum game.

Once again, congratulations to the Uncanny Magazine stories which were finalists for the Hugo Awards: “And Then There Were (N-One)” by Sarah Pinsker for Best Novella, “Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time” by K.M. Szpara for Best Novelette, ‘‘Children of Thorns, Children of Water’’ by Aliette de Bodard (reprint from 2017) for Best Novelette, “Fandom for Robots” by Vina Jie-Min Prasad for Best Short Story, “Sun, Moon, Dust” by Ursula Vernon for Best Short Story, and “Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand” by Fran Wilde for Best Short Story. These are phenomenal stories by brilliant authors.

Congratulations to all of the Hugo Award winners and finalists. It was truly a stupendous year.

You can still watch the entire Hugo Award ceremony on YouTube!

Excellent news, Space Unicorns! Fran Wilde’s “Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand” won the Eugie Foster Memorial Award for Short Fiction! Congratulations to Fran!!!

Congratulations also to Sarah Pinsker, whose “And Then There Were (N-One)” was also a finalist!

And congratulations to all of the other wonderful finalists!

From their website:

The Eugie Foster Memorial Award for Short Fiction (or Eugie Award) celebrates the best in innovative fiction. This annual award is presented at Dragon Con, the nation’s largest fan-run convention.

The Eugie Award honors stories that are irreplaceable, that inspire, enlighten, and entertain. We will be looking for stories that are beautiful, thoughtful, and passionate, and change us and the field. The recipient is a story that is unique and will become essential to speculative fiction readers.

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, “Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand” by Fran Wilde is a finalist for the Best Short Story World Fantasy Award! We are thrilled and honored! Congratulations to Fran and all of the finalists!

As you read this, you will know who won!

Fabulous staff news, Space Unicorns! Our awesome Editorial Intern Chimedum Ohaegbu is becoming the new Uncanny Magazine Assistant Editor! Chimedum is a passionate fan of science fiction and fantasy, with impressive editorial experience, and has a done a tremendous job as our Editorial Intern! We’re eager and excited to work with her on more Space Unicorn shenanigans!

Chimedum attends the University of British Columbia in pursuit of hummingbird sightings and a dual degree in English literature and creative writing. The 2017 recipient of the full Tan Seagull Scholarship for Young Writers, her work is published or forthcoming in Strange Horizons and This Magazine. When she’s not yelling approvingly about cool stuff she’s read, she’s usually editing one thing or another.

Did you know a piece of Uncanny history is now part of a museum exhibit? Managing Editor Michi Trota was the exhibit text writer for Worlds Beyond Here: Expanding the Universe of APA Science Fiction, a new exhibit celebrating Asian Pacific Americans in science fiction history at the Wing Luke Museum! In addition to writing the exhibit text, Michi has loaned her first Hugo Award (2016), from Uncanny’s first win for Best Semiprozine and for which she became the first Filipina to win a Hugo, to the museum for the duration of the exhibit.

Michi and her spouse, Jesse Lex, traveled to Seattle to be part of the exhibit opening in October, where she gave a short speech about what being part of the exhibit meant to her. She also wrote about the process of writing the exhibit and why it matters highlighting and exploring APA representation in science fiction, which you can read on the Uncanny blog. The exhibit opening was a great success and will be hosted at the museum through September 15, 2019.

Congratulations to Michi, the museum staff, and the many people who contributed their work, expertise, and perspectives to the development of the exhibit! If you’ll be in Seattle before then, hopefully you will visit the Wing Luke Museum to check it out.

And now some Guest Editor staff news! The Guest Fiction Editor for the upcoming Disabled People Destroy Fantasy special issue is… Katharine Duckett!

Katharine Duckett is a writer of weird fiction by night and works in science fiction and fantasy publishing by day. She is a graduate of Viable Paradise, and her fiction has appeared in Interzone, Best of Apex Magazine: Volume I, Wilde Stories 2015: The Year’s Best Gay Speculative Fiction, and Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction, and is forthcoming in PseudoPod and Sharp & Sugar Tooth: Women Up to No Good. Her debut book, Miranda in Milan, publishes next March.

The Guest Nonfiction Editor is… Nicolette Barischoff!

Nicolette Barischoff was born with spastic cerebral palsy, which has only made her more awesome. Her fiction has appeared in Long Hidden, Accessing the Future, The Journal of Unlikely Academia, Podcastle, and Angels of the Meanwhile. As an editor, Nicolette was the Guest Personal Essays Editor for Uncanny Magazine’s Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction special issue. She regularly writes about disability, feminism, sex- and body-positivity, and how all these fit together. Her personal essays on these topics get read way more than her fiction does, which is only a little annoying. She regularly collaborates with visual and performance artists to promote normalization of visibly disabled bodies. She’s been on the front page of CBS New York, where they called her activism public pornography and suggested her face was a Public Order Crime.

We are so thrilled to be working with Katharine and Nicolette! Disabled People Destroy Fantasy will be AMAZING! Thank you, Space Unicorns, for making this possible!

And now the contents of Uncanny Magazine Issue 25! The marvelous cover is John Picacio’s La Valiente. This is one of the many stunning pieces John created for his ongoing Loteria card deck project. Our new fiction includes Isabel Yap’s gorgeous novelette of love and sacrifice “How to Swallow the Moon,” T. Kingfisher’s saucy story of naughty fun and regrets “The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society,” Naomi Kritzer’s powerful exploration of the paranormal and loss “The Thing About Ghost Stories,” Monica Valentinelli’s pointed discussion of workplace harassment and consent “My Name Is Cybernetic Model XR389F, and I Am Beautiful,” and finally Cassandra Khaw’s tremendous tale of love and the apocalypse “Monologue by an unnamed mage, recorded at the brink of the end.” Our reprint story is Sofia Samatar’s “An Account of the Land of Witches,” originally published in The Offing and also appears in her collection, Tender.

Our essays this month include Diana M. Pho looking at how writing fanfiction influenced her work as an editor, Steven H Silver’s primer to the world of Jewish Science Fiction and Fantasy, Sarah Goslee exploring disability and its parallels to Tolkien’s works, and Nilah Magruder discussing how the art in children’s books served as a gateway to all of science fiction and fantasy. Our gorgeous and evocative poetry this month includes Beth Cato’s “smile,” Hal Y. Zhang’s “cardioid,” Leah Bobet’s “Osiris,” and Sharon Hsu’s “Translatio.” Finally, Caroline M. Yoachim interviews Isabel Yap and Monica Valentinelli about their stories.

The Uncanny Magazine Podcast Episode 25A features T. Kingfisher’s “The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society,” as read by Erika Ensign, Hal Y. Zhang’s “cardioid,” as read by Stephanie Malia Morris, and Lynne M. Thomas interviewing Ursula Vernon. The Uncanny Magazine Podcast Episode 25B features Naomi Kritzer’s “The Thing About Ghost Stories,” as read by Stephanie Malia Morris, Leah Bobet’s “Osiris,” as read by Erika Ensign, and Lynne M. Thomas interviewing Naomi Kritzer.

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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