The Uncanny Valley


Last February, the Thomas family took their first true vacation in nine years. We spent a lovely week at Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood with dear friends before attending the Gallifrey One Doctor Who/Babylon 5 convention as fans. (We started as fans, and it is always good to reconnect with that.) The last time we’d had a pure vacation was in 2010 when we went on Caitlin’s Make-a-Wish trip to Disney World and Universal Orlando. When we went on that Make-a-Wish trip, we had no way of knowing if we would ever be able to take Caitlin back to a theme park. Aicardi syndrome can be terrifying, and Caitlin qualified for a Make-a-Wish trip for a reason.

During that Make-a-Wish trip, one of the centerpieces was a private Olivander’s wand ceremony for Caitlin. (She was, and is, a huge Harry Potter fan.) The entire shop filled with lights, wind, and music as a wand chose her, bringing out the biggest smile. Her parents cried and cried. It was pure magic, as designed.

On this recent family vacation, we entered the Hollywood version of the same Olivander’s shop. A rainy day in Los Angeles meant that by luck we more or less had the place to ourselves. And as fate would have it, Lynne was chosen for the wand ceremony this time.

The wonderful lady Olivander led Lynne through the ceremony, and as the wand shop once again swelled with lights, wind, and music, she told Lynne that the wand had chosen her.

An ivy wood wand with a dragon heartstring core.

A wand that represented resilience.

When Olivander said that to Lynne, Lynne bawled.

And I cried.

And Caitlin smiled and laughed.

(Amusingly, the next day we ran into the Olivander cast member at Gallifrey One, and as it turns out she’s a Doctor Who fan. She very much remembered us.)

Resilience is very important to our family. We’ve had some significant challenges, and we’ve pushed through. We’ve kept moving forward, even when terrified. Even when it wasn’t easy.

We managed it because we love each other, but also because we have an amazing network of fabulous friends and colleagues.

The world is a scary place. We live under a corrupt fascist regime. Climate change worsens and worsens. Every day you can read hundreds of terrifying stories of cruelty and incompetence and evil. It’s easy to let go of hope.

And yet, we are here. YOU are here, friends. We persevere. We fight back. We build wondrous cathedrals of art, beauty, and love. Together.

We pool our resilience, and are stronger and better as a community.

When we opened Uncanny Magazine, we had many goals. We’ve accomplished many of them. The biggest has always been to create a sense of community around these gorgeous words and pictures. We think we did that. This is the last editorial of Year 5 written by the Thomases (the next issue is the Disabled People Destroy Fantasy special issue). We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone in the Space Unicorn community. You made this happen. You helped spread more art, kindness, hope, and beauty into the universe.

Many other magazines have left the field since we started in 2014. We want to stay. We feel that Uncanny is still doing important work. Thank you, Space Unicorns, for making this possible. Thank you for your financial support. Thank you for spreading the word about the things you loved. Thank you for building this community with us. And thank you for your resilience.

On that note, we want to thank everybody who purchased Weightless Books subscriptions during our subscription drive and sale. So many new and returning members of the Space Unicorn Ranger Corps! We only exist because of you and your support. That’s how we pay our staff and contributors. Thank you for also spreading the word on social media. We couldn’t do any of this without you.

Are you looking for another way to support Uncanny Magazine? Fear not, Space Unicorns! We will be running an Uncanny Magazine Year 6 Kickstarter around the usual time of mid-summer! Keep watching our Twitter and Facebook feeds for more information!

OR, if you don’t want to keep looking at social media, you can receive our Uncanny Magazine newsletter in your inbox once or twice a month. Thanks to our amazing Assistant Editor Chimedum Ohaegbu and Managing Editor Michi Trota, you can sign up for updates about new Uncanny issues, general magazine news, and even get some cool, unique surprises. Sign up right here!

We have some bittersweet news, and some wonderful news, Space Unicorns.

Uncanny Magazine Podcast reader Stephanie Malia Morris is moving on after podcast episode #28B. Stephanie has been with us since episode #18A and has done a spectacular job. We know she will continue to do brilliant things, and will be greatly missed.

And now for the wonderful news! Our new podcast reader joining reader Erika Ensign will be Joy Piedmont! We are thrilled to have Joy joining the Uncanny team, and know she is going to be fantastic!

Fabulous news, Space Unicorns! Uncanny Magazine is a Best Magazine Locus Award finalist, and Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas are a Best Editor Locus Award finalist! We are so honored! PLUS, Isabel Yap’s “How to Swallow the Moon” is a Best Novelette Locus Award finalist! Congratulations to Isabel! And congratulations to all of the phenomenal finalists!

The awards will have been given out by the time you read this, so congratulations to all of the winners! (Drawback of writing this in mid-June.)

Even more fabulous news, Space Unicorns! The 2019 Aurora Awards finalists have been announced, and three Uncanny Magazine pieces are on the final ballot! “Osiris” by Leah Bobet (Uncanny Magazine #25) is a Finalist for Best Poem/Song, “Constructing the Future” by Derek Newman-Stille (Uncanny Magazine #24) is a finalist for Best Fan Writing and Publications, and finally Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction, edited by Dominik Parisien and Elsa Sjunneson-Henry (Uncanny Magazine #24), is a finalist for Best Related Work! Congratulations to Leah, Derek, Dominik, and Elsa, and to all of the phenomenal finalists!

From File 770:

The 2019 Aurora Awards finalists have been announced. The awards are nominated by members of the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association, for Science Fiction / Fantasy works done in 2018 by Canadians. The top five nominated works were selected.  Additional works were included where there was a tie for fifth place. The awards ceremony will be held at Can-Con 2019, October 18-20, in Ottawa.

Lastly, speaking of reminders, voting for the Hugo Awards finalists closes July 31, 2019, and memberships for both attending and supporting levels are still open! The list of Uncanny finalists can be read on our website.

And now the contents of Uncanny Magazine Issue 29! The fabulous cover is Skyward Bound by Julie Dillon. Our new fiction includes Sarah Pinsker’s uncanny cabin tale “The Blur in the Corner of Your Eye,” Greg van Eekhout’s musings on magic and consumerism “Big Box,” Rachel Swirsky and P. H. Lee’s upsetting and powerful story of familial relationships “Compassionate Simulation,” Marie Brennan’s clever exegesis about faith and dragons “On the Impurity of Dragon-kind,” A.C. Wise’s bittersweet and weird tale of magic and prestidigitation “How the Trick Is Done,” and Maurice Broaddus’s winding and musical exploration of a family’s history and future “The Migration Suite: A Study in C Sharp Minor.” Our reprint is Tim Pratt’s “A Champion of Nigh-Space,” originally published on his Patreon.

Our essays this month include Aidan Moher delving into gaming nostalgia, Tansy Rayner Roberts revealing how the The Good Place teaches good writing, Karlyn Ruth Meyer exploring the deeper meanings of The Good Place, Marissa Lingen giving her thoughts about SF/F literatures evolving “hard choices” narratives, and Elsa Sjunneson-Henry discovering how her own journey has turned her into a Tamora Pierce character. Our gorgeous and evocative poetry includes D.A. Xiaolin Spires’ “capturing the mood,” Alexandra Seidel’s “Sing,” Cynthia So’s “If Love Is Real, So Are Fairies,” and Betsy Aoki’s “Buruburu.” Finally, Caroline M. Yoachim interviews Greg van Eekhout and Maurice Broaddus about their stories.

The Uncanny Magazine Podcast 29A features Sarah Pinsker’s “The Blur in the Corner of Your Eye,” as read by Erika Ensign, D.A. Xiaolin Spires’ “capturing the mood,” as read by Joy Piedmont, and Lynne M. Thomas interviewing Sarah Pinsker. The Uncanny Magazine Podcast 29B features A.C. Wise’s “How the Trick is Done,” as read by Erika Ensign, Cynthia So’s “If Love Is Real, So Are Fairies,” as read by Joy Piedmont, and Lynne M. Thomas interviewing A.C. Wise.

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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