The Uncanny Valley

Outside is moist. Miserable and moist. The Uncanny Thomases love many things about Central Illinois, but humid August with its heat and storms is not one of them. As we huddle in the A/C with Hugo the Cat, the world continues to be frightening. The pandemic rages on. Global news is discouraging. We have plans, but all of them are layered with caution and care.

But inside THE INTERNET, things are feeling a bit better! As all of you most certainly know, we’ve been running the Uncanny Magazine Year 8: Fly to the Future, Space Unicorns Kickstarter. It will be over when you read this, but we achieved funding for Year 8 in 34 hours, and probably reached all of our stretch goals, which included adding a flash fiction story to every issue and another novella at the end of the year. Thank you, Space Unicorns!

This issue is the final issue of Uncanny Magazine Year 7. Though in some ways this was a better year for us personally than Year 6, it was another tremendously challenging year for everyone. We want to thank our phenomenal staff and every generous member of the Space Unicorn Ranger Corps who made all of this possible. We hope you enjoyed all of the gorgeous stories, poems, essays, interviews, podcasts, and art. This issue contains the bonus novella for Year 7, and we think you will greatly enjoy it along with everything else in the issue. YOU ARE THE VERY BEST, YOU MAGNIFICENT SPACE UNICORNS!!

Bittersweet news, Space Unicorns. As you may remember, Nonfiction Editor Elsa Sjunneson decided to move on from her Uncanny editorial duties at the end of Uncanny Magazine Year 7. This is Elsa’s final issue. We can’t overstate how important Elsa has been to Uncanny. Elsa started with us as the guest Co-Editor-in-Chief (with Dominik Parisien) and Nonfiction Editor of our Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction special issue. For her work on that issue, Elsa received numerous awards. She returned later to become our full-time Nonfiction Editor with Uncanny Magazine #32. We really can’t say enough great things about Elsa and what she did to make Uncanny what it is today. We know Elsa is going to do more fabulous things in the future. (Check out Elsa Sjunneson’s upcoming memoir Being Seen! It will be released on October 5, 2021!) As we write this, we are interviewing candidates to become the new Nonfiction Editor. Please check our blog and social media for more information.

More bittersweet news, Space Unicorns. Uncanny Magazine Podcast reader Joy Piedmont is moving on after podcast episode #42B. Joy has been with us since Episode #29A and has done a spectacular job. We know she will continue to do brilliant things, and will be greatly missed.

Excellent award news, Space Unicorns!

The World Fantasy Award finalists have been announced! “The Nine Scents of Sorrow” by Jordan Taylor and “My Country Is a Ghost” by Eugenia Triantafyllou are finalists for the Best Short Fiction World Fantasy Award! Also, Editors-in-Chief Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas are finalists for the Special Award–Non-Professional World Fantasy Award for their Uncanny Magazine work! We are thrilled and honored! Congratulations to Jordan, Eugenia, and all of the finalists!

Fabulous news, Space Unicorns! Ken Liu’s “50 Things Every AI Working with Humans Should Know” is a Sturgeon Memorial Award finalist! Congratulations to Ken and all of the finalists!

From the press release below:

This year’s finalists for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for the best short science fiction story have been selected, announced Christopher McKitterick, Director of the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction. The winner of the award will be announced online later this summer.

The Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award recognizes the best science fiction short story of each year. It was established in 1987 by James Gunn, Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at KU, and the heirs of Theodore Sturgeon, including his partner Jayne Engelhart Tannehill and Sturgeon’s children, as an appropriate memorial to one of the great short-story writers in a field distinguished by its short fiction.

Stupendous news, Space Unicorns! “The Sycamore and the Sybil” by Alix E. Harrow is a 2021 Eugie Award Finalist! Congratulations to Alix and to all of the 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. Starting with the 2020, we will add a video presentation of the award online, along with a reading of a section of each finalist.

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.

Wonderful news, Space Unicorns! “Metal Like Blood in the Dark” by T. Kingfisher is a 2021 WSFA Small Press Award Finalist! Congratulations to Ursula and to all of the finalists!

From their website:

The award honors the efforts of small press publishers in providing a critical venue for short fiction in the area of speculative fiction. The award showcases the best original short fiction published by small presses in the previous year (2020). An unusual feature of the selection process is that all voting is done with the identity of the author (and publisher) hidden so that the final choice is based solely on the quality of the story. The winner is chosen by the members of the Washington Science Fiction Association ( and will be presented at their annual convention, Capclave (, held on October 1-3, 2021 at the Rockville Hilton, Rockville, MD.

And now the contents of Uncanny Magazine Issue 42! The spectacular cover is The Sun Temple by Julie Dillon. Our new fiction includes Aliette de Bodard’s epic tale of loss and vows “Mulberry and Owl,” Betsy Aoki’s story of art and pain “On a Branch Floating Down the River, a Wren Is Singing,” Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam’s exploration of illness and loves “Onward,” P. Djèlí Clark’s tale of magic and discovery “If the Martians Have Magic,” Kristiana Willsey’s story of betrayal and vengeance “Down in the Aspen Hollow,” Rachael K. Jones’s yarn of friendship and aging “Six Fictions About Unicorns,” and finally Eugenia Triantafyllou’s mystery novella of family and discovery “The Giants of the Violet Sea.”

Our provocative and compelling essays this month include “Suddenly Sci-Fi: When Real Life Turns Unreal” by Sarah Kuhn, “Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor Is a Space Unicorn (And We’re Going to Miss Her When She’s Gone)” by Tansy Rayner Roberts, “Expanding Our Empathy Sphere Using F&SF, a History” by Ada Palmer, and “Humour, Genre & the One True Quest for a Missing Pillar” by Shiv Ramdas. This month also includes a final editorial column by Nonfiction Editor Elsa Sjunneson called “Imagining Futures: So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish” by Elsa Sjunneson. Our gorgeous and evocative poetry includes “amorous advice for the ocean-oriented” by Chiara Situmorang, “The Captain Flies” by Avi Silver, “Áhàméfùla” by Uche Ogbuji, and “Map- Making” by Kristian Macaron. Finally, Caroline M. Yoachim interviews Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam and Eugenia Triantafyllou about their stories.

The Uncanny Magazine Podcast #42A features “Mulberry and Owl” by Aliette de Bodard, as read by Joy Piedmont, “The Captain Flies” by Avi Silver, as read by Erika Ensign, and Lynne M. Thomas interviewing Aliette de Bodard. The Uncanny Magazine Podcast #42B features “If the Martians Have Magic” by P. Djèlí Clark, as read by Matt Peters, “Map- Making” by Kristian Macaron, as read by Erika Ensign, and Lynne M. Thomas interviewing P. Djèlí Clark.

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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