Author Archive

Tananarive Due’s “Black Horror Rising” Won the Best in Creative Nonfiction Ignyte Award!

Fabulous news, Space Unicorns! Tananarive Due’s “Black Horror Risingwon the Best in Creative Nonfiction Ignyte Award! A huge congratulations to Tananarive!

Once again,  congratulations to Christopher Caldwell, whose “Canst Thou Draw Out the Leviathan” was a finalist for a Best Short Story Ignyte Award, Brandon O’Brien, whose “Elegy for the Self as Villeneuve’s Beast” was a finalist for a Best in Speculative Poetry Ignyte Award, Tamara Jerée, whose “goddess in forced repose” was a Best in Speculative Poetry Ignyte Award finalist, and Uncanny Magazine Interviewer Caroline M. Yoachim, whose “The Archronology of Love” was a Best Novelette Ignyte Award finalist!

It was a fabulous ballot. Congratulations to all of the winners and finalists!

Why We Love the Uncanny in Fiction– A Guest Post by Paula Guran

The idea of the uncanny has been explored for 150 years or more by a host of brilliant minds—Sigmund Freud, Jacques Derrida, and Nicholas Royle to name only a few. Even if confined only to its context in fiction, current scholars still debate its definition.

Freud’s 1919 essay “Das Unheimliche” is, however, a universally cited reference when dealing with a description of the uncanny. We might as well start there.

Freud begins with the etymology of the German word unheimlich, which he says shows the uncanny is “that class of the frightening which leads back to what is known of old and long familiar.” Heimlich means “homely”—familiar, mundane, intimate, friendly. But here’s also an implication of secrecy, concealment, something being withheld from others. Add the prefix un (which shares its negative effect with English) to heimlich, and the result is a term for the eerie and uneasy. Freud then quotes German philosopher F. W. J. Schelling’s Philosophy of Mythology: “Unheimlich is the name for everything that ought to have remained… hidden and secret and has become visible.” Unheimlich: uncanny.

Now that we’re somewhat grounded, let’s keep it (overly) simple: when we encounter the uncanny in fiction we usually have started out in a familiar world or, at least, a world that is intimately recognizable to a story’s characters. Then a divergence occurs, the easily comprehensible is no longer so understandable, and a certain disorientation occurs. We feel uneasy. But within this discombobulation, there is also a change in perception, a revelation of sorts. Within the dream, there is awakening. We are awake, but we are changed. Fiction has realigned our reality.

Sounds all psychedelic or woo-woo, doesn’t it? But I think you know what I mean.

Consider some well-known classic examples: “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe (1839), A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (1843), The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (1898), or “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1892). Life seems “normal” until a literal crack appears in the edifice, or ghostly figures appear, or the wallpaper mutates. Things begin to unravel and the reader feels it.

Those stories affect me, stay with me. That’s why I love finding the uncanny in fiction.

I chose three stories from Uncanny Magazine’s 2019 issues for The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror, Volume One (despite the title, it is the eleventh in the series): Fran Wilde’s “A Catalog of Storms” (Uncanny Issue 26), “Nice Things” by Ellen Klages (Uncanny Issue 28), and “The Blur in the Corner of Your Eye” by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny Issue 29). Several more are also listed as recommended reads. Let’s look at the effect of the uncanny in one of them.

In Ellen Klages’s “Nice Things,” Phoebe Morris is sorting through her recently deceased mother’s belongings. A sad but mundane task—until a certain folder isn’t where she put it and, when discovered, includes a note in her mother’s “distinctive script.” Phoebe rationalizes this uncanny event and returns to the everyday and her orderly process.

The uncanny intrudes again with sounds and smells. The impossible is happening. By the end of the story we realize just how much has changed.

Neither this or the other stories are particularly scary; few would call them horror. But in all of them, the uncanny enters and they become unsettling tales—dark fantasy, for lack of another term. And, chances are, they will alter readers perceptions enough that those stories will stay with them for a long time.

That’s what happened to me when I read them. That’s how I wound up considering them among the “best” of the year.

As a reader of Uncanny, you may have already found these stories, but I promise that among the other twenty-one stories in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror, Volume One you will come across the uncanny again and again.

(You can find out more about The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror, Volume One here!)

Paula Guran has edited almost fifty science fiction, fantasy, and horror anthologies and more than fifty novels and collections featuring the same. She’s reviewed and written articles for dozens of publications. She lives in Akron, Ohio, with her faithful cat Nala, near enough to her grandchildren to frequently be indulgent.






Uncanny Magazine Issue 36 Cover and Table of Contents!

Coming September 1, THE THIRTY-SIXTH ISSUE OF THE 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 HUGO AWARD-WINNING UNCANNY MAGAZINE!!

All of the content will be available in the eBook version on the day of release.

The free online content will be released in 2 stages- half on day of release and half on October 6.

Don’t forget eBook Subscriptions to Uncanny Magazine are available from Weightless Books and Amazon Kindle, and you can support us on our Patreon!

Uncanny Magazine Issue 36 Table of Contents

Connected by Christopher Jones

“The Uncanny Valley” by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas (9/1)
“Imagining Place: Worldbuilding As” by Elsa Sjunneson (9/1)

“Metal Like Blood in the Dark” by T. Kingfisher (9/1)
“Anchorage” by Samantha Mills (9/1)
“Laws of Impermanence” by Kenneth Schneyer (9/1)

“Juvenilia” by Lavie Tidhar (10/6)
“The City of the Tree” by Marie Brennan (10/6)
“In The Space of Twelve Minutes” by James Yu (10/6)

“The Mouser of Peter the Great” by P. Djèlí Clark (9/1)

“Finding Myself in Speculative Fiction Again After Leaving Other Worlds Behind” by Del Sandeen (9/1)
“The Roots of Hope: Toward an Optimistic Near-Future SF in a Pandemic” by Marissa Lingen (9/1)

“Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Excellence” by Nibedita Sen (10/6)
“Sticks and String” by Christopher Mark Rose (10/6)

“Fin” by Terese Mason Pierre (9/1)
“My Cat, He” by Beth Cato (9/1)

“The Body in Revolt” by Rita Chen (10/6)
“As if My Flesh was Summer Soil” by Lora Gray (10/6)

Kenneth Schneyer interviewed by Caroline M. Yoachim (9/1)

Lavie Tidhar interviewed by Caroline M. Yoachim (10/6)


Episode 36A (September 1): “Metal Like Blood in the Dark” by T. Kingfisher, as read by Erika Ensign, “Fin” by Terese Mason Pierre, as read by Joy Piedmont, and Lynne M. Thomas interviewing T. Kingfisher.

Episode 36B (October 6): Editors’ Introduction, “In The Space of Twelve Minutes” by James Yu, as read by Joy Piedmont, “As if My Flesh was Summer Soil” by Lora Gray, as read by Erika Ensign, and Lynne M. Thomas interviewing James Yu.


Dominion Anthology- A Guest Post by Zelda Knight and Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki

Zelda Knight

Dominion was born of tragedy, but in many ways, it is one of the greatest blessings in my life. By 2019, I had been running my publishing house AURELIA LEO for four years and counting. I was also extremely burnt out. Truth is, small press publishing is not sustainable without a paying audience, and even for works that sold well, the stress involved in embodying an entire publishing house as one woman was and is exhausting. I was close to closing down my operation altogether to focus on my true passion: opening up a specialty bookstore for Queer, Southern, Trans, Black, Indigenous, and/or other Creators of Color under the banner of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. I was starting to make this shift, continuing to publish novel-length works, while sunsetting a majority of my publication in the process. But then, tragedy struck.

On July 16, 2019, my family survived a grease fire at our home. I sustained flash burns down my left arm and across my face, and my mother suffered full-thickness (3rd degree) burns on around 25% of her body. We all survived, but the scars from the accident and the trauma remain. After a near-death experience, one begins reexamining their life. I found myself wondering why I was sinking so much time and effort into an endeavor that didn’t bring me joy anymore? I’ve always published fiction, poetry, and art from across the spectrum of diversity beyond just race. However, I wanted to focus on something that was connected to my heritage. I gravitated to publishing Black speculative fiction. I needed to create a project rooted in my Christianity, my Blackness, my Womanhood, and all the pieces that make me me.

This anthology came about by picking up the pieces of my life. In my role as a public historian documenting racial violence in the Commonwealth of Kentucky for a documentary project, I came across The 1619 Project, directed by Nikole Hannah-Jones. I was blown away by the collaboration, and wanted to hear from those still living in the continent about 500 years worth of ramifications due to the global African slave trade. Then, I saw a short clip on the internet about The Year of Return sponsored by the Ghanaian government. This is what I was searching for! An explosion of academic and commercial dialogue was happening between Black Americans and the motherland. But how could I contribute? What could I contribute?

The final pieces of the puzzle that became Dominion had already been discovered. I just hadn’t put two and two together just yet. Henrique DLD’s Afrofuturistic artwork, Vagrant knight, became the cover of the untitled anthology project. Then, I tapped my soon-to-be co-editor Oghenechovwe, whose short story, “Ife-Iyoku,” shook me to my core. Aside from The 1619 Project, anthologies like Long Hidden & Hidden Youth, Dark Matter, New Suns, and [email protected] Rising inspired me to virtually reach across the Atlantic and build something unique with my co-editor. We were going to make history in the DIY spirit that made me love small press and micro-press publishing in the first place. The title, taken from Genesis 1:26-31, also embodied that spirit. What worlds would Black and African Diasporic writers send our way? How would they interpret the question, “What is the legacy and the future of Africa and the African Diaspora?”

We opened a call for submissions on a wing and prayer, and the authors and poets who submitted went above and beyond our expectations! We carried that momentum into a very successful Kickstarter campaign. But things have been a bumpy ride ever since. My health issues aside, COVID-19 changed the world as we know it, and has impacted the editorial process in surprising ways. From manufacturing enamel pins to general plummeting revenues all around, now more than ever, I am amazed by the positive response, and monetary support Dominion has received! Despite the hiccups along the way, I still feel like I’m walking in my purpose. During a time of open Black rebellion, we need to be centering Black voices. Both my co-editor and I hope you pick up a copy of Dominion, the first anthology to bridge African and African Diasporic speculative fiction and poetry!

Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki

My co-editor, Zelda, first approached me about partnering to make an anthology around July of last year. I had just signed a contract with her to publish my Africanfuturistic short story, “Ife-Iyoku”, in her magazine Selene Quarterly. I would later find out the story was one of the inspirations for the anthology. Thus began our year-long, taxing, but ultimately satisfying collaboration to produce the very first anthology of speculative fiction and poetry with writers from Africa and the African Diaspora!

 I jumped at the chance to co-edit the anthology because it would afford writers on the continent—and beyond—an opportunity to be heard and have their voices amplified. I realized immediately that Dominion offered a lot of benefits for Black and African writers, as well as tackled structural problems. The first problem the anthology solved was payment. Very few magazines or literary journals on the continent pay writers. Despite being a student pursuing her MA at the time—while managing to run a small press on the side—Zelda paid authors, a huge financial commitment. She confirmed that the writers in the anthology would be paid as well. I knew then that she had a strong and healthy respect for creators being paid. Dominion was going to chip away at an endemic problem of unpaid literature on the continent.

The second need the anthology fulfilled that encouraged me to embark on it was the fact that it created a safe space for writers. Dominion would allow their voices to be appreciated by editors, and amplified amidst other works by writers, of the same race. These editors see unfamiliar stories and styles as flawed due to them deviating from American and Western ideals, which are wrongly considered the default standard of quality fiction. So we were two editors, one man, and one woman, Diasporan and continental, as balanced as could be, hoping to do justice to Black and African speculative fiction as much as we could.

Despite a successful crowdfunding campaign, and an outpouring of support from the SFF community, it hasn’t all been a path strewn with roses. Firstly, there’s been quite a bit of queries from certain elements questioning why African speculative fiction and this anthology should exist, asking what the need for it was, and what purpose it served. The fact that people even asked those questions was the very answer to those questions. And, despite exceeding our Kickstarter goals, the funds raised were not for marketing and promotion. So, that had to be done manually and painstakingly by ourselves on social media, using our own unpaid time and limited resources. Sometimes this was disheartening as there’s only Zelda and I. We’re just two people, and the work just could not be done, even when finances weren’t an issue. Sometimes, finances were the issue. There were places we could not go, things we couldn’t do, as a small press.  And, we were unable to work when our devices had issues, and we couldn’t immediately fix or replace them. COVID-19 further complicated things. Due to collapsing revenue, our arrangement with an Italian publishing house to translate the anthology fell through. Anxiety over our health was also a factor as both I and my co-editor have pre-existing conditions.

While we wanted balance by having two editors, it also proved tricky to handle as we were working across continents, time zones, and cultural barriers. Communication was frequently an issue. But we persevered. And despite all these obstacles, I dare say we have created one of the most important speculative fiction books, anthologies of the year. We have gotten press from a number of reputable places, like Den of Geek, and reviews from Quick Sip Reviews, blurbs from some of our favourite authors, and the anthology shows a lot of promise for its coming launch. I hope that it will overall improve the impact and value of Black and African speculative fiction and show writers, as it aims to, that their voices are highly needed and valued in the speculative fiction community.











Zelda Knight writes speculative romance (horror, science fiction, and fantasy). She’s also a cryptozoologist in training. Under the pen name Odyssey Rose, Zelda explores science fiction romance. She pens LGBTQIA+ speculative romance using the pen name Iris Sword. Keep in touch on social media @AuthorZKnight. Or, visit You can also email [email protected]











Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki is a Nigerian writer and editor. He has been awarded an honourable mention in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest, twice. His short story “The Witching Hour,” won the Nommo award for best short story by an African. He has been published in Selene Quarterly, Strange Horizons, Tor, and other venues, and has works forthcoming in several other venues.

He has guest edited and co-edited several publications, including The Selene Quarterly, Invictus Quarterly, and the Dominion Anthology.
He is a member of the African Speculative Fiction Society, Codex, the Horror Writers of America, the British Science Fiction Association, and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
You can find him on Twitter at @penprince_NSA and on his website

An Uncanny Story, 2 Poems, and an Essay Are Ignyte Award Finalists!!!

Fabulous news, Space Unicorns! An Uncanny Magazine story, 2 poems, and an essay are Ignyte Award finalists! Congratulations to Christopher Caldwell! “Canst Thou Draw Out the Leviathan” is a finalist for a Best Short Story Ignyte Award! Congratulations to Brandon O’Brien! “Elegy for the Self as Villeneuve’s Beast” is a finalist for a Best in Speculative Poetry Ignyte Award! Congratulations to Tamara Jerée! “goddess in forced repose” is a Best in Speculative Poetry Ignyte Award finalist! And Congratulations to Tananarive Due! “Black Horror Rising” is a Best in Creative Nonfiction Ignyte Award finalist!

Plus, congratulations to Uncanny Magazine Interviewer Caroline M. Yoachim! “The Archronology of Love” is a Best Novelette Ignyte Award finalist!

It is a fabulous ballot. Congratulations to all of the finalists!

From the Ignyte Award website:

The FIYAHCON 2020 Committee is thrilled to announce the finalists for the inaugural Ignyte Awards. The Awards seek to celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of the current and future landscapes of science fiction, fantasy, and horror by recognizing incredible feats in storytelling and outstanding efforts toward inclusivity of the genre. To that effect, the committee feels that these creators, creations, entities, and perspectives from 2019 represent the brightest lights in speculative fiction’s future. We encourage you to seek out the nominees unfamiliar to you on this list, engage with their works of fiction or acts of community, and to use those experiences to inform your vote.

The short list is derived from 15 BIPOC voters on the FIYAHCON staff, of varying genders, sexualities, cultures, disabilities, and locations throughout the world. They are referred to as the Ignyte Awards Committee. Committee members were not permitted to nominate their own works or works of which they were a part. The Committee was not limited to selections authored or otherwise created by BIPOC. Public voting on the shortlist does not permit write-in nominations. We intend to ask one year’s winners to be part of the subsequent year’s committee to ensure fresh perspectives and to help prevent repeated nominations of the same popular authors as recognized in many other genre awards. Details on that process as well as the longlist and the process of submitting works for consideration will be released after FIYAHCON 2020

Voting is now open to the public through September 11th at 11:59 PM Eastern Time. Click here to vote.

Inquiries can be forwarded to director(at)

Meet Uncanny Magazine’s New Assistant Editor, Naomi Day!

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

Uncanny Magazine Assistant Editor Angel Cruz is moving on after issue 36. Angel has been with us for over a year and has done a spectacular job, especially with our newsletter. We know Angel will continue to do brilliant things, and we will greatly miss her.

And now for the wonderful news!

Starting with Uncanny Magazine #37 (November/December 2020), the new Assistant Editor will be…

Naomi Day!

Naomi is a fantastic writer and brings a lot of enthusiasm to the position. We can’t wait to start working with her!

Naomi’s Bio:

Naomi Day (she/her) is a queer Black woman who enjoys interrogating the strange ways her mixed-race experience has shaped the way she moves through the world. She primarily writes short Afro-centric futurist fiction, and her work has appeared in Black Warrior Review and The Seventh Wave. She is part of the Clarion West class of 2020/21. She considers herself a lifelong student and much prefers the nomadic life, finding home in cities from Chicago to London.

It was a phenomenal pool of applicants. Thank you to everyone who applied!

Uncanny Magazine Year 7 will be fantastic, Space Unicorns. Though many changes are happening, we will continue to have the BEST STAFF in the universe.

Uncanny Magazine Wins the 2020 Best Semiprozine Hugo Award!

Space Unicorns! We have wonderful news! Uncanny Magazine won its fifth Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine (Publishers/Editors-in-Chief Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, Managing/Nonfiction Editor Michi Trota, Managing Editor Chimedum Ohaegbu, and Podcast Producers Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky)! 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 2019 regular staff of Michi Trota,  Erika Ensign, Steven Schapansky, Joy Piedmont, Angel Cruz, Chimedum Ohaegbu, and Caroline M. Yoachim; our Disabled People Destroy Fantasy guest editors Nicolette Barischoff, Lisa M. Bradley, and Katharine Duckett. (We want to apologize to them. We accidentally omitted them from our Hugo acceptance speech. They did phenomenal jobs, & we’re so very sorry for not thanking them in our video); all of our submissions editors; all of our contributors; 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 three Uncanny Magazine stories that were finalists: “The Blur in the Corner of Your Eye” by Sarah Pinsker for Best Novelette, “Away With the Wolves” by Sarah Gailey (from the Disabled People Destroy Fantasy special issue) for Best Novelette, and “A Catalog of Storms” by Fran Wilde for Best Short Story!

Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas didn’t win the Best Editor- Short Form Hugo Award. A huge congratulations to the winner, Ellen Datlow!

Congratulations to all the Hugo Awards winners and finalists!

Here is our speech!

The Thomases and Pinsker’s Story Are World Fantasy Award Finalists!

Excellent award news, Space Unicorns!

The World Fantasy Award finalists have been announced! “The Blur in the Corner of Your Eye” by Sarah Pinsker is a finalist for the Best Short Story 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 Sarah and all of the finalists!

Mary Robinette Kowal’s Dramatic Reading of Her Peeing in Space Tweets!

Space Unicorns! As you may remember, last year Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Mary Robinette Kowal had a viral Twitter thread about “Peeing in Space.” You might also remember that for the Uncanny Magazine Year 6 Kickstarter, she offered to give a DRAMATIC READING of her Tweets!

If you enjoyed this, please make sure to check out Mary Robinette Kowal’s award-winning Lady Astronaut novels! The most recent one, The Relentless Moon, came out THIS WEEK!

Uncanny Magazine Issue 35 Cover and Table of Contents!


All of the content will be available in the eBook version on the day of release.

The free online content will be released in 2 stages- half on day of release and half on August 4.

Don’t forget eBook Subscriptions to Uncanny Magazine are available from Weightless Books and Amazon Kindle, and you can support us on our Patreon!

Uncanny Magazine Issue 35 Table of Contents

Walking in the Cosmos by Kirbi Fagan

“The Uncanny Valley” by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas
“Imagining Place: Without Police” by Elsa Sjunneson

“Once More Unto the Breach (But Don’t Worry, the Inflatable Swords
Are Latex-Free)” by Tina Connolly (7/7)
“The World Ends in Salty Fingers and Sugared Lips” by Jenn Reese (7/7)
“A Pale Horse” by M Evan MacGriogair (7/7)
“A Love Song for Herkinal
as composed by Ashkernas amid the ruins of New Haven” by Chinelo Onwualu (7/7)

“The Inaccessibility of Heaven” by Aliette de Bodard (8/4)
“The Ruby of the Summer King” by Mari Ness (8/4)
“The Nine Scents of Sorrow” by Jordan Taylor (8/4)

“Will I Live to See My Utopia?” by P. Djèlí Clark (7/7)
“Hands On” by Caitlin Starling (7/7)

“Transforming Anxiety” by Danny Lore (8/4)
“The People You Only Think You Know” by Hillary Monahan (8/4)

“lagahoo culture (Part I)” by Brandon O’Brien (7/7)
“saltwashed” by Jennifer Mace (7/7)

“The Trouble Over” by Sonya Taaffe (8/4)
“fair exchange” by Ewen Ma (8/4)

M Evan MacGriogair interviewed by Caroline M. Yoachim (7/7)

Aliette de Bodard interviewed by Caroline M. Yoachim (8/4)


Uncanny Magazine Podcast 35A (7/7):
“Once More Unto the Breach (But Don’t Worry, the Inflatable Swords Are Latex-Free)” by Tina Connolly, as read by Joy Piedmont
“The World Ends in Salty Fingers and Sugared Lips” by Jenn Reese, as read by Joy Piedmont
“saltwashed” by Jennifer Mace, as read by Erika Ensign
Lynne M. Thomas interviewing Tina Connolly

Uncanny Magazine Podcast 35B (8/4):
“The Ruby of the Summer King” by Mari Ness, as read by Erika Ensign
“fair exchange” by Ewen Ma, as read by Joy Piedmont
Lynne M. Thomas interviewing Mari Ness