The Uncanny Valley

AIEE!! WHAT IS THAT BRIGHT HOT THING IN THE SKY!!! ARE WE ALL DOOMED?!?!

Wait, no.

It is finally summer in the Midwest! Flowers are blooming and allergies are trying to kill us! Our seven days of Illinois spring are over, bringing the heat, humidity, and mosquito swarms! So let’s stay inside and make a magazine!

During our abbreviated spring, we had a lovely few days of walks around town and scheming. How much scheming? ALL OF IT. Plans are afoot at the Uncanny Magazine Headquarters! By the time you read this, the vast majority of the backer rewards from the Uncanny Magazine Year Two Kickstarter will be fulfilled, with the exception of Issue 12, which is of course scheduled for September. One of the things we love about the Kickstarter experience is that it builds community. As we sent out our Uncanny swag, members of our wonderful Space Unicorn Ranger Corps posted their pictures of postcards, stickers, and patches in excitement. As we and our staff go to different conventions and events, our Kickstarter backers often come up to us and squee delightedly about the magazine and their deep commitment to its existence.

We love all of our readers, subscribers, and patrons on Patreon. It’s fantastic that so many different sub–communities have formed around their love of Uncanny. Thanks to all of them, we’ve found many different revenue streams to make Uncanny as excellent as possible.

So what is the current scheming? We’ll be running the Uncanny Magazine Year Three Kickstarter in a couple of weeks! Videos are being made! Creators solicited! Exciting new stretch goals developed! Kickstarter is a powerful engine for building invested communities. We are happy to be recruiting there for the Space Unicorn Ranger Corps once again.

Speaking of conventions, we had wonderful times at the SFWA Nebula Conference and Wiscon. Both gatherings were quite different from each other, but were filled with friends, colleagues (including Managing Editor Michi Trota), and excellent interactions. The SFWA Nebula Conference this year featured phenomenal professional development opportunities for SF/F pros. There were also plenty of shenanigans with pizza, the vile alcohol known as Malört, The Club, and late nights on the streets of Chicago. We greatly enjoyed the delightful Toastmaster John Hodgman and the historic Nebula Awards Ceremony, and all the wonderful conversations that went late into the night in the glorious, iconic Palmer House Hotel. Sadly, there was a lack of the épée and heists this time which made last year so special. (Perhaps at the next convention…)

Wiscon was a one–day return for the Thomases after missing the previous two Wiscons. Though we were only there for hours, Caitlin and her parents had an excellent time seeing old friends and meeting new people. Wiscon was a home convention for us, so it was wonderful to be greeted like absent family members. We plan on returning next year when Uncanny’s very own Amal El–Mohtar is one of the Guests of Honor!

Speaking of Amal El–Mohtar as Guest of Honor, she is also one at CONvergence in the Twin Cities! We will be there along with Michi Trota and many other Uncanny staff members and contributors! We will also be at the Fourth Street Fantasy convention once again. We love the Twin Cities and their robust fandom communities.

Finally, the Thomases and Michi will be at MidAmeriCon II in Kansas City! We are so excited about this Worldcon. Lynne has already purchased her super fancy dress for the Hugo Awards Ceremony. We are all planning to eat so much barbecue while we’re there. We hope to see you at some of these conventions!

We want to thank everybody who purchased Weightless Books subscriptions during the subscription drive and sale. So many new members of the Space Unicorn Ranger Corps! We 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.

So, the award news keeps coming in Uncannyland! Hao Jingfang’s “Folding Beijing” (translated by Ken Liu) is A FINALIST FOR THE BEST NOVELETTE LOCUS AWARD along with being a Hugo and Sturgeon Award finalist! Once again, we wish huge congratulations to Jingfang and Ken! Also, Tran Nguyen’s stunning Uncanny Magazine Issue 4 cover, “Traveling to a Distant Day,” WON A GOLD AWARD IN THE SPECTRUM 23 EDITORIAL CATEGORY! It is also a 2016 Chesley Awards–Best Cover Illustration: Magazine nominee! We are so happy for Tran. It’s a phenomenal cover, and we’re giddy that it now has a super fancy award and another nomination.

And now, the contents of our magnificent eleventh issue! Our striking cover, “Those Who Came First,” is by Antonio Caparo. Our original fiction includes sentient spaceships and perihelial storms courtesy of Aliette de Bodard in “A Hundred and Seventy Storms,” a moving meditation on life, death, and magic by Sabrina Vourvoulias in “El Cantar of Rising Sun,” and a touching perspective on parenthood and what we pass along in Caroline M. Yoachim’s “The Words on My Skin.” Catherynne M. Valente’s novelette “Snow Day” explores outliving our expectations for life and love, and Isabel Yap’s “An Ocean the Color of Bruises” looks at how we develop our expectations in the first place. Our reprint this month is Kelly Link’s fabulous classic “Travels with the Snow Queen.”

Our essays this month include Sarah Kuhn searching for Asian American mirrors in SF/F, Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky giving the basics on how to start a podcast, Sigrid Ellis looking at current diversity in comics, and Kelly McCullough investigating how narrative and storytelling inform all of his life. Our new poetry includes Jessica P. Wick’s wonderful “Good Neighbors,” Bryan Thao Worra’s stunning “Phaya Nak Goes to The West,” and Ali Trotta’s powerful “The Persecution of Witches.” All of this excellent new fiction, nonfiction, and poetry is rounded out with Deborah Stanish’s in–depth interviews of Sarah Kuhn and Sabrina Vourvoulias.

Podcast 11A features Erika Ensign reading Aliette de Bodard’s “A Hundred and Seventy Storms,” Amal El–Mohtar reading Jessica P. Wick’s “Good Neighbors,” and an interview by Deborah Stanish. Podcast 11B features Amal El–Mohtar reading Isabel Yap’s “An Ocean the Color of Bruises,” Erika Ensign reading Ali Trotta’s “The Persecution of Witches,” and an interview by Deborah Stanish.

Please enjoy the latest issue of Uncanny Magazine, and thank you all so much for your continued support.

Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas

Lynne and Michael are the Publishers/Editors-in-Chief for the Hugo and Parsec Award-winning Uncanny Magazine.

Four-time Hugo 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, as well as Whedonistas and Chicks Dig Comics.

Along with being a two-time Hugo Award nominee as the former Managing Editor of Apex Magazine (2012–2013) Michael Damian Thomas co-edited the Hugo-nominated Queers Dig Time Lords (Mad Norwegian Press, 2013) with Sigrid Ellis and Glitter & Mayhem (Apex Publications, 2013), with John Klima and Lynne M. Thomas.

Together, they solve mysteries.

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