The Uncanny Valley

I love beginnings.

I’m writing this editorial on Oregon Street in Urbana, Illinois, in our new house (but in the same squishy leather chair where I wrote my last editorial). This is the street where my journey in publishing began. A few blocks west is a nearly unchanged Espresso Royale coffeehouse. Twenty-five years ago, you would find 18-year-old Michael there smoking (I quit two years later), hanging out with other writers and miscreants, and filling spiral notebooks with derivative story ideas and horrible emo poetry. A couple of blocks from there is the computer lab where I wrote many of my first stories for my creative writing classes at Parkland College, printing them out on the slowest dot matrix printer ever while hoping nobody working there would ask me if I was a student at the University of Illinois anymore.

We now live in a fairy neighborhood I dreamed of living in at the time—filled with homes with prairie-garden front yards, trees that make it look like a forest from above, brick streets, and dim streetlights that at night look like gaslight. I used to often traverse its streets to get to my friends’ homes and apartments (including my late friend Erin, who I greatly miss). And now, we are here.

Lynne lived only two blocks away from this house when she attended the University of Illinois to get her Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science 20 years ago. (As mentioned in the last editorial, she now is the Head of the Rare Book and Manuscripts Library at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the same library where she worked as a graduate student). Urbana is full of old beginnings, and new beginnings. Lynne and I fell in love, then; our daughter, Caitlin, is attending her first high school now. Everything has come full circle.

I don’t know what new magic we will create here, but we couldn’t be in a better place.

Speaking of beginnings, welcome to Uncanny Magazine Year 4!

Old news at this point, but since the last editorial, the Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction/Uncanny Magazine Year 4 Kickstarter finished, achieving tons of stretch goals, including the physical book edition of the special issue and a Disabled People Destroy Fantasy special issue at some point in the future!

We remain overwhelmed and ecstatic about all of the community support we received. Uncanny Year 4 with the Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction special issue and the Shared-World Dinosaur issue promises to be extraordinary. This is your magazine, Space Unicorns. As always, you make this possible.

In more endings and beginnings, this is the last issue of the marvelous and phenomenal Julia Rios acting as our Poetry Editor. As we said before, Julia is simply a most excellent human being, and one of the best editors in the industry. (Watch what she does as Fiction Editor at Fireside Magazine!). We greatly miss her already. Make sure you read her special goodbye editorial!

As Julia is leaving us, three other amazing people are joining us! As previously announced, this is the first issue for our new Reprint Editor, the Marvelous Mimi Mondal (Mimi takes over as Poetry Editor next issue) and new interviewer the Sensational Shana DuBois! We are so thrilled to have them on the team! They are going to do excellent things.

More great staff news! The Stupendous Stephanie Malia Morris is joining Uncanny Magazine as a regular reader for the Uncanny Magazine Podcast! Stephanie was a guest reader on Uncanny Magazine Podcast Episode 18A, and we are so excited that she is joining us as a regular member of the Uncanny team.

From her bio: Stephanie is a recipient of the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship Award and a graduate of the 2017 Clarion West Writers Workshop, and her fiction is in the fourth issue of FIYAH. She has narrated short fiction for StarShipSofa, Far Fetched Fables, and all four of the Escape Artists podcasts.

Award news! Congratulations to Tor.com, which won the British Fantasy Awards—Best Magazine/Periodical Award. We were thrilled to be a finalist with such wonderful magazines.

As we write this, the World Fantasy Awards have yet to happen, but you will know the winners since this editorial will be published a couple of days after the ceremony! Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas were finalists for the Special Award, Non-Professional World Fantasy Award for Uncanny Magazine, and “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies” by Brooke Bolander was a finalist for the Best Short Story World Fantasy Award! Congratulations to all of the winners. It is truly an honor to be a finalist with such amazing people.

Michael was at the World Fantasy Convention in San Antonio representing Uncanny, with the ICFA alligator, so hopefully you spoke with him! He had a phenomenal time! Probably!

Fuck the fascist regime in the US. (This sentence is becoming distressingly evergreen).

And now the contents of Uncanny Magazine Issue 19! The marvelous cover is Medusa by Julie Dillon. Our new fiction this month includes a visceral Sam J. Miller & Lara Elena Donnelly co-written epistolary novelette of war, masculinity, and poetry “Making Us Monsters,” Karin Tidbeck’s haunting journey of place and self “The Bone Plain,” Sarah Monette’s poignant tale of family and death “Learning to See Dragons,” Tina Connolly’s evocative and heartbreaking story of societal roles “Pipecleaner Sculptures and Other Necessary Work,” Troy L. Wiggins’s intense and spectacular tale of gods and anger “Sorrow and Joy, Sunshine and Rain,” and finally Tansy Rayner Roberts’s delightful mythic odyssey “How to Survive an Epic Journey.” Our reprints are Zen Cho’s “The First Witch of Damansara,” originally published in the 2012 anthology Bloody Fabulous, and Rachel Swirsky’s “Elemental Love,” originally published earlier this year on her Patreon.

This month’s essays include Dimas Ilaw’s gut-wrenching exploration of current Philippines politics, Tim Pratt’s exploration of novel worldbuilding, Mallory Yu’s thoughts on Asian representation in movies, Mari Ness’s analysis of The Secret of NIMH, Natalie Luhrs’s thoughts on the influence of Mystery Science Theater 3000, and an editorial goodbye from Julia Rios.

Issue 19’s cavalcade of gorgeous poetry includes Nin Harris’s “Spice Islands,” Sharon Hsu’s “For All My Missing Jiejies and Ayis,” Sara Cleto & Brittany Warman’s “An Announcement,” Betsy Aoki’s “The old woman who hands you an apple,” Cassandra Khaw’s “Apathetic Goblin Nightmare Woman,” Valerie Valdes’s “Keening,” Millie Ho’s “The Designs of Designer Baby,” and Dominik Parisien’s “Afternoon with Grandparents.” Finally, Shana DuBois interviews Sam J. Miller & Lara Elena Donnelly, and Tansy Rayner Roberts about their stories.

The Uncanny Magazine Podcast episode 19A features Karin Tidbeck’s “The Bone Plain” as read by Stephanie Malia Morris, Sara Cleto & Brittany Warman’s “An Announcement” as read by Erika Ensign, and Shana DuBois interviewing Karin Tidbeck. Episode 19B features Tina Connolly’s “Pipecleaner Sculptures and Other Necessary Work” as read by Stephanie Malia Morris, Tansy Rayner Roberts’s “How to Survive An Epic Journey” as read by Erika Ensign, Cassandra Khaw’s “Apathetic Goblin Nightmare Woman” as read by Stephanie Malia Morris, and Shana DuBois interviewing Tina Connolly.

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 for the two-time Hugo and Parsec Award-winning Uncanny Magazine.

Five-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 (with Tara O’Shea) as well as Whedonistas (with Deborah Stanish) and Chicks Dig Comics (with Sigrid Ellis).

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

Together, they solve mysteries.

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