The Uncanny Valley

WHY IS IT LIKE BREATHING SOUP OUTSIDE?!?! HAVE WE FALLEN THROUGH A PORTAL TO THE JURASSIC ERA?!?!? WILL WE BE EATEN BY A DINOSAUR?!?!

Oh wait, it is just summer in Central Illinois. We’d forgotten about the soup months while we lived away from Champaign-Urbana, but at least it’s otherwise gorgeous here—trees shading the sidewalks, fireworks of prairie flowers in the yards, and the wonderful quiet of a university town with the majority of students gone. And though this issue is full of dinosaur stories, we’ve yet to see a dinosaur here. (Unless they are dino grad students and are really busy in a lab or something.)

As we write this, social media is filled with sad news. Again. Many days feel difficult, as good news seems wiped away with the tragic. Whether it’s death or scandals or a malicious, incompetent regime destroying democracy, the parade of despair continues. But as always, Space Unicorns, there is hope. Kindness and beauty remain in our world. We have a phenomenal community that supports each other and builds things—creating a better world even when difficulties and impediments mount. That’s what the Space Unicorn Ranger Corps is about. This is why we continue to create Uncanny Magazine.

First, we want to thank everybody who purchased Weightless Books subscriptions during our subscription drive and sale. So many new 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 5 Kickstarter around the usual time of mid-summer! Keep watching our Twitter and Facebook feeds for more information, as there is going to be something VERY SPECIAL coming in Year 5!

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 Editorial Intern Chimedum Ohaegbu and Managing Editor Michi Trota, you can now sign up for updates about new Uncanny issues, general magazine news, and even get some cool, unique surprises. Sign up right here!

Excellent news, Space Unicorns! Two Uncanny stories are finalists for the Eugie Foster Memorial Award for Short Fiction! Congratulations to Fran Wilde and Sarah Pinsker! Fran’s “Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand” and Sarah’s “And Then There Were (N-One)” are both finalists for the Eugie Foster Memorial Award for Short Fiction!

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.

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.

As always, the Thomases greatly enjoyed The SFWA Nebula Conference. Along with the usual meetings and socializing, we had magical times with the ICFA alligator and an excellent dinner at the combined Uncanny and Asimov’s Magazine table at the Nebula Award banquet.

The Uncanny Nebula Award Finalists K.M. Szpara, Sarah Pinsker, and Fran Wilde with Editors-in-Chief Michael Damian Thomas and Lynne M. Thomas. Photo credit: Zu Tudhope/Sarah Pinsker
A picture at the Uncanny/Asimov’s table with Sheila Williams, Connie Willis, a visiting Kelly Robson, Lynne M. Thomas, Caroline M. Yoachim, and Sarah Pinsker.
A picture at the Uncanny/Asimov’s table with Sheila Williams, Connie Willis, a visiting Kelly Robson, Lynne M. Thomas, Caroline M. Yoachim, and Sarah Pinsker. Photo credit: James Patrick Kelly/Sarah Pinsker

Meanwhile, Michi threw a fabulous Space Unicorn Party at Wiscon, featuring the famous Space Unicorn ube cakes from Jennivee’s Bakery in Chicago! Thank you to Don Alsafi, Tanya DePass, Renee Ismail, Courtney Jacobson, R.K. Kalaw, Kate Lansky, Layne Lebahn, Maia Mrkvicka, Nicasio Andres Reed, Lauren Vega, and Suzanne Walker for helping throw the party, and to everyone who stopped by!

Uncanny Managing Editor with one of the famous Space Unicorn ube cakes from Jennivee’s Bakery.
Uncanny Managing Editor with one of the famous Space Unicorn ube cakes from Jennivee’s Bakery.

The Thomases are taking it a little easier this summer, but all of us are planning to attend Worldcon 76 in San Jose from August 16-20. And that is not all! Theoretically, almost all of the Uncanny staff will be there with us! We hope to see you there!

The waiting is over, Space Unicorns! After a Twitter discussion a year ago prompted another ridiculous challenge idea, we have finally arrived at the Uncanny Magazine DINOSAUR Special Shared World Issue! Thank you to all of our Kickstarter Backers who made this possible, and to the dinosaur developmental crew of Brooke Bolander, Sam J. Miller, Mari Ness, Nicasio Andres Reed, A. Merc Rustad & Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, K.M. Szpara, and JY Yang. It has been a wonderful year of discussions, planning, writing, and GIFs of Jeff Goldblum. And another thanks to all of the writers who submitted to the issue. It has been a tremendously fun process. Rawr!

So now, behold the Uncanny Magazine Issue 23 Table of Contents! The sensational cover is Galen Dara’s The Uncanny T-rex. We start the themed issue with “The Uncanny Dinosaurs—Introduction” by Brooke Bolander, Sam J. Miller, Mari Ness, Nicasio Andres Reed, A. Merc Rustad & Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, K.M. Szpara, JY Yang, and Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas. This is the basic concept of the shared universe centering on the mysterious Owen Corporation. The stories include Sam J. Miller’s tale of love, sacrifice, and Soviet dinosaur experimentation “Red Lizard Brigade,” K.M. Szpara’s exploration of family, gender identity, and dinosaur science “You Can Make a Dinosaur, but You Can’t Help Me,” R.K. Kalaw’s story of reincarnation and forever dinosaur love “Bones in the Rock,” Elsa Sjunneson-Henry & A. Merc Rustad’s story of friendship and communication “By Claw, By Hand, By Silent Speech,” Brooke Bolander’s fractured and delicious fairy tale “The Tale of the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters, and the Prince Who Was Made of Meat,” Brit E. B. Hvide’s discovered journal of a tragic journey “The Emigrants’ Guide to Oregon, California, and the Unknown,” Mari Ness’s delightful poem of dino chaos in the social media age “Expecting a Dinosaur,” Alex Bledsoe’s noir take on heists and dinosaurs “Give the People What They Want,” Mary Robinette Kowal’s sad lament of a dinosaur puppet “Nails in My Feet,” and finally Anya Ow’s story of family, duty, and cooking “Everything Under Heaven.” 

Our essays this month include Tobias S. Buckell exploring his childhood science fiction reading in the Caribbean, Alasdair Stuart examining his media joy and problematic favorites, Marissa Lingen journeying through how we think of human progress, and Tansy Rayner Roberts looking backwards and forwards about the question of “Can the Doctor be a woman?” on Doctor Who. Our gorgeous and impactful poetry features Cassandra Khaw’s “Octavia’s Letter to Marcus Anthony on the Discovery of His Faithlessness,” Brandon O’Brien’s “The One,” Ali Trotta’s “The Year We Got Rid of Our Ghosts,” and Cynthia So’s “FIND A HOT ASIAN GIRLFRIEND NEAR YOU.” Finally, Caroline M. Yoachim interviews K.M. Szpara and Anya Ow about their stories.

The Uncanny Magazine Podcast 23A features Sam J. Miller’s “Red Lizard Brigade,” as read by Heath Miller, Cassandra Khaw’s “Octavia’s Letter to Marcus Anthony on the Discovery of His Faithlessness,” as read by Stephanie Malia Morris, and Mary Robinette Kowal interviewed by Lynne M. Thomas. The Uncanny Magazine Podcast 23B features Brooke Bolander’s “The Tale of the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters, and the Prince Who Was Made of Meat,” as read by Stephanie Malia Morris, Ali Trotta’s “The Year We Got Rid of Our Ghosts,” as read by Erika Ensign, and Brooke Bolander interviewed by Lynne M. Thomas.

As always, we are deeply grateful of your support of Uncanny Magazine. Shine on, Space Unicorns! RAWR!

Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas

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

Seven-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 four-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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