Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

The Thomases Unbox the Best of Uncanny ARCs!

EXCITING DAY, SPACE UNICORNS!

As you may remember, the phenomenal Subterranean Press will be releasing massive hardcover and prestige editions of  The Best of Uncanny in December 2019The Best of Uncanny is a collection edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas bringing together some of their favorite Uncanny Magazine stories and poems from the first few years of the magazine, including many works which were nominated for or won awards. Over 40 authors!

Last Friday, we received a box of Advance Reading Copies (ARCs)!!! THEY ARE SO GORGEOUS!!! Look at how beautiful that Tran Nguyen cover is!!!

The prestige edition SOLD OUT in 24 hours, but you can still pre-order the regular hardcover edition at the Subterranean Press website!

Once again, check out the spectacular Table of Contents!

Table of Contents

  • “The Uncanny Valley- An Introduction” by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas
  • “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies” by Brooke Bolander
  • “Blessings” by Naomi Novik
  • “Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang, translated by Ken Liu (translator signing, not the author)
  • “The New Ways” by Amal El-Mohtar (Poem)
  • “Fandom for Robots” by Vina Jie-Min Prasad
  • “Catcall” by Delilah S. Dawson
  • “Wooden Feathers” by Ursula Vernon
  • “The Long Run” by Neil Gaiman (Poem)
  • “Heat of Us: Notes Toward an Oral History” by Sam J. Miller
  • “Ghost Champagne” by Charlie Jane Anders
  • “Translatio Corporis” by Kat Howard
  • “Rose Child” by Theodora Goss (Poem)
  • “The Witch of the Orion Waste and the Boy Knight” by E. Lily Yu
  • “Monster Girls Don’t Cry” by A. Merc Rustad
  • “Midnight Hour” by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • “Henosis” by N.K. Jemisin
  • “The Persecution of Witches” by Ali Trotta (Poem)
  • “Restore the Heart into Love” by John Chu
  • “I Frequently Hear Music in the Very Heart of Noise” by Sarah Pinsker
  • “You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay” by Alyssa Wong
  • “肉骨茶 (Meat Bone Tea)” by S. Qiouyi Lu (Poem)
  • “She Still Loves the Dragon” by Elizabeth Bear
  • “If You Were a Tiger, I’d Have to Wear White” by Maria Dahvana Headley
  • “archival testimony fragments / minersong” by Rose Lemberg (Poem)
  • “Sun, Moon, Dust” by Ursula Vernon
  • “Planet Lion” by Catherynne M. Valente
  • The Hydraulic Emperor” by Arkady Martine
  • “Starskin, Sealskin” by Shveta Thakrar & Sara Cleto (Poem)
  • “Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time” by K.M. Szpara
  • “god-date” by Brandon O’Brien (Poem)
  • “Auspicium Melioris Aevi” by JY Yang
  • “Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand” by Fran Wilde
  • “An Ocean the Color of Bruises” by Isabel Yap
  • “Dancing Princesses” by Roshani Chokshi (Poem)
  • “Those” by Sofia Samatar
  • “Though She Be But Little” by C. S. E. Cooney
  • “Children of Thorns, Children of Water” by Aliette de Bodard
  • “Protestations Against the Idea of Anglicization” by Cassandra Khaw (Poem)
  • “My Body, Herself” by Carmen Maria Machado
  • “Ye Highlands and Ye Lowlands” by Seanan McGuire
  • “The Words on My Skin” by Caroline M. Yoachim
  • “And Then There Were (N-One)” by Sarah Pinsker
  • “The Sea Never Says It Loves You” by Fran Wilde (Poem)
  • “Pockets” by Amal El-Mohtar

The Sense of Wonderful- A Guest Post by Tracy Townsend

(Author Tracy Townsend’s novel, The Fall, was released by Pyr on June 11, 2019, and can be found at all major booksellers.)

Every summer of my childhood, my brother and I traveled to northern Michigan to visit our grandparents, often staying there for weeks before finally coming home. It was part vacation, part childcare arrangement for a family with two working parents and a long, hot Chicago summer to plan around. The lakes and woods and tiny towns dotted around the Alpena area became as familiar to me as a second home. I loved them with a complicated ferocity: close, and familiar, and also, deep down, a little regretful.

Other kids’ families went different places during the summer, whether on long weekends or weeks-long treks. The Grand Canyon. Disney World. California. Even overseas. But my summers were mapped along the same, roughly 500 mile route, always bound for the same familiar spaces.

I loved my extended family. I loved knowing a place well enough to never get lost there. And I still longed, with the bitter, self-righteous passion of the young, to go anywhere, just for once. I would lie in bed during my summers up north, listening to the lap of water on the dock a few yards away, and read National Geographic, dreaming of Other Places. In the glossy pictures of magazines, I saw an enormous world loom before me, wondrous and new.

Someday, I vowed, I would find my way there.

When the characters in my novel The Fall had to travel away from their home city overseas, my writer’s  mind returned to what I dreamed of doing during those summer trips. Whole new settings to explore! New textures, tastes, and spaces! Ten-year-old me would have seen it all as so very exciting: adventures in different lands with a different languages, different food, different clothes and customs.

Fortunately, ten-year-old me wasn’t in charge of writing this book.

The phrase “sense of wonder” has a certain baggage in SF/F. What we can “wonder” at without treating as alien, though, is both broad and deep. I want my readers to feel a sense of wonder in what the protagonist of my series, Rowena Downshire, experiences not because the world surrounding her is some oddity for their titillation, something that proves “other people” and “other places” are strange. I want the sense of wonder to come from her realizing how much bigger the world is: how full of things that make their own kind of sense and have their own just place.

At the start of The Fall, Rowena is fourteen; she’s never left her home city of Corma. It’s a rough, crowded, industrial metropolis that smacks more of Cardiff or London than Kyoto, with some of the Dickensian flourishes you might expect of a Gaslamp fantasy. Her experience of leaving Corma for Kyo-Tokai, the mega-city setting of much of The Fall, probably resembles what mine would have looked like, had I boarded an airship bound for the east at her age, instead of a Chevy Trailblazer pointed toward the Canadian border.

The key to keeping Rowena’s journey honest – true to her character and to my desire not to render the unknown into the exotic – was to focus her gaze on more than the high-gloss newness of her surroundings. She had to ask questions, yes. Why are there clockwork animals working the airship docking yards? How shall I tie this robe? Where do the canals that make up the city’s transportation system drain off to? (And where, you might wonder, will this figure into the plot?) But she also had to see the people in this new place as individuals, not tour guides. Rowena had to meet a girl like herself and appreciate what her life in Nippon looked like, to learn what her counterpart valued, feared, and desired. The people she would meet would be distinct, yes, but not strange. If anything, Rowena herself would be the source of strangeness: the one who dressed or spoke or ate differently from a cultural norm that wasn’t defined by her. And she would learn to navigate those differences thoughtfully, just as I’d always wanted to.

The world beyond what we know deserves more than our tourism. It deserves our lived-in attention. Our admiration. It deserves to be welcomed into our stories as we would hope to be welcomed into it.

One of these days, I’ll take a trip to some of the places I dreamed of visiting as a child. When I do, I hope to be the kind of traveler Rowena becomes.

Tracy Townsend is the author of The Nine and The Fall (books 1 and 2 in the Thieves of Fate series), a monthly columnist for the feminist sf magazine Luna Station Quarterly, and an essayist for Uncanny Magazine. She holds a master’s degree in writing and rhetoric from DePaul University and a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from DePauw University, a source of regular consternation when proofreading her credentials. She is the former chair of the English department at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, an elite public boarding school, where she teaches creative writing and science fiction and fantasy literature. She has been a martial arts instructor, a stage combat and accent coach, and a short-order cook for houses full of tired gamers. Now she lives in Bolingbrook, Illinois with two bumptious hounds, two remarkable children, and one very patient husband. You can find her at Twitter @TracyATownsend, and online at www.tracytownsend.net.

Buy The Fall: Indiebound / Barnes & Noble / Powells / Amazon / Audible

Theology in AI Fiction- A Guest Post by Ada Hoffmann

(Author Ada Hoffmann’s debut novel, The Outside, was released by Angry Robot Books on June 11, 2019, and can be found at all major booksellers.)

As an AI researcher, I find myself continually correcting people who joke that my programs will one day take over the world.

It is literally impossible for my programs to take over the world.

My programs write poetry. It’s not even very good poetry. They write by shuffling words around, comparing them to human sources, and then trying to measure their properties. After five years of PhD-level research, they still can’t write anything coherent. This is because they don’t “understand” – as a typical human defines that word – what they’re saying.

AI these days does some very impressive things, granted. It drives cars. It builds cars. It also suggests polite replies to your Gmail messages and guesses what you might want to buy on Amazon. And it does these things by being very, very good at recognizing patterns. Sometimes creepily good.

It’s no surprise that humans, confronted with this creepy accuracy, start to worry. We have lots of books and movies about AI rising up against humans, destroying us accidentally or developing their own consciousness and becoming a new, hyper-logical class of person that are functionally, Gods. (Heck, I’ve even written that story – The Outside, available 11th June from Angry Robot Books.)

But any AI researcher will tell you that these stories are still a very long way off, and in many cases they are functionally impossible.

Pattern recognition is very successful right now, but the other traits of “strong AI” that we see in science fiction – consciousness, understanding, thoughts, feelings, opinions – are problems that computers haven’t even begun to crack.

When an ad service can guess what product you’ll want, it’s not because the service is particularly intelligent. Rather, the “creepy” feeling comes from the fact that the service is recognizing straightforward patterns in private information about you. This comes from all the stuff that the apps and websites you use have access to, as detailed in their long, complex privacy policies that nobody really reads, which is all information that you wouldn’t likely divulge to a human.

That doesn’t mean that the service understands what it’s seeing from you, let alone develop a plan to break free and destroy the world. Really, it doesn’t even know what a “world” is.

This is not to say that AI is always safe. But the real dangers posed by AI are way less sexy than a robot uprising. They include things like racism being inadvertently encoded in systems that are supposed to make “unbiased” decisions about humans. Military robots being used to absolve humans of decisions about killing. And a shrinking job market in Western countries thanks to increasing automation.

There is certainly a science fiction aspect about these more realistic problems, but we are culturally and emotionally attached to the other more apocalytpic ideas. You can blame SF books and cinema for that (myself included, I guess!). But these stories exist for a reason. They are necessary. And, at their heart, they have nothing to do with computers. They are actually much, much older than technology.

They’re the same stories we’ve been telling for thousands of years, as a way of exploring our feelings about what it means to be human. They ask the tough questions to help us examine our own way of living.

For example: The story of an innocent AI who becomes conscious and interacts with her creator is the story of Pygmalion and it asks: What does it mean to create? In what sense are our creations “real”? In what sense do they have a life outside us? The story of a runaway AI that turns the whole world into paper clips is the story of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. It asks: What happens when we are given power, without the wisdom to understand the consequences?

The questions go on and on. Stories about sentient sex robots discuss the idea of sex work, sex slavery, and the messy ways that human sexuality intersects with power. The story of mistreated robots who turn on their masters is the story of the Slave Revolt, which is both literature and literal history. It asks: Who do you have power over? How are they affected by that power? Do they deserve the power? Do you? (The very word “robot,” was first used in SF by Karel and Josef Čapek, and it originally meant “slave.”)

And Technological Singularity stories – the ones in which AI systems exponentially improve until their thinking ability has vastly surpassed anything a human can do – are stories about gods. They pose the questions we’ve long since asked: What does it mean for a being to be greater than we are? What would such a being look like? What would it think of us? Would it serve us, reward us, or punish us? Would it help us ascend to its level? Would it think of us at all? What do we deserve from such a being? Who are we ultimately beholden to?

The technical plausibility matters less than the questions it raises, and humans have been asking these questions since religion existed. If we cannot trust our traditional gods, then we simply turn to science tropes instead. We take our concerns about gods and consciousness and justice, and we dress them up in a robot (or alien) costume to make them palatable.

Whether they are benevolently guiding and improving humanity, meddling and manipulating, distant and uncaring, or in the process of judging whether we deserve to exist at all, super-intelligent AI are put into the roles that ancient humans would have assigned to powerful spirits, angels, demons, and gods. And the responses that we have as humans to these roles – from adoring obedience to violent rebellion – are as diverse as the authors who write them.

It doesn’t matter that these stories aren’t scientifically likely. They’re stories we have a need to tell. And they’re stories we will keep telling, with whatever symbols and characters make sense at the time, long after AI in the real world has its day.

 

Ada Hoffmann’s debut novel, The Outside, was released by Angry Robot Books in June 2019. She is also the author of the collection Monsters in My Mind and of dozens of speculative short stories and poems, as well as the Autistic Book Party #ownvoices review series. Her work has been long-listed for the BSFA Award for Shorter Fiction, the Rhysling Award, and the D Franklin Defying Doomsday Award.

Ada is a computer scientist at a university in southern Ontario, Canada, where she teaches computers to be creative and undergraduates to think computationally about the human mind. She has also worked professionally as a church soprano, free food distributor, and token autistic person. Ada is bisexual, genderfluid, polyamorous, and mentally ill. She lives with her primary partner Dave, her black cat Ninja, and various other animals and people.

You can find Ada online at http://ada-hoffmann.com/, on Twitter at @xasymptote, or support her work on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/ada_hoffmann.

Uncanny Magazine Podcast Reader Changes

Another bittersweet news, wonderful news post, Space Unicorns.

Uncanny Magazine Podcast reader Stephanie Malia Morris is moving on after podcast episode #28B. Stephanie has been with us since episode #18A and has done a spectacular job. We know she will continue to do brilliant things, and will be greatly missed.

And now for the wonderful news! Our new podcast reader joining reader Erika Ensign will be Joy Piedmont! We are thrilled to have Joy joining the Uncanny team, and know she is going to be fantastic!

Joy’s a librarian and high school technology integrator in Manhattan. She’s lead workshops at conferences on topics such as digital ethics, media literacy, and identity development for transracial adoptees. As a freelance writer, she’s covered pop culture for Entertainment Weekly’s PopWatch and reviewed Young Adult literature for School Library Journal. She co-hosts/co-produces Reality Bomb, a Doctor Who podcast, and in 2018 she was the creator and co-executive producer of #WhoAgainstGuns, a series of podcast commentaries that raised over $20K to help end gun violence. Joy is the co-creator and co-chair of Gallifrey One‘s TARDIS Talks, a special track of programming giving space to big ideas and theories about Doctor Who and fandom. Follow her on Twitter @InquiringJoy.

 

Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction, Leah Bobet, and Derek Newman-Stille Are Aurora Awards Finalists!

Fabulous news, Space Unicorns! The 2019 Aurora Awards finalists have been announced, and three Uncanny Magazine pieces are on the final ballot! “Osiris” by Leah Bobet (Uncanny Magazine #25) is a Finalist for Best Poem/Song, “Constructing the Future” by Derek Newman-Stille (Uncanny Magazine #24) is a finalist for Best Fan Writing and Publications, and finally Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction, edited by Dominik Parisien and Elsa Sjunneson-Henry (Uncanny Magazine #24), is a finalist for Best Related Work! Congratulations to Leah, Derek, Dominik, and Elsa, and to all of the phenomenal finalists!

From File 770:

The 2019 Aurora Awards finalists have been announced. The awards are nominated by members of the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association, for Science Fiction / Fantasy works done in 2018 by Canadians. The top five nominated works were selected.  Additional works were included where there was a tie for fifth place. The awards ceremony will be held at Can-Con 2019, October 18-20, in Ottawa.

Uncanny, the Thomases, and Isabel Yap’s “How to Swallow the Moon” Are Locus Award Finalists!

Fabulous news, Space Unicorns! Uncanny Magazine is a Best Magazine Locus Award finalist, and Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas are a Best Editor Locus Award finalist! We are so honored! PLUS, Isabel Yap’s “How to Swallow the Moon” is a Best Novelette Locus Award finalist! Congratulations to Isabel! And congratulations to all of the phenomenal finalists!

From the Locus website:

The Locus Science Fiction Foundation has announced the top ten finalists in each category of the 2019 Locus AwardsTickets are available now.

Winners will be announced during the Locus Awards Weekend in Seattle WA, June 28-30, 2019; Connie Willis will MC the awards ceremony. Additional weekend events include author readings; a kickoff Clarion West party honoring first week instructor Elizabeth Hand, Clarion West supporters, awards weekend ticket holders, and special guests; panels with leading authors; an autograph session with books available for sale thanks to University Book Store; and a lunch banquet with the annual Hawaiian shirt contest, all followed by a Locus party on Saturday night.

Uncanny Magazine Issue 28 Cover and Table of Contents!

Coming May 7, THE TWENTY-EIGHTH ISSUE OF THE 2016, 2017, & 2018 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 June 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!

This issue will coincide with our Weightless Books Subscription Drive for a year’s worth of Uncanny Magazine eBooks. The drive will run from May 1-May 15. For that limited time, people can receive a year’s worth of Uncanny for $2 off the regular price. We will have some nifty giveaways for a few lucky new or renewing subscribers at particular milestones, too. (T-shirts! Back issues! Tote bags! Space Unicorn Squishy Stress Relievers!). And all new or renewing subscribers will get a vinyl Space Unicorn sticker and a Space Unicorn Enamel Pin!

Uncanny Magazine Issue 28 Table of Contents

Cover
She’s Going Places by Galen Dara

Editorial
“The Uncanny Valley” by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas (5/7)

Fiction
“Nice Things” by Ellen Klages (5/7)
“Probabilitea” by John Chu (5/7)
“A Salt and Sterling Tongue” by Emma Osborne (5/7)

“Lest We Forget” by Elizabeth Bear (6/4)
“A Catalog of Love at First Sight” by Brit E. B. Hvide (6/4)
“Canst Thou Draw Out the Leviathan” by Christopher Caldwell (6/4)

Reprint Fiction
“Corpse Soldier” by Kameron Hurley (6/4)

Nonfiction
“Black Horror Rising” by Tananarive Due (5/7)
“Everyone’s World is Ending All the Time: notes on becoming a climate resilience planner at the edge of the anthropocene” by Arkady Martine (5/7)
“Jennifer Adams Kelley—A Remembrance” (5/7)

“Toy Stories” by Gwenda Bond (6/4)
“‘You Have Only Your Trust in Me’: Star Trek and the Power of Mutual Belief” by Nicasio Andres Reed (6/4)

Poetry
“The Cinder Girl Burns Brightly” by Theodora Goss (5/7)
“The following parameters” by Nicasio Andres Reed (5/7)
“Flashover” by S. Qiouyi Lu (5/7)

“The Magician Speaks to the Fool” by Ali Trotta (6/4)
“Elegy for the Self as Villeneuve’s Beast” by Brandon O’Brien (6/4)

Interview
John Chu interviewed by Caroline M. Yoachim (5/7)

Elizabeth Bear interviewed by Caroline M. Yoachim(6/4)

Podcasts
Uncanny Magazine Podcast 28A (5/7)
“Nice Things” by Ellen Klages, as read by Erika Ensign
“The Cinder Girl Burns Brightly” by Theodora Goss, as read by Stephanie Malia Morris
Ellen Klages interviewed by Lynne M. Thomas

Uncanny Magazine Podcast 28B (6/4)
“A Catalog of Love at First Sight” by Brit E. B. Hvide, as read by Stephanie Malia Morris
“The Magician Speaks to the Fool” by Ali Trotta, as read by Erika Ensign
Brit E. B. Hvide interviewed by Lynne M. Thomas

Come to the Uncanny TV Pilot Taping!!!

Space Unicorns unite! During Uncanny Magazine‘s successful Kickstarter campaign for Year 5, you made your voices heard: I want my Uncanny TV!

We welcome you to join us for our live recording of the pilot episode of Uncanny TV. Podcaster extraordinaire Matt Peters & Managing/Nonfiction Editor Michi Trota will host this variety talk show in the spirit of Uncanny Magazine: highlighting creators in SF/F working in a variety of art forms and projects, focusing on people building and nurturing their communities, particularly highlighting marginalized creators. They’ll talk about topics that can be serious, but the overall tone of the show will be to celebrate the things we enjoy and the people who make our communities good places to be in SF/F.

Matt Peters speaking at a panel on the left. Michi Trota with fire fans on the right.
Matt Peters (left) and Michi Trota (right)

Our show features Keisha Howard (founder of Sugar Gamers), Daniel Jun Kim (Philanthropist and founder of Pop Mythology), and a performance and interview with singer-songwriter Dawn Xiana Moon (founder and director of Raks Geek).

Keisha Howard in black leather cyberpunk outfit on the left. Daniel Jun Kim in jeans and black T-shirt reading "cleric" in the center. Dawn Xiana Moon posing with guitar on the right.
Keisha Howard (left); Daniel Jun Kim (middle); Dawn Xiana Moon (right)

Location: The Cards Against Humanity Theater, 1917 N. Elston, Chicago, IL
Doors open at 3:30pm
Event runs 4-6pm

This show is FREE to attend! Please register for tickets at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/uncanny-magazine-presents-i-want-my-uncanny-tv-tickets-60468467815

Note: limited off-street parking is available. There’s also street parking available. Public transit options in short walking distance include the Metra Rail Clybourn Station (UP-NW & UP-N lines) and #8 Ashland bus. The Armitage Brown Line stop, and #72 North Avenue and #74 Fullerton Avenue bus lines are also nearby.

 

Major Uncanny Magazine Staff Changes!

This is one of those hard news/good news posts, Space Unicorns.

The hard news is that after five years, Managing and Nonfiction Editor Michi Trota has decided to move on from her Uncanny editorial duties at the end of 2019. We can’t overstate how important Michi has been to Uncanny. Michi started with us on day one as Managing Editor. She developed a ton of our processes, made everything look slick and professional, always had a strong voice in the nonfiction, and has been the Space Unicorn Ranger Corps’ biggest cheerleader. We really can’t say enough great things about Michi and what she did for making Uncanny what it is today. She’s a dear friend who has stepped up for every challenge. We know that Michi is going to do more fabulous things in the future.

Michi will be staying through Uncanny Magazine #31 (November/December 2019) to make sure we have a seamless editorial transition. Michi will also continue to co-host and co-produce the Uncanny TV pilot, which will be premiering later this year. We are sure that even though she will no longer be an Uncanny editor, Michi’s association with Uncanny will continue in many different ways.

And now for the good news, Space Unicorns!

Starting with Uncanny Magazine #31 (November/December 2019), the new Managing Editor will be…

Chimedum Ohaegbu!!!!

Chimie is the current Uncanny Magazine Assistant Editor, and started with us as an intern in February 2018. She has done a phenomenal job, and we expect more tremendous things from her. She has been working very closely with Michi for quite some time, so we know this will be a seamless transition. Chimie is a rising superstar writer and editor, and it is such a joy to work with her. We are very excited about this!

Chimie’s bio:

Chimedum “Chimie” Ohaegbu attends the University of British Columbia in pursuit of hummingbirds and a dual degree in English literature and creative writing. She’s a recipient of both the full 2017 Tan Seagull Scholarship for Young Writers and a 2018 Katherine Brearley Arts Scholarship. She loves tisanes, insect facts but not insects, every single bird and magpies especially, and video game music. Her fondness of bad puns has miraculously not prevented her work from being published or forthcoming in Strange Horizons, Train: A Poetry Journal, The /tƐmz/ Review, and The Capilano Review.  Find her on Twitter @chimedumohaegbu or Instagram @chimedum_ohaegbu.  

But that is not all, Space Unicorns! Starting with Uncanny Magazine #32 (January/February 2020), the new Nonfiction Editor will be…

Elsa Sjunneson-Henry!!!!

Uncanny readers should be very familiar with Elsa. She was the guest Editor-in-Chief (with Dominik Parisien) and Nonfiction Editor of Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction, and has had her essays and fiction published in Uncanny on numerous occasions. We are so thrilled to have Elsa taking over the nonfiction editing. She did a tremendous job as a DPDSF guest editor, and has proven time and time again that along with being a brilliant writer, she is one of the best editors in the business.

Elsa’s Bio:

Elsa Sjunneson-Henry is a multi-Hugo-Award finalist author and editor. She was the Co-Guest Editor-in-Chief of Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction, where she edited the nonfiction section. Her own nonfiction writing has appeared on CNN Opinion, Tor.com, Fireside, and The Boston Globe. She teaches about disability in fiction on a regular basis. She has an MA in Women’s History from Sarah Lawrence College, where she learned how to write a killer polemic. You can find her talking about being deafblind, having a guide dog, and liking bats @snarkbat on Twitter, and on her website snarkbat.com

But wait, there is more!

Starting with Uncanny Magazine #31 (November/December 2019), the new Assistant Editor will be…

Angel Cruz!

You might know Angel from her Uncanny Magazine essay. She’s a wonderful writer, reviewer, and editor who has contributed to numerous excellent markets, and we are very excited to have her join the Uncanny team!

Angel’s Bio:

Angel Cruz is a writer and professional enthusiast, with a deep love for magic realism and Philippine folklore. She is a staff writer at Ms en Scene and Women Write About Comics, and a contributor at Book Riot. She was a 2017 Contributing Writer at The Learned Fangirl, with additional bylines at the Chicago Review of Books and Brooklyn Magazine. Find more of her work at angelcruzwrites.contently.com, or follow her on Twitter @angelcwrites.  

Uncanny Magazine Year 6 will be fantastic, Space Unicorns. Though many changes are happening, we will continue to have the BEST STAFF in the universe.

The Laura Christensen Then Again Kickstarter: A Guest Post by Izzy Wasserstein

(The anthology project Then Again: Vintage Photography Reimagined by One Artist and Thirty Writers, by Artist and Editor Laura Christensen is currently running on Kickstarter. Author and anthology contributor Izzy Wasserstein is here to explain the project and why you should consider backing it.)

There is great power in words. You know this already. And there is great power in visual art, as well. When the two are in conversation with each other, something magical happens. The powers of each medium are revealed, and together each takes on additional depth and resonance.

The term for writing that responds to visual art is ekphrasis. I first learned of the term when studying W. H. Auden’s famous poem “Musée des Beaux Arts,” which he wrote in response to the paintings of Pieter Bruegel the Elder. What I love about ekphrastic art is that it responds to the (ostensibly) unfiltered experience of visual art with the sense-making of the written word. We examine “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus” and take it in first as direct experience. Maybe we notice the plowman first, or the lovely boats, or the strange island fortress. And then we spot it: the pair of legs from Icarus as he falls into the sea.

Or perhaps your experience of that painting is different from mine. After all, to describe art is to change it, comment upon it, or respond to it. Having experienced the painting, we can then turn to Auden to see what sense he made of it—and respond to him ourselves.

Which brings me to Then Again: Vintage Photography Reimagined by One Artist and Thirty Writers. In this groundbreaking project, artist Laura Christensen paints on found vintage photographs to make stunning tableaus that exist on the edge of what is real or imagined. Where does the photograph of the girl with the ukulele end and the (presumably?) artificial tentacles that make up her lower appendages begin? The two girls holding the bunny seem real enough, but if so, what are we to make of the bleached-white bones behind them, the birds soaring overhead which almost seem to glow?

Christensen’s art is breathtaking, and the way it mixes the real and the fantastic should be of particular delight to readers of speculative fiction. But her art is only the first stage in the amazing project that is Then Again. In it, Christensen has collaborated with thirty writers, each of whom is responding to one of her works of art in fiction or poetry. Two of these responses are already available: Kij Johnson’s “Tool-Using Mimics,” written in response to Christensen’s “Ukulele Squid Girl”; and Tina Connolly’s “A Sharp Breath of Birds” published here at Uncanny and written in response to “Swan Dive.”(Full disclosure: a short story of mine, written in response to Christensen’s art, also appears in Then Again.)

When you see the lineup of writers Christensen is working with, I guarantee you will be excited. Included in the project are Safia Elhillo, Elizabeth Hand, Paul Park, Erin Roberts, Sofia Samatar, and many more.

So: Christensen makes new art of vintage photographs, and then writers make new art in response to her. Adding to the joy of this collection is that many of the works of literature here also engage with each other—characters and images re-appear, and one gets the sense that these stories and poems just might occupy a shared world. Perhaps it would be more correct to say “shared worlds.”

Christensen says about her art that “[she] relish[es] this practice of creating something in response to another existing thing. It shows how our experiences can affect what we do and what we create, which in turn may affect what someone else creates.” This chain of creation fascinates me. It has been said that art either comments on other art or on the world itself; Christensen and her collaborators are doing both, merging the real and the fantastic, weaving connections and possibilities, and reminding us all of the power of art to show us new worlds and to show our world anew.

Uncanny readers, I know you care about art, about storytelling, and about the power of connections and communication. That’s why I’m hoping you’ll join in this chain of creation and help make this one-of-a-kind project a reality. The Kickstarter launches on April 2, and among its backer rewards is a special edition of Then Again. Please help us spread the word far and wide, and consider contributing if you’re in a position to do so. As you know, in these difficult times we desperately need art in our lives, and we particularly need art that helps us re-see what we think we know.

While you’re at it, I encourage you to try some ekphrasis of your own. Go to a museum or write in response to your favorite movie. (I just might try this with Janelle Monae’s music videos.) Engage with art. Make your own. Join the conversation. Make magic.

Izzy Wasserstein writes fiction and poetry, teaches writing and literature at a public university on the Great Plains, and shares a house with a variety of animal companions and the writer Nora E. Derrington. Her most recent poetry collection is When Creation Falls (Meadowlark Books, 2018), and her fiction has recently appeared or is forthcoming from ClarkesworldApexFireside Magazine, and elsewhere. She is a member of the 2017 class of Clarion West, and likes to run long distances slowly. Her website is www.izzywasserstein.com.