Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Uncanny Magazine Dinosaur Special Issue Guidelines!

As you may know if you followed the Uncanny Magazine Year 4 Kickstarter, Uncanny Magazine Issue 23 will be a Special Shared-Universe Dinosaur Issue! The planned solicited contributors are:

Do you want to join them? One of the stretch goals was adding two extra unsolicited stories to the issue! We will be open to submissions from March 1- March 15, 2018.

The Dramatic Pitch:

The year is 2069. Rumors of monsters haunt three abandoned islands in the Pacific Ocean. Surrounded by dangerous waters from which visitors are warned away, few have dared visit and fewer still have returned to tell the tale. The three islands, linked via now-decrepit tunnels and bridges, were intended to create and experiment on DINOSAURS. Though many of their creations and experiments remain, The Owen Corporation mysteriously disappeared, never getting a chance to show off their work.

A rich ecosystem developed in the absence of the organization—a mixing of abandoned facilities, technology, eccentric people, and amenities with the ancient wilderness of surrounding waters, labyrinthine caves, and highest treetops.

On the largest island sits a shimmering crater filled with mysterious energies, where dinosaurs sometimes wander and often end up elsewhere… or elsewhen. The portal, accidentally created by The Owen Corporation for unknown reasons, is a gateway to other worlds, times, and dimensions, and it is growing. Soon, the experimental dinosaurs may very well overwhelm the entire multiverse.


Writers are encouraged to play with this island setting, or to simply write a story featuring dinosaurs who wandered through the portal to whatever setting works best for the story (outer space, throughout history, alternate dimensions, etc.).

We are looking for stories that are 750-6000 words. Payment is $.08 per word (including audio rights). We will reject any story that doesn’t follow our guidelines and procedures. You may not resubmit a rejected story. If you aren’t sure if your story counts as unpublished, please query us.

Submission procedures:

1- Please submit your story via Uncanny‘s Moksha submission system.

2- All stories should be in Standard Manuscript Format and attached in .RTF, .DOC, or .DOCX formats.

3- Your cover letter should contain the length of your story, your significant publishing history and awards, and information that might be relevant to that specific submission.

4- Please do not send multiple submissions at once, or submissions simultaneously submitted at another market or anthology.

5- We try to respond to all submissions in 30 days. Please feel free to query uncannymagazine [at] gmail [dot] com if we’ve had your submission for over 45 days.

Uncanny Magazine 2017 Award Eligibility

It’s the time of year when people post their year-in-reviews to remind voters for the different SF/F awards what’s out there that they might have missed and which categories these stories are eligible in (especially for the Hugo Awards and Nebula Awards). 2017 was the third full year of Uncanny Magazine (Issues 14 through 19). We are extremely proud of the year we had.

This year, Uncanny Magazine is still eligible for the Best Semiprozine Hugo Award. Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas are also still eligible for the Best Editor (Short Form) Hugo Award. (Note: If you are nominating the Thomases in this category, please continue to nominate them together. They are a co-editing team.)

The stories listed below are eligible in either the short story, novelette, or novella categories of the SF/F awards. If you are a SFWA member nominating for the Nebula Awards, you can find eBook copies of these stories in the SFWA Forums.

Please also note that essays are eligible for the Best Related Work Hugo Award, and poetry is eligible for the Rhysling Award. As Uncanny is a semiprozine, all of the essays and original art also contribute towards the creators’ Best Fan Writer and Best Fan Artist Hugo Award elligibility.

Webcomic creator Liz Argall is also eligible in the Best Fan Artist Hugo Award category for her Things Without Arms and Legs webcomic which is a regular feature here on the Uncanny website!

Novellas (17,500-40,000 Words):

And Then There Were (N-One) by Sarah Pinsker


Novelettes (7500-17,500 Words):

The Thule Stowaway by Maria Dahvana Headley

Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time by K.M. Szpara

The Worshipful Society of Glovers by Mary Robinette Kowal

Down and Out in R’lyeh by Catherynne M. Valente

At Cooney’s by Delia Sherman

Making Us Monsters by Sam J. Miller & Lara Elena Donnelly

Children of Thorns, Children of Waterby Aliette de Bodard (Eligible Reprint)


Short Stories (Under 7500 Words):

Goddess, Worm by Cassandra Khaw

Monster Girls Don’t Cry by A. Merc Rustad

Bodies Stacked Like Firewood by Sam J. Miller

Some Cupids Kill With Arrows by Tansy Rayner Roberts

To Budapest, with Love by Theodora Goss

Auspicium Melioris Aevi by JY Yang

Rising Star by Stephen Graham Jones

With Cardamom I’ll Bind Their Lips by Beth Cato

An Abundance of Fish by S. Qiouyi Lu

Sun, Moon, Dust by Ursula Vernon

Read Before Use by Chinelo Onwualu

Making the Magic Lightning Strike Me by John Chu

Paradox by Naomi Kritzer

Notes from Liminal Spaces by Hiromi Goto

The Ache of Home by Maurice Broaddus

A Nest of Ghosts, a House of Birds by Kat Howard

How the Maine Coon Cat Learned to Love the Sea by Seanan McGuire

Packing by T. Kingfisher

I Built This City For You by Cassandra Khaw

Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand by Fran Wilde

Henosis by N. K. Jemisin

Though She Be But Little by C. S. E. Cooney

Fandom for Robots by Vina Jie-Min Prasad

The Bone Plain by Karin Tidbeck

Sorrow and Joy, Sunshine and Rain by Troy L. Wiggins

Pipecleaner Sculptures and Other Necessary Work by Tina Connolly

Learning to See Dragons by Sarah Monette

How to Survive an Epic Journey by Tansy Rayner Roberts

Elemental Love by Rachel Swirsky (Eligible Reprint)

Uncanny Is Opening an Internship! POC and Native and Indigenous People HIGHLY Encouraged to Apply!

Fantastic news, Space Unicorns! We’re extremely excited to share that we will be offering an editorial internship position with Uncanny Magazine to which we STRONGLY encourage people of color and Native and Indigenous people to apply! The internship will begin in January and run through the end of December 2018, and will come with a small stipend.

We’re looking for someone with a deep love of science fiction and fantasy, and an interest in editorial work and publishing. The internship will allow opportunities to participate in the daily operations of running a two-time Hugo Award-winning online bimonthly publication in the SF/F field, with a focus on working with the managing editor, Michi Trota, to produce a regular newsletter. While the internship emphasizes editing and production, there may be some opportunities to work with basic graphics and design.

The internship will require roughly 10-15 hrs per month. The internship is not location-dependent; communication and tasks will be done primarily online via email, Slack, and Google Hangout or Skype.

Prior experience in publishing and familiarity with using programs such as Google docs and WordPress is beneficial but not required.

Applications for the internship will be open from December 1st through December 15th. Please submit a short personal statement (up to 300 words) via Uncanny’s contact form with “Uncanny Internship” in the subject line.

Good luck, Space Unicorns!

The Writer’s Redemption Arc- A Guest Post by Tracy Townsend

(Guest Post by Tracy Townsend)

When I was very young, you couldn’t get me to stop writing, reading, and daydreaming. I needed stories because deep down, I was sure that telling a story right was the only way I could ever be forgiven for the crime of being myself.

Understanding this might be a little easier if you sit inside a writer’s head for a moment—or at least, if you sit inside mine. I am an ink-eyed, darting creature, hoarding everyday things until they pile up into something I can burrow into properly. I practice pulling faces, trying to find just the right word to describe the feeling of a scowl. I speak in imaginary people’s voices, choreograph battles with unseen foes. I enter rooms and silently narrate my own comings and goings.

 I do this—and, I think, other writers do this—because stories demand to be told correctly. They won’t always tell us exactly what they want, but insist on having it, all the same. What’s worse, sometimes stories ask you to write them because they know you really need them. You need what they can say to make up for everything you’ve failed to say or do, outside their margins.

The brain is a remarkable thing. It invites us to take the world and spin it into different possibilities, imagining alternatives. It’s the organ that makes change possible. Whatever else we might say about the heart in our most romantic moments, it’s the seat of stories. That wondrous speculative capacity also makes it appallingly cruel.

The brain loves unpacking all our memories of word and act and intent, only to reveal the inventory badly in arrears. We hurt people. We say things we don’t mean, or worse, things we do, but should have held back. We face challenges and crumple before them, or beat them back in ways we come to regret. We can imagine ourselves as better, smarter, kinder, stronger, more diligent, and more successful. And we are so very, very good at punishing ourselves for not being those things.

I wrote The Nine at a time when I didn’t know what I meant anymore, or if I mattered. I needed a story about people finding value in themselves, and each other, and contending with what that really means. I needed to be redeemed.

Talk about stories long enough, and you’re bound to talk about a redemption arc. A character has done terrible things and now, faced with the opportunity to do or be better, they begin an elegant (or maybe awkward) heel-face pirouette. But I don’t know that I’ve ever heard anyone describe my redemption arc, as a writer. The story demands to be told correctly and I need to prove that I can do it, because it contains what I think (or fear) is true about the world. Or about me. I filled my novel with jumbled-up people making terrible decisions: retired mercenaries; mistrustful guttersnipes; opportunistic nobles; amoral scholars; failed parents. The lucky ones get to change, evolving into something more than what they were. I wanted to tell that story because in doing it, I make it possible to revisit harm or do penance for it. And if that’s possible for my characters, then it’s still possible for me. In a story-shaped world, I can think about people, and myself, with eager, urgent hope.

I wrote The Nine when I was processing a lot of my own failures and fears. There were a lot of characters to pack those feelings into, embodying pieces of my self-doubt, guilt, and anger. That’s why the story demands to be told correctly. There’s so much of me riding on it. It’s also why a writer never really knows what the correct story—the one that asks the right questions and fights for the right answers—looks like. Our needs change. There’s no one story that will heal us, because redemption is a moving target.

That’s not such a bad thing. Perhaps redemption should always lie just over the next hill, someplace we’re moving towards. That’s where The Nine leaves its characters. It’s where the book left me, too, writing its sequel, still searching for the things I need to say to myself.

(Editors note: Tracy Townsend’s The Nine was released on November 14, and is now available at all booksellers.)

Tracy Townsend 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 a past chair of the English Department at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, an elite public boarding school, where she currently 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. Her debut novel, The Nine, is the first in the Thieves of Fate series, published by Pyr November 14, 2017. You can find her on Twitter at @TracyATownsend and on the web at

Uncanny Magazine Issue 19 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 December 5.

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

As you know, there are staff changes at Uncanny Magazine with Issue 19. 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.

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.

Uncanny Magazine Issue 19 Table of Contents


Medusa by Julie Dillon

“The Uncanny Valley” by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas (11/7)
“Signing Off the Glittercom” by Julia Rios (11/7)

“Making Us Monsters” by Sam J. Miller & Lara Elena Donnelly (11/7)
“The Bone Plain” by Karin Tidbeck (11/7)

“Learning to See Dragons” by Sarah Monette (12/5)
“Pipecleaner Sculptures and Other Necessary Work” by Tina Connolly (12/5)
“Sorrow and Joy, Sunshine and Rain” by Troy L. Wiggins (12/5)
“How to Survive an Epic Journey” by Tansy Rayner Roberts (12/5)

Reprint Fiction
“The First Witch of Damansara” by Zen Cho (11/7)
“Elemental Love” by Rachel Swirsky (11/7)

“The Shape of the Darkness As It Overtakes Us” by Dimas Ilaw (11/7)
“Would I Lie to You? Creating Alien Cultures” by Tim Pratt (11/7)

“Counting the Stars on One Hand” by Mallory Yu (12/5)
The Secret of NIMH” by Mari Ness (12/5)
“Monitoring My Mind: MST3K and Me” (12/5)

“Spice Islands” by Nin Harris (11/7)
“For All My Missing Jiejies and Ayis” by Sharon Hsu (11/7)
“An Announcement” by Sara Cleto & Brittany Warman (11/7)
“The old woman who hands you an apple” by Betsy Aoki (11/7)

“Apathetic Goblin Nightmare Woman” by Cassandra Khaw (12/5)
“Keening” by Valerie Valdes (12/5)
“The Designs of Designer Baby” by Millie Ho (12/5)
“Afternoon with Grandparents” by Dominik Parisien (12/5)

Sam J. Miller & Lara Elena Donnelly interviewed by Shana DuBois (11/7)
Tansy Rayner Roberts interviewed by Shana DuBois (12/5)

19A (11/7)
“The Bone Plain” by Karin Tidbeck, as read by Stephanie Malia Morris
“An Announcement” by Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman, as read by Erika Ensign
Shana DuBois Interviews Karin Tidbeck

19B (12/5)
“Pipecleaner Sculptures and Other Necessary Work” by Tina Connolly, as read by Stephanie Malia Morris
“How To Survive An Epic Journey” by Tansy Rayner Roberts, as read by Erika Ensign
“Apathetic Goblin Nightmare Woman” by Cassandra Khaw, as read by Stephanie Malia Morris
Shana DuBois Interviews Tina Connolly


Meet New Uncanny Podcast Reader Stephanie Malia Morris!

Wonderful news, Space Unicorns! The talented and amazing Stephanie Malia Morris is joining Uncanny Magazine as a regular reader for the Uncanny Magazine Podcast! Stephanie did a fantastic reading of N. K. Jemisin’s “Henosis” from the Uncanny Magazine Podcast Episode 18A as a guest reader and we’re thrilled to have her on board as a regular member of the Uncanny team.

Stephanie works in a bookstore by day and a library by night, which gives her access to more books than she will ever be able to read in this lifetime. She 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. You can find her on Twitter at @smaliamorris.

Liz Argall’s Things React to Fandom for Robots

As you may remember, one of the stretch goals for the Uncanny Magazine Year Three Kickstarter was a continuation of our webcomic feature. Each issue, the multi-talented Liz Argall will have a special Uncanny edition of her webcomic Things Without Arms and Without Legs where they react to a piece in an issue of Uncanny Magazine.

For Issue 18, Liz’s Things react to “Fandom for Robots” by Vina Jie-Min Prasad.

A Dearth of Fairy Godmothers

(Guest post by Kat Howard)

I am not the sort of writer who generally knows where she’s going when she begins a story. I’ll start with a character, a voice, a scene, and then I just write. So when I started writing An Unkindness of Magicians, I didn’t know that much about what I wanted the book to be.

What I did know was that I wasn’t writing a fairy tale.

I love fairy tales. My first novel, Roses and Rot, is full of them, and I’ve retold them elsewhere as well. I’m certain that they’re something I’ll return to. But with An Unkindness of Magicians, I wanted – I needed – to tell a different kind of story.

Fairy tales often rely on the idea that good will be rewarded. That the deserving daughter will go to the ball, that an old woman will offer a wish in exchange for a kindness, that a mechanical bird will cry out against injustice.

An Unkindness of Magicians is not that kind of story. There are no fairy godmothers coming to save anyone.

Magic is not a thing that is given as a gift in the world of An Unkindness of Magicians. It is not a reward for good behavior. It is wielded like a weapon, it is kept behind locked doors, it is taken.

We say things that happen easily, unexpectedly, miraculously, happen as if by magic. But that’s always struck me as a too-easy explanation. Magic embodies the imagined; it makes the impossible commonplace. If magic were real, practicing it would not be an easy thing.

But even in a society of magicians, people with magic in their very bones, people for whom the right words could conjure the impossible, there would be people who would want magic to be easier.

There are always people who think that things should easier.

That’s not to say that ease is bad. There is an ease that comes with practice, with skill, with study. If you work, you may find that what was once difficult comes with ease. There are also technologies specifically designed to make tasks easier, and of course those should be used.

The problem with ease is when you make your own life easier at someone else’s expense. Those aren’t fairy tale creatures anymore. Those are things from a horror story, vampires and other such ghastlies that feed off the blood and life and soul of others.

An Unkindness of Magicians is not a horror story either. What it is, is the story of a corruption. A thing like a pea, put under mattresses and quilts to bruise the flesh of a true princess, only instead of a pea it is rot, and it has spread through everything.

But An Unkindness of Magicians is also not simply the story of a corrupt society that collapses under its own weight. It is the story of what happens when society stands on the brink of that collapse. Of the people who say enough, and the people who are still willing and happy to sacrifice anyone so long as they get theirs.

Here is the other thing about fairy tales: evil is punished. The doves peck out the eyes of the cruel stepsisters. Bones sing to name their murderer. There is a sense, at the end of the stories, that justice has been done.

An Unkindness of Magicians isn’t that sort of story, either. Sometimes justice can’t be done. The dead do not sing, but stay silent and dead. Even if you cause people to look, straight on, at what they’ve done, the past cannot be unseen.

There is no inherent reward or punishment here. The last words I typed in An Unkindness of Magicians were not “happily ever after.” And anyone who is saved, saved themselves.

(Editors note: Kat Howard’s An Unkindness of Magicians was released on September 26, and is now available at all booksellers.)

Kat Howard lives in New Hampshire. Her short fiction has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award, anthologized in Year’s Best and “best-of” collections, and performed on NPR. Her debut novel, Roses and Rot, was named one of the best SF/Fantasy/Horror books of Summer 2016 by Publishers Weekly and is a finalist for the 2017 Locus Award for First Novel. Her second novel, An Unkindness of Magicians, was published September 2017 from Saga Press, who are also publishing her short fiction collection, A Cathedral of Myth and Bone, in fall 2018. You can find her on Twitter at @KatWithSword.

Liz Argall’s Things React to Qi Xi

As you may remember, one of the stretch goals for the Uncanny Magazine Year Three Kickstarter was a continuation of our webcomic feature. Each issue, the multi-talented Liz Argall will have a special Uncanny edition of her webcomic Things Without Arms and Without Legs where they react to a piece in an issue of Uncanny Magazine.

For Issue 17, Liz’s Things react to the poem “Qi Xi” by Joyce Chng. This particular comic also features an appearance by Mayara, a Tamarin-sized Tamarind who loves the cosmos!

Uncanny Magazine Issue 18 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 October 3.

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

There is an upcoming staff change at Uncanny Magazine. Issue 18 will be Amal El-Mohtar’s last issue as a podcast reader. Amal’s career as a writer and academic has been growing, and she needed to shed some responsibilities to focus on her upcoming projects. Amal has been an extremely important part of Uncanny Magazine since its beginning. Nobody did more to support this dream. We at Uncanny wish her all the best in every future endeavor.

Ashley Mackenzie- Inspiration

The Uncanny Valley

N. K. Jemisin- “Henosis” (9/5)
Fran Wilde- “Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand” (9/5)
C. S. E. Cooney- “Though She Be But Little” (9/5)

Catherynne M. Valente- “Down and Out in R’lyeh” (10/3)
Vina Jie-Min Prasad- “Fandom for Robots” (10/3)
Delia Sherman- “At Cooney’s” (10/3)

Malinda Lo- “Ghost Town” (9/5)

Sophie Aldred – “My Voice-Over Life” (9/5)
Cecilia Tan- “Let Me Tell You” (9/5)

Sarah Kuhn- “I’m Not The Only One: Why Wonder Woman Doesn’t Need to Stand Alone in Order to Stand Tall” (10/3)

Sam J. Miller & Jean Rice- “’Don’t Let Him Catch You With Your Work Undone’—Activism for the Long Haul, Resistance 101, Vol. 4″ (10/3)
Sabrina Vourvoulias- “Changeable Skins, Consummate Catchphrases” (10/3)

Jo Walton- “Too Much Dystopia?” (9/5)
Brandon O’Brien- “Birth, Place” (9/5)

Ali Trotta- “A Lovesong From Frankenstein’s Monster” (10/3)
Gwynne Garfinkle- “The Golem of the Gravestones” (10/3)

Julia Rios Interviews C. S. E. Conney (9/5)

Julia Rios Interviews Delia Sherman (10/3)

Podcast 18A (9/5)
N. K. Jemisin- “Henosis,” as read by Stephanie Morris
Fran Wilde- “Clearly Lettered with a Mostly Steady Hand,” as read by Amal El-Mohtar
Jo Walton- “Too Much Dystopia?”, as read by Erika Ensign
Julia Rios Interviews Fran Wilde

Podcast 18B (10/3)
Catherynne M. Valente- “Down and Out in R’lyeh,” as read by Heath Miller
Ali Trotta- “A Lovesong From Frankenstein’s Monster,” as read by Amal El-Mohtar
Julia Rios Interviews Catherynne M. Valente