Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Uncanny Magazine Won a Hugo! So Did Folding Beijing!

Oh, Space Unicorns. We have so much glorious news to share. We’ll talk about the Kickstarter in our next post (EVERY STRETCH GOAL REACHED), but first…

UNCANNY MAGAZINE WON A HUGO AWARD FOR BEST SEMIPROZINE!!!

And “Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang (translated by Ken Liu) WON A HUGO AWARD FOR BEST NOVELETTE!

We are so honored. This is such a major honor for our first year of publication. Thank you to all of our readers, creators, and staff. This award is only possible because of your support and brilliance.

Here are Lynne, Michael, and Michi giving their speeches!

And here are Hao Jingfang and Ken Liu giving their speeches!

It is all amazing and a little overwhelming. There are articles all over the world for these wins, including China due to Jingfang’s historic win and the Philippines because of Michi being the first Filipina winner in Hugo Award history.

You can read Michi’s speech on her website.

And Charles Tan made this GIF of Michael!

via GIPHY

Shine on, Space Unicorns!

I Want to Write A History of Inequality, by Hao Jingfang, translated by Ken Liu

(Guest Post by Hao Jingfang, translated by Ken Liu.)

My Hugo nomination has brought a sudden burst of media interest in China.

Some have asked me how my life will be changed; I want to tell them there will be no change at all.

The nominated story, “Folding Beijing,” was published two years ago in Chinese. After that, my life has gotten busy. I’m busy with the natural flow of life, a river that won’t be interrupted because of a few waves spraying foam against the bow of the ship.

I’m not a fulltime writer, and I won’t become one in the future. I have a job that requires dedication, that makes me run to catch the subway every day, traverse the bustling city, swipe the card at the office door, and work late and long hours to meet deadlines. Writing is like the crystalline bubbles in a tributary of my life; I know where the main stem of my life lies.

I wrote a story about inequality, and it has won some recognition and praise. I suppose you can say this is some sign that inequality is a problem that resonates across the globe. Indeed, inequality is a troubling problem. Why do we have inequality in the world? And why is it so hard to eliminate?

#

Let me be clear: “Folding Beijing” represents just one of the many ways I’ve thought about inequality. It may be the most vivid, but it certainly isn’t the most important.

I’ve been troubled by inequality for a long time. When I majored in physics as an undergraduate, I once stared at the distribution curve for American household income that showed profound inequality, and tried to fit the data against black-body distribution or Maxwell–Boltzmann distribution. I wanted to know how such a curve came about, and whether it implied some kind of universality: something as natural as particle energy distribution functions, so natural it led to despair.

In one sense, the entire economic history of dynastic China can be understood as the history of struggles against inequality. Numerous dynasties engaged in reform measures such as land redistribution into equal tenements, enacting laws to prevent the wealthy from acquiring large estates by squeezing off small tenants, etc. But even if land ownership was relatively even at the beginning of a dynasty, waves of mergers into large estates eventually swept through the country until tax reforms by the middle of the dynasty had to accept unequal land ownership as a fact. Indeed, if the regimes had insisted on resisting the economic impetus driving such mergers, the economy of the country would have stayed at the relatively primitive stage of inefficient household farms. Throughout this process, successive Chinese governments committed many violent errors and acts of tyranny, but their intentions and goals were often positive.

If we broaden our perspective to today’s world, the problem remains unsolved. Some small countries or city-states which stand near the top of our global economic value chain have indeed mostly achieved equality, but down the value chain live many larger populations still mired in poverty.

If the chance presents itself, I want to write A History of Inequality in the future, chronicling humanity’s millennia-long war against inequality (and our repeated defeats). We still see no sign of true victory, at least not at this moment.

I may not get a chance to write such a book for a long time.

#

Actually, part of my job actually involves research into this question.

I’m employed by the China Development Research Foundation. I’ve been there since the day I got my PhD, more than three years ago now.

From time to time, people ask me: What sort of investment do you make?

I have to clarify this: the foundation is a nonprofit research organization that makes no investments at all. We were founded by the Development Research Center of the State Council (DNC), but our operations are independent. Most of our projects involve: research on specific topics, organizing conferences, knowledge exchange with other research institutes, public interest work, and so on.

The foundation is responsible for organizing many research conferences. Every March, an international conference called “China Development Forum” is held at Diaoyutai (the government’s guesthouse complex), and the last one was attended by both the premier and the vice premier, as well as more than eighty of the executives of the Fortune Global 500.

The foundation also has specific research projects directed at questions of policy. Some of the research is commissioned by the government, others by private companies. These projects cover economics, sociology, and management. The results of the research are generally presented as policy proposals, delivered to the commissioning party or the DNC.

Another important part of the foundation’s work involves public interest research intended to benefit children from rural, poverty-stricken parts of China.

I get emotional whenever I have to talk about this aspect of the foundation. I can’t express the depth of my admiration for my colleagues’ dedication to their task. These projects involve the most remote, poorest parts of China, and those working on them spend most of the year away from Beijing, staying in villages without modern conveniences, visiting each family one by one. Some of my colleagues kept on working even when they were pregnant, riding bumpy buses through dusty roads for hours to reach their destinations.

The foundation suggested a nutritional supplement program for children from rural, poor regions, and the program is now national policy. The foundation also built kindergartens for children in mountainous regions left behind when their parents left their ancestral villages to be migrant workers in distant cities. A poor county might contain a hundred tiny villages scattered in the mountains, and the foundation would build a kindergarten in every single village. These children might not see their parents for the whole year, and receive practically no education before they are old enough for school. We don’t necessarily know what it means to win the race of life at the starting line, but we certainly know what it looks like when children fall behind at the starting line.

Compared to the enormous population of China, the efforts of the foundation are so insignificant it is like trying to rescue a burning house with a single cup of water. But even such small efforts, maintained over years, may still make a difference.

#

This is why I won’t leave my job. Even if I were to win the Hugo, it won’t have much impact on my life.

I need that persistence, that sense I’m part of a worthwhile effort, with a set direction. Secretary-General Lu Mai at the foundation has already spent decades traversing the country on behalf of children from rural, poor regions, and the children’s welfare is all he thinks about. Many of my colleagues are not interested in pretty words; they’ve spent years on their projects, having seen much and accomplished much, but rarely do they talk about what they’ve done. But I can see in them the hardened strength I need. Their actions tell me that in this superficial world filled with cynical laughter and ironic detachment, there are still some who hold onto their ideals and try to make them come true. Even the most magnificent fireworks will fade after a moment, but steady strides, one step after another on solid ground, will bring hope of change.

The foundation is a small group that can touch First Space, but chooses to cheer on Third Space. We’re not many, but we’ll never give up.

 

hao_jingfang2Hao Jingfang has an undergraduate degree from Tsinghua University’s Department of Physics and a PhD from Tsinghua in Economics and Management. Her fiction has appeared in English various publications, including Lightspeed, Clarkesworld, and Uncanny. She has published three full-length novels, Wandering Maearth, Return to Charon, and Born in 1984; a book of cultural essays, Europe in Time; and several short story collections, Star Travelers, To Go the Distance, and The Depth of Loneliness. In 2016, her novelette, “Folding Beijing” (translated by Ken Liu), was a Hugo finalist. Several of her stories, including “Folding Beijing,” are collected in Invisible Planets, an anthology of contemporary Chinese SF edited and translated by Ken Liu.

Invisible_Planets_cover

Uncanny Magazine, Pockets, and Heat of Us Are All World Fantasy Award Finalists!

SPACE UNICORNS! UNCANNY MAGAZINE‘S LYNNE M. AND MICHAEL DAMIAN THOMAS, AMAL EL-MOHTAR’S “POCKETS,” AND SAM J. MILLER’S “THE HEAT OF US: NOTES TOWARD AN ORAL HISTORY” ARE ALL WORLD FANTASY AWARD FINALISTS

This is such an amazing and unexpected honor. A huge thanks to all of the World Fantasy Convention members and the World Fantasy Award jury for nominating Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, for Uncanny, in the Special Award, Nonprofessional category, and both Amal El-Mohtar’s “Pockets” and Sam J. Miller’s “Heat of Us: Notes Toward an Oral History” in the Short Fiction category. (Both stories are available for free on the website and in our podcast.)

We had many hopes for our first year of Uncanny Magazine, but even in our wildest dreams we didn’t foresee this much award attention.  Stories, covers, the podcast, and the magazine itself have been named as finalists for the Hugo, the Locus, the World Fantasy, the Chesley, the Spectrum, the Parsec, the Theodore Sturgeon, and many other awards. Thank you, you phenomenal Space Unicorn Ranger Corps for making Uncanny Magazine possible, and giving us the means to share these special pieces with all of you.  This is the best community of staff, contributors, and readers possible.

If it is possible to be both proud and completely floored, you’re looking at it.

Shine on, Space Unicorns!

Uncanny Magazine Issue 11 Cover and Table of Contents!

Coming July 5, THE ELEVENTH ISSUE OF 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 August 2.

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

Issue11_coverMED

Uncanny Magazine Issue 11 Table of Contents

Cover
“Those Who Came First” by Antonio Caparo

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

Fiction
“A Hundred and Seventy Storms” by Aliette de Bodard (7/5)
“El Cantar of Rising Sun” by Sabrina Vourvoulias (7/5)
“The Words on My Skin” by Caroline M. Yoachim (7/5)
“Snow Day” by Catherynne M. Valente (8/2)
“An Ocean the Color of Bruises” by Isabel Yap (8/2)

Reprint Fiction
“Travels with the Snow Queen” by Kelly Link (7/5)

Nonfiction
“We Were All Trini: Searching for Asian American Mirrors in SF/F” by Sarah Kuhn (7/5)
“So You Want to Start a Podcast” by Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky (7/5)
“The Death of Very Special Diversity Comics” by Sigrid Ellis (8/2)
“Myth Has Momentum, or: How I Accidentally Deified a Jar of Jelly” by Kelly McCullough (8/2)

Poetry
“Good Neighbors” by Jessica P. Wick (7/5)
“Phaya Nak Goes to the West” by Bryan Thao Worra (8/2)
“The Persecution of Witches” by Ali Trotta (8/2)

Interviews
Sarah Kuhn interviewed by Deborah Stanish (7/5)
Sabrina Vourvoulias interviewed by Deborah Stanish (7/5)

Podcast 11A (7/5)
“A Hundred and Seventy Storms” by Aliette de Bodard, as read by Erika Ensign
“Good Neighbors” by Jessica P. Wick, as read by Amal El-Mohtar
An interview conducted by Deborah Stanish

Podcast 11B (8/2)
“An Ocean the Color of Bruises” by Isabel Yap, as read by Amal El-Mohtar
“The Persecution of Witches” by Ali Trotta, as read by Erika Ensign
An interview conducted by Deborah Stanish

Uncanny Cabin II: The Reckoning. A Review by Anne M. Gibson

In 2015, Uncanny Magazine ran a Kickstarter to fund their second year of publication. I’d supported them in 2014 and attended their writing retreat, Uncanny Cabin. So when I saw the same reward posted in 2015, I was all over that like a beagle at a buffet table.
I’m sorry, it was too awesome the first time for me to pass it up.
It was a wise choice.
The cabin is set in the woods of the Poconos in northern Pennsylvania. The spring sun filled our writing space on all three days. The furniture is comfortable. The food is fantastic. The sleeping arrangements are quite nice, when the Cabin’s fictional-malevolent-spirit isn’t locking one in one’s room.
And the people, well, let’s face it: we go to writing workshops as much for the people as we do the knowledge. It’s the people that make the knowledge useful, timely, and effective. And these people? They know their stuff. They represent decades of accumulated experience in the Speculative Fiction genre, from marketing to publishing to editorial. There was no topic I could ask about that they couldn’t answer. There was no insecurity or worry that I had that they could not address. And we had fun. Lynne, Deb, Mike, Ally, Fran, and Sarah filled my head with career and writing tips, tricks, and skills, while simultaneously making me laugh and helping me overcome my own insecurities.
Not much more one can ask, really. Except maybe for a ghost story. So we wrote one, live, on Twitter, in the form of an Agatha Christie retelling performed by stale peeps and a murdercabin . This marks the second year in a row where we planned to roast marshmallows over a campfire only to have the Cabin thwart our plans. One of the risks one takes when hanging out with an extremely talented and hard-working batch of writers, editors, and interviewers is that things get picked up and run with like the aforementioned buffet beagle.
I want Uncanny Magazine to succeed beyond Lynne and Michael Thomas’s wildest financial and professional expectations. I want this magazine, with its impeccable taste in stories, amazing podcast, and strong industry voice, to become as popular as Asimov’s or Amazing Stories. And at the same time, I really really want the Kickstarter to keep running so that I can jump on that buffet table of camaraderie, education, and illumination year after year.
(I’d be satisfied with their unmitigated success in all things they touch and an occasional invitation as an alumnus.)
Next year, Cabin, we’ll get our s’mores, and I’ll be here again unless someone beats me to the table.

Tran Nguyen’s Uncanny Magazine Cover Wins A Spectrum 23 Award!

Wonderful news, Space Unicorns! Tran Nguyen’s stunning Uncanny Magazine Issue 4 cover, “Traveling to a Distant Day,” WON A GOLD AWARD IN THE SPECTRUM 23 EDITORIAL CATEGORY!

We are so happy for Tran. It’s a phenomenal cover, and we are giddy that it now has a super fancy award.

Don’t forget, Year One Kickstarter Space Unicorn Ranger Corps, this is partially because of you. We were able to commission and pay for this cover because the Uncanny Year One Kickstarter reached the stretch goal of an original Tran Nguyen cover. This is exactly the sort of art that exists due to your awesome generosity.

Cover_Issue_Four_med (1)

Folding Beijing Is a Locus Award Finalist!

Excellent news, Space Unicorns! Hao Jingfang’s “Folding Beijing” (translated by Ken Liu) IS A FINALIST FOR THE BEST NOVELETTE LOCUS AWARD! We wish more huge congratulations to Jingfang and Ken! The accolades keep coming for this amazing story. Hugo Award FinalistChinese Xingyun (Nebula) Awards nomination! Sturgeon Award Finalist! Two Year’s Best science fiction anthologies!

Congratulations to all of the finalists, many of whom have been Uncanny writers and artists in the past.

 

The Uncanny Magazine 2016 Weightless Books Subscription Drive!

Uncanny Magazine is once again recruiting for its Space Unicorn Ranger Corps! Now, you can become a member of the Corps by subscribing at Weightless Books!

This is the perfect time to join because 2016 Hugo Award finalist Uncanny is going on sale! From May 3-17, a year’s subscription to Uncanny Magazine is $2 less than the typical current cover price (only $21.88)! It’s the least expensive way to subscribe we offer.

Each bimonthly issue of Uncanny contains new and classic speculative fiction, poetry, essays, art, and interviews.  We seek out and share pieces we can’t stop thinking and talking about, because of how they make us feel. We’re also deeply committed to finding and showcasing fantastic works by writers from every possible point of view and background.

We debuted Issue One of Uncanny in November 2014 and we’ve been thrilled with Years One and Two. We’ve included original contributions from phenomenal authors such as Neil GaimanMaria Dahvana HeadleyMax GladstoneKen LiuChristopher BarzakSam J. MillerSofia Samatar, Catherynne M. Valente, Alyssa Wong, Elizabeth Bear, John Chu, Kameron Hurley, Charlie Jane Anders, Ursula Vernon, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Chris Kluwe, Hao Jingfang, Mary Robinette Kowal, Seanan McGuire, Mark Oshiro, Rachel Swirsky, E. Lily Yu, and Amal El-Mohtar, plus many newer voices. We can’t wait for you to read what’s coming next.

New or renewing subscribers to Uncanny Magazine from May 3-17, 2016 will be eligible for giveaways and a whole bunch of Uncanny swag!

  • First 50 subscribers: Your choice of a back issue, and an EXCLUSIVE Weightless Books Uncanny Space Unicorn Full-Color Vinyl Sticker and a cover art postcard! Plus, we’ll randomly draw 2 winners for Uncanny mini-swag packs: a Space Unicorn Ranger Corps patch and a set of cover art postcards!
  • At 100 new/renewing subscribers, every new subscriber will receive an EXCLUSIVE Weightless Books Uncanny Space Unicorn Full Color Vinyl Sticker, and an ebook of your choice of 2 back issues. Plus, we’ll draw for a spiffy prize pack of a Space Unicorn Ranger Corps patch, a set of 3 signed cover-art posters, and an official Uncanny Magazine tshirt!
  • At 150 new/renewing subscribers, all new/renewing subscribers will receive: an EXCLUSIVE Weightless Books Uncanny Space Unicorn Full Color Vinyl Sticker, ebooks of your choice of 3 back issues, and we’ll draw 4 winners for their choice of signed books by: Alex Gordon, Ann Leckie, or Kameron Hurley, or custom-blended Uncanny Magazine tea based on specific Uncanny Magazine stories, plus a Space Unicorn Ranger Corps patch for each winner!
  • At 200 new/renewing subscribers, we’ll draw for a mega-swag pack that includes an EXCLUSIVE Weightless Books Uncanny Space Unicorn Full Color Vinyl Sticker, postcards, a patch, signed cover art, custom-blended Uncanny Magazine tea based on specific Uncanny Magazine stories, an Uncanny Magazine tshirt and a tote bag!
  • At 300 new/renewing subscribers, we’ll draw for a SECOND mega-swag pack that includes an EXCLUSIVE Weightless Books Uncanny Space Unicorn Full Color Vinyl Sticker, postcards, a patch, signed cover art, custom-blended Uncanny Magazine tea based on specific Uncanny Magazine stories, an Uncanny Magazine tshirt and a tote bag! And we will add a Samsung Galaxy Tab E 9.6” 16GB (Wi-Fi) tablet to that swag bag!

There may also be random prize drawings throughout the subscription drive. You never know with the Space Unicorns…

Uncanny Is a Best Semiprozine Hugo Award Finalist and Folding Beijing Is a Best Novelette Finalist!

SPACE UNICORNS! UNCANNY MAGAZINE IS A FINALIST FOR THE BEST SEMIPROZINE HUGO AWARD! We are beyond thrilled about this. There are so many great magazines in that category. We are truly, truly honored to be a finalist in our very first year of eligibility. Thank you, you wonderful Space Unicorns, who nominated Uncanny Magazine in good faith. Also, thank you to the hard-working MidAmeriCon 2 Hugo Award staff for all of your phenomenal volunteer work this year.

And that’s not all! Hao Jingfang’s “Folding Beijing” (translated by Ken Liu) IS A FINALIST FOR THE BEST NOVELETTE HUGO AWARD! We wish huge congratulations to Jingfang and Ken! This is just one of many accolades for this amazing story. Add its Hugo Finalist status to its Chinese Xingyun (Nebula) Awards nomination, being a Sturgeon Award Finalist, being on the Locus Magazine Recommended Reading List, and being included in two Year’s Best science fiction anthologies!

We are so, so proud of our 2015 issues. Many of our remarkable stories, essays, poems, and covers have been nominated for different awards, or have been included in Year’s Best collections. For the first complete year of a new magazine, this is a phenomenal accomplishment. We truly are grateful to work with the best creators and staff in the world.

The accolades are great, but that’s not what is most important to us. When we created Uncanny, we wanted it to be a place for community—readers and creators making and consuming art, beauty, kindness, insight, challenges, and gorgeous emotions. After 10 issues, what means the most to us is the wonderful enthusiasm we see from our readers and creators. People are giddy about each issue, talking about their favorite pieces, recommending things to friends, and there seems to be a general feeling that Uncanny is a gathering place for a marvelous, diverse SF/F community. That is the greatest award of all.