Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Uncanny Mini Interview with Year Two Contributor Chris Kluwe!

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Chris Kluwe is a former NFL punter, writer, one-time violin prodigy, rights advocate, and obsessive gamer. Kluwe graduated from UCLA with a double major in history and political science and played for the Minnesota Vikings for eight years. He is the author of the acclaimed essay collection Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies: On Myths, Morons, Free Speech, Football and Assorted Absurdities and has been profiled in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Salon. Kluwe has appeared at TED, discussing the topic of the future of virtual reality technology and its connection to building a more empathetic society, and he regularly makes presentations at major corporations, universities, and human rights organizations.

Interview by Michi Trota

You can support the Uncanny Magazine Year Two Kickstarter here.

1) You co-wrote your recent novel Prime: A Genesis Series Event with Andrew Reiner. What are some of the challenges and advantages of collaborating with another writer to create a shared universe?

There were a couple obstacles we had to overcome, the main one of which was figuring out who was going to write the darn thing. Andy and I have very different writing styles, and when we tried alternating chapters at first, it was very obvious who had written which one. We felt that was a little jarring, so we decided to go with a system where I would write a first draft of a chapter, Andy would make suggestions/edits, and then I would go back through and make it all internally consistent. I think it ended up working really well for us, and we’re doing the same thing for book two.

One of the biggest advantages of collaborating with Andy was that we could push each other one when it felt like one of us was flagging. Probably the hardest part of writing a book is simply forcing yourself to get all the way to the end, a daunting task when you first put words to paper, but having a teammate makes it much easier. I would highly recommend, if not a co-writer, at least a cheerleader, someone who will help you get through the doldrums and remind you that the book won’t write itself.

2) You’ve played football in the NFL, authored essays and a science fiction novel, are an avid gamer, and you’re also a cook. You clearly enjoy challenging yourself and trying new things. Is there a hobby that you’re not interested in trying?

Ummm, none that spring immediately to mind. I enjoy trying new things, and the world is a vast and fascinating place. You’ll never know if you like something or not until you try it (a lesson I’m trying to teach my kids).

3) What is the most uncanny thing that’s ever happened to you?

Probably playing in the NFC Championship game in 2010. The atmosphere was surreal. I don’t think the noise in the stadium ever dropped below 100db the entire game. Even though we ended up losing, it was an incredible experience.

 

Uncanny Mini Interview with the Space Unicorn Submissions Editors!

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We have an amazing team here at Uncanny Magazine. We receive thousands of submissions per year. Our wonderful Submissions Editors are the first readers of all of these stories. We thought it would be fun to ask them about their work here since a deluge of submissions will be heading their way as soon as the Uncanny Magazine Kickstarter reaches 100% funded.

Interview by Michi Trota

(You can support the Uncanny Magazine Year Two Kickstarter here.)

 

What makes a story uncanny to you?

 

Liam Meilleur:

An Uncanny story cannot be trusted. It lures me in, perhaps with an intriguing voice or an interesting use of genre elements, and then it surprises me. It subverts my expectations. An Uncanny story doesn’t take the path less taken; it forges a whole new one that carries my imagination off into the uncharted frontier of new ideas. An Uncanny story reinvents the wheel, and then it inspires me to do the same.

Jennifer R. Albert:

Uncanny stories are many things. They are weird and wonderful, familiar and fresh. They dazzle, delight, unsettle, and affect us. Uncanny stories are the ones you love desperately when you don’t know why, the ones that worm their way into your middle and stick there.

K.E. Bergdoll:

Uncanny stories have something special, a little different, a little skewed. They’re often beautiful; above all else, thoughtful. They’ve heft and depth, even if their flight is delicate. They stay with you. The best come back again and again, resurrected by some small thing, raised up from the subconscious to provoke further digestion. They all possess a germ of importance, regardless of style or content.

Shannon Page:

To me, what makes a story Uncanny is closely related to what makes a story awesome. And it’s really hard to describe. It starts with the usual things, of course—I can’t stop reading it, even if I really need to go attend to something else urgent; I am surprised while reading, at last once if not more; I feel like I am reading about real people in real places and situations (even if they’re aliens or magical beings or sentient trees).

But an Uncanny story is even more than that. There’s that shiver of recognition, that “Ohhhhh…..” that happens when I recognize that I’m being given a glimpse into an amazing writer’s unique imagination. That glimpse that makes me laugh out loud, or creeps me out. (or both!) An Uncanny story is fun. It’s smart. It’s unique. It’s…well, to borrow an old phrase: “I know it when I see it.”

Cislyn Smith:

I have an abiding love for the surreal, the strange, and the beautiful. For me, an Uncanny story is all of those things and more. An Uncanny story is unforgettable. An Uncanny story is thoughtful, and touches on relevant issues creatively. Uncanny stories get my brain moving in unusual ways, and they’re the ones I can’t wait to tell all my friends to read.

Kay Taylor Rea:

Uncanny stories have the bones of SF/F fiction fleshed out with wondrous weirdness. They’re pleasantly odd tales that twist and reshape themselves. They slip past standard genre definitions if you try to pin them down. They turn tired tropes in on themselves and emerge as something shiny and new. They’re odd and clever, sad and sweet, grandly sweeping and breath-stealingly intimate, guilelessly optimistic and rough-edged with realism. Uncanny stories are exactly what you expect right up until they’re not. Uncanny stories make you think, make you dream, and make you flip through the pages to read that great bit one more time.

Jesse Lex:

In order of preference, a story is Uncanny when it’s:

1. Effortlessly takes me out of my day-to-day experience and/or makes me question my day-to-day experience
2. Tone creates a palpable atmosphere/mood but doesn’t hit me over head
3. Authentic characterization
4. Fresh, experimental and unique

Jessica Wolf:

To me, an Uncanny story is not any one kind of story; it’s a feeling. So many of my favorite stories in this magazine have had something to do with identity and perception. While the stories are always about other realities, there’s an aura of connectedness and belonging which is relatable to someone who reads speculative stories to understand themselves better. A beauty in the work itself is something I also find; whatever the mood or tone, it’s a short story, told well.

Arkady Martine:

For me, an Uncanny story has an emotional core that wounds or heals — or both at once. It employs the speculative to create that emotional effect. If speculative fiction is about exploring the conceptual possibilities of this and other worlds, Uncanny stories are those which explore sociological, emotional, and connective spaces. Those spaces can be as small as a pocket or as large as a planet; they are always intense.

Uncanny Mini Interview with Year Two Contributor Alyssa Wong!

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Alyssa Wong is a 2013 graduate of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop. Her fiction has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Strange Horizons, Black Static, and Tor.com. Her story “The Fisher Queen” was nominated for the Nebula, Shirley Jackson, and World Fantasy Awards. Her poem “For the Gardener’s Daughter” appears in Uncanny Magazine #4.

Interview by Michi Trota

You can support the Uncanny Magazine Year Two Kickstarter here.

1) Your Nebula Award nominated story, “The Fisher Queen,” uses a lot of elements common in folk and fairy tales. Are there any particular folk tales or fairy tales that you’ve found inspiring?

There’s a Filipino folk tale about a lazy girl named Pina whose mother accidentally turns her into a pineapple. I always liked that one because it felt like something my own mom might do in a moment of exasperation.

I’ve loved fairy tales since I was little. When I was growing up, my favorite was “Little Red Riding Hood,” because I wanted to marry a wolf (this was a poor idea). My current favorites are “The Twelve Brothers and The Snow Queen”; both are about girls who embark on quests and who have to make intense personal sacrifices to complete them.

2) You’ve spoken before about your enthusiasm for fanfiction. How do you think fanfiction affects readers’ and creators’ relationship with the original source material?

I like fanfiction because it’s a way for fans to connect deeply with the source material and explore that connection in ways that aren’t given a lot of screen time in canon. Maybe you’re really into the xenobiology on a certain planet and you want to write about how that works. Maybe it’s the relationship between two, or three, or more characters that you want to focus on. I love that fanfiction gives fans and creators the opportunity to pick up underutilized threads in the source material and extrapolate those ideas into something new.

3) What is the most uncanny thing that’s ever happened to you?

Catch me in person sometime and I’ll tell you the story of Faceless Ghost Grandma. Other than that, my life hasn’t been terribly uncanny.

 

Uncanny Mini Interview with Year Two Contributor Mary Robinette Kowal!

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Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of The Glamourist Histories series of fantasy novels. She has received the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, three Hugo awards, and the RT Reviews award for Best Fantasy Novel. Her work has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards. Her stories appear in Asimov’s, Clarkesworld, and several Year’s Best anthologies. Mary, a professional puppeteer, also performs as a voice actor, recording fiction for authors such as Seanan McGuire, Cory Doctorow, and John Scalzi. She lives in Chicago with her husband Rob and over a dozen manual typewriters. Her story “ Midnight Hour” appeared in Uncanny Magazine #5. Visit maryrobinettekowal.com

Interview by Michi Trota

You can support the Uncanny Magazine Year Two Kickstarter here.

1) You recently completed your Glamourist History series. Each one is a little different in structure: you’ve done a romance, a spy story, a political thriller, a heist, and you’ve described the last book as your “grimdark” story. Looking back, did you have a favorite out of those different story types?

I really enjoyed the heist novel structure, but the one that I found most interesting was the grimdark. Why? Because my initial approach to the novel was thinking about Downton Abbey and how it is structured based on soap operas. What I discovered was that when you apply that structure to a fantasy novel, it naturally veers into grimdark. That was a little bit surprising, but made sense when I thought about it. In soap operas, things are heightened and always, always getting worse. There’s just not as much blood and dirt as in a fantasy novel.

2) You’re an experienced puppeteer and recently completed a several week-long puppetry workshop at the Jim Henson Studios. What was the most surprising experience you had at the workshop?

The workshop was heavily improv based. I haven’t done any formal improv since high school. What surprised me was how many exercises were like the POV exercises that I do when teaching writing. I suspect that a lot of writers would be well-served to take some character based improv classes.

3) Anyone who follows you on Twitter and Instagram knows that you love to make pies. What is your favorite pie – and which fictional character of yours would you most like to share it with and why?

I am a sucker for a pecan pie, which I almost never see and rarely make. If I could, I’d share it with Elma York, from “Lady Astronaut of Mars” because she’s based on my grandmother.

The Uncanny Cabin- A Review by Anne M. Gibson

On April 24, 2015, I piled into a minivan with some writers, some editors,  a few coolers of food, and heavens knows how many pens, notepads, books, and computers. We drove into the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania that beautiful spring morning. This trip was part of my “rewards” for backing the Uncanny Magazine Year One Kickstarter.

The Uncanny Cabin.

It was my first writing retreat. It was my first opportunity to talk to published writers, get my work critiqued, learn about the industry, and connect with new faces.

Yes, it was uncanny.

It was uncanny how much writing is like my day job, and how much it isn’t. It was uncanny how comfortable I felt around total strangers, and how nerve wracking a critique is even though I receive them every day. (I’m a web designer. We critique a lot.) It was uncanny how much the cabin felt like trips to the mountains I’d visited as a child, and how very different everything felt now that I’m not.

And yes, there was writing. I don’t know if all writing retreats are the same, this being my first one, but every few hours someone announced, “Okay, I’m going to write for about an hour,” and everything stopped because everyone else wanted to do the same thing.

Mind boggling.

I could not be happier with the reward that I received. It was fantastic to dive into my fiction and come up gasping for air every few hundred words. In between writing jags, we celebrated with food, drink, games, and an uncanny horror story.

Uncanny Cabin wasn’t the special reward in the kickstarter.

It didn’t hold a candle to the ongoing delight thousands of people get from Uncanny Magazine and its accompanying Podcast.

Lynne and Michael Thomas, Michi Trota, Erika Ensign, Steven Schapanksy, Deb Stanish, Amal El-Mohtar, and C. S. E. Cooney, have produced a classy, amazing, solid compilation of Science Fiction and Fantasy on a regular schedule, with big names and small, since November 4, 2014. It’s accompanied by a delicious podcast (I’m sorry that’s really the only word my brain will let me use for it — delicious. It’s up for a Parsec Award for heaven’s sake.) and captivating cover art. This is a serious accomplishment, the kind that many of us have dreamed of since we discovered reading and writing and Cricket magazine.

There aren’t enough superlatives to describe these folks and the magic they’ve produced. It’s uncanny.

To be honest, volunteering for group events with strangers isn’t usually something I would do, and I spent a good amount of time hemming and hawing last year over the choice, before deciding to take a chance.

On August 11th, a few days ago, Uncanny Magazine announced the Year Two Kickstarter. The line up is fantastic, the goals are reasonable, and most importantly, Uncanny Magazine is worth the investment.

I’ve already pledge to travel to the Uncanny Cabin for Year Two, but that shouldn’t stop you from kickstarting the magazine. Rewards range from public acknowledgement in the first issue to NAMING. A. UNICORN. Seriously, how often do you get a chance to name a magazine’s unicorn?

Back it.

If you can’t back the Kickstarter, buy a subscription or become a Patron.

As the recipients of this reward, this magical every-two-months box of brain candy, the least we can do for ourselves is support the things that make us giddy with joy, or sorrow, or enchantment. Uncanny Magazine is one of those things.

As for me, I’m sharpening my pens for another round of uncanny adventures.

The Uncanny Magazine Podcast Is a 2015 Parsec Award Finalist

Great news, Space Unicorns! The Uncanny Magazine Podcast is a Finalist for a 2015 Parsec Award in the Best Speculative Fiction Magazine or Anthology Podcast category!

Congratulations to all of the finalists. We especially want to thank our phenomenal podcast staff:

Producers Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky
Readers Amal El-Mohtar and C. S. E. Cooney (Plus Amelia Beamer and Heath Miller)
Interviewers Deborah Stanish and Michi Trota

We have the best team in the business.

This is a huge honor. Thank you to all of our listeners.

The Parsec Awards will awarded at Dragon*Con in Atlanta over Labor Day weekend.

Best Speculative Fiction Magazine or Anthology Podcast
Cast of Wonders
PseudoPod
Seminar
The Uncanny Magazine Podcast
The NoSleep Podcast

Uncanny Magazine Year Two Kickstarter is LIVE!

Space Unicorns! We need your help!

Uncanny Magazine Year Two: The Return of the Space Unicorn! The Kickstarter is LIVE!

Last year, three-time Hugo Award winner Lynne M. Thomas & three-time Hugo Award finalist Michael Damian Thomas ran the Uncanny Magazine Year One Kickstarter. We promised to bring you stunning cover art, passionate science fiction and fantasy fiction and poetry, gorgeous prose, and provocative nonfiction by writers from every conceivable background. Not to mention a fantastic podcast featuring exclusive content.

With the hard work of the best staff and contributors in the world, Uncanny Magazine delivered everything as promised. All this content is available for free over the web, thanks to yoursupport.

Though Uncanny has developed several additional funding streams to make the magazine sustainable, we’re not quite there yet. Which is why we’re running the Uncanny Magazine Year Two: The Return of the Space Unicorn Kickstarter.

Galen Dara's Issue One Cover
Galen Dara’s Issue One Cover

If you’ve been looking for an opportunity to join or rejoin the Space Unicorn Ranger Corps, now’s your chance!

Our Year Two goals will bring Uncanny closer to sustainability by paying for more great content and making sure the magazine’s business infrastructure is solidified.

On deck for Year Two is an outstanding group of solicited contributors, fantastic backer rewards, plus some additional surprises.

Collage of selected author photos; all authors listed below
Collage of selected author photos; all authors listed below

Short Stories!

Nonfiction!

Poetry!

Art!

Fortune's Favor by Julie Dillon, Issue 2 cover
Fortune’s Favor by Julie Dillon, Issue 2 cover
Chicks Dig Time Lords cover by Katy Shuttleworth
Chicks Dig Time Lords cover by Katy Shuttleworth

There will also be more slots for unsolicited submissions (we reopen in September). We’re deeply committed to finding and showcasing new voices in our genre from around the world.
Uncanny Magazine is published as an eBook (MOBI, PDF, EPUB) bimonthly (the every other month kind) on the first Tuesday of that month through all of the major online eBook stores. Each issue contains 3-5 new short stories, 1 reprinted story, 3 poems, 2 nonfiction essays, and 1 interview, at minimum. Our monthly podcast includes a story, a poem, and an exclusive interview in each episode.

Kickstarter Backers at the Subscriber Level or higher, and those purchasing single issues, get each issue in its entirety up front, no waiting. Those reading online for free wait a month for the second half, which appears on the second Tuesday of the month athttp://uncannymagazine.com/.

We at Uncanny think we’re doing important work, and we’d like to continue. Please consider supporting Uncanny Magazine Year Two.
How We’ll Use the Funding: 

Our current funding goal ($18,700) is for the original version of Uncanny, as we envisioned it (and budgeted for it) at the launch of Year One.

Our funding goal pays for all six issues of Uncanny Year Two, including:

  • 17,000 words of new fiction per issue (3-5 stories, depending on length)
  • A reprint story
  • Reprint cover art
  • 3 new poems
  • 2 new nonfiction essays
  • 2 new interviews

We pay our writers $.08 per word for original fiction, our poets $30 per poem, our essayists $50 per essay, and our artists $100 per reprinted artwork.

In addition to paying our content contributors (upon acceptance!), our initial Year Two budget includes:

  • Paying our staff (Editors-in Chief, Managing Editor, Podcast Producers and Readers, Interviewer)
  • Podcast production and hosting costs
  • Website hosting and maintenance costs
  • Backer rewards
  • Kickstarter fees and taxes

Our Year One backers were so generous we reached all our stretch goals, which added additional stories and essays to each Year One issue. Our awesome backers also sponsored several pieces of original cover art.

Each Stretch Goal we reach in this Year Two Kickstarter will allow us to provide more of the additional content that was so successful in Year One.

Stretch Goals:

  • $20,000 Original Covers by Katy Shuttleworth & Galen Dara
  • $22,000 Bring back 2 additional essays per issue
  • $26,000 Bring back 1 additional story per issue
  • $30,000 Bring back a second additional story per issue
  • $31,000 1 Liz Argall’s Things Without Arms And Things Without Legs reaction comic per issue, published on our website

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We hope you’ll consider supporting us by joining the Space Unicorn Ranger Corps!

 

Keeping a Promise: Lynne M. Thomas Cosplays Black Canary

For years, Lynne has been promising to cosplay Black Canary as a treat to herself for achieving tenure. Black Canary is her all-time favorite comic book character, mostly due to Gail Simone’s Birds of Prey comic book run and the Justice League Unlimited cartoon.

Lynne promised television writer/producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach on an episode of  the SF Squeecast. She has continuously promised writer/editor Charles Tan on Twitter. Finally, she promised the Space Unicorn Ranger Corps during the Uncanny Magazine Year One Kickstarter.

This year at CONvergence, Lynne finally became Black Canary for an evening.

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Best of all:

Will Michael join Lynne as Green Arrow next year? We’ll see!

Uncanny Magazine Issue 5 Cover and Table of Contents!

Coming July 7, THE FIFTH ISSUE OF UNCANNY!!!
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 4.

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

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Uncanny Magazine Issue 5 Table of Contents

Cover

Antonio Caparo- “Companion Devices”

Editorial

The Uncanny Valley

New Fiction

Mary Robinette Kowal – “Midnight Hour” (7/7)
E. Lily Yu- “Woman at Exhibition” (7/7)
Shveta Thakrar- “The Rainbow Flame” (7/7)

Charlie Jane Anders- “Ghost Champagne” (8/4)
Sarah Monette – “The Half-Life of Angels” (8/4)
Delilah S. Dawson- “Catcall” (8/4)

Reprint

Scott Lynch- “A Year and a Day in Old Theradane” (8/4)

Nonfiction

Natalie Luhrs- “Ethics of Reviewing” (7/7)
Sofia Samatar- “Writing Queerly: Three Snapshots” (7/7)

Michael R. Underwood- “21st Century Heroes – Representation in Marvel & DC’s Cinematic Universes” (8/4)
Caitlin Rosberg- “Representation Matters: Embracing Change in Comics” (8/4)

Poetry

C.S.E. Cooney- “The Saga of Captain Jens” (7/7)
Bryan Thao Worra- “Slices of Failure in Super Science” (7/7)

Sonya Taaffe- “Σειρήνοιϊν” (8/4)

Interviews

Deborah Stanish Interviews E. Lily Yu (7/7)
Deborah Stanish Interviews Delilah S. Dawson (8/4)

Podcast 5A (7/7)

Mary Robinette Kowal – “Midnight Hour” as read by Amal El-Mohtar
C.S.E. Cooney- “The Saga of Captain Jens” as read by the Author
Deborah Stanish Interviews Mary Robinette Kowal

Podcast 5B (8/4)

Charlie Jane Anders- “Ghost Champagne” as read by C.S.E. Cooney
Sonya Taaffe- “Σειρήνοιϊν” as read by Amal El-Mohtar
A Deborah Stanish Interview