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Uncanny Magazine - JanFeb2017, page 1
Kindle Edition, 2017 © Uncanny Magazine
Uncanny Magazine Issue Fourteen
Uncanny Magazine Editorial Staff |
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Uncanny Magazine Editorial Staff
Uncanny Magazine Editorial Staff | 54 words
Publishers/Editors–in–Chief: Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas
Managing Editor: Michi Trota
Reprint/Poetry Editor/Interviewer: Julia Rios
Podcast Producers: Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky
Interviewer: Deborah Stanish
Podcast Reader: Amal El–Mohtar
Submissions Editors: Cislyn Smith, Heather Clitheroe, Jesse Lex, Jay Wolf, Kay Taylor Rea, Liam Meilleur, Piper Hale, Shannon Page, Vida Cruz, Lena Ye, Eileen Wu, Heather Leigh, Susheela Bhat Harkins, Jaime O. Mayer, Andrew Adams, Matt Peters, Karlyn Ruth Meyer
Logo & Wordmark design: Katy Shuttleworth
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About Our Cover Artist: John Picacio
Uncanny Magazine Editorial Staff | 215 words
John Picacio is an award–winning book and product illustrator who has created artwork for clients such as Penguin Random House, Tor Books, HarperCollins, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Pyr, Dark Horse Comics, and many more. He illustrated the bestselling 2012 George R. R. Martin / A Song of Ice and Fire Calendar , and has created iconic art for the Star Trek and X–Men franchises. His body of work features major cover illustrations for books by Michael Moorcock, Brenda Cooper, James Dashner, Lauren Beukes, Frederik Pohl, Dan Simmons, James Tiptree, Jr., Sheri S. Tepper, Jeffrey Ford, Joe R. Lansdale, and many, many more. Winner of the 2012 and 2013 Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist, his accolades include eight Chesley Awards, two Locus Awards, two International Horror Guild Awards, the World Fantasy Award, and the Inkpot Award. In 2012, he founded his own creative imprint, Lone Boy, which became the launchpad for his Loteria Grande cards, a bold contemporary re–imagineering of the classic Mexican game of chance. Words that make him happy include comics, hardcover, Palomino Blackwing, Faber–Castell, Kenobi, Batman, Tarkovsky, habanero, Día de los Muertos, Ginobili, and scotch. Follow him at:
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The Uncanny Valley
Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas | 1216 words
The Uncanny Valley
It is 2017. All of you know what happened to the world in November.
Does art matter anymore?
We’re usually playful in this editorial. After the American elections, though, it’s hard to be whimsical about much of anything.
The question we led this editorial with went around social media in the days right after the election. With everything going on, is art frivolous? It’s not calling electors or raising money for organizations that will protect free speech, women’s reproductive choices, and the rights of the marginalized. Art doesn’t call Congresspeople or Senators to tell them to start hearings about ethics violations or to stop the appointments of hateful and incompetent people to Cabinet posts. Art doesn’t get out and march. Art doesn’t stop the immoral construction of pipelines.
What can we do as readers, writers, artists, editors, and publishers to stop fascism and white supremacy? Should we abandon art?
The answer to all of that is ART HAS NEVER MATTERED MORE. Art changes the world. It isn’t instant or magic, but art gives people voices and ideas. Art protests. Art builds. Art gives access to different points of view. Art provides escapes. Art gives hope.
There’s a reason why fascists come for your books.
So yes, all of that activism matters (please consider getting involved if you can), but so does the creation of this magazine. And trust us, Uncanny Magazine is going to be LOUD. We’ve had white supremacists, homophobes, neo–Nazis, and misogynists attack things we’ve edited before, and we kept coming back bigger and better. As long as people are producing brilliant, inclusive, gorgeous art, we’ll be publishing it.
THESE UNICORNS FIGHT FASCISTS.
Now for some sad Uncanny Magazine news many of you already know. Starting with this issue, “Dangerous” Deborah Stanish will no longer be our interviewer in the magazine or on the podcast. Deb was with us from the very beginning. She was an exquisite interviewer, always well–prepared with excellent questions. If you heard her on the podcast, you know how great her rapport was with our creators. Along with this, she participated in many of our behind–the–scenes discussions about the magazine’s direction, gave thoughtful opinions, and donated the use of her family’s cabin for the infamous Uncanny Cabin Kickstarter backer reward retreats. Nobody promoted Uncanny more than Deb.
Deb decided that now is the time to part ways with Uncanny so she can pursue other opportunities. Deb is one of our dearest friends, and we wish her well with all of her future endeavors. Luckily, you will still be able to hear her with Lynne and Uncanny podcast producer Erika Ensign on the Verity! Doctor Who Podcast !
The great news is that the phenomenal Julia Rios will be taking over as the podcast interviewer while continuing as our poetry and reprint editor! (Julia already took over as the print interviewer last issue.) Julia is a fantastic interviewer and podcaster. We’ve both been interviewed by her in the past. We’re thrilled Julia is taking over this role.
So where are those wacky Thomases in January and February? Currently we plan on attending the ConFusion convention in Michigan from January 19–22. Last year’s con was truly unforgettable and changed our lives. We can definitely say shenanigans were had. We expect this year’s version to be no different.
There are some other convention possibilities in February. Please watch our social media for all upcoming Thomas travel!
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 things are eligible in (especially for the Hugo Awards and Nebula Awards ). 2016 was the second full year of Uncanny Magazine (Issues 8 through 13). We are extremely proud of the year we had.
Uncanny Magazine is still eligible for the Best Semiprozine Hugo Award . Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas are also eligible for the Best Editor (Short Form) Hugo Award. ( Note: If you are nominating the Thomases in this category, please nominate them together. They are a co–editing team. )
We have a handy list on the Uncanny Magazine blog of which stories are eligible in either the short story or novelette categories of the SF/F awards. If you’re a SFWA member nominating for the Nebula Awards, you can find eBook copies of these stories in the SFWA Forums .
All of our poetry is eligible for the Rhysling Award . All of our nonfiction writers are eligible for the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer. Our cover artists Kirbi Fagan, Katy Shuttleworth, and Galen Dara, plus our webcomic artist Liz Argall, are also eligible for the Hugo Award for Best Fan Artist.
If you can participate in these awards, please do it, and nominate what you feel are the best works. Don’t forget there are scoundrels trying to break these awards. The more legitimate nominators the awards have, the more difficult it is for the assholes to screw things up.
And now the contents of the glorious Uncanny Magazine Issue 14!
Our gorgeous cover this month is John Picacio’s “El Arpa.” This is one of the many stunning pieces John created for his ongoing Loteria card deck project . Our new fiction includes Sam J. Miller’s haunting and visceral story of loss “Bodies Stacked Like Firewood,” A. Merc Rustad’s compelling and triumphant tale of family
Our essays this month include a very personal review of the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Mark Oshiro, a primer of the modern romance genre for SF/F fans by Natalie Luhrs, Delilah S. Dawson’s powerful discussion about how she has never not been an object to certain people, and Angel Cruz’s examination of the astounding wave of new aswang stories by Filipina writers. Our wonderful and brilliant poetry this month includes Carlos Hernandez’s “In Lieu of the Stories My Santera Abuela Should Have Told Me Herself, This Poem,” Nin Harris’s “Jean–Luc, Future Ghost,” and Nicasio Andres Reed’s “Except Thou Bless Me.” Finally, Julia Rios interviews A. Merc Rustad and Maria Dahvana Headley about their stories.
The Uncanny Magazine Podcast episode 14A features Sam J. Miller’s “Bodies Stacked Like Firewood” as read by Erika Ensign, Carlos Hernandez’s “In Lieu of the Stories My Santera Abuela Should Have Told Me Herself, This Poem” as read by Amal El–Mohtar, and Julia Rios interviewing Sam J. Miller. The Uncanny Magazine Podcast episode 14B features Theodora Goss’s “To Budapest, with Love” as read by Amal El–Mohtar, Tansy Rayner Roberts’s “Some Cupids Kill With Arrows” as read by Erika Ensign, Nicasio Andres Reed’s “Except Thou Bless Me” as read by Erika Ensign, and Julia Rios interviewing Theodora Goss.
Please enjoy the latest issue of Uncanny Magazine , and thank you all so much for your continued support.
Fight on, Space Unicorns! Enjoy!
© 2017 by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas
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Lynne and Michael are the Publishers/Editors–in–Chief for the Hugo and Parsec Award–winning Uncanny Magazine .
Four–time Hugo Award winner Lynne M. Thomas was the Editor–in–Chief of Apex Magazine (2011–2013). She co–edited the Hugo Award–winning Chicks Dig Time Lords , as well as Whedonistas and Chicks Dig Comics .
Along with being a two–time Hugo Award nominee as the former Managing Editor of Apex Magazine (2012–2013) Michael Damian Thomas co–edited the Hugo–nominated Queers Dig Time Lords ( Mad Norwegian Press , 2013) with Sigrid Ellis and Glitter & Mayhem (Apex Publications, 2013), with John Klima and Lynne M. Thomas.
Together, they solve mysteries.
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Bodies Stacked Like Firewood
Sam J. Miller | 6680 words
Three words, allegedly, written in Sharpie on his bathroom mirror: CREMATION, NO FUNERAL.
“Shortest suicide note ever,” said a girl standing beside me at the river’s edge, staring into the flames. “That’s so Cyd.”
The shortest suicide note is none at all , I thought, and that was so Cyd, so much so that it made me shiver. Since his death I’d been feeling him in the air, in my head, in strange rhythms of speech and thought that I told myself were merely part of how my mind made sense of such a devastating loss.
“And of course his parents couldn’t even respect that,” said a friend, to the first girl. “Funeral and burial, both tomorrow. Assholes.”
“Isn’t that what we’re doing?”
“This is a memorial. It’s different. No speeches. No church.”
I’d arrived late. Delayed leaving New York, and then again in Albany’s snarl of steep crooked streets. By the time I got to the bonfire the sun had set, and it stood out against the river darkness in a way that made me somehow colder. Sure, it was ablaze right now, bright swirling fire against the blue–black sky, glorious and unstoppable, but come morning it would be cold embers and we’d go about our business like it never happened. Cyd’s death had hit me harder than I’d expected. I wasn’t in the mood for metaphors for mortality.
On dumb animal instinct, I took out my phone and started trawling for a fuck buddy.
“Here,” some random man–child said, handing me piece of paper the size of a playing card and the thickness of a business card. It showed a photo of Cyd, half–awake in rumpled sheets, smiling sleepily, sexily. On the other side, a Cyd quote (“Sometimes hot boys make me so angry, and sometimes they make me so sad.”) and the years of his birth and death.
“Do you have one for me?” the boy asked.
“A Cyd Card.” He laughed, seeing my bafflement. “Guess it is kinda weird. Our friend Ted? He runs a print shop. Asked everybody to email him our favorite Cyd picture and quote, and he’d print up a bunch for folks to mix and match. Kind of a bonding thing, get people talking to each other.”
“Sorry,” I said. “I’m in from out of town. I didn’t…”
“No worries, man,” he said, chunky and bearded and eminently fuckable, and hugged me. “Thank you for coming.” He handed me five more of the same one. “Now you’ll have some to trade.”
I wanted to ask about the photo. Who they were to each other. The thought that they might have been lovers made me crazily, achingly happy for both them. But the boy was wandering off in search of more Cyd Cards.
Cyd was the kind of boy you wanted to put in your pocket. Hug and never let go. Pet and feed. His neck was only the littlest bit too long, his hair a thicket of red–brown curls. When Cyd smiled you knew he was unstoppable, his crazy ambitions and deranged dreams could not help but become realities. When he frowned, which was far more frequent, you saw precisely how cold and hard the world was, how certainly it would shatter him. Cyd was my friend and he shot himself in his bathtub. Fire–infatuated Cyd had dreamed of self–immolating, but he chose the more considerate and clean–up–friendly exit.
“You’re Kelvin, aren’t you?”
The girl in front of me was stout and standing too close, dressed in camouflage and leather, her hair immaculately bunned.
“I’ve seen your picture like a thousand times. Cyd was forever re–posting your shit.”
“Nice to meet you.” I extended my hand.
She ignored it, but sat down on the bumper of my car beside me. She handed me her little bottle of bourbon. “I’m Link.” She flashed me a pixelated wrist tattoo of the elfin Nintendo game warrior of the same name. “Link’s my last name, but I like it more than my first. So. Kelvin. You finally made it up here.”
I took a lot of her bourbon before answering. “Yeah. I…” And I had nothing further to say on the subject of my longstanding failure to ever come visit, a failure that had become something of a joke between Cyd and I, a joke which was now a source of some considerable recrimination, a joke she clearly knew, because when she took the bottle back she said:
“Do you think maybe if you had ever bothered to come visit, or be there for Cyd in any of the ways he needed his friends to be there for him, maybe we wouldn’t need to be here today?”
Rage was my first response, a bubbling–up in my belly that was buoyed by sadness and alcohol, but I figured that was the one she’d been going for. Cyd knew a lot of belligerent ladies, to hear him tell it, and it’d be just like one of them to try to pick a fight at his memorial.
And anyway she was right.
And anyway, I needed to know. Half of why Cyd’s dying hurt me so much was the wondering whether Cyd hated me as much as he had every right to hate me. And if anybody knew, it’d be Link.
“Yeah,” I said, holding out my hand for the bourbon. “I kind of do.”
Better scholars than I have theorized that the title character in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is Jewish, or Black, and passing. This interpretation is appealing—it deepens the book’s critique of the American dream—and the text contains nothing to prove the matter one way or another.
But in this paper I
Cyd and I met at a lit theory conference. Disinterring Derrida or Posthumously Post–Structuralist or something along those lines. By then I was 35, over a decade past the last time I swam the heady waters of High Theory, but I went because a semi–famous professor of mine was giving a talk. As his student I’d been dazzled at the deep truths he’d been able to wring from shallow texts. Re–reading him before the event, and listening to his lecture, I was startled at the impenetrable language, and saddened by what I found in the few sentences I could penetrate. Lit theory, which for my whole college career had seemed a sort of minor magic, now held only banal and useless truths written in a tongue I no longer knew.
Cyd, on the other hand, was 25, going for his doctorate, endlessly gushing about all the same things I’d gushed about at his age. We met at the bar, we knew people in common, we bonded in that way gay guys do when they are the only ones. And he’d actually read an article I’d published to some small notoriety—“Cumdump Semiotics: The Gay Art of Embracing Abjection” — back when I’d been young, swift, able to speak the language, make the connections, see the substructure.
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