Uncanny Magazine Issue 29 Launches 7/2

The 29th issue Uncanny Magazine will be available on July 2.

Hugo Award-winning Publishers/Editors-in-Chief Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas are proud to present the 29th issue of their 2016, 2017, and 2018 Hugo Award-winning online science fiction and fantasy magazine. As always, it features passionate SF/F fiction and poetry, gorgeous prose, provocative nonfiction, and a deep investment in the diverse SF/F culture, along with an award-winning monthly podcast featuring a story, poem, and interview from that issue. Stories from Uncanny Magazine have been finalists or winners of Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy Awards. 

All of Uncanny Magazine’s content will be available in eBook versions on the day of release from Weightless Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and Kobo. Subscriptions are always available through Amazon Kindle and Weightless Books. The free online content will be released in 2 stages- half on day of release and half on August 6. 

Uncanny Magazine Issue 29 Table of Contents

Cover:

  • Skyward Bound by Julie Dillon

Editorial:

  • “The Uncanny Valley” by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas

Fiction:

  • “The Blur in the Corner of Your Eye” by Sarah Pinsker (7/2)
  • “Big Box” by Greg van Eekhout (7/2)
  • “Compassionate Simulation” by Rachel Swirsky and P. H. Lee (7/2)
  • “On the Impurity of Dragon-kind” by Marie Brennan (8/6)
  • “How the Trick is Done” by A.C. Wise (8/6)
  • “The Migration Suite: A Study in C Sharp Minor” by Maurice Broaddus (8/6)

Reprint:

  • “A Champion of Nigh-Space” by Tim Pratt (8/6)

Essays:

  • “Was Trials of Mana Worth Growing Up For?” by Aidan Moher (7/2)
  • “The Gang’s All Here: Writing Lessons from The Good Place” By Tansy Rayner Roberts (7/2)
  • “The Better Place” by Karlyn Ruth Meyer (7/2)
  • “Beware the Lifeboat” by Marissa Lingen (8/6)
  • “Sir Elsa of Tortall, Knight of the Realm” by Elsa Sjunneson-Henry (8/6)

Poetry:

  • “capturing the mood” by D.A. Xiaolin Spires (7/2)
  • “Sing” by Alexandra Seidel (7/2)
  • “If Love Is Real, So Are Fairies” by Cynthia So (8/6)
  • “Buruburu” by Betsy Aoki (8/6)

Interviews:

  • Caroline M. Yoachim Interviews Greg van Eekhout (7/2)
  • Caroline M. Yoachim Interviews Maurice Broaddus (8/6)

Podcasts:

Uncanny Magazine Podcast 29A (7/2)

  • “The Blur in the Corner of Your Eye” by Sarah Pinsker, as read by Erika Ensign
  • “capturing the mood” by D.A. Xiaolin Spires, as read by Joy Piedmont
  • Sarah Pinsker Interviewed by Lynne M. Thomas

Uncanny Magazine Podcast 29B (8/6)

  • “How the Trick is Done” by A.C. Wise, as read by Erika Ensign
  • “If Love Is Real, So Are Fairies” by Cynthia So, as read by Joy Piedmont
  • A.C. Wise Interviewed by Lynne M. Thomas

Fantastic Fiction at KGB Readings Series Ties in to Keith R.A. DeCandido and Chuck Wendig

By Mark Blackman: On the damp, almost-almost summer evening of Wednesday, June 19th, the monthly Fantastic Fiction Readings Series hosted authors Keith R.A. DeCandido and Chuck Wendig at its venue, the aptly-named Red Room at the 2nd floor KGB Bar in Manhattan’s East Village.

The event opened, as customary, with Series co-host Matthew Kressel’s exhortation to support the Bar by buying a drink and tipping the bartenders who help hydrate, and announcing upcoming readers:

  • July 17: Cadwell Turnbull, Theodora Goss
  • August 21:  Lara Elena Donnelly, Paul Witcover
  • September 18:  Sarah Beth Durst, Sarah Pinsker
  • October 16:  Nicole Kornher-Stace, Barbara Krasnoff

(All dates are the third Wednesday of the month. Details and lineup well into 2019 and the dawn of 2020 are available at the Series website.) He concluded by introducing the evening’s first reader, Keith R.A. DeCandido (who is used to his name being misspelled or mispronounced).

Keith R.A. DeCandido

Keith, whom I know from way, way back and who is celebrating the 25th anniversary of his fiction writing career, is perhaps best known for his media tie-in work across “33 different universes, from Alien to Zorro” (one of his releases this year is Alien: Isolation, based on the classic movie series), which earned him a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 and even inspired one fan to cosplay him. His original work includes a fantasy police procedural series – the latest is Mermaid Precinct – and A Furnace Sealed, launching a new urban fantasy series set in the Bronx (a borough sorely neglected by urban fantasy, he feels), where he currently lives. He read from Chapter 5 of the latter novel.

Brom Gold, MD, is, in his other profession, a courser, an agent for the Wardena, who is in charge of all magic in the area, monitoring and, where necessary, restricting it. While facing the pseudo-Haitian Madame Verité (“Mrs. Truth”), he discovers that something is interfering with spells. (We meanwhile learn that “unicorns are nasty” and, in detail, how difficult it is to drive and park in the Bronx, even on Sunday.)

After an intermission, Series co-host Ellen Datlow took the podium and introduced the second reader of the night.

Chuck Wendig was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. His body of work includes the bestselling Star Wars: Aftermath, (like DeCandido, he is no stranger to media tie-in novels), the Miriam Black thrillers, the Atlanta Burns books, Zer0es/Invasive, and Wanderers (coming in July); he has also written comics, games, films and more, and served as the co-writer of the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus. He is also known for his blog, terribleminds.com, and books about writing, such as Damn Fine Story.

Chuck Wendig

His offering was the opening of Wanderers. In the wake of Comet Sakomoto (which became as famous as Halley’s and Hale-Bopp), a plague of sleepwalkers (more than a dozin’, sorry) have joined together and cross the country, accompanied by followers. Shana is the sister of Nessie, one of the sleepwalkers.

The familiar bookstore was not set up at the back of the room (therefore they don’t get a plug here), but DeCandido had copies of some of his books available.

Prior to the readings, as is customary, Datlow wended through the audience, snapping away; her photos of the event may be seen at the Series website, http://www.kgbfantasticfiction.org/.

Ted White, Mystery Writer

By Ted White: As you may or may not know, I’ve written some SF in recent years, having several stories in F&SF and Analog.  But one story, which I wrote in 2013, remained unsold for several years, until Gordon Van Gelder asked to see it again.  He’d rejected it from F&SF soon after I’d written it, but he remembered it (always a good sign), and wanted to see it for an anthology he was putting together.  And he bought it for his book, Welcome To Dystopia, published last year.

The book got good reviews (Gordon passes them all on to us), and my story, “Burning Down the House,” was even singled out (favorably) in several.  But it’s a fat book, and my story starts in the 200s, page-wise, so I was expecting nothing more.

I was wrong.  Recently I received an email with the heading “CONGRATULATIONS” from Otto Penzler.  Otto is a Major Force in the mystery field, and owns The Mysterious Press.  He informed me that my story “has been selected for inclusion in the 23rd edition of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s The Best American Mystery Stories 2019.”

I have no idea why anyone searching for the best mystery stories of the year would have been reading a dystopian SF anthology, but I’m grateful it happened, and pleased that my story stood out and was selected.  (I take it as a credit for writing a vivid story, which can be read, I guess, as a mystery story as well as SF.)

The book will be out this fall, and once again my story will be in the 200s — pages 282 through 303 (I’ve seen proofs), and I’m quietly proud.

I always wanted to be a mystery writer….


New York Times best-selling author of ten genre-bending novels Jonathan Lethem helms this collection of the year’s best mystery short fiction.  Publisher: Mariner Books (October 1, 2019)

A Tor Moment at Book Expo

Harriet McDougal and Tom Doherty at Book Expo. Photo taken and (c) by Andrew Porter.

Above, Tom Doherty and Harriet McDougal toast the October publication of Robert Jordan’s Warrior of the Altaii.

“Tom Doherty bought the book decades ago,” notes Andrew Porter, who took the photo. “Harriet McDougal is not only an editor at Tor, she is Robert Jordan’s widow.”

Publishers Weekly explains in “BookExpo 2019: A Robert Jordan Book Debuts, Four Decades Late”.

…The title was first acquired by Tom Doherty in 1979, but not published at that time. Then, when Jordan’s second book, The Fallon Blood, was published the following year (under the name of Reagon O’Neal), the two books appeared to be so different in style and content that the publisher held it. Jordan’s career took off, and the book was never published.

The White Snake: A Review

By Martin Morse Wooster: Theaters in Washington have their specialties, but Washington’s Constellation Theatre Company is at its best when it does productions of plays by Mary Zimmerman based on fables.  I’ve seen all sorts of productions from Constellation, including one of The Skin of Our Teeth I previously reviewed here and a production of Sarah Ruhl’s Melancholy Play which was the worst six hours I spent in the theatre in 2018 (well, it felt like six hours—the play was 100 minutes long).[1]

But the best work I’ve seen from Constellation is when they perform works by Mary Zimmerman.  Zimmerman teaches at Northwestern and won a MacArthur Fellowship.  She’s written about 20 plays and has at least one Metropolitan Opera commission.  She also did an adaptation of Disney’s Jungle Book for the theatre that I’d really like to see.  I don’t know if all of Zimmerman’s plays are fantasy, but the two I’ve seen are.

The White Snake was originally premiered at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2012 and has had productions in Chicago, New York, and Baltimore before coming to Washington.  The program told me that the story is considered one of China’s “Four Great Folktales” and that the version familiar to us was written by Fang Menglong in 1624, based on stories that were probably composed around 300. Looking at “Legend of the White Snake” in Wikipedia, I learned that the story has been turned into about a dozen Chinese movies and TV shows and was once the subject of a novella by E. Hoffman Price.

The story begins with the White Snake, a mythical creature (I don’t know if she is a god in Chinese mythology) who has obtained enlightenment after 1,500 years of studying the Tao.  But she wants to experience the human world, so with her sidekick the Green Snake, they assume human form, with the Green Snake becoming “Greenie,” the White Snake’s sidekick.  The White Snake falls in love, and we see her and her boyfriend and future husband enjoying the dragon races before marrying and settling down to raise a family.

But the Abbot, who has a lot of mystical power, wants to complicate things.  The abbot isn’t a villain—he just thinks having humanoid snakes running around his town is a bad idea.  So he persuades the White Snake’s husband to come to the monastery in a subterfuge.  The White Snake and the abbot then have a cosmic battle that will determine whether she will live in our world or have to go back to hers.

At one point Zimmerman pulls back the curtain and gives us a sense of how this drama would have been performed in China.  The Green Snake is ready to help her friend, and makes her hand into a fist.  But a pedant comes out with a scroll and explains that the green snake’s fist is a special fist, one with the pinky finger and forefinger slightly raised.  This makes the fist a particularly powerful one, with hands in a position that is normally restricted to men.  So my guess is that if I saw The White Snake in China, I’d see the same story but much more stylized.

The leads—Eunice Bae as the White Snake, Momo Nakamura as the Green Snake, and Ryan Sellers as the Abbot—were all good, and Alison Arkell Stockman competently directed the production.

 But what made the production memorable is the music.  Constellation long ago made a deal with Tom Teasley, a really talented percussionist, to provide the scores for some of their productions.  Teasley is a one-man band who is very good at what he does.  For this production, he worked with Chao Tian, who plays the Chinese dulcimer; the two of them together perform as Dong Xi or “East West.”  Teasley told me that their score was not improvised at the beginning and end of the show because of light cues but much of what I heard was improvisation.  While The White Snake was good, Teasley and Tian’s score made the show memorable.

I hope more of Mary Zimmernan’s work makes its way to Washington.  She is someone whose plays fantasy lovers would enjoy.


[1] Note to “BigelowT”:  you guessed correctly!

Guran’s Picks for Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2019

Editor Paula Guran has announced her selections for The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2019.  The book is due to be released September 3.

The supernatural, the surreal, and the all-too real . . . tales of the dark. Such stories have always fascinated us, and modern authors carry on the disquieting traditions of the past while inventing imaginative new ways to unsettle us. Chosen from a wide variety of venues, these stories are as eclectic and varied as shadows. This volume of 2018’s best dark fantasy and horror offers more than five hundred pages of tales from some of today’s finest writers of the fantastique?sure to delight as well as disturb . . .

Table of Contents

• “Down Where Sound Comes Blunt”, G. V. Anderson (F&SF, Mar-Apr 2018)
• “Hainted”, Ashley Blooms (F&SF Jul-Aug 2018)
• “The Empyrean Light” Gregory Norman Bossert (Conjunctions:71, A Cabinet of Curiosity, Fall 2018)
• “Raining Street” by J. S. Breukelaar (Black Static #63)
The Black God’s Drums, P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com)
• “Faint Voices, Increasingly Desperate”, Anya Johanna DeNiro (Shimmer #43)
• “Big Dark Hole”, Jeffrey Ford (Conjunctions:71, A Cabinet of Curiosity, Fall 2018)
• “And Yet”, A.T. Greenblatt (Uncanny #21)
• “Second to the Left, and Straight On”, Jim C. Hines (Robots vs. Fairies, eds. Parisien & Wolfe)
• “He Sings of Salt and Wormwood”, Brian Hodge (The Devil and the Deep, ed. Datlow)
• “Just Another Love Song” Kat Howard (Robots vs. Fairies, eds. Parisien & Wolfe)
• “Four Revelations from the Rusalka Ball”, Cassandra Khaw (The Underwater Ballroom Society, eds. Trent & Burgis)
• “Rust and Bone”, Mary Robinette Kowal (Shimmer #26)
• “The Thing About Ghost Stories”, Naomi Kritzer (Uncanny #25)
• “A Man Walking His Dog” Tim Lebbon (Phantoms, ed. O’Regan
• “Honey” Valya Dudycz Lupescu (A World of Horror, ed. Guignard)
• “Big Mother”, Anya Ow (Strange Horizons, 1 Jan 2018)
• “Fish Hooks”, Kit Power (New Fears 2, ed. Morris)
• “The Governor”, Tim Powers (The Book of Magic, ed. Dozois)
• “True Crime”, M. Rickert (Nightmare #72)
• “Sour Milk Girls”, Erin Roberts (Clarkesworld, Jan 2018)
• “Every Good-bye Ain’t Gone”, Eden Royce (Strange Horizons, 30 July 2018)
• “Tom Is in The Attic”, Robert Shearman (Phantoms, ed. O’Regan)
• “When We Fall, We Forget”, Angela Slatter, (Phantoms, ed. O’Regan)
• “In This Twilight”, Simon Strantzas (Nothing Is Everything)
• “The Crow Knight”, Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, 11 Oct 2018)
• “Thanatrauma”, Steve Rasnic Tem (New Fears 2, ed. Morris)
• “Sick Cats in Small Places”, Kaaron Warren (A World of Horror, ed. Guignard)
• “Blood and Smoke, Vinegar and Ashes”, D.P. Watt (The Silent Garden, Vol. 1)
• “The Pine Arch Collection”, Michael Wehunt (The Dark #36)
• “In the End, It Always Turns Out the Same”, A. C. Wise (The Dark #37)
• “Asphalt, River, Mother, Child”, Isabel Yap (Strange Horizons, 8 Oct 2018)
• “Music for the Underworld”, E. Lily Yu (Terraform, 29 Mar 2018)

[Thanks to Jason for the story.]

Selections Announced for Horton’s 2019 Year’s Best SF & F

Editor Rich Horton has released the list of stories in The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2019 Edition.

  • “The Spires” by Alec Nevala-Lee (Analog, 3-4/18)
  • “The Unnecessary Parts of the Story” by Adam-Troy Castro (Analog, 09-10/18)
  • ”A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies” by Alix E. Harrow (Apex, 2/18)
  • ”Bubble and Squeak” by David Gerrold and Ctein (Asimov’s, 5-6/18)
  • “The Gift” by Julie Novakova (Asimov’s, 11/12/2018)
  • “Beautiful” by Juliet Marillier (Aurum)
  • ”The Starship and the Temple Cat” by Yoon Ha Lee (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, 2/1/18)
  • ”Carouseling” by Rich Larson (Clarkesworld, 4/18)
  • ”The Persistence of Blood” by Juliette Wade (Clarkesworld, 3/18)
  • ”Umbernight” by Carolyn Ives Gilman (Clarkesworld, 2/18)
  • ”The Donner Party” by Dale Bailey (F&SF, 1-2/18)
  • ”How to Identify an Alien Shark” by Beth Goder (Fireside Quarterly, 7/18)
  • ”The Tale of the Ive-Ojan-Akhar’s Death” by Alex Jeffers (Giganotosaurus, 4/18)
  • “Foxy and Tiggs” by Justina Robson (Infinity’s End)
  • “Intervention” by Kelly Robson (Infinity’s End)
  • ”The Temporary Suicides of Goldfish” by Octavia Cade (Kaleidotrope, Winter/18)
  • ”Dayenu” by James Sallis (LCRW, Spring/18)
  • ”Lime and the One Human” by S. Woodson (LCRW, 7/18)
  • ”The Court Magician” by Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed, 1/18)
  • “Jump” by Cadwell Turnbull (Lightspeed, 10/18)
  • ”Firelight” by Ursula K. Le Guin (Paris Review, Summer/18)
  • “The Buried Giant” by Lavie Tidhar (Robots vs Fairies)
  • ”Today is Today” by Rick Wilber (Stonecoast Review, Summer/18)
  • ”The Heart of Owl Abbas” by Kathleen Jennings (Tor.com, 4/11/2018)
  • ”Grace’s Family” by James Patrick Kelly (Tor.com, 5/18)
  • “The House by the Sea” by P. H. Lee (Uncanny, 9/10/2018)