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Profiles Wed Aug 13 2014

Uncanny Magazine Wants You To Rethink The Familiar

Image courtesy of Uncanny Magazine and Katy Shuttleworth

"Is that a space?" you might ask, staring at the logo (created by Katy Shuttleworth) for Uncanny Magazine, the latest endeavor by geek culture mainstays Lynne Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas. And indeed it is--the drawing symbolizes the close relationship between the science fiction and fantasy (SF/F) genres, a relationship that the Thomases will highlight in their new magazine, along with original artwork and literature. But it also represents the proximity of fandom and art, of passions and professionalism.

Uncanny will feature stories, prose, poetry and cover art in, and inspired by, the realms of science fiction and fantasy. The online magazine will be available as an eBook (.mobi, .pdf, . epub) on a bimonthly basis (first Tuesday of the month) at all major eBook stores. Each issue will be made up of original short stories, reprinted stories, poetry, interviews, and nonfiction essays. Because it will be a professional magazine, non-fiction and art work will be solicited, and paid by direct commission. The editors will publish work that reflects their commitment to diversity and representation, and will even have an open call for submissions (for fiction and poetry).

It's an ambitious undertaking; in addition to the bimonthly issues, there will be exclusive content for subscribers, and a monthly podcast. But the Thomases have some of the finest nerd bona fides you'll find: they've worked on Apex Magazine and Glitter & Mayhem together, and have plenty of individual publishing credits. A three-time Hugo Award winner, Lynne Thomas has co-edited Chicks Dig Time Lords, Whedonistas, and Chicks Dig Comics, and Hugo Award nominee Michael Damian Thomas co-edited Queers Dig Time Lords. They've also teamed up for the SF Squeecast and Verity! podcasts. With Uncanny, the Thomases want to share works of science fiction and fantasy that combine "astonishing ideas, strong characterization, gorgeous writing, and distinctive points of view from around the world."

It helps that they've put together a staff to help realize their vision of having "stories, prose, poetry and cover art that make you feel, and stays with you after you've read the issue." Chicago writer/editor and geek woman (and fire-spinner), Michi Trota, will serve as managing editor. Trota comes to Uncanny with 15 years of publishing experience and a lifelong passion for science fiction and fantasy. Her essay on how "fandoms" helped her recognize her struggle with her own identity was published in the Jim C. Hines-edited anthology, Invisible: Personal Essays on Representation in SF/F, earlier this year. She says she admires the way that the SF/F genres tend to blur the line between creator and appreciator. She joins Uncanny podcast producers Erika Ensign (of Verity!) and Steven Schapansky (of Radio Free Skaro), as well as interviewer Deborah Stanish.

So, what can you expect from Uncanny? Well, the list of Year One contributors includes such SF/F heavy hitters as Mary Robinette Kowal, Ken Liu, Diana Pho, Sofia Samatar, and Jim C. Hines. Even Neil Gaiman will contribute an original poem. And artists like Tran Nguyen and Julie Dillon will design cover art. But you will also get to read works by some previously untapped talent, as the staff has a "knack for discovering new voices" to blend in with established artists.

The first issue will be released in November, and there is a Kickstarter well underway to fund the start-up costs. The backer rewards are as varied as the contributors: dinner with an author or editor (for $250), getting "tuckerized" by Mary Robinette Kowal, and Uncanny logo stickers. You can also pledge $25 to snag a year's subscription, because you won't want to miss out on any of the fun.

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