Margaret's Reviews > Uncanny Magazine Issue 16: May/June 2017

Uncanny Magazine Issue 16 by Lynne M. Thomas
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really liked it
bookshelves: short-stories, science-fiction, 2nd-world-fantasy, fairytale-myth-inspired, nonfiction, poetry

In this issue of Uncanny Magazine, stories shift between talking swords, vampires, and body enhancements, but all focus on self-identity and how others perceive us. I especially enjoyed Hiromi Goto's "Notes from Liminal Spaces," which is liminal in many ways. Extra nonfiction essays appear in this issue--10 total! They range from political advice to SFF commentary. My favorite of these was the very last--“How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Eat the Damn Eyeball” by DongWon Song, about food and colonization in SFF. Of the poems, Theodora Goss once again writes a lovely, perfect poem about the magical bargains we make, and how often life moves in such a way that we may forget them. I highly recommend these 3 in particular.


Ursula Vernon- “Sun, Moon, Dust”: A farmer inherits a sword from his grandmother, a sword with magic beings trapped inside to help train him to be a master swordsman. But....he just wants to be a farmer. Nice story. 4/5

John Chu- “Making the Magic Lightning Strike Me”: A man joins a company that will enhance his body, ashamed of his small frame, but the work he does for the company is dangerous, and may or may not be strictly ethical. His best friend disapproves, but is his love enough? 3.5/5

Chinelo Onwualu- “Read Before Use”: A professor outcast in a domed city thinks she knows how to save the city, if she can find the right book. But betrayal may make her change her mind about saving the city at all. 3/5

Naomi Kritzer- “Paradox”: A time traveler ruminates on how things keep getting worse. 4/5

Hiromi Goto- “Notes from Liminal Spaces”: A hybrid piece, mixing essay with fiction illustrating the essay's message. I quite loved the essay part, how it identified speculative fiction with queerness. Here's a quote: "Before the term queer was reclaimed by the gay community, before queer was used as a pejorative toward gay persons to other and dehumanize, its uncertain origins include a possible Scottish source via low German with a denotation of “strange/peculiar” and maybe this is one of the permutations of the term¹ that nestles into my appreciation of writing and reading from literature of the fantastic. That it can inspire and inhabit a liminal place—a site of uneasiness and destabilization that can have the reader engage in unexpected and uncomfortable ways." This is one of the reasons I love speculative fiction, that it destabilizes the normative, so I really loved the points she made in the essay. The fiction part would not be as effective stand alone, but worked well with the essay. 4.5/5

K.M. Szpara – “Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time”: A trans man encounters a vampire, who turns him into a vampire. But then, his body starts changing back to female. So, I definitely need more trans stories in my life. This had a lot of graphic sex, and the protagonist ends up having consensual sex multiple times with the vampire that turned him without consent. So, I had some consent issues with the sex. And it was all just so much to take in. 2/5


Carlos Hernandez- “Origins”: Ephemeral creatures from another planet are condemned to earth when they eat one another. One such creature journeys to the moon with humans, and finds a better way to live by watching one human being on the moon. 3/5


Javier Grillo-Marxuach- “In Praise of Deus (Ex Machina)”: An explanation of why using Deus Ex Machina in stories is underrated, using Indiana Jones and Time Bandits as examples. Why have I not watched Time Bandits? I've seen almost every other Gilliam. 3/5

Sarah Gailey – “City of Villains: Why I Don’t Trust Batman”: Seems more like fiction, but a working class man ruminates on the economic injustice of Batman and Bruce Wayne. 3/5

Sam J. Miller- “Resistance 101: Basics of Community Organizing for SF/F Creators & Consumers; Volume Two: Deepening Your Engagement”: Title says content. 3/5

Sarah Pinsker- “Meeting with Your Legislators 101 and 201”: Detailed how-to, that I may end up referring to later. 4/5

Mimi Mondal- “Missive from a Woman in a Room in a City in a Country in a World Not Her Own”: An essay about intersectionality, and what happens when you have so many ways you qualify as intersectional. 3.5/5

David J. Schwartz- “How Deep Space Nine Almost Didn’t Fail Me”: As a star trek lover, I still completely agree with David's premise--that Star Trek fails at being progressive in terms of gender, particularly with trans and non-cis gender relations. Dr. Who has the same problem, another one of my sci-fi obsessions. Let's hope both franchises will do better in the future. 4/5

Kelly McCullough- “The Resistance—Becoming A Local Politician”: One sci-fi author on how he became a local politician, and what it's like. 3/5

LaShawn Wanak – “Learning to Turn Your Lips Sideways”: The importance of having stories from various perspectives. 3/5

Yamile Saied Méndez- “Nunca Más”: Of growing up in Argentina in the 80s and 90s. Very interesting; I need to read more about Argentina's history. 4/5

DongWon Song- “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Eat the Damn Eyeball”: Colonization, food, and sci-fi, particularly Star Trek, from the perspective of a Korean-American. This is a great essay, and made me think of food in a different way. I'd never thought about how TNG propagates colonization through its portrayal of food, and I completely agree. 4.5/5


Roshani Chokshi- “Dancing Princesses”: A fairytale prose poem. Liked the language; kind of reminded me of Catherynne Valente's language. 4/5

Sonya Taaffe- “Twenty Seventy-One”: A commentary on contemporary events. Good rhythm. 3/5

Betsy Aoki- “What to expect from the Hadron Collider as a college roommate”: As the title says. 3/5

Theodora Goss- “Seven Shoes”: A girl makes a deal with a witch to wear out 7 shoes, though by the time she does so, she's forgotten the bargain. Lovely as always with Goss. 4.5/5


Interview with John Chu: Wish I could go to musical theater more often! (Or ever, really.) 4/5
Interview with Hiromi Goto: 4/5
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Reading Progress

June 9, 2017 – Started Reading
June 9, 2017 – Shelved
June 9, 2017 – Shelved as: short-stories
June 9, 2017 – Shelved as: science-fiction
June 9, 2017 – Shelved as: 2nd-world-fantasy
June 18, 2017 – Shelved as: fairytale-myth-inspired
June 18, 2017 – Shelved as: nonfiction
June 18, 2017 – Shelved as: poetry
June 18, 2017 – Finished Reading

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