Review: Uncanny Magazine Issue 19: November/December 2017

Uncanny Magazine Issue 19: November/December 2017 by Lynne M. Thomas

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Making Us Monsters” (Sam J. Miller & Lara Elena Donnelly) – A story that takes place during WWI and the inter-war period. The main characters are gay and the story serves mostly to remind me of the horrible treatment given to Alan Turing. Turing was responsible for helping break the German code (along with a giant support staff – including lots of female “computers”) and was foundational in computer and information theory. But he was convicted of being gay and forced to endure punishment for that. The story was beautiful, but I found it to be a bit too long.

“The Bone Plain” (Karin Tidbeck) – interesting story, but maybe I missed something – how is it SFF?

“Learning to See Dragons” (Sarah Monette) – A flash fiction story about coping with the uncopable.

“Pipecleaner Sculptures and Other Necessary Work” (Tina Connolly) – So much history and atmosphere in so few pages. A great bit of flash fiction by Tina Connolly that broaches so many themes without using too many words.

“Sorrow and Joy, Sunshine and Rain” (Troy L. Wiggins) – Reminds me a lot of Small Gods or American Gods.

“How to Survive an Epic Journey” (Tansy Rayner Roberts) – A fun story about the lady (written out of the story, supposedly) on the Argo. I loved its irreverent tone.

“The First Witch of Damansara” (Zen Cho) – A story that takes place in the Phillipines and has to do with magic, but more about familial reconciliation.

“Elemental Love” (Rachel Swirsky) – A very poetic bit of flash fiction that it would spoil to say anything about. Very sweet.

“The Shape of the Darkness As It Overtakes Us” (Dimas Ilaw) – Moving in the prose section of the magazine, this is an essay. It’s almost written in the same way as many of these short stories, addressing the reader – although in each section the reader represents someone else. I am reading this years after it was published. It wasn’t until recently I learned some bad stuff was going on over there.

“Would I Lie to You? Creating Alien Cultures” (Tim Pratt) – I LOVE essays like this one about how the author did their world-building. It’s why I love Scalzi’s Big Idea blog posts. It’s why I love stories that are heavy on worldbuilding – like a lot of Sanderson’s novels. I’m extremely new to D&D, but it’s one of my favorite things about any campaign,

“Counting the Stars on One Hand” (Mallory Yu) – An essay that explores both how it’s easy to internalize the lack of diversity in SFF (to the point you stop noticing it) and what effects that can have on members of marginalized groups.

“The Secret of NIMH” (Mari Ness) – I love Ness’ series on that this essay either borrows from or is adjacent to.

“Monitoring My Mind: MST3K and Me” (Natalie Luhrs) – how the author understood themselves and world because of, and in contrast to, MST3K.

Poetry – nothing to say other than the fact that some of these are pretty raw.

Good interviews.

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