A while back, I wrote about the kickstarter for this funky new magazine called Uncanny. The first issue is out, with accompanying podcast, and my expectations are met.
Of course, a magazine built out of stories from various contributors has the same ups and downs as larger anthologies; I’m not going to like everything in every issue, but that’s okay. I can still take it all into account when considering how impressed I am by the overall quality and breadth.
The first story, “If you were a tiger, I’d have to wear white”, by Maria Dahvana Headley, I chose to listen to the podcast reading of. Unfortunately, I shouldn’t have, because the narrator clashed with my ears and probably detracted from the odd story, for me. But the interview with the author was interesting, revealing a lot of true and harrowing facts about Hollywood animals and animal trainers. To be fair, I don’t often listen to podcasts, and am just not well adjusted to them. (This is actually my #1 reason to consider getting a gym membership – threadmilling, in my mind, would be a good time to take in entertainment other than, well, books.)
My favourite stories were Max Gladstone’s “Late night at the Cape and Cane”, Amelia Beamer’s “Celia and the Conservation of Entropy”, and the reprint of Jay Lake’s “Her fingers like whips, her eyes like razors”. (I’m not going to say more about each of them, this time around – but these stories made me more interested in each of their authors.) That’s actually three out of the seven fiction stories in this whole thing, which is a pretty good ratio of thumbs-up, in my experience. (And the rest? One of them, I chose to skip, because it just didn’t click with me at all – the others were just oh, okay, and not terrible.)
The rest of the magazine consists of non-fiction features, poetry, and some interviews. It’s nice and relevant stuff, but not my main areas of interests – this time around, at least. The piece about sexism in SFF was relevant as ever, though with a cosplay angle which is a bit alien to me, as I don’t do the thing. Unless you count years of attempts to cosplay Daria Morgendorffer in daily life, of course.
My conclusion is: I’ll get a full subscription, despite already being guilt-ridden about how I mostly ignore my Lightspeeds and Asimov’s and SF&Fs. Yeah, I know. I went bananas with these things once I got a kindle, because it made it possible without making an enormous investment just in getting physical magazines shipped from abroad. Uncanny fits in nicely with those other titles, though!