Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Magazine Review: Uncanny Magazine Issue 10

I was looking around for new places to find great science fiction and fantasy short stories and stumbled upon Uncanny Magazine. From former editors of Apex Magazine, this Hugo-nominated publication offers a great collection of short stories, poems, nonfiction, and interview in the tenth issue.

"Ye Highlands and Ye Lowlands" by Seanan McGuire is a terrifying story about a galactic misinterpretation that does not bode well for the fate of humanity. This story has humor and horror and had me thinking twice about the language we use and what first contact could be like. McGuire is a writer I've encountered a few times now and I've become a big fan of her writing. I found the interview on the Uncanny podcast really interesting.

"The Sound of Salt and Sea" by Kat Howard is also a haunting tale of Near Island and the dead that visit once a year. The image of bones horses stuck with me and I found myself sitting forward as the protagonist Rowan tried to wrangle one. The magic in this story felt fully fleshed out and I love entering a new world in short fiction. Not only that but there is great character dynamic between Rowan and headstrong Connor, which really brought this story home for me.

"The Blood That Pulses in the Veins of One" by JY Yang was some disturbing alien body horror that I enjoyed immensely. There is a galaxy in this story and a deep past that travels through devouring and digestion. Following the exploration of the researchers as they take apart the narrator made for a strange and cool perspective.

"You'll Surely Drown Here If You Stay" by Alyssa Wong is bursting with magic. I can see why Wong is garnering so much attention with a recent Nebula win for her story "Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers". She's a terrific writer. This story has deep emotions, and the dead are not as gone as they may seem. It also has a vivid world out in the desert and sinister villains.

"The Drowning Line" by Haralambi Markov won't let the past and the ghosts that remain alone. The image of Hartrich the Drowned is the stuff of nightmares, and I was nearly sweating in anticipation as it got closer to the object of its desire. A story of family and legacy, this tale is both haunting and beautiful. I enjoyed his interview on the podcast as well and look forward to his story in Inverted Tropes coming out later this year.

"The Plague Givers" by Kameron Hurley is my kind of fantasy. The idea of magic as plagues and strange diseases was amazing. The magic isn't easy in the story and often dangerous and deadly. I enjoyed Bet the recluse character and even learned a new pronoun. The story challenged me but was also a lot of fun to read.

I am a big fan of speculative poetry and Uncanny had some great stuff from magical pies in "Deeper than Pie" by Beth Cato to dragons in "Brown woman at Safety Beach, Victoria, in June" by M Sereno and history in "Alamat" by Isabel Yap. Great for a few reads before they even sink into my preoccupied brain and I like hearing them in the podcast.

I found the writing in the nonfiction pieces very informative whether about gaming, movies, or diversity. I'm going to have to watch Labryinth again. I'm a convert to this budding magazine and happy to join the Space Unicorns as a supporter of Uncanny Magazine!

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