Book Review: Uncanny Magazine Issue 5 (July/August 2015)

Uncanny Magazine Issue 5 (July/August 2015) by Michael Damian Thomas (editor) and Lynne M. Thomas (editor)

Publisher: Uncanny Magazine

Publication Date: July 2, 2015

Edition: Kindle, 179 pages

Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Online-Magazine

Rating: 4/5

Another great issue!


The July/August 2015 issue of Uncanny Magazine.

Featuring all–new short fiction by Mary Robinette Kowal, E. Lily Yu, Shveta Thakrar, Charlie Jane Anders, Sarah Monette, and Delilah S. Dawson, classic fiction by Scott Lynch, nonfiction by Natalie Luhrs, Sofia Samatar, Michael R. Underwood, and Caitlín Rosberg, poems by C. S. E. Cooney, Bryan Thao Worra, and Sonya Taaffe, interviews with E. Lily Yu and Delilah S. Dawson, and Antonio Caparo’s Companion Devices on the cover.

All that plus two podcasts!

Episode 5A: Editors’ Introduction, Mary Robinette Kowal’s “Midnight Hour” (as read by Amal El–Mohtar), C.S.E. Cooney’s “The Saga of Captain Jens” (as read by the author), and an interview with Mary Robinette Kowal conducted by Deborah Stanish.

Episode 5B: Editors’ Introduction, Charlie Jane Anders’s “Ghost Champagne” (as read by C.S.E. Cooney), Sonya Taaffe’s “Σειρήνοιϊν” (as read by Amal El–Mohtar), and interviews.

*** I’m one of those people who leaves a number of tabs open in a number of different windows, and then sometimes forgets which tab is in which window. The tab for this review – which I wrote last night (8/30) – was buried in one of the windows that I closed. Didn’t notice that until I went to edit it tonight (8/31) and there was NOTHING; reloaded the previous close windows and still nope; no previous restored or saved draft; just the blank outline.

I am sorry, but at 9 p.m. I do not have the energy to go back and write the full reviews for all these stories again, so all of these are going to be very brief 2 or 3 sentences. Sorry again for this ***


Midnight Hour by Mary Robinette Kowal – 4/5 Rating

  • Reminded me of a fairy-tale; it’s about a King and Queen who have been cursed, except MRK puts a unique twist on this curse.
    The Queen is an extremely sympathy character, and this story – and curse – is about love and sacrifice. Also LOVED the image of the opening lines! They created a beautiful scene.

Women at Exhibition by E. Lily Liu – 3.5/5 Rating

  • After grabbing coffee with her fiancé, Estelle decided check out an art gallery for Edward Hooper. When looking at the art,  of all a sudden she gets an urge to do something… and the next thing she knows, the cops are being called and she is being escorted in the back room by one of the art administrator.
    What this “something” is that she had urge to do, is something that you will not see coming, nor is something that you would probably ever guess she would do.
    Once in the back, the art admin begins talking to her and showering her other art work, which seems to telling Estelle something? Perhaps a warning?

The Rainbow Flame by Shevta Thakrar – 3.5/5 Rating

  • Beautiful imagery, scenery, and world created by amazing prose!
    Personally, I had problems grasping exactly what it was that the rainbow flames did, and picturing what they did, but still a story worth the read.

Ghost Champagne by Charlie Jane Anders – 3.5/5 Rating

  • The story is about the protagonist getting reading and trying to deal with her mother’s upcoming wedding – her mom is marrying another girl who is young enough to be the protag’s sister. And she also has this problem where her own ghost following her around everywhere.
    The narrative voice is what makes this story! It is told in the first person of the female protagonist; I instantly loved it, thought it was funny, and then found out that she was actually a comedian!

The Half-Life of Angles by Sarah Monette – 3/5 Rating

  • Micro-fiction? Flash-fiction? I don’t know, but it’s literally a hundred words, if that. It’s about angels that represent different places and events that have happened around the world.

Catcall by Delia S. Dawson – 4/5 Rating

  • Being a 25-year old male, the lesson of this story is not something I am familiar with. I do not meet girls like this, nor do I have friends who act this. Every once in a while, I will have female friend tell me of an event – similar to the ones in this story – of how a guy will hit on them, and my thought it that they are joking because it sounds so outlandish that someone would actually do that in real life.
    In Dawnson’s interview she mentions that all the events that do happen to the female protagonist in this story, were based on actual events that happened to her.

A Year and a Day In Old Theradane by Scott Lynch – 5/5 Rating

    It is a (previously published) novelette, so it is a bit longer that rest of the stories here, but it is well the worth the read! It is funny and hilarious; it has magic; amazing wording building; great characters and dynamics; Lynch has great prose and is another author whose vocabulary makes me jealous!


Ethics of Reviewing by Natalie Luhrs

  • Title says it all; good read.

Writing Queerly: Three Snapshots by Sofia Samara

  • It’s about “the relationship between queer writing and speculative fiction.”

21st Century Heroes—Representation in Marvel and DC’s Cinematic Universes by Michael R. Underwood

  • Talks about lack of diversity in MCU and DCU, while the comics have been making huge strides for years.

Representation Matters: Embracing Change in Comics by Caitlin Rosenberg

  • Talks about the progress being made in diverts in the comic industry.


Slices of Failure in Super Science by Bryann Thao Worra – 3.5/5 Rating

  • The struggles of having your brain in a jar. It’s pretty funny, I found it kind of snarky, too.

The Saga of Captian Jens by C.S.E. Cooney – 4.5/5 Rating

  • First of all: you should always read poems out loud, but with this one, you must! No excuses! Even if you don’t pay attention to what the poems is saying, just reading it is an incredible amount of fun and there is no way it won’t make you smile 😀
    Then go back and listen to what the poem is telling; it’s a cool story.

Σειρήνοιϊν by Sonya Taaffe – 4/5 Rating

  • The power of the Siren’s voice.
    Sirens are from Greek mythology, and were known to lure sailors into the shores with their beautiful voices, causing the sailors to crash their ships.
    Being a Classics enthusiasts, I enjoyed this!


Interview: E. Lily Yu by Deborah Stanish

  • Did not know that a lot of the people and events in the story, where actually based on real people and events. Also goes into the struggles of women in the arts.

Interview: Delia S. Dawson by Deborah Stanish

  • Gives good insight into some of the inspiration for her story, Catcall, and Dawson tell some very personal details about her life.

 Thank, You, Kickstarter Backers! by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas

  • Disclaimer: Yes, I was a Kickstarter backer.

If you aren’t already, I’d recommend considering a subscription —>

There is also a Kickstarter going for Year 2, which I strongly encourage you back —> Uncanny Magazine Year Two Kickstarter

4/5 Rating


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17 thoughts on “Book Review: Uncanny Magazine Issue 5 (July/August 2015)

  1. Erika Ensign says:

    I couldn’t agree more about reading poems (especially C.S.E. Cooney’s in this issue) aloud. In fact, she does so in Uncanny Magazine Podcast ep 5A–twice!


    • Thanks for the comment, Erika! 🙂

      I think it’s all the alliterations that I liked so much about it. And I always check out the podcasts! Don’t usually listen to the stories, but yes the poems. Always interesting to compare my speed and what words I emphases compared to her and other narrators’ readings.


  2. I should read more of these magazines. Problem is, I’m not a big reader of short stories to begin with, and I have no interest in content like essays, poetry, interviews and such. The couple of issues I’ve tried here and there I’ve enjoyed though, like from Apex, etc.


    • Isn’t it weird how somehow reading short stories is so different from novels? My trick is to read them between novels. Works perfect for when I finish a book in the morning or afternoon, and still want to read, but not ready to commit to the next book.


  3. Kaja says:

    You haven’t read Lynch before?!?! 😮 How can this be?! (I’m only half kidding, he’s probably my all-time favourite fantasy writer – along with Patrick Rothfuss.) He is the king of amazing language and VERY colourful curse words. I want to translate his work so badly! It would be the biggest challenge ever but so, so good.
    I don’t often read short stories and novellas, I prefer longer texts. But I’ve read some pretty great ones, just not fantasy…

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, you should translate his work! That’s so cool! That what I wanted to do with my Latin- translate A Song of Ice and Fire into Latin. Unlike mine though, I feel like your language of translate will have market for people to buy. Just start with this shorty story by him and see how it sells 🙂

      And, I think this fantasy short story might be one you’d like: 🙂


      • Kaja says:

        Thanks for the link! I didn’t know the story was available online! 🙂 I started reading it and it’s like the Lynch who wrote The Lies of Locke Lamora took some funny mushrooms and drank too much coffee and had a huge sugar-rush from too many donuts 😀 It’s great but also quite different from his other writing!

        Well, book publishing is a bit more involved than just translating things, unfortunately – things like rights are too complicated if you’re not already an established publisher. I’m trying to get an editor colleague of mine to consider his work, I hope she’ll go for it!


        • Uncanny release all their stories for free on their site. It’s a new issue every 2 months so they release half the material each month.

          Ha ha! Yeah, it is a weirddddd story, but it was hilarious and simply fantastic!

          I can imagine all the legal hoops you probably have to go through with getting a translated work published. But you never know? How cool would it be to say you translated one of his stories!?

          I hope your colleague will allow you to translate their work 🙂 I’m assuming it’s YA?


  4. Tammy says:

    I’d love to start reading this, I do love supporting small presses, but I barely have time to read books, so maybe in the future! I’m happy to see some names I recognize, though:-)


    • It’s surprising how much effort I actually have to put in to read these everything two month. 800 page novel? No problem; 5 short stories every 2 months? I don’t know, that a big commitment XD

      Every month they have had an amazing lineup of authors. Next year’s is looking just as promising too.


  5. […] Fun Fact: The two best short stories I’ve read this are In Libres by Elizabeth Bear (my review), and A Year and a Day In Old Theradane by Scott Lynch (my review). […]


  6. […] story, A Year and a Day In Old Theradane, in Uncanny Magazine. Did I like it? Well, I started off my review by saying, “HOW HAVE I NEVER READ SCOTT LYNCH BEFORE!?!?!?!?!?” Yep, it is easily the […]


  7. […] in short: I said it after I read Lynch’s short story, A Year and a Day in Old Theradane (my review), and I’ll say it again: WHY HAVE I NEVER READ SCOTT LYNCH BEFORE?! To be more […]


  8. […] In Libres by Elizabeth Bear (Uncanny Magazine #5, July/August 2015) – my review […]


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