Monthly Archives: June 2020

Ep041 Uncanny Magazine Issue Thirty-Three

Uncanny Magazine Issue Thirty-Three

Uncanny Magazine is a Hugo, Parsec, and British Fantasy award winning magazine. Published every other month, Uncanny features short fiction, poetry, interviews, and non-fiction. In this episode of Leave It To The Prose, Reid and Isaac read through Uncanny Magazine Issue Thirty-Three and discuss the works and themes found within.

Works Discussed (Spoilers)


  • Beat structure of Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis in “If You Want to Erase Us, You Must be Thorough” and “The Sycamore and the Sybil.” Both stories share an accepted world in the first pages (thesis), then introduce a new idea (antithesis), and the resolution to the conflict is found in the result of the merging of these ideas (synthesis). In Harrow’s story the thesis is the power of the magic words, the antithesis is how magic came to be and was primarily used internally, the synthesis then comes from casting this magic externally. In Tu’s story the thesis is the world of Aida, the worlds she was raised in and excelled in; the antithesis reveals that her life is completely disconnected from her cultural path, and her current world is build on a genocide of her people; and the synthesis comes from the moral struggle of what should be done and the choice for revenge.
  • The power of a short story to convey themes and ideas. How using exaggeration and fantastical elements can convey a theme.
  • Intersectional diversity is still lacking in Science Fiction Fantasy. Wiswell and Walker both explore how seemingly easy, common tropes are often used instead of delving into more complex humanity. We are readers should call out these moments where simplicity is overly chosen, and we should embrace intersectionality when we see it.

Ep040 Vicious

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

A raw, stand-alone story of jealousy, revenge, and the shades of grey found in justice, Vicious is a fast-paced story on human nature. Vicious follows Eli and Victor, two exceptional students who research and discover how to obtain ExtraOrdinary powers. During the story these two find themselves on opposing sides, and drives to a climax of confrontation. Reid and Isaac both enjoyed this book and would recommend to anyone who has enjoyed such works as Red Queen, Throne of Glass, and Trail of Lightning.

In this episode we discuss

  • The characterization and motivation behind Eli and Victor. How Eli is portrayed as believing in morality and justice through religion. How Victor is portrayed as someone who is willing to care more. And together how both are cold, calculating, and wanton for power.
  • How to do a fantastic multiple time point editorial style. The first half of the book follows Victor’s need for revenge while also slowly revealing the motivation for this revenge. Side characters share the same questions the reader has, and together we understand the desire for revenge. The multiple time points are clearly provided to the reader, and is not used as a narrative reveal. Instead the book tells us when the climax will occur, and uses past timelines as a way to build out emotional and character depth.
  • The importance of making deaths matter. Early in the story a sort-of main character dies, but the weight is not felt within the narrative. There is an argument for Eli and Victor’s cold, greedy nature (and perhaps toxic masculinity) being portrayed through the characters’ point of views; however, the death feels of limited value to the plot.
  • How the story written is about two main, flawed characters, and what makes someone a hero?

Other works mentioned (spoilers)

  • Major Spoilers for Vicious by V.E. Schwab.
  • Very Mild Spoilers for Vengeful by V.E. Schwab (the sequel).
  • Medium Spoilers for The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin. Link to our discussion of The Fifth Season.
  • Medium Spoilers for Westworld TV show.