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)
- “If You Want to Erase Us, You Must be Thorough” by L. Tu. A short story ripe with post-colonial themes of revenge. The story of Aida, a star student in a school where her people are tough to forget her past culture, discover the truth and seeks to correct the wrong.
- “The Sycamore and the Sybil” by Alix E. Harrow. The story of a tree, it’s background as a woman who transformed to escape, and the sharing of magic words to save a life.
- “Harvest” by Rebecca Roanhorse. A contemporary myth story of a Deer woman meeting a chef in training. The obsessions with the Deer woman leads to revenge and murder.
- “The Assassination of Professor X: The Destruction of Marvel’s Most Famous Disabled Character” by John Wiswell. An essay discussing the retcon and overwriting of X-Men’s past through the example of Professor X. How over time Professor X and the X-Men have turned darker, sacrificing a representative, heroic good for a a grittier, less-diverse cast.
- “Toss a Coin to Your Bitcher” by Suzanne Walker. An essay on the lack of intersectionality, and how common tropes were introduced instead of complex character representation in The Witcher TV Series.
- 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.
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