This shelf-bending collection of 44 stories and poems from Uncanny Magazine’s first five years highlights not only the publication’s consistent quality, but also the impressive diversity of voices and thematic profundity it showcases.
Many of the selections are powered by brass-knuckle social commentary. Sam J. Miller’s paranormal-nuanced “The Heat of Us: Notes Toward an Oral History” is set in an alternate New York City on June 28, 1969, the night of the Stonewall Riots, when a police raid of a gay night club sparked an uprising and became the catalyst for the gay rights movement, and which also happened to be "the first public demonstration of the supernatural phenomenon that would later be called by names as diverse as collective pyrokinesis, group magic, communal energy...liberation flame, and hellfire." Constructed from oral interviews with witnesses to the bloody conflict, the story explores the tensions of the time and brilliantly conveys a complexity of emotions, from unbridled rage to despair to love. The last few words will stay with you: "I believe joy is the only thing stronger than sadness.” Delilah S. Dawson’s “Catcall” is another story with impressive impact, about a young woman named Maria who experiences misogyny on a daily basis. After facing countless assaults—from a predatory father at a babysitting gig to a sexist jock in high school—Maria finally decides that she has had enough and becomes a vehicle for karmic retribution. Hao Jingfang’s Folding Beijing (translated by Ken Liu), which won the Hugo Award for Best Novelette, is a conceptually breathtaking science fiction tale that follows Lao Dao, a worker at a waste processing center, as he explores the mysteries of a megacity with three separate Spaces that fold in upon themselves and share the same geographic area in every 48-hour cycle. Featuring standout stories by N.K. Jemisin, Seanan McGuire, and Catherynne M. Valente, among others, there are no weak links in this transcendent anthology.
A deliciously diverse sampler of speculative-fiction bonbons, created by some of the most talented literary confectioners on the planet.