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Uncanny Magazine Issue 30 September/October 2019: Disabled People Destroy Fantasy! Special Issue

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The September/October 2019 Disabled People Destroy Fantasy special issue of Hugo Award-winning Uncanny Magazine.

Featuring new fiction by Sarah Gailey, Lane Waldman, Jei D. Marcade, Tochi Onyebuchi, Karlo Yeager Rodríguez, and Aysha U. Farah. Essays by Kari Maaren, Gwendolyn Paradice, Day Al-Mohamed, A.T. Greenblatt, Cara Liebowitz and Dominik Parisien, poetry by Roxanna Bennett, Toby MacNutt, Shweta Narayan, R.B. Lemberg, Tamara Jerée, and Julian K. Jarboe, interviews with Lane Waldman and Karlo Yeager Rodríguez by Sandra Odell, a cover by Julie Dillon, and editorials by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, and guest editors Katharine Duckett, Nicolette Barischoff, and Lisa M. Bradley.

148 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 3, 2019

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About the author

Lynne M. Thomas

94 books204 followers
In my day job, I am the Head of the Rare Book & Manuscript Library and Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Rare Book and Manuscript Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, one of the largest public university rare book collections in the country. I used to manage pop culture special collections that include the papers of over 70 SF/F authors at Northern Illinois University. I also teach a Special Collections course as an adjunct in the iSchool at Illinois, and used to do so at SJSU.

I'm an Nine-time Hugo Award winner, the Co-Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Uncanny Magazine with my husband Michael Damian Thomas. The former Editor-in-Chief of Apex Magazine (2011-2013), I co-edited the Hugo Award-winning Chicks Dig Time Lords, Whedonistas, and Chicks Dig Comics. I moderated the Hugo-Award winning SF Squeecast and contribute to the Verity! Podcast. You can learn more about my shenanigans at lynnemthomas.com.

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5 stars
56 (23%)
4 stars
105 (43%)
3 stars
65 (26%)
2 stars
11 (4%)
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4 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 70 reviews
Profile Image for Nataliya.
785 reviews12.5k followers
September 3, 2020
This review is for Hugo-nominated novelette Away With the Wolves by Sarah Gailey:
“I try to stay still for as long as I can. I try to swallow down the feeling of numbness. I know better than to hope, but I hope anyway—maybe today will be the day I get to keep that feeling. Maybe today will be the day nothing hurts.“

In a nutshell, it’s about a shapeshifter Suss, a young woman suffering from disabling chronic pain from which she can escape by changing into the wolf form. But when she’s a wolf, she’s a bit of a nuisance for her village and must pay back for the havoc wreaked during the wolf adventures.
“I know the joy of jumping at something big. I know what it’s like, feeling that I want it feeling that I swallow when I’m a girl. When I’m a wolf, I want it is almost always immediately followed by I do it.

But everyone is quite understanding, and there’s a best friend with a heart of gold, and the only logical conclusion on how to escape the pain forever, and everyone is happy and content and heartwarming and no real issues or stakes or conflicts or any other engaging plot points need to interfere with the sweetness. It’s really like it’s an intro to a subsequent story where there are actually consequences or difficult choices or anything else that constitutes a story?
It’s done fine, sure, but I don’t quite see why or how I’m supposed to care. Everything is hunky-dory and the entire situation is win-win, and I kept thinking that I missed a whole section somewhere in the middle that had anything like an actual story? Everything is easy and obvious and consequences-free and has less stakes in it than a Lifetime channel flick.
“My mother was wrong, I think, because it turns out I’m not ruining anything by remaining a wolf. I haven’t lost anything of myself. Alger doesn’t seem to think it’s selfish of me to bring home rabbits for the stewpot, and Nan Gideon has gone from shaking her fist at me to giving me baskets of eggs from her chickens to bring home. I only go into the village when I want to, now, and so I never feel trapped and distracted and uncomfortable, and there hasn’t been an incident at the apothecary or the church or the blacksmith or the butcher.”

Yeah, cool. A happy ending to a bland beginning, skipping any possibly exciting middle bits.
“Everything is mine to have, if I want it. Finally, for the first time in my entire life, I feel like I can admit: I want it all.
And I will take it all.”

Okay, dear, go take it all; and I’ll take a quick nap over here.

2 stars because of sheer boredom. Why the Hugo nomination?


My Hugo and Nebula Awards Reading Project 2020: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.8k followers
July 14, 2020
This Hugo award-nominated novelette is free online here at Uncanny magazine. Review first posted on Fantasy Literature:

A village girl, Suss, has the unusual power of shapeshifting into a wolf. Suss loves her time as a wolf, in large part because her severe chronic pain completely disappears in that form and she’s free to run and explore and feel truly alive. But she feels guilty because of her dead mother’s scolding, and she doesn’t want to lose her connections to her best friend and neighbors. More, there’s the problem of valuable livestock in her village being killed by a canine predator, and Suss worries that she’s losing touch because she has no memory of doing this in her wolf form.

As with much current speculative fiction, diversity is a prominent feature in this story, but it’s an unusual one — Suss’s unexplained chronic pain — and it’s well-integrated and even integral to the plot. Sarah Gailey’s writing is engaging: the reader understands Suss’s physical pain and stress, and it feels like these villagers are real people.
Nan is the oldest person either of us have ever known. She tells people that she’s three hundred years old, and I believe her, if only because I don’t know for sure that spite can’t pickle a person into immortality. She’s tall and hale with broad shoulders and all of her original teeth, a fact she’ll tell anyone who will listen.
The central conflict in Away with the Wolves felt like it was resolved a bit too quickly and neatly, but I still enjoyed this warmhearted story and the way it stresses the importance of friendship and interpersonal connections — whether you’re a human or a wolf. Or both.
Profile Image for Silvana.
1,169 reviews1,143 followers
April 25, 2020
Rating and review only for Sarah Gailey's "Away with the Wolves" novelette, currently being nominated for the Hugos.

I listened to this via Uncanny spotify account, which is an alternative way to enjoy their stories. The narrator was really good, she brought the story to life. It's rather fascinating, the way the author related lycanthrophy with disability. The main character turned into a wolf regularly, while although her village tolerated her (as long as she paid the damage she caused) and she had a loving, supportive best friend, she still experienced struggle and chronic pain. One day, a goat was slaughtered and she was blamed. The story moved and we delved deeper into the MC's psyche. I savored it till the very end and thus I can understand why this was nominated.

It can be read here: https://uncannymagazine.com/article/a...

PS: This is the second wolf-themed story I really liked this year.
Profile Image for Mitticus.
1,011 reviews213 followers
January 26, 2021
“The Tailor and the Beast” by Aysha U. Farah - 4 stars

Really sweet. A retelling of the classical where the father change his place for her daughter.
depressive man meet lonely beast.

Time means very little when you’re alone.

At the beginning it has an ironic tone and it would have worked well to the end with that kind of humor, but the ending is quite fluffy.
Profile Image for Jess.
355 reviews62 followers
March 19, 2021
I was stunned by this story about taking a thing that others and shames or hampers you and finding a way to spin gold from it. There's a lot going on and I want to reread it; there are two problems here to be solved: . There are beautiful statements here, too, about the costs of conforming, as well as about boundaries and healthy friendships: not needing another person to be broken and to need your help to feel secure in the friendship, not assisting without asking first. It has a satisfying ending that I might have found to be a little too easy a year + one month ago, but I have been more fond of hope and happy endings since early in 2020. Post-2016 too, for that matter.

I know what it’s like, feeling that I want it feeling that I swallow when I’m a girl. When I’m a wolf, I want it is almost always immediately followed by I do it.
Profile Image for Paul.
1,253 reviews193 followers
September 8, 2019
2.5 for the whole fiction side of the issue.

Stories in this issue:
Away With the Wolves by Sarah Gailey - 3
Tower by Lane Waldman - 2
Seed and Cinder by Jei D. Marcade - 1
The Fifth Day by Tochi Onyebuchi - 1
This is Not My Adventure by Karlo Yeager Rodriguez - 2.5
The Tailor and the Beast by Aysha U. Farah - 4

I really liked The Tailor and the Beast by Aysha U. Farah. It is a story about the father of a woman who is taken by the Beast in a castle. The father ends up trading his life at the castle for the freedom of his daughter. What follows is two lonely people finding companionship.

Away With the Wolves and This is Not my Adventure were alright. I enjoyed both of them but I wouldn't specifically recommend them.

Seed and Cinder and The Fifth Day just weren't my thing. There wasn't much a narrative to them and it was more style than substance.

The NonFiction was good, as always. I don't read the poetry or the interviews. I can't connect to speculative poetry.
Profile Image for David Expósito.
Author 69 books242 followers
June 15, 2020
Supongo que es inevitable que nos toque un poco más la fibra a los que tenemos enfermedades o dolores crónicos.
Profile Image for Felicia.
312 reviews24 followers
Shelved as 'comics-and-magazines'
March 1, 2020
Away with the Wolves (Sarah Gailey)
Tower (Lane Waldman)
This Is Not My Adventure (Karlo Yeager Rodríguez)

Favorite essays:
Sudden and Marvelous Invention: Hearing Impairment & Fabulist (non)Fiction (Gwendolyn Paradice)
The Blind Prince Reimagined: Disability in Fairy Tales (Kari Maaren)
Part of That World: Finding Disabled Mermaids in the Works of Seanan McGuire (Cara Liebowitz)
Profile Image for Jukaschar.
205 reviews6 followers
August 22, 2022
I love Uncanny's Destroy! series, they are just some of the best and most interesting collections that I've read.

For me I enjoyed the short fiction and poetry a lot more than the interviews and essays, but that's because I read mostly for enjoyment and a lot less for information. I wouldn't want them to be excluded, so everything's fine.
Profile Image for David H..
2,070 reviews19 followers
October 17, 2019
This special issue's got 6 original stories, 6 poems, 6 essays, and 2 interviews (and a Hugo acceptance speech!).

This issue was a followup to last year's Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction! special issue, though without the "double-issue" bonus, so it's a normal length issue aside from some extra poems and essays.

"This Is Not My Adventure" by Karlo Yeager Rodríguez (a revisited portal fantasy) and "Away With the Wolves" by Sarah Gailey (a person disabled in human form, but not their wolf form) were standout stories for me this issue, though I was very intrigued but left a little wanting with Marcade's "Seed and Cinder"--I'd love to read a longer story in that setting.

I really liked Day Al-Mohamed's essay on being a disabled writer, and it's a topic I've thought about a lot due to the stuff I'm looking to read and the stuff I can't find to read. Liebowitz's essay on McGuire's mermaids was great, and I thought Greenblatt's tips for writing a disabled protagonist was also useful.
Profile Image for Kerry.
1,517 reviews87 followers
June 10, 2020
One of the novelette nominees for the 2020 Hugo Awards.

I loved this one. It is a beautifully hopeful story, especially for someone with chronic illness and/or pain like me. So I admit to bias. At bottom, this story says that we get to choose how we handle our pain. I am so behind that.
Profile Image for Tim.
188 reviews12 followers
July 12, 2020
Actually pretty good story concept of a woman using lycanthropy to deal with severe chronic pain (which goes away while she's a wolf) but it is really hard to credit a story in which a hemlock tree is described as being deciduous, with large leaves. Oy vey.
Profile Image for Daphne.
890 reviews13 followers
February 2, 2022
Maybe this is because I read this for school, but I really hated this. I like the idea behind in and it explored some really interesting themes, but man did I hate the writing.

Note: Read in January 2022
Profile Image for Lis Carey.
2,190 reviews101 followers
June 9, 2020
Suss is a young woman, and also a wolf. Her mother, now dead, always taught her it was selfish and self-indulgent to spend too much time as a wolf, out living her wolf life. Suss tries to live by her mother's rules and severely limit her time as a wolf.

Unfortunately, in human form, Suss spends much of her time in pain. Her hips, her shoulders, her legs, her hands; it's the rare day that she's not in some significant pain.

Fortunately, her friend, Yana, understands. Yana's father, Alger, maybe doesn't understand as fully, but he's patient and supportive. Their neighbors are tolerant, as long as she pays for what she kills or damages in wolf form.

But it's a lonely life. And Yana understands better than Suss does that she's not spending too much time as a wolf; she's spending too little.

Yet she has no wolf friends, either. And she doesn't want to lose the human friends she does have.

Then one day, she returns from being "away with the wolves," as she and Yana call it, to find that she has apparently killed one of the goats belonging to a neighbor. That's expensive, but more disturbing, she doesn't have any memory of doing it.

What's going on? Is she losing herself into the wolf form?

I felt very connected to Suss, trying very hard to do what she's expected to do, even though it hurts, even though it's never quite good enough, and even though she only fuctions well as a wolf. Can she find herself, or will she lose herself?

Very enjoyable, very satisfying, Recommended.

I received this story as part of the Hugo Voters packet, and am reviewing it voluntarily.
Profile Image for Andy.
1,482 reviews57 followers
June 4, 2020
I've only read 'Away with the Wolves' by Sarah Gailey, as I'm voting in the Hugos this year and it's nominated for best novelette.

Gailey has crafted an interesting take on the werewolf tale, in the context of someone suffering chronic pain and the release they experience with the change. Contrasting the psychologically exhausting, cumulative and unrelenting impact of chronic pain with the differing ways acute pain is experienced and can be tolerated, potentially even enjoyed (if you go so far), Gailey had added a deeper layer to the story and a subtle portrait of disability and the potential impact on self. Worth reading.
Profile Image for Amanda.
1,497 reviews64 followers
April 16, 2020
Hugo 2020 Nominations (Best Novelette);

"Away with the Wolves"

I am pleased to have learned on looking up the issue of this Uncanny, that it was entirely devoted to Sci-Fi/Fantasy Stories about (and by) differently-abled people. This story was an interesting one, but not as compelling as I wished it was.

This was the story of a disabled girl, whose body often caused her too much pain to function in the space of each single day after rising, but who has the ability to shift into the from of a wolf (a time she simply refers to as 'Away'). In her other form, she feels no pain, no guilt, and is able to live freely, in the moment. The work is about coming to terms with what actually works best for you, and being supported by those who love you best, who want your best life for you.
782 reviews5 followers
September 11, 2020
Read this because it was nominated for a Hugo award

Loved this. Suss is a disabled human, but a non-disabled wolf who struggles to reconcile her two selves. Her friend Yana is a much more sensible individual.
Profile Image for Margaret.
1,174 reviews60 followers
December 31, 2020
Favorites from this collection:

"Away with the Wolves" by Sarah Gailey, about a woman who has chronic pain, except when she transforms as a wolf. But as a wolf, she tends to wreak havoc on the village. Can she manage to find a way to continue to live in the village? Should she try to repress her wolfish self?

"The Tailor and the Beast" by Aysha U. Farah: A queer retelling of "Beauty and the Beast." I loved that the father stays to save his daughter.

"Sudden and Marvelous Invention: Hearing Impairment & Fabulist (non)Fiction" by Gwendolyn Paradice: A nonfiction essay where the author discusses how her hearing impairment gives her lots of interesting ideas. I do this too! I have tinnitus, and my brain's first instinct is to make up something impossible when I hear a strange sound: Oh, the spies from another dimension are peaking through the portal again.

"Fears and Dragons and the Thoughts of a Disabled Writer" by Day Al-Mohamed: A nonfiction essay about the struggle with internalized ableism as a disabled writer.

""Eating Disorder" does not begin to describe it" by R.B. Lemberg: Give me all the R.B. Lemberg's poetry. Beautiful writing.

"The Thing In Us We Fear Just Wants Our Love" by Julian K. Jarboe: It's strange that this poem was written pre-pandemic, bc it so resonates with pandemic life.
Profile Image for Corinne .
729 reviews4 followers
Shelved as 'only-read-parts'
February 1, 2023
So far only read/listened to:

Away with the Wolves by Sarah Gailey - 2*

hmmm I read it as a "coming out" story. Yeah she has pain in her human form but I thought that was metaphorically more about what she had to endure when she wasn't being who she wanted to be. When she was one way she had pain/function problems, when she was the other way she caused problems. She has to make a change because of this. Can't continue like this... It ends with a HEA when she accepts that she gets to decide how ("human/wolf") she wants to be and is surrounded by supported friends and a supportive community.

My low rating is because "coming of age" stories usually aren't my interest and not a lot happens. I hope it finds it's right audience.

Read by Erika Ensign on the Uncanny Magazine Podcast Episode 30A.
541 reviews
April 6, 2023
Short stories, essays and poems.
Let’s start with the short stories: there are a variety of takes on disability in fantasy. I particularly enjoyed Away With the Wolves, in which a werewolf with chronic pain manages it by switching into her wolf form. Some of the stories are darker than others and they’re all very different.
The essays, again, are from a variety of viewpoints, and whether or not you agree with the content of each individual essay, they all make you think.
Poetry isn’t really my area but some of it really hit home.
But my favourite part of this was the interviews with the authors of the short stories – some in the magazine and some in the podcast. It’s fascinating to get their points of view and for some interviews it really helped me understand what I’d just read and where it came from.
In summary, come for the short stories but stay for the essays and interviews.
356 reviews1 follower
June 28, 2020
Read for the 2020 Hugos
Story: Away with the Wolves

Note: I listened to the audio version of this story that's on the Uncanny Magazine Podcast. The reader was excellent. Highly recommended.

So, about the story itself. It's a simple, but really good one. What would you do if you lived in chronic pain, but had a chance to get away from that, with conditions? How far would you go to live with those conditions? Can you find a balance? Those are the questions that this story asks. Obviously, the answers that it gives won't work literally in our world, but I hope that people can find some hope and optimism in this story.
Profile Image for saradevil.
395 reviews
January 11, 2020
Away With the Wolves by Sarah Gailey - The first, and probably my favorite stores in this issue.

Tower by Lane Waldman - An interesting narrative.

Seed and Cinder by Jei D. Marcade - I both liked and disliked this, however, it did haunt me long enough for me to feel it worthwhile.

The Tailor and the Beast by Aysha U. Farah - Not my favorite.

This Is Not My Adventure by Karlo Yeager Rodríguez - I found it difficult to connect with this story.

The Fifth Day by Tochi Onyebuchi - Again, I just had a hard time connecting with this.

Profile Image for Melissa.
771 reviews3 followers
May 25, 2020
3-4 stars overall with several items of 5 star quality. "Away With the Wolves" by Sarah Gailey is deservedly nominated for Hugo for Best Novelette. Also of very high quality are the stories "Seed and Cinder" by Jei M. Markade and "The Tailor and the Beast" by Aysha U. Farah and the essay "Part of that World: Finding Disabled Mermaids in the Works of Seanan McGuire" by Cara Liebowitz. I read this for my 2020 Reading Challenge (Read Harder "literary magazine") and the 2020 Hugo nominations (Best Novelette).
Profile Image for Pete Aldin.
Author 29 books57 followers
January 10, 2020
Superb. Everything in this collection is good and carries emotional depth. Standouts for me among great stories, poems and essays: This Is Not My Adventure, Tower, Away with the Wolves (I love interesting shapeshifter tales; The Visions that Take their Toll (an essay every fantasy writer must read); “The Thing In Us We Fear Just Wants Our Love”

Anything that makes me pause my reading to think, and then stays with me, was well worth the time and money. Five stars!
Profile Image for Shannon (That's So Poe).
1,022 reviews108 followers
November 10, 2020
I enjoyed a bunch of the stories and essays in this collection! I particularly liked "Tower" by Lane Waldman and the interview with her, as well as the poems "‘Eating Disorder’ does not begin to describe it" by R. B. Lemberg and "goddess in forced repose" by Tamara Jerée, both of which were filled with a lot of power and anger. I wish this collection had been a bit longer like the Science Fiction (issue #24) one so that it could have explored more voices, though.
Profile Image for Rebecca Crunden.
Author 20 books532 followers
June 1, 2020
These covers are always so beautiful. <3

I started with 'Monsters & Women—Beneath Contempt' by Roxanna Bennett.

Dismiss reversal of promises & missing curatives,
who notices holes in the old narrative

Read it here.
Profile Image for Flinx.
289 reviews4 followers
May 30, 2020
If one doesn’t want to live disabled/with chronic pain, one can change their life altogether, eventually paying the price. This story tells me in a sweet, naive manner that the price is worth paying and that one can have the best out of all worlds. Obviously fantastical.
Profile Image for Lisa Feld.
Author 1 book21 followers
July 23, 2020
This is a review of Sarah Gailey’s “Away with the Wolves.” I’m a big fan of the “traditional werewolves had reasons they thought transforming was a good thing” trope, and having a protagonist with a chronic illness, which is something I usually don’t see in high fantasy, makes it even better.
Profile Image for FrauMiest.
131 reviews6 followers
December 23, 2019
Even more than the stories (the tailor and the beast is marvellous) did I love the articles.

That's what I want to read, more of it, much more.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 70 reviews

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