Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Uncanny Magazine Issue 35: July/August 2020

Rate this book
The July/August 2020 issue of Hugo Award-winning Uncanny Magazine.

Featuring new fiction by Tina Connolly, Jenn Reese, M Evan MacGriogair, Chinelo Onwualu, Aliette de Bodard, Mari Ness, and Jordan Taylor. Essays by P. Djèlí Clark, Caitlin Starling, Danny Lore, and Hillary Monahan, poetry by Brandon O'Brien, Jennifer Mace, Sonya Taaffe, and Ewen Ma, interviews with M Evan MacGriogair and Aliette de Bodard by Caroline M. Yoachim, a cover by Kirbi Fagan, and editorials by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, and Elsa Sjunneson.

173 pages, Kindle Edition

First published July 7, 2020

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Lynne M. Thomas

93 books201 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.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
10 (15%)
4 stars
32 (49%)
3 stars
17 (26%)
2 stars
4 (6%)
1 star
2 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 21 of 21 reviews
Profile Image for Nataliya.
743 reviews11.8k followers
June 20, 2021
This review is for Hugo-nominated novelette The Inaccessibility of Heaven by Aliette de Bodard.
“I knew all too well how former angels balanced on a knife’s edge between despair and madness, and how easy it was for them to let go—in a city which sold their bones as drugs.”

Urban fantasy with fallen angels* and a serial killer murder mystery, told in noir style.
* When I hear “Fallen Angel”, my mind immediately counters with one A.J. Crowley, of Pratchett/Gaiman superb Good Omens, who “did not so much Fall as Saunter Vaguely Downwards.”

Arvedai the Fallen Angel is the noir version of Crowley, with a heart of gold hiding somewhere under the mafia boss dealing in angel bones exterior. Calariel “Cal” the Fallen Angel is supposedly a good person but with dark secrets hiding behind that angelic exterior. Squishy humans Sam (a witch) and O’Connor (a hired thug) are being angsty over them and become involved with forces seemingly too big for them to handle. All while someone is murdering the Fallen in the city of Starhollow.

The good: This novelette reads like it should belong in an established Urban Fantasy world — and for all I know it may be, as this is the first (but probably not the last) work by Aliette de Bodard I’ve read. Something about it reminds me of P. Djèlí Clark’s A Dead Djinn in Cairo — the use of mythology, the supernatural murder mystery, the human investigation of supernatural crimes. And although I’m not a big fan of noir overtones in general, here they work well and set a moody, gloomy atmosphere that feels like it should be filmed in black and white palette, with wisps of cigar smoke obscuring the view. It’s grim and moody and well-done.

The not-so-good: Deux ex machina. Thematically fitting, but still cheap.

3.5 stars.

My Hugo and Nebula Awards Reading Project 2021: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
Profile Image for Ron.
Author 1 book139 followers
April 23, 2021
“At the shelter I worked at, drunken Fallen had started attacking some of the newcomers—and had turned on me when I’d tried to intervene.”

Creative new take on why angels fell; western literature has been dominated by John Bunyan’s for centuries. Well conceived and well executed. Gory, but that seems to be the norm this year.

“I will stand even by the least of my children…but you have turned your backs on me….”
“Maybe we’re all children.”
Profile Image for Silvana.
1,147 reviews1,119 followers
February 7, 2021
Total average rating for two stories:

The Inaccessibility of Heaven by Aliette de Bodard **
Urban fantasy with fallen angels and repressed feeling. Zzz.

The Nine Scents of Sorrow by Jordan Taylor **
Like a mix between Kelly Robson's The Water for Versailles and the novel Perfume. I feel like I should like it - a pretty story - but I just could not get around the magic and basically just shrugged at the end. Next!
Profile Image for Rebecca Crunden.
Author 17 books493 followers
July 9, 2020
that cover though

Started with Tina Connolly's Once More Unto the Breach (But Don’t Worry, the Inflatable Swords Are Latex-Free)! Available online here.
You are at the birthday party that lasts forever, and you look through the smear of your face paint and raise your inflatable hammer high.

Really liked this one!
Profile Image for Lis Carey.
2,163 reviews95 followers
April 14, 2021
Samantha de Viera works at a shelter for newly Fallen angels. She's in a relationship with Calariel, a Fallen who also works at the shelter. Sam is also a minor witch. One day, she comes home to find that guests have let themselves in.

Arvedai is a Fallen Sam has had conflicts with in the past, but now he's asking for her help. Fallen are being killed, and in a horrifying way, torn apart by something with claws and fangs. Arvedai wants her to help find out who is doing it, and why. This will be dangerous--and it becomes a cause of conflict with Calariel.

This is part of de Bodard's Dominion of the Fallen series, a Gothic Paris where the Fallen are a major presence, defining how everything works in a rather grim, dark world. It's well-written, developed and textured and interesting, and it's just not my kind of story or my kind of setting. Too dark. Too grim. This novelette is a 2021 Best Novelette Hugo Finalist, and I can't say it doesn't deserve to be. For myself, though--I much prefer de Bodard's Xuya Universe stories.

This story is available as a free read on the the Uncanny website. I'm reviewing it voluntarily.
Profile Image for Miranda.
177 reviews4 followers
September 14, 2020
A really diverse and interesting collection of short fiction, poetry, and commentary. I was particularly impressed by The Nine Scents of Sorrow, the Ruby of the Summer King, and Will I Live to See Our Utopia. There were a few stories that weren’t my cup of tea and I’m not sure I’ll ever grow to really appreciate poetry in the way it deserves but I think those complaints say more about me than the writing.
Profile Image for Norman Cook.
1,387 reviews13 followers
June 14, 2021
"The Inaccessibility of Heaven" by Aliette de Bodard (approx. 59 pages)
2021 Hugo Award Finalist - Best Novelette

This is a noir mystery with angels and witches tracking down a serial killer. As a mystery it works quite well, with shady characters and red herrings to muddy up the proceedings, and there are some unexpected romantic relationships. The world-weary tone suits the genre, and there are a number of other noir tropes that are interesting, but I think de Bodard could have explored the world a little more. Although completely self-contained, this reads like part of a series, so perhaps we will see this world expanded upon in future stories.

I did not read any other portions of this magazine.
Profile Image for Anne.
139 reviews
December 8, 2020
I feel it's a little hard to rate a magazine... 4,5* for the magazine and the articles in the back, but most of the short stories in this edition did not do much got me (with the exception of "The Ruby of the Summer King"! Full marks for cuteness)
Profile Image for Marco.
1,116 reviews48 followers
May 31, 2021
This review is for "The Inaccessibility of Heaven" by Aliette De Bodard.
Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Novelette category. I have read some short fiction by this author before, and I was looking forward reading this story.
The story is set in a near future / alternative reality where rebel angels have been cast down to Earth by god, and they live mixed in with humans while longing to go back to the heavens.
It's a very enjoyable story, even if the deux ex-machina at the end ruins it a little.
Profile Image for Amanda.
1,469 reviews65 followers
May 16, 2021
Spring 2021 (April);
-- Specifically “The Inaccessibility of Heaven”

This story very much was reaching for that gritty punk noir feel, except with the twist being that all the mob bosses & vigilante/detective heroes are basically fallen angels, negotiating the politics of their fall and why they fell and it's so long ago everyone in the room but their (pet-) people really know what happened and who did what.

This story tried really hard, but I just couldn't find myself much invested in it, which deeply surprised me. I really like retellings on things, and so few retellings dig into the meat of the fallen from any heaven with a new twist.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
193 reviews6 followers
May 8, 2021
Only read the Inaccessibility of Heaven, which was quite interesting but not that captivating. Extra points for a new take on fallen angels and magic, but I really didn’t connect with the characters and wasn’t too invested in their struggles.
Profile Image for Dolorosa.
65 reviews11 followers
August 10, 2020
As there is no way to log the individual short stories, I want to make it clear that this rating is based solely on the Aliette de Bodard story in this issue, as I have not read any of the other contents of the issue.
Profile Image for bee.
301 reviews16 followers
July 11, 2020
Once More Unto the Breach (But Don't Worry, the Inflatable Swords Are Latex-Free) by Tina Connolly: 3/5
The World Ends in Salty Fingers and Sugared Lips by Jenn Reese: 3.5/5
A Pale Horse by M Evan MacGriogair: 3/5
A Long Song for Herkinal as composed by Ashkernad amid the ruins of New Haven by Chinelo Onwualu: 3/5
The Inaccessibility of Heaven by Aliette de Bodard: 2/5
The Ruby of the Summer King by Mari Ness: 3.5/5
The Nine Scents of Sorrow by Jordan Taylor: 2/5

Will I Live to See My Utopia? by P. Djèlí Clark: 4/5
Hands On by Caitlin Starling: 4/5
Transforming Anxiety by Danny Lore: 3/5
The People You Only Think You Know by Hillary Monahan: 5/5

Average rating: 3.27/5, but rounding down to a low 2/5 just because I felt this issue was really lacking for me.
Profile Image for Andy.
1,455 reviews59 followers
October 20, 2020
I picked up a bunch of Uncanny Magazines and collections voting in the Hugos this year and this is the first I've got myself. A solid bunch of short fiction, some interesting essays and some poetry (still not my thing) and while there isn't a stand out amazing tale, there is a lot to like and I'm fully behind supporting the writing.
Profile Image for Sarah Merrill.
96 reviews3 followers
August 21, 2020
Favorites from this issue:
The Nine Scents of Sorrow by Jordan Taylor 4/5

The World Ends in Salty Fingers and Sugared Lips by Jenn Reese 3/5

The star rating I give magazine issue reflects the score of my favorite story, not the issue as a whole.
Profile Image for Felicia.
302 reviews24 followers
Shelved as 'comics-and-magazines'
September 5, 2020
The World Ends in Salty Fingers and Sugared Lips (Jenn Reese)
A Love Song for Herkinal (Chinelo Onwualu)
The Ruby of the Summer King (Mari Ness)

Favorite essays:
Will I Live to See My Utopia? (P. Djèlí Clark)
Transforming Anxiety (Danny Lore)
Displaying 1 - 21 of 21 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.