I’m walking through a library, searching for a magazine, but I can’t seem to find one. Stuffed cats wearing hats and boots sit on the shelves of one aisle. Climbers in dark clothing move up the empty shelves of another. I avert my eyes from the next aisle, as a man and woman are undressing there. Fairies flit among the shelves of the next one. At last, I locate a shelf with a single periodical: Uncanny Magazine, issue number eight.
The Virgin Played Bass by Maria Headley. This story is nonsense, bordering on gibberish. A puss-in-boots knockoff leads a group of musicians across Europe, running away from some kind of evil army. At the end of the story, the characters form a tower by sitting on each others’ shoulders, and the top person blows a trumpet, killing the army.
Have you ever read a story and wondered what the heck the author was thinking? Well, in this case, we get an author interview and an answer to that question! The story was based on a dream she had, a musician friend’s trip to Europe, a little-known fairy tale, and her thoughts on Christianity, even though she’s an atheist not raised with religion. In other words, a bunch of things almost no-one but the author could be aware of. No wonder the finished product is a bunch of scatterbrained babbling. Why the editor bought this story, and chimed in with praise during the interview, is another question.
Lotus Face and the Fox by Nghi Vo. A thief in an Asian city climbs a witch’s tower. There’s a bit of a fairy-tale ending.
The Creeping Women by Christopher Barzak. A family drama with no sci-fi or fantasy content. At least there’s a murder.
The Sincerity Game by Brit Mandelo. Two people have sex a couple of times. Fortunately, it’s not too descriptive — one character is a man, but I’m not even sure of the second person’s sex. The dude has a tattoo which includes the word “wolf”, so I guess that’s somehow supposed to make this a werewolf story. If that makes someone a werewolf, what about all those sailors who used to tattoo “Mom” on their arms?
Maybe I should be a consultant for romance writers who want to slide their books into a new genre. A blockbuster sci-fi movie is coming out? Your character has a tattoo of the milky way. Historical fiction is hot this week? Tattoo of the Magna Carta. Man, I am good at this!
The Desert Glassmaker and the Jeweler of Berevyar by Rose Lemberg. Two pen-pals write to each other. They’re magical craftspeople, so there’s a small fantasy element.
The Spy Who Never Grew Up by Sarah Rees Brennan. A mashup of Peter Pan and James Bond.
I open my eyes and sit up in bed. My sheets are soaked with sweat. Oh, it was all just a bad dream. I laugh at my silly nightmare and go back to sleep. There’s no such thing as Uncanny Magazine.