My Favorite Bit: Michi Trota talks about Uncanny Magazine Year Six
Michi Trota is joining us today to talk about Uncanny Magazine’s Year Six, which currently has a Kickstarter running until August 14. Here’s information about the Kickstarter:
Over the last few years, Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas ran Kickstarters for the three-time Hugo Award-winning Uncanny Magazine Years One, Two, Three, Four, and Five. We promised to bring you stunning cover art, passionate science fiction and fantasy fiction and poetry, gorgeous prose, and provocative nonfiction by writers from every conceivable background. Not to mention a fantastic award-winning podcast featuring exclusive content. Through the hard work of our exceptional staff and contributors, Uncanny Magazine delivered on that promise every single year. Stories from Uncanny Magazine have been finalists or winners of Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy Awards!
The Space Unicorn Ranger Corps, our name for the Uncanny Magazine community, made it possible for our remarkable staff and contributors to create this wonderful art for all of our readers via the web or as eBooks. THANK YOU, SPACE UNICORNS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
If you’ve been looking for an opportunity to join or re-up with the Space Unicorn Ranger Corps, now’s your chance! We need your help to continue this mission for another year. This is your magazine, Space Unicorns! Let’s make Year Six happen!
This year, we’re also back with a new mission for the ranger corps: RAISING OUR PAY RATES! We’ve been running Uncanny Magazine for five years with basically the exact same pay rates for all of our creators and staff. We think it’s time to pay all of these fabulous people a little bit more for their amazing creations.
Though Uncanny continues to have multiple ways to support us, we still need the help of the Space Unicorn Kickstarter community to keep bringing you this amazing content. YOUR support specifically makes it possible for us to make our fiction freely available on our website.
We have put together a fabulous lineup of solicited contributors for Year Six for short fiction, nonfiction, and poetry! There will also be slots for unsolicited submissions (we will reopen for short fiction submissions on August 1, 2019). We’re deeply committed to finding and showcasing new voices in our genre from around the world.
Uncanny Magazine is published as an eBook (MOBI, PDF, EPUB) bimonthly (the every other month kind) on the first Tuesday of that month through all of the major online eBook stores. Kickstarter Backers at the Subscriber Level or higher, and those purchasing single issues, get each issue in its entirety up front, no waiting. Those reading online for free wait a month for the second half, which appears on the first Tuesday of the second month at uncannymagazine.com.
We at Uncanny think we’re doing important work, and we’d like to continue. Please consider supporting Uncanny Magazine Year Six!
What’s Michi’s favorite bit?
I’ve been with Uncanny Magazine since the beginning, way back in 2014, and while the last five years have just flown by, it also feels like this magazine and the many wonderful people involved have always been a part of my life. It’s been an honor learning from my teammates and being part of the passion, skill, and professionalism that everyone at Uncanny brings to the table at every turn; without a doubt, being Managing Editor, and later also Nonfiction Editor, has made a significant difference in my life, both professionally and personally. Thanks to my work with Uncanny, I became the first Filipina to win a Hugo Award, and now have three shiny rockets on my mantle. I’ve gotten to know writers and other creators in SF/F who I’ve admired for years and can now call colleagues and friends. I’ve even gotten to write the text for a museum exhibit about Asian Pacific American Science Fiction, and I’m excited to explore even more possibilities as both a writer and an editor as I prepare to move on to the next phase of my career.
And all of this was possible because one of Uncanny’s deepest held principles is the importance of supporting and encouraging an inclusive SF/F field that is filled with diverse voices, particularly those of new and emerging creators. Before I joined Uncanny, I had become increasingly active in my local Chicago nerd community, organizing events, speaking on panels, and blogging, but while I’d accumulated over a decade’s worth of experience in publishing and production, having managed different trade and association publications, I hadn’t yet edited anything professionally in SF/F. I was relatively unknown when I first met Lynne & Michael Thomas at various cons and through mutual acquaintances, and getting their offer to join Uncanny as its first managing editor was an unexpected and unlooked for dream opportunity.
I can’t overstate how vital it is for new and emerging creators to have the chance for their work published alongside writers who may be more familiar to audiences. For one, it’s incredibly exciting to see your name appear in the same table of contents or masthead as creators whose work you’ve looked up to. But more importantly, the inclusion of new and emerging creators is what keeps SF/F strong and growing. Those voices help push the boundaries of genre further, playing with new techniques and approaches, building on the visions and ideas that came before, and infusing our communities with fresh energy. I’m always humbled when writers express how excited they are to submit their work to Uncanny because it means that those writers thought enough of our magazine and our editors to take a chance on trusting us with their work. No matter where a writer is in their career — whether they’re just getting started or have been publishing in the genre for years — it’s exciting to see how their works inform, challenge, and illuminate each other. There’s always some new idea to find, or a different perspective on familiar tropes to interpret, and the more new writers our industry publishes, the better off we all are for their inclusion.
Having the chance to open doors for others and invite them through has been one of the best parts of my time with Uncanny. By being part of this team, I’ve gotten to learn how to do so with thoughtfulness, empathy, and a constant interrogation of my own biases, pushing myself beyond my own comfort zones. I’m grateful for being introduced to a bounty of creative insights and challenging perspectives, as well as more wonderful new colleagues and friends. And now that my time with the magazine closing at the end of this year, I can’t wait to see how Uncanny will continue to grow with the addition of some fantastically talented folks. Without a doubt, Uncanny is going to be all the stronger for the roles Chimedum Ohaegbu (Managing Editor), Elsa Sjunneson-Henry (Nonfiction Editor), Angel Cruz (Assistant Editor), and Joy Piedmont (Podcast Reader) will be taking on in Year 6. All of them bring unique skills and perspectives to the table, and I’m excited that I’ll get to watch their time with Uncanny unfold along with the rest of the Space Unicorn Ranger Corps.
The greatest gift I could ask for after my time with Uncanny is knowing that the magazine is in the best possible hands as I leave, and I’ve been given that in spades. New ideas, the willingness to take risks, amazing creative energy, passion, and kindness, and the chance for a fresh voices to shine. This will always be my favorite bit of Uncanny.
Managing Editor/Nonfiction Editor Michi Trota is a three-time Hugo Award winner, and the first Filipina to win a Hugo Award. Michi is an editor and essayist who has been published in The Book Smugglers, The Learned Fangirl, Invisible: An Anthology of Representation in SF/F, and Uncanny. She was the exhibit text writer for Worlds Beyond Here: Asian Pacific Americans in Science Fiction at the Wing Luke Museum in Seattle. She’s spoken at C2E2, the Chicago Humanities Festival, on NPR, and at universities and other organizations. Michi is a firespinner with the Raks Geek Fire+Bellydance troupe and lives in Chicago with her spouse and their two cats. Her secret mutant superpower is to make anyone hungry just by talking about food. Find her on Twitter @GeekMelange.