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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Uncanny Magazine #4, May/June 2015

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Uncanny Magazine #4, May/June 2015


“Planet Lion” by Catherynne M. Valente
“The Practical Witch’s Guide to Acquiring Real Estate” by A.C. Wise
“Restore the Heart into Love” by John Chu
“In Libres” by Elizabeth Bear
“Three Voices” by Lisa Bolekajasker

Reviewed by Michelle Ristuccia

“Planet Lion” by Catherynne M. Valente redefines strange by telling much of the story from the perspective of extraterrestrial lions that share a telepathic awareness. Human research reports of the planet, planet Bakeneko, provide a bare framework for understanding the surreal events that take place. Valente leaves readers with the impression that the lions are so different as to be completely incompatible with human presence and human understanding.

“The Practical Witch’s Guide to Acquiring Real Estate” by A. C. Wise is exactly what the name describes. The humorous guide begins with the mundane and later expands into more loquacious advice.

In “Restore the Heart into Love” by John Chu, Taiwanese immigrant Max wakes from stasis to repair the systems of the Byzantium Library spaceship before the stored documents are permanently lost. As Max investigates the problems on board, we see scenes from his young adulthood as a second generation immigrant in the USA. In these scenes Max struggles with his mother’s native tongue, Chinese, on the backdrop of a developing World War. Chu cleverly incorporates Chinese into the problem that Max must solve in order to preserve the sanctity of the Byzantium Library’s mission of unbiased historical preservation.

“In Libres” by Elizabeth Bear follows Euclavia and her centaur friend as they brave the labyrinth of the Special Collections section of the library in order to finish their dissertations. Bear’s “In Libres” is a fun and clever play on classic fantasy tropes.

In “Three Voices” by Lisa Bolekaja, Andre Irving pursues the mystery of the three-voiced song left by his father, a composer-singer who long ago vanished from Andre’s life. When Andre meets Tye, he thinks that he has finally found a singer with enough talent and stamina to sing the entire song in one grand performance. “Three Voices” is about obsession and perseverance toward the seemingly unattainable.


Michelle Ristuccia enjoys slowing down time in the middle of the night to read and review speculative fiction, because sleeping offspring are the best inspiration and motivation. You can find out more about her other writing projects and geeky obsessions by visiting her blog.