Reckoning Interviews: Michael Damian and Lynne M. Thomas of Uncanny

issue13coverv2_large-340x510The first issue of Reckoning comes out in ebook form one week from today–preorder it here from Weightless Books! Kermit flail (because as we all know, Kermit is an amphibian-American, and thus under significant threat of extinction due to climate change)!

In the meantime, here we have my final learning-how-to-edit interview of 2016, with the incredibly successful and multiple award-winning editors of Uncanny Magazine, Michael Damian and Lynne M. Thomas.

If you’re new here, the point of these interviews has been to help me learn how to be a good and conscientious editor, to practice what I preach, to understand whether and how and to what extent fiction can inspire and encourage people to change the world for the better, and hopefully to encourage others to do the same.

Michael (DeLuca): First of all, congratulations on your Hugo win! Uncanny has huge momentum despite being only two years old. You’ve won lots of awards, run a bunch of wildly successful funding drives…how did you do it? Is there a guiding principle?

Lynne and Michael: Thank you!

The guiding principle of Uncanny has always been bringing more art, beauty, and kindness to our amazing community. That is pretty much how we do it. We work hard, surround ourselves with the best staff and creators, and try to build our community by making them shareholders in the awesome.

Michael (DeLuca): Your guidelines mention specifically seeking diverse submissions, and the stories you’ve chosen clearly reflect that. Have you had to do anything more to encourage writers of color, queer writers, marginalized writers to submit?

Lynne and Michael: We are always actively talking to writers from different backgrounds online and in person. We try to encourage as much as possible.

Michael (DeLuca): How big a part of the motivation to found Uncanny was making a space for diverse authors and marginalized voices?

Lynne and Michael: It is a core principle of what we believe art should be– it reflects the world we already live in. We couldn’t run a magazine that wasn’t a home to marginalized voices.

Michael (DeLuca): How important do you think funding drives are to Uncanny’s success? They seem such a pervasive part of the field these days…do you think it would be possible to get the attention you’ve gotten without them?

Lynne and Michael: They not only give us a portion of our funding (we also get money from subscriptions, Patreon, and advertising), they build our community and make our readers feel like the shareholders they are. No, we don’t think we would be as successful without them.

Michael (DeLuca): What kind of impact do you think you’ve had on the field so far?

Lynne and Michael: It is much too soon for us to say.

Michael (DeLuca): To what extent do you think fiction itself has the power to change minds? Can stories teach people to be better people?

Lynne and Michael: Fiction has the power to create emotions, to show people perspectives that they might not have considered, and to help people escape daily life (these things are not mutually exclusive). There are studies that show that reading helps create empathy. Stories may or may not teach people to be better people, but stories may encourage people to think differently, to make different choices, and that may lead to them being better people.

Michael (DeLuca): If you were starting Uncanny today, would you do anything differently? Any advice for me?

Lynne and Michael: Honestly, we’re pretty happy with how it has gone and is going so far. Lynne might have gotten the business management software a bit sooner so that she wasn’t filling out tax forms by hand, but that’s about it.

Michael (DeLuca): What’s your next project?

Lynne and Michael: More Uncanny!

Michael (DeLuca): Yay!

Thank you so much for talking to me.

 

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Author: Michael J. DeLuca

Michael J. DeLuca is a fernlike, woody perennial native to the Eastern US, found on hilltops and in woodland clearings from Massachusetts to Michigan. Leaves astringent; strongly tannic; used in teas, to flavor ales and as an aromatic smudge. Flowers late summer in cylindrical catkins. @michaeljdeluca; mossyskull.com.

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